Tierra Utopia

Spencer Murphy

A new project from Spencer Murphy, partly in collaboration with the Gaia Foundation and partly a personal project, it documents his journey to the town of Marinaleda, a village in inland Andalusia.

Marinaleda was hard fought for by the landless farm workers of the late 1970’s and 80’s through a series of peaceful protests, sit-ins and hunger strikes, led by Mayor Juan Sanchez Gordillo. Finally, in 1991 a small percentage of a local dukes inherited land was granted to those that fought for it for the use of the population and what rose up from that was a communalist village of farm workers built on ideas of collectivism that some term communism (they self-identify as a social-democratic cooperative). In the late 1970’s unemployment was between 65-80% and the landless workers suffered from starvation. There is now little to no unemployment (a statistic maintained even during the economic crisis of 2008, which led to 30% unemployment rates in the rest of Andalusia), and everyone from the Mayor to the street cleaners get the same wage. Houses can be purchased and built with the help of the syndicate for 15 euros per month – the only stipulation is you cannot make a profit from the real estate. Proclaimed a “Utopia for Peace” Marinaleda has no police force.