How a Catalan neighbourhood dealt with repression: CAN VIES AND BANK EXPROPRIAT


Two years ago Can Vies, an occupation movement located in Sants, a neighbourhood in Barcelona, was protected from all the militants and neighbours. Can Vies, meaning house in Catalan, was a shelter for many people that didn’t have a roof to sleep under, a political shelter and a meeting point for anarchists.

After days of fighting and receiving national and international solidarity the building was partially destroyed, but it remains in the hands of protesters. It was then when Can Vies decided to change their squat into a social centre and it was rebuilt brick by brick: It became a symbol of victory.

Unfortunately, the defence movement of Can Vies was not left unscathed and 13 people are currently on trial.

Two years after the anniversary of Can Vies these comrades have been processed for defending a common good. Similarly, during these past weeks the Catalan government has vacated another social centre, known as Banc Expropiat, located in Gracia, another neighbourhood in Barcelona. The response to these actions have also been strong and decisive:

More than 2500 people continue to surround the square to protect a place where human needs like clothing and food were given away for free, where language lessons were also taught for free. It was a place open to all generations with a small library and a place where anarchist policies were discussed.

“Here people obtain something that they can’t find in the streets for free. It is a form of self-defence”, states a young immigrant in regards to the Banc Expropiat. “Mutual support and solidarity are important because society is individualistic and we want to build a community”, sustains a young girl from the same assembly.

The Expropriate Bank was a place made entirely with glass so that everyone could see what people did inside the building, they could always see it. We are not an exclusive group, we are a group of heterogeneous and anti-capitalist people. We are part of the neighbourhood”, affirms a neighbour who frequents the Bank Expropiat.

The Bank Expropiat was a place expropriated by the banks. It was a space full of liberation dedicated to the community that eventually transformed into an anti-capitalist symbol of resistance where people could organize and provide mutual support for each other.

Many people have been conducting ongoing manifestations to save the Banc Expropiat: from these manifestations 34 people have been injured by the police. Just like two years ago with Can Vies, the State and Capital face a neighbourhood that is willing to fight in order to defend itself and recapture what was taken from them. It makes no difference how much violence capitalism uses against us, we are never stepping back.

Once again the self-proclaimed “enlightened” mayor of Barcelona has removed his mask by denying a connection in regards to the struggles of these two neighbourhoods (Sans and Gracia); arguing that they are two completely different cases because one belongs to private property.

As if one were less important than the other, as if private property somehow justified the abuse of power, expropriation and violence of these last days. “I have proposed another place”, but “they refused it”. Yes, they refused it because the Banc Expropiat was a liberated space, a space that was at the service of the population and wasn’t interested in obtaining any profits. It was a space that gave shelter, assemblies and which is mobilizing the entire neighbourhood in its defence.

Solidarity is our best weapon


Text written by Sara P. in Italian anarchist newspaper Umanità Nova

Translated by Pietro Casati


One thought on “How a Catalan neighbourhood dealt with repression: CAN VIES AND BANK EXPROPRIAT

  1. Good translation Pietro but Can Vies literally translates to House of Roads in Catalan. I’m an American that took part in the resistance 2 years ago.


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