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Dispatch from Spain: Bankia Will Go Down

Occupy Bankia

The Spanish judges are starting to have problems with their conscience, and not just the lefty ones. The other day, a spokesperson of the 'conservative' Professional Judiciary Association, voiced her support for debt relief for people being evicted.

I can understand the judges' problem. In an ideal case, they are supposed to administer Justice. In practice they just apply the law. And if the law is unjust, they are nothing but instruments of the regime. In this case, not even of the regime, but of the banks. “The banks have turned the justice system into their private tax collector.”

The judges also accuse the banks of speculating with people's lives, in the sense that many banks are waiting for real estate prices to rise before submitting eviction orders to the courts, so that they can make bigger profits when they auction off people's homes.

All the same, every court receives hundreds of eviction requests per year. Now the judges can't change the law, but they can establish priorities. And most of them don't think that ordering working class families to be thrown out onto the streets in winter is the absolute priority of the justice system, as banks would have it. So they want to limit the amount of eviction cases they will treat to a few dozen. This way, some ninety percent of the evictions would effectively be put on hold.

On the other front, there is the popular resistance. It's gaining steam. Yesterday the people from Acampada Bankia Madrid made two blitz occupations of bank franchises. One of Caja Madrid at Gran Vía, one of Banesto in Lavapiès. At Caja Madrid they obtained the promise that four evictions would be turned into social rents, and they retreated victoriously. At Banesto they didn't obtain anything. So they left the place a mess, with papers flying all around. No real damage was done.

At night however, Bankia's brand 'Caja Madrid' is definitely suffering. Ever more franchises are being brutalised with graffiti and stickers. I don't encourage these practices, but I do note their impact. A lot of a bank's power depends on its appearance. A franchise with its cash dispenser out of order and its façade and windows covered with slogans like 'loan sharks', or 'murderers', or 'no eviction without reaction' is not good for a bank's image.

The next step is occupations. Non stop. Every day, all day.

Two franchises were said to have been occupied yesterday in Barcelona. The iaioflautas, or 'elderly vagabonds', are planning to occupy more. In Madrid as well. We are on the brink of this Occupy Bankia thing spreading out over the whole country. And with the judges and the public opinion on our side, we might obtain more than just a few lousy promises.

Originally published here

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