We occupy.  We occupy and we talk about territories.  We situate ourselves as a node crossed by thousands of circuits.  Circuits and accelerated currents.  We are in the very mouth of the monster.  We move, we decide, we talk politics.  We situate ourselves and unmask our own bodies, our own lives, our own inhabiting of this city, this neighborhood, this social center. While the vertiginous current of global capitalism impregnates every nook and cranny of our existance, submitting it to the virtual display window of the market-world, to the state of permanent global war, to the complete precarization of our lives, to the abysmal technocracy of the bureaucratic aparatus, to the privatization of services and of social and public goods, to isolation and solitude, to politics which can only be concieved in terms either of parties or else of super-hip politicking like that of the NGOs, to boredom and to being ‘entertained’, to the appropriation of our knowledge and to copyrights, to compulsory heterosexuality, euphoric and erroneous…

But we shortcircuit, we move the currents into our own bodies; we have situated ourselves.  In the same way we situate ourselves in urban space.  We situate ourselves and we begin to speak about precarious work, about the wild ones and the dangerous ones, the housewives and the agitators, the frigid ones, the lesbians, the transexuals, the married ones and the single ones, those that come and go, the whores and the queers and the feminists assaulting the global display-market in open revolt, subverting normalized ‘life-styles.’  We situate ourselves because the personal is political.  Because we want to launch ourselves into the open insurrection of our lives.  Social centers and public spaces are indespensable for the expression and the constant experimentation of a new way of ‘doing city’ which is not considered in the diplomatic agenda of the scenic capital.  Because we are part of these territories we daily struggle to construct them and reorganize them.  Plastic designs of the world we want.  Brutal expansion of constrained desires.  Legitimate reappropriation of our own living space, our city, our world…

For this we occupy, for this the social centers…




The point of departure, of encounter, of crossing paths of which we speak is in the neighborhood of Lavapies, Calle Embajadores number 40.  A feminist social center occupied there in 1996.  In these six years la Karakola has been a daily experiment in constant creation and action, and with its comings and goings, with its limitations and its changes, it has housed an infinitude of projects: we speak about work and precariousness, about war and globalization, about ‘making city’ and urbanism, about sexist aggressions and the abuse of women, about autonomy and selfmanagement among women, about cooperation and the circulation of knowledge, about lesbian visibility and identities, about migration and borders… meetings, assemblies, workshops, encounters, movies, videos, talks, actions… but above all a gamble made, a bet placed decisively upon the collective, upon cooperation and subversion of the established lifestyles which bind us, which must be again resituated, again disemboweled in order to be able to begin, perhaps, to reinvent nature.




The house, dated already in the 17th century, too old to sustain itself whole, has passed through a declaration of partial ruin, which has brought on the construction work which the Department of Urban Management has done in the last six months.  They have demolished part of the house, the rest they have propped up: pillars, props, not a rehabilitation.  Thus we press ourselves to demand what we believe is a bid for public spaces, a bid for spaces capable of generating feminist discourse, for the legitimacy of social projects, for the desire to constitute ourselves as political subjects…and we launch an initiative of dialog with the Administration.  What we demand: the recognition of the social and political project of the Karakola, the expropriation of the house -- expropriation as a juridical tool which the Administration has in its hands and ought to use in cases in which property owners do not fulfill their urbanistic duties and as a measure which can impede private speculation on urban real-estate -- and, last, we demand the rehabilitation and cession of the property, permitting the consolidation of a self-managed Feminist Social Center in the center of Madrid.  For this we have written a project in which we develop what has been, what is, and what we want the Karakola to be.  We recognize that this battle goes beyond ourselves, that it is a bid to think about citizenship in other terms.


La Eskalera Karakola, February 2003


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