A brief summary of the situation of the house.
For over 2 years we had been discussing the possibility of either
doing another work camp (the first work camp)or else trying,
by some other means, to intervene in the deteriorization of the house.
Then over a year ago the facade of the house moved a little bit, and we
called the firemen to be sure that it wasn't going to fall down and crush
passersby. They were surprisingly nice, made a very positive report about
our care of the building, and that was that.
Then last summer we discovered that every visit by the firemen must be
followed by a technical inspection by the Dept. of Urban Management. We
were sure that they would come and declare the house a ruin, evict us, and
tear down the house, and that that would be the end...
But we organized our trusty team of arquitects, our marvelous lawyer and all our
supporters and friends and when the inspector came we overwhelmed him.
We convinced him that it would be possible to tear down the ruined part
at the back of the house (where the old ovens were, etc) and preserve the
front part. The technicians said that the work done during the work-camp
(on the roof and the rafters) had preserved the house; without it it would
have fallen down long ago.
Then for the first time in the history of the occupation movement in
Spain, the technicians invited us to a meeting at the Dept. of Urban
Management and we came to the agreement that they would come in, do the
work they proposed, but that WE would maintain the key and the use of the
For the last several months the house has been full of dust and
construction. Now finally the work is done, and its amazing: the entire
ruined back part has been transformed into a sunny patio, and the front
part of the house has been thoroughly supported by big wooden pillars.
The owner still hasn't made any noise, and all is well.
BUT, propping up a house is not the same as rehabilitating it -- the roof
still leaks, the walls are humid, the pigeons come and go-- and we have
decided to take a risky leap. Instead of being happy with the works done
and continuing our project in the house until (inevitably, eventually) they kick us
out, we have written an ambitious and complete proposal to the city
government that they recognize the social value of the feminist social center
La Karakola has
maintained for six years, and that they legalize
the occupation of the house and rehabilitate the building.
So now suddenly we find ourselves talking to politicians, to the press, to
everyone we can, trying to get support for this rather wild dream. We'll
see what happens. It is thrilling and difficult to learn to navigate these unfamiliar
political spaces; promote our project without either allowing it to be transformed
and politically neutralized or losing our own capacity for self-criticism and introspection.
Meanwhile, there is a sudden burst of activity within the house: several
seminars, work-groups, film-cycles, etc. (calendar)
As part of the presentation of this project we are organizing all the
materials produced by the Karakola in the 6years of its existance:
pictures, videos, texts, etc. Some of us are editing a video, using the
materials from the work-camp, actions, parties, and more. We are also trying to put
together reflections and memories of the Karakola from all the people who
have participated in it over the years. We would love to hear from you
(contact us): reflections on the project, ideas for its continuation, etc. We would also love it if you could spread the word about the Karakola's current project; we will need all the support we can get.
We will keep you informed as events unfold…