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Marinaleda is a Spanish municipality of the province of Seville that belongs to the region of Sierra Sur, located in the basin of Genil, in the autonomous community of Andalusia. Marinaleda has been characterized by using a social and economic model that is presented as an alternative to capitalism, where the community enjoys having homes, and a source of employment.
Marinaleda is a predominantly agricultural municipality and this makes up the bulk of its economy. It is noted for its left-leaning principles based on a leftist ideology led by Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, mayor since 1979 and a member of the Unitarian Candidacy of Workers (CUT). Local workers and peasants have achieved a high rate of development and practically full employment for its people. The development of an alternative economic model has achieved notable results, even during the economic crisis that began in 2008.
For over 30 years, the mayor of Marinaleda has been Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo of the United Left Party. Gordillo has anointed Marinaleda a “utopia for peace”, which has no municipal police (saving $350,000 a year). Additionally, political murals and revolutionary slogans adorn the town’s whitewashed walls, and streets are named after Latin American leftists. Every few weeks, the town hall declares a Red Sunday over a bullhorn and volunteers clean the streets or do odd jobs.
They all thought that the market was God, who made everything work with his invisible hand. Before, it was a mortal sin to talk about the government having a role in the economy. Now, we see we have to put the economy at the service of man. — Mayor Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, May 2009 remarks about Spain’s real estate bust and rampant unemployment.
Marinaleda has a long tradition of sociopolitical struggle by agricultural laborers, which has decisively influenced the attainment of diverse political and social advances. Marinaleda was ruled by CUT-BAI (Collective for the Unity of Workers – Andalusian Left Bloc) from 1979 until 1986 when CUT-BAI joined the United Left (IU), which has since been the ruling party, although most of the members of IU’s local branch are basically members of CUT-BAI.