On Sept. 5, 20 SAT (Andalusian Workers Union) militants will face a new trial for which the Public Prosecutor's Office and Mercadona's private prosecution requested a total of 30 years in prison, 18 months per person.
The cause of the trial is the expropriation of food from a Mercadona shopping center in August 2012, seven years ago.
It is worth recalling the circumstances of that summer of 2012 in which SAT carried out a series of actions, including the expropriation of basic foodstuffs from a Mercadona supermarket in Écija (Seville province) and from a Carrefour supermarket in Arcos de la Frontera (Cadiz province).
Andalusia was then facing the hardest blows of the 2007-08 capitalist crisis: 1.5 million unemployed people, 300,000 families with no income whatsoever, dozens of home evictions every day, long lines in soup kitchens. Some 30 percent of our children could not afford adequate and necessary food.
Meanwhile, 400,000 tons of food was thrown away and news reports opened with reports of risk premium [the amount of extra interest needed to obtain loans], interest rates and the possibility of a bailout for Spain, while hiding the news about the suffering of families during five years of continuing economic crisis.
Within this framework, we from the SAT initiated a mobilization campaign with the goal of bringing this bitter reality to the surface, so that there would be less talk about the risk premium and more about the needs of ordinary people.
It was also necessary to point out the culprits behind the crisis and that is why the people occupied bank branches. At the same time that they protested the conditions, they planned possible solutions.
In July, people occupied town halls and employment offices, demanding from both the central and the autonomous regional governments a special employment plan that would create jobs in our villages. They also occupied the military estate of Las Turquillas for more than 20 days, demanding that its 1,200 hectares be put to work and generate employment in the region. Months earlier, in March, they also occupied the Somonte public estate to prevent its privatization.
And within this mobilization program, people agreed to expropriate basic foodstuffs in order to draw public attention to the critical situation suffered by thousands of families who were literally going hungry in Andalusia.
This action was followed by the “Andalusia on Foot Marches” which, during August and September of 2012, toured the eight provinces connecting the rural population with that of the cities and uniting struggles of both. The food expropriations and the marches generated an expanding wave that strengthened all the struggles, not only that of the SAT.
This wave of struggle led to the “Marches of Dignity” that on March 22, 2014, brought to Madrid more than 1.5 million individuals from all the different peoples of the Spanish state, who demanded an end to the policies that made those of us pay who had done nothing to generate the crisis .
We are accused of theft. Normally, when someone steals, they try to profit from that theft. The basic foodstuffs, with a minimum monetary value, were delivered freely and with documentation with the media present in La Corrala Utopía, a block of flats that homeless impoverished families had occupied for months.
The two expropriation actions were carried out simultaneously in the Mercadona supermarket of Écija and Carrefour supermarket in Arcos de la Frontera. In neither case was any violence used. The food carts left quickly through the door without the security guards reacting in time to prevent it. In Arcos, Carrefour opted not to press charges and to take responsibility for the “delivery” of the food. Mercadona, on the other hand, brought charges accusing us of theft by force.
Since then, the situation for the people of Andalusia has changed little. Now the unemployment is simply disguised as precarious employment. That means that thousands of working Andalusian families are poor even though they have a work contract, because of the generalized breach of labor conventions and basic labor rights.
It can be said, however, that those expropriation actions put a spotlight on the reality that had been hidden for years during which millions of people suffered in silence. That is why it is more than necessary that on Sept. 5 all the dignity and solidarity that still remains be set in motion again to defend those of us who are once again facing the bosses’ justice. It is a twisted justice that imprisons day laborers and represses those who rebel, while freeing corrupt bankers and family members of the Bourbon monarchy.
On Sept. 5 at 11:30 a.m., be in the Courts of Seville at Avenida de la Buhaira, nº 6. Edificio Nova.