New book announcement: Utopia and the Valley of Tears
“I think there is a cultural point in Spain, there is a Catholic way of thinking. They say that life is... a valley of tears. We have been in all this richness!” Juanjo exclaimed, gesturing at the river, and the ornate city around him. “But now! Now the people think: it is time for the valley of tears.”A worse unemployment rate than Greece. A Spanish economic miracle turned catastrophe. A lost generation of indignados with no homes, no work, and no faith in the system. An austerity government who in six months have pushed miners to armed conflict, firing home-made rocket launchers at riot police. An Economics Minister whose last job was director of the Spanish branch of Lehman Brothers.
And right in the middle of the Andalucian countryside, a little-known communist utopia led by a charismatic poet-rebel, a town of landless labourers who for over 30 years since the death of Franco, have fought capitalism - and won.
My new book, Utopia and the Valley of Tears: A journey through the Spanish crisis, will be published digitally on 20 August 2012. A longer, different, paperback version will be published by Verso next year.
For enquiries, or to register your interest, email valleyoftears2012 @ gmail.com, and you will receive one reminder when it is published - and that will be the only one, I promise.
“It sounds like science fiction: a small rural town led by a charismatic mayor tries to turn itself into a communist utopia. But it's fact - it's happening right now in Andalucia, and colliding with the region's real-world history of violent rebellion and radicalism. Hancox's book could not be more timely - with Spain on the brink of social crisis and the shadows of the past emerging.”
- Paul Mason, BBC Newsnight Economics Editor
“As the crisis of neoliberalism smacks Spain in the face and tear gasses its young, Dan Hancox ventures to Marinaleda a tiny Spanish ‘utopia’ with a charismatic mayor. The struggle to take back land and create jobs, he tells us, is the most noble of dreams. Right here in the sacred heart of resistance and anarchism, the battles of the past merge with the future. Unemployment mounts, houses are repossessed. A generation migrates. Surely this tiny paradise is just a mirage?
“Hancox captures the optimism necessary for alternative ways of doing politics, economics and living together. As the borderline between dream and reality shimmers in the heat of Andalucia, we begin to wonder if living as if change were indeed possible is the very key to making actual change happen. Do we really have any other choice?”
- Suzanne Moore, The Guardian