postvirtual

Bankia Will Go Down

In #GlobalRevolution, Madrid, Spain on 1 November 2012 at 15:15

Hindenburg Disaster, 1937. Dutch National Archive.

November 1

Dear people,

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.

  1. The banks have a very clever scheme going on. They’re going to borrow from the ECB at 1% and then buy government debt with a return of between 4% and 6%. Meanwhile they take away homes which they financed and that were sold at a profit. The construction costs were covered with the payments and they can hold onto their stock until the market recovers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: