In this episode, Laura travels to the European nation of Spain to learn how people in two of the regions that were the most brutally repressed under the mid-century dictatorship of Francisco Franco (1936-75) built the world’s largest worker-owned cooperatives and a culture of independence and mutual aid that endures to this day. From the Basque region in the north, to Barcelona on the Mediterranean, Flanders speaks with contemporary co-op worker-owners who explain how the humanist business model served their parents and grandparents and how that model is transforming today under the pressures of globalization and the rise of the digital economy. She asks whether regional independence is still a viable force and if so, for whom? And she considers the growth of the Spanish right wing today and the lesson the Spanish experience might have for Americans.
“As a journalist, I’ve seen again and again that social movements are most effective when they give people not just the permission, but the means to transform their reality… In Franco’s Spain, co-ops helped not only people, but their cultures survive.”
– Laura Flanders
In this Episode
- Mikel Lezamiz, Former Director, Cooperative Dissemination, Mondragon Cooperative Corporation.
- Kat Taylor, Co-Founder and CEO of Beneficial State Bank
- Aitor Lagoma, Designer, Goiena Media Cooperative.
- Marjorie Kelly, Senior Fellow and Executive Vice President of The Democracy Collaborative; author, with Ted Howard, of The Making of a Democratic Economy: Building Prosperity for the Many, Not Just the Few.
- Loren Harris, Chief Program and Strategy Officer for the Kenneth Rainin Foundation
- Ivan Miró, Historian, sociologist, co-founder of La Ciutat Invisible, Barcelona.
- Guernica Facundo Vericat, Coordinator, LabCoop, a social economy coop incubator in Barcelona.
- Mayo Fuster Morrell, Director of Research, IN3, Open University of Catalonia
- Ernest Maragall, Politician and economist, former mayoral candidate for Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), the Republican Left of Catalonia
- Joan Subirats, Co-founder and spokesperson of the citizen platform Barcelona En Comú, the party currently governing the city of Barcelona.
- Ababacar Thiakh and Fatou MBaye, Coordinators and co-founders of Diom Coop, a cooperative business owned and operated by migrant workers in Barcelona.
- Elias Niang, Musician and composer, born in Senegal, lives in Barcelona.
Subscribe to our podcast and become a Patreon partner here for exclusive content and uncut interviews, including our Story Behind the Story series. This edition features Laura Flanders and Charlotte Carpenter, one of the show’s premiere editors and ‘magic makers’, in conversation discussing this week’s episode, “Cooperation vs Authoritarianism in Spain”.
Where to Watch
You can watch this episode on your local WORLD channel at 11:30 am ET on Sunday, September 6.
Click here to find a schedule for your local PBS station.
Click here to watch online on YouTube. The episode will be made available at 11:30 am ET on Sunday, September 6.
The Laura Flanders Show
S01 E02: Cooperation vs Authoritarianism in Spain
Marjorie: A couple of billionaires own more wealth than half the people in the world.
That’s absurd, and we need to recognize there is another way to organize an economy.
Kat: We wanna see how you sustain a culture, not just any economy of cooperative endeavors.
What’s dying is an economy built for the few. Hopefully, we’re moving to a new economy for the many.
Laura: This is the Laura Flanders Show, the place where the people who say it, can’t be done, take a backseat to the people who are doing it. Welcome.
If you’re a regular viewer of this program, you know that we often report on social change and economic change and the way they go together. As a journalist, I’ve seen time and again that building fair societies requires people not just having permission or rights under law to do things, but the means to transform their reality, money, jobs, or other ways to make a healthy living. As a lot of us worry about the dangerous way our winner-take-all economic system here in the States, concentrates wealth and power at the top of society and leaves a whole lot of people out. Many of us are asking if there are more cooperative ways we might run this place. To look at one example, I traveled to the European nation of Spain, where two of the places most brutally repressed under the 20th century dictatorship of Generalissimo Francisco Franco, survived, and in the process, built what are now the world’s largest worker-owned co-ops. Are there lessons for us here? Eighty years ago, Spain fell under a 30-year dictatorship after right beat left in a brutal Civil War. All these years later, the legacy of that conflict lives on, and discussions of the contrast between authoritarianism, colonialism, and control on the one hand, and democracy, self-determination, and social economy on the other. How did their community-based model of business help them resist and survive under dictatorship? And how do co-ops and cooperation function today? The Mondragón Federation of the Basque region was founded in 1956. Today it’s Spain’s 10th largest business with well over 80,000 employees and yet more overseas. American Fred Freundlich came to Mondragón 25 years ago to study the social impact of worker owned businesses. Today, he’s a professor at Mondragón University, a university funded by the Federation.
Fred: In the early years, the history of Mondragón, its beginnings, go back to the period in Spain right after the Spanish Civil War, which was 1936 to 39. So the Basque country had sided against the dictator Franco who won the war. Franco’s government designated it as occupied enemy territory. The rest of the world was involved in the Second World War, so no one was paying attention to desperate situation in Spain, or in the Basque country in particular, characterized by destruction from the war, polarized society, political oppression, dictatorship. When into this situation comes a priest, Arizmendi Arrieta, and he had a sort of a broad vision for social change based on Catholic social doctrine, which is not about preparing oneself for the next life, but creating God’s kingdom on earth, so to speak. So he had this vision based on human dignity. Everyone should have sort of a minimally decent standard of living, solidarity, people should take care of each other, share when necessary, mutual and individual responsibility, hard work. And he decided, he came to the conclusion after working on this vision, in reality, in the community, on the ground for many years, that this vision needed to be taken into the economy, into businesses. So business became viewed, for a generation or more, as a place for progressive people to express their values. It’s not enough on its own as a response to fascism or authoritarianism anywhere, but it is a significant part. Now we’re talking about 98 to 110 or so cooperative organizations, almost all of them worker cooperatives, where the people who work in the enterprise are the members and the owners. They employ 74,000 people roughly, all over the world.
Laura: Fred and I are not the only Americans drawn to the Basque country to learn about worker-owned co-ops and their potential to transform society. My trip to Spain coincides with a delegation led by the Democracy Collaborative and California’s Beneficial State Bank. They’re both U.S. groups dedicated to building new economic systems in the U.S. Democracy Collaborative Executive Vice President Marjorie Kelly speaks with Mikel Lezamiz at Ulma Packaging Co-operative about how co-ops are different and how they run.
Mikel: It’s a co-op formed by 1600 people, workers. So this is the meeting area in the workshop. All these workers are the members, most of them. And all the money, all the assets that we can see here, belongs to the workers.
Laura: Mondragón’s worker-owned co-ops aren’t limited to manufacturing. Following the death of Franco, Basques began to establish media organizations that worked in their own language, which had been banned under the dictatorship. Aitor Lagoma of the Goiena Media Co-operative explained that it was second nature to found new publications and channels as worker-owned businesses.
Aitor: We started, I have to go to ’70s or before, when Franco dies on 1880s, we need a Basque language, the medias and production and other things, because we don’t have anything. We just have a national TV. People from Arrasate, for example, was the first magazine in Basque language. After a start difference in different towns around like Basque magazines. So we decided to put them together and make a bigger and a stronger magazine in Basque language. It was a good improvement for them to read in Basque and understand and things like that. Maybe for us, it was quite easy or natural thing that in 2001, we start with this project, make it like cooperative. I’m not gonna say like a tradition, but it’s like something that we understand that if we own and we work better, and we can be stronger.
Laura: The role that Basque identity has played and continues to play in Mondragón’s resistance and culture is apparent everywhere we go. I interviewed Beneficial State Bank Co-founder and CEO Kat Taylor about what she’s been learning.
Kat: I came with a set of colleagues to join the delegation of Democracy Collaborative in visiting the cooperatives of Mondragón because we wanna see how you sustain a culture, not just an economy of cooperative endeavors. And they have done that for over 70 years. So my colleagues and I are taking careful notes about how we could institute reforms in the capitalistic system of the United States to be more cooperative before it crashes us into climate disaster and social chaos. I hope in my lifetime, I play a part in realigning finance in support of public values, and that, therefore, the economy reflects that.
Laura: In the Basque Country, cooperatively-owned businesses and an ethos of solidarity are simply a fact of life. But in comparison to the U.S., the Basque region is a small, tight-knit sort of place. What would it take to build the same ethos in a place as large and diverse as the United States? At the end of our time in Mondragón, I asked Marjorie Kelly and delegation member Loren Harris of The Kenneth Rainin Foundation. Is it too simple to draw a parallel between some of the politics of the era in which Mondragón was born and the politics of now? How do you see this moment in compared to that one?
Marjorie: There’s definitely a parallel. I mean, we’re in hard times, people are looking for strongmen all over the world today just as it happened during the civil war in that era. And in that earlier time, what we were seeing was the fall of the monarchy. And we pass through dictatorship and then onto democracy as a virtually universal form of government. I think something similar is happening now in the economy. What’s dying is an economy built for the few, and hopefully we’re moving into a new economy for the many.
Laura: You’ve talked about the divine right of capital.
Marjorie: Yeah, We live for so long with the divine right of Kings, as though it was normal that a few people had blue blood and ruled over us. Well, today we think it’s normal that the 1% holds all the assets. A couple of billionaires own more wealth than half of the people in the world. That’s absurd, and we need to recognize there is another way to organize an economy.
Laura: So how would you say we’re doing in putting forward that other vision?
Loren: Well, I think we have a lot of work to do, and I think Marjorie gives us an example. I think we’ve heard that there are thousands of visitors here every year. I think we could do a lot more to help tell the story of why this model holds promise, why this example holds promise for the world. And I also think we have to really create new stories about what’s possible in an economy that is a shift from an old, extractive economy where a few people benefit from the labor of many to one where everyone’s labor really matters and makes a contribution to their lifestyle and their life quality being improved.
Laura: But just to push you a little bit, aren’t there some issues, aren’t there some concerns about the question of localism, mutual aid, a community that hangs together, that is debt deeply and networked? What happens to migrants? What happens to people that weren’t here 50 years ago? People who look different or talk different, or haven’t been steeped in this culture?
Loren: A healthy democracy is one where everyone has a voice. Everyone makes a contribution, everyone’s valued. The humanity is seen. We see diversity and we value it. We see an unintentional about including everyone in that democratic enterprise. And I think what’s promising here, even with some limitations, is the possibility of re-imagining a democracy through the workplace, and that having an effect on how we think about our democracy in a political space, in a public square. And I think that’ll be the story of Mondragón, 50 years from now.
Laura: From Mondragón, I traveled 300 miles to the East, to the city of Barcelona in the Catalonia region. Another flash point in the Spanish civil war. Franco banned Catalan culture and language too. And as in the Basque country, local people resisted through alternative modes of economics and hanging together. Ivan Miró is a historian and an expert on the cooperative movement in Catalonia past and future. We caught up with him in a building that served as a food co-op in the 1920s and ’30s and was the site of resistance when the civil war broke out.
Ivan: Now we are in La Lleialtat Santsenca. It’s an ancient cooperative of consumption.
Laura: What would have happened here in history?
Ivan: Many things. They learned to organize in collective form. We learned very much from our grandfather and grandmother about how without the state and without capitalism people can live very well.
Laura: The anarchist tradition.
Ivan: One of them. The republican tradition, the anarchist tradition, and the socialism tradition in Catalonia is so important of course.
Laura: What is happening here now?
Ivan: Now, we are trying to rebuild this kind of special organization, and we want to build a cooperative city. We talk about municipalism. For us, municipalism is not just a local political action made by the local governments. We understand municipalism is the collective action from the neighborhood. For us, this is an important idea because it’s not another kind of politics top-down. It’s bottom up, so I think it’s a different way to understand the city and to re-appropriate all the city in a political, cultural and economic way.
Laura: From the historic layout at Santsenca, I headed to the Ecos cooperative, a very 21st century group of social enterprises with its own coworking space. Guernica Facundo Vericat is co-founder and coordinator of LabCoop, a co-op incubator housed at Ecos.
Guernica: It started in 2011, after two years of talking to each other, searching the way to put in common needs and interests and having a new way to inter-cooperate between us.
Laura: The social economy that you’re talking about, the cooperative economy that you’re talking about, is very different from what some people hear a lot about, which is the sharing economy or co-working like We Work. How is a place like this different from We Work?
Guernica: It’s nothing related. It’s a very different focus on what economy should be. The relations should be equality, equity, democrative, participative, et cetera. For sharing economy, it’s okay, you have some resources as a person or enterprise, okay, put in common to others and I will take benefits for it.
Laura: But no equity
Guernica: No equity, no.
Laura: with respect to power or ownership or control. Does gender make a difference?
Guernica: Social and solidarity economy and cooperatives, are most participate by women. We have also a long space to improve. Also, because we are in a patriarchal context.
Laura: But you’re coming a long way.
Guernica: Yes, we are trying.
Laura: Franco called Barcelona The Red City on account of its unions and co-ops and social economy. Those were repressed brutally under the dictatorship, but they’ve been making a comeback, especially recently under the city’s first woman mayor Ada Colau and her party Barcelona En Comú, which is dedicated specifically to the expansion and preservation of publicly-shared assets and the commons.
Joan Subirats is the co-founder and spokesperson of Barcelona En Comú, one of the intellectuals behind the movement.
Joan: We try to avoid the idea that the only way to do politics is politics as usual, in a very realistic way. For example, the typical politics as usual is local government is not so important as state government. Well, why not? This idea that cities are probably more global than states, in that sense, is a very powerful idea, and we are trying to do this network of fearless cities and to create the conditions that municipalism is not a very low level of politics, but is a are very important level of politics.
Laura: Mayo Fuster Morrell served as an advisor on one of Ada Colau’s key initiatives, a digital commons for Barcelona.
What has happened here in the last four years that you’ve been involved in that you are proud of?
Mayo: First thing is that we have the first woman mayor in the history of Barcelona after 150 men. That’s the first change. The second element is that the Barcelona En Comú in the municipality has been promoting a lot commons-oriented digital economy. So we are seeing particularly the platform economy or collaborative economy, which it’s time, the economic production and consumption is mediated by digital platforms. And these digital platforms can have the form of a very extractionist, capitalist, like the case of Uber, in which put in question the workers’ rights, or the case of Airbnb, which is confronting with access to housing or the right to the city. What we see with the platform economy and the commons-oriented collaborative economy, is the possibility of scaling up the percentage of the GDP in order to promote the scalability of democratization of economy. For example, there is Som Mobilitat, which is a platform cooperative based on exchange of cars, bicycles, motorbikes, which are electric and environmentally friendly. We also have Som Energia, which is around the energy sector, which is a very essential sector of the system. So the difference in Barcelona is you have alternatives in a sense that you have options. That’s a position in which Barcelona, is a worldwide reference, actually.
Laura: The commons and community are sometimes intention, and that’s part of what’s been playing out here in Barcelona recently. This square was the site of many demonstrations in 2017. There’s lots of tourists here now, but two years ago, there were people protesting for Catalan independence. Those demonstrations were brutally repressed by the state government based in Madrid. The question of Catalan self-determination has become harder than ever. What happens now to the agenda of the commons? People don’t know. In the face of repression, the temptation is often to close ranks. In the most recent elections, Ada Colau and her Commons party lost the majority when the people of Barcelona voted for the Catalan separatist party of Ernest Maragall. Maragall’s appeal lay largely in his pledge to defend Catalan self-determination against the federal government in Madrid. Your agenda, your plan for this city, is what?
Ernest: We’re working for enriching the inhabitants of Catalonia as a nation, as a political subject, one could say. Then one of the matters is which is the role of Barcelona as a capital of this country? And all this process, as you know, we are in the middle of a conflict with the Spanish state. We have our political prisoners. Half of the political prisoners are members of our party, of the Esquerra Republicana of Catalonia. Then, well, here we are.
Laura: How does your experience in the history here affect your feelings about democracy and sovereignty and self-determination? Do you remember those days? Can you describe those days for our audience?
Ernest: How do you forget? It’s unforgettable, this period. It’s probably inside our mind. What does it mean fighting against dictatorship? Fighting for freedoms, for basic rights? I feel it sincerely affected our main basic social, individual rights now in the Spanish state. It’s not like dictatorship, of course. But it’s a democracy in risk, of course it is. And Ada Colau’s project forces have not been so clear in favor of solidarity, but we are committed.
Laura: Ernest Maragall’s party won a narrow popular vote, Ada Colau and the Barcelona En Comú movement were able to form a coalition government and stay in power. The movement for the commons continues. But the question of identity remains red hot. Can cosmopolitan Barcelona build a commons that really is for everyone? For answers to that question, I spoke to some whose roots in Catalonia do not go generations back. Senegalese immigrants Ababacar Thiakh and Fatou Mbaye lead a coop called DIOM.
If the commons are for everyone, can solidarity go beyond localism and ethnic or regional pride? Can the successful strategies of history be celebrated and simultaneously updated for our contemporary global reality?
You live in a city where anarchists and trade unions and communists imagined they could beat…
Laura: the fascism of Madrid, Mussolini, and Hitler?
Laura: Is there a connection there? Do you feel a connection?
Joan: We are in the similar problems. If you want inequality, a sense of our own protection, a need to reinforce the capacity of fight of people. But at the same time, we have to be aware that the problems are different, and the answers have to be different also.
Mayo: We have to reinforce the power and the lifestyle and the type of economy that we have and the type of digital governance that we have and infrastructure, and at the same time, having a more democratic institution.
Loren: I think the story that the future will tell of this moment is one of renewal, of the possibility of thinking about how we imagine something that’s different than today and work really hard to create that future together, opening up ourselves to the possibility of new voices, new contributors, and new people in ideas coming to bear to realize a future that’s better than what we have today.
Laura: In Spain’s November elections, the right wing party Vox, which celebrates the dictatorship of Franco, doubled its support. Vox would crack down even more harshly on immigration and regional independence movements, making the history of Mondragón and Barcelona more relevant than ever. I leave with a burning question, can our commitments to each other trump those who divide us? And can the circle of our common interests be drawn spaciously enough for all? For more on this episode and other forward thinking content, and to tune into our podcast, visit our website at LauraFlanders.org, and follow us on social media @TheLFshow.
As a voice starts, “A couple of billionaires…” a montage of Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Mike Bloomberg and Bill Gates slides across the screen. It quickly cuts to the speaker—a middle aged white woman with a short, clean haircut and glasses who finishes, “that’s absurd.”
The scene shifts to worker in a well-lit, spacious factory driving a forklift in reverse. This transitions to a woman with short close-cropped hair in the same factory scanning a piece of paper with an object that resembles a remote control. This scene is then followed in rapid succession by an image of professional, middle-aged white people sitting around a table in an office while a man stands in the front of the room in front of a project, a scene of people milling about the factory, a scene of children smiling and shouting as they run down a street in Barcelona, and a succession of images of Barcelona’s city center.
As a new voice speaks, a different middle-aged white woman with short curly hair appears on screen. As she finishes, “not just an economy of cooperative endeavors,” a montage of protest scenes plays. In the first clip, police in riot gear carry an unresisting man out of frame by his arms and legs. In another, a woman tries to tug a basket of ballots away from the police. These are followed by a clip of a peaceful protest in the streets of Barcelona, a clip of Barcelona’s mayor Ada Colau speaking on TV, and a Senagalese musician playing an acoustic guitar in a plaza in Barcelona.
As the theme music plays, the credit sequence begins, displaying several cut-out style animated graphics from different episodes of The Laura Flanders Show. It finishes with a list of funders that says “Major funding for this program was provided by: Novo Foundation, Schumann Media Center, TomKat Foundation, Cloud Mountain Foundation, Park Foundation, Shift Foundation, Lannan Foundation, Jane Fonda, The Poss Family Foundation, Rising Tides Fund, and others. A complete list of funders is available upon request at lauraflanders.org and aptonline.org.”
The show resumes with Laura in studio. She is a middle-aged white woman with short, brown hair, wearing a blue suit. Behind her, the backdrop is comprised of several large screens depicting The Laura Flanders Show logo with a blue and purple background.
As Laura finishes, “Are there lessons for us here?” the scene shifts to a string quintet in a park in Barcelona. The camera cuts to Laura who begins narrating the history of Spain from the same park. A montage of historical clips of the Spanish army under Franco plays as she speaks. This is immediately followed by a montage of museum scenes about the Spanish civil war.
As Laura asks, “How did their community-based model…” the scene cuts to a dozen middle-aged white men and women (including Laura) sitting and standing around a room of a cozy, old stone building. This is interspersed with several quick close-ups of old photos and documents in the building that imply it belongs to an organization that dates back to the Spanish Civil War.
Laura continues, “The Mondragón Federation of the Basque Region…” as several old photos and illustrations of the Mondragón Federation are shown, followed quickly by several shots of the same building today.
As she says, “American, Fred Freundlich,” it cuts to a white middle-aged man with glasses, a buzzcut, and a gentle demeanor. It then cuts immediately to a map of Spain with the Basque region highlighted, followed by a photo of Mondragón university. It cuts back to the man as he begins speaking. When he mentions the Spanish Civil War, several more historical clips of Franco during the Spanish Civil War are shown.
As Freundlich mentions the priest Arrieta, an old photo of him on a bicycle is shown. This is followed by a contemporary clip of what appear to be some of Arrieta’s possessions preserved in his office, including his bicycle, wallet, and a typewriter on an old wooden desk. The camera pans to a framed illustration of Arrieta on the wall, then a bust of Arrieta elsewhere in the office, followed finally by a group photo in which he appears in one of the back rows.
As Freundlich continues, “Now we’re talking about 98…” it cuts to a quick montage of clips of the Mondragón Federation showing workers performing their duties in the factory shown earlier.
As Laura’s voice resumes the narration, the same group of middle-aged men and women seen earlier is now shown walking through the factory. Laura is among them. They appear to be on a tour of the factory, and several clips show various speakers addressing them.
As a man’s voice explains, “It’s a co-op formed by 1,600 people…” it cuts to a clip of Marjorie Kelly, the middle-aged white woman with short hair shown in the very beginning of the episode, talking to Mikel Lezamiz, the former outreach director of the Mondragón Cooperative, in the factory. Lezamiz is dressed professionally in a grey suit, has short, clean hair, and Basque features.
As Laura explains that “Basques began to establish media organizations…” a montage of people reading Basque-language newspapers plays. As she mentions the Goiena media co-op, clips of the group previously seen touring the factory now show them touring the Goiena media co-op.
Aitor Lagoma, a designer for the Goiena Communication Team Co-operative begins speaking to Laura and the others. He is wearing a plaid shirt, has medium-length brown, wavy hair, and a brown beard.
As Laura says, “The role that Basque identity has played,” a short montage of scenes filmed around Barcelona is played. As Laura introduces Kat Taylor, it cuts to the middle-aged white woman with short curly hair shown in the beginning of the episode talking with Laura outside. A beautiful landscape of green mountains and rolling hills unfolds behind them.
While Kat Taylor is speaking, clips of the group seen touring the factory and Goiena show them inside a conference room watching a presentation on a projector. As she finishes speaking, a small crowd of people dressed professionally are seen taking photos of the landscape with their cell phones.
As Laura begins speaking again, several clips show Laura and the rest of her cohort in what appears to be a classroom. The beautiful, mountainous landscape can be seen through the windows.
As Laura says, “At the end of our time in Mondragón,” she is seen walking through the grass with the mountains behind her with Marjorie Kelly and Loren Harris, a bald middle-aged Black man in a light grey suit. Laura begins interviewing the two of them as they all stand on the grassy edge of a small lake.
When Laura says, “From Mondragón, I traveled,” it cuts to a double-decker train traveling through the Spanish countryside. It then cuts to a map that shows Catalonia and the city of Barcelona. As Laura mentions the Spanish Civil War again, another clip of Franco is shown. This is quickly followed by a clip of three children playing soccer on a blacktop in front of mural of Catalans with their fists in the air and a montage of several other anti-fascist murals, one of which shows a foot stomping on a swastika, and another shows a raised fist holding a wrench with “Mobilitat” written underneath.
As Laura introduces Ivan Miró, it cuts to Laura talking to a middle-aged man in a black t-shirt with dark brown hair and glasses in what looks like a clean but abandoned brick warehouse. This is quickly followed by several clips of the outside of the building. It cuts back to the Laura and Miró as the latter begins speaking.
When Laura heads to the Ecos cooperative, it cuts to the outside of the Ecos building, where a large read sign reads “Ecos”, and then several panning shots that depict the inside co-working space. Laura is then seen talking to Guernica Facundo Vericat, a younger middle-aged white woman with shoulder length brown hair and a grey knit sweater.
It cuts to Laura standing on the street outside of an ornate, palatial looking building as she says, “Franco called Barcelona the red city.” People mill around in the background. Cut to a clip of Ada Colau, a middle-aged white woman with brown hair and Spanish features, giving a press conference behind a podium that says “Barcelona en comú,” followed by a building with large glass windows with Barcelona en comú written on the exterior. This is quickly followed by several clips of posters of Ada Colau around the streets of Barcelona.
A clip of Ada Colau giving a press conference in Catalan with Spanish subtitles and English captions is shown. A sign language interpreter appears in a box in the lower right corner of the screen, and a crowd is shown cheering.
Cut to Laura speaking with Joan Subirats, a slightly older white man with greying hair and glasses, in a windy garden. As she introduces Subirats, a montage of the Barcelona en comú building and Subirats speaking in public plays.
Laura is then seen walking down the street with Mayo Fuster Morrell, a younger white woman with long, wavy brown hair. They are then seen speaking together on a public bench.
As Laura resumes speaking about the commons, two quick scenes of the streets of Barcelona are shown before Laura is seen speaking again from in front of the palatial looking building. As she mentions the demonstrations in 2017, a montage of protesters being confronted by the police is shown. One scene shows the crowd pushing police in riot gear backwards. Another shows a polling station where police are confiscating ballots and poll workers struggle desperately to hold onto them. The crowd chants angrily from the edges of the room as the police finally drag the ballots away.
While Laura continues, “In the face of repression…” more scenes of protesters being confronted by the police are shown, followed by several images of posters for the Catalan separatist party and images of Ernest Maragall, an older white man in a loose-fitting suit with short, messy white hair, talking to reporters.
Cut to Laura indoors interviewing Ernest Maragall. They are seated facing each other on chairs, and Maragall rests his chin in his hand until he begins speaking. When Laura mentions Ada Colau and the Barcelona en comú movement, a clip of Ada Colau clapping and cheering her supporters on during a speech is played.
As Laura says, “The movement for a commons continues…” clips are shown of a crowd of people enjoying a park in Barcelona. As she says she spoke to some in Catalonia “whose roots do not go generations back,” it cuts to several scenes of Ababacar Thiakh, a middle-aged Black man with very short hair and glasses, and Ndeye Fatou Mbaye, a middle-aged Black woman with straight, shoulder-length hair, and their employees at DIOMcoop making clothes. It then cuts to Laura speaking to the two of them in their shop. They stand by a rack of clothes with African fabrics and European designs, speaking in Spanish. Fatou holds several pieces of clothing up for Laura to see.
As the guitar music starts, it cuts to Elias Niang, a middle-aged Black man singing and playing an acoustic guitar in a plaza. He is wearing a purple polo shirt underneath a grey hoodie and a black baseball cap.
As Laura begins speaking again, she is shown walking through several narrow streets in central Barcelona.
When Laura says, “You live in a city with anarchists and trade unions…” she is seen speaking again with Joan Subirats in the garden. It then cuts to Maya Fuster Morrell speaking with Laura again on the bench.
As Loren Harris’s voice is heard again, Laura is seen waving goodbye to Morrell as she rides away on a bicycle. Morrell waves back. It then cuts to Harris in front of the mountainous background from earlier as he continues speaking. When he finishes, it cuts back to Elias Niang playing and singing in the plaza.
Laura speaks again about the Spanish elections, and it cuts to a montage of clips of the Spanish elections and the Vox party. This is quickly followed by another montage of Laura walking through the streets of Barcelona past the anti-fascist murals, followed in turn by a clip of protesters chanting at police officers. It ends with Laura looking out over the city of Barcelona from a hill. It fades to black as the guitar plays its last note.
The end credits begin as the theme music starts.