La Nave

Barcelona, 2012. A resident of La Nave looks over the balcony of the largest building of La Nave.
Barcelona, 2012. A resident of La Nave in a passageway where the housing was located.
Barcelona, 2012. View of one of the streets that was shaped by the buildings of La Nave.
Barcelona, 2012. The interior of one of the warehouses of La Nave.
Barcelona, 2012. A resident of La Nave writes picket signs in different languages to convene a talk about strategies to avoid evictions.
Barcelona, 2012. One of the inhabitants of La Nave prepares a meal en his room.
Barcelona, 2012. Storing tin in La Nave.
Barcelona, 2012. A resident of La Nave in a warehouse cover his/her face. Many of the people that lived in La Nave lack Spanish residency documentation and risk deportation or encarceration in the Centro de Internamiento de Extranjeros.
Barcelona, 2012. Ibrahima gathers inhabitants in an assembly.
Barcelona, 2012. Aerial view of the interior square of La Nave where one of the inhabitants writes a picket sign against the eviction.
Barcelona, 2012. Keraba, a resident of La Nave during one of the first assemblies against eviction.
Barcelona, 2012. A moment during one of the assemblies within the confines of La Nave.
Barcelona, 2012. Inhabitants of La Nave in the front entrance awaiting the first intent of eviction that was finally avoided.
Barcelona, 2012. An inhabitant of La Nave and a child belonging to another resident during a protest against possible evicition.
Barcelona, 2012. Keraba leaves Poble Nou city hall where La Nave was located holding a certification of the complaints that the inhabitants registered in the city hall to stop the eviction.
Barcelona, 2012. Ibrahima waits for the police on the day that the eviction was going to be carried out. It was finally cancelled.
Barcelona, 2013. The moment at dawn in which the police arrived to carru out the eviction.
Barcelona, 2013. The moment inside La Nave while the police arrives at dawn to evict the inhabitants.
Barcelona, 2013. Police barricade holding evicted inhabitants waiting for three friends on the day of the eviction.
Barcelona, 2013. City Hall offers the afflicted 3 euro meal tickets for three days.
Barcelona, 2013. One of the evicted inhabitants of La Nave taking their belongings outside of the police barricade.
Barcelona, 2013. Inhabitants of La Nave waiting for social services to take their information on the day of the eviction.
Barcelona, 2013. An inhabitant of La Nave gives the Barcelona social services his information so they get offered temporary housing which many times did not take place.
Barcelona, 2013. A moment in the assembly inside the church occupied by the evicted inhabitants of La Nave to pressure city hall to follow through with their promises.
Barcelona, 2013. Moments in one of the assemblies in the church occupied by the inhabitants of La Nave in order to pressure city hall to follow through with their promises.
Barcelona, 2013. Housing that was assigned by city hall for one of the inhabitants of La Nave. The people that received temporary housing complained of the conditions of the projects. The projects didn’t even have a kitchen to cook affordable meals in. They were also obliged to enter and exit the facility only at certain hours.
Barcelona, 2013.. One of the inhabitants of La Nave in a housing facility that was assigned by city hall. The people that were assigned temporary housing conditions of the facilities. They were also obliged to enter and exit the facility only at certain hours.
Barcelona, 2013. The eviction of La Nave ended with a manifestation held by its inhabitants and their supportive neighbors.



For some years now Barcelona has implemented a model of a city that corners those that do not fit within its triumphant paradigm of prosperity and European modernity.  The maximum exponent of this discussion is 22@,  a new neighborhood that has been built on the most northern border of Poble Nou.  Once an industrial area, it has become instrumental to the municipal government’s business expansion plan.   It’s in this same neighborhood where La Nave (warehouse) is situated.

La Nave was the home for approximately 300 people of all ages and nationalities including Africans, Rumanians, South Americans, with or without documentation, as well as Spanish.   Most of them shared a common story: it was not long ago that they each had a job and a home. Jobs were terminated and they couldn’t stay in their homes. The system pulled them into social exclusion, therefore they did the only thing they could do…they organized. They found a location, refurbished it and brought together others in the same situation, and although some didn’t like the place, it was better than the streets.  They found security and a way of making a living by collecting spare tin and selling it to wholesalers of recycled metal.  They built a sense of community and created their own infrastructure, with bars to congregate in which served affordable meals, A storage a sorting place for the scrap collected, which had become the main sources of income for most in La Nave.

A new battle was added to the daily struggle.  In July 2102 they were threatened with eviction – losing the place they had come to call home.  The Iglesias Baciana family, who owned the property as well as a real estate company got a court order for eviction on July 16th of the same year.   The family refused all negotiation.  It just so happens that the same family owns the Fundacion Maite Iglesias Baciana which helps young women that live in poverty around the world, including Africa.  In the end, after much social pressure and hard work by La Nave’s lawyers they were able to stop the eviction.

Nevertheless, the property owners pressed charges again and this time, the jury went in favor of the property owners.  From this moment on, the inhabitants of La Nave together with different agents of the city’s social network denounced this extreme vulnerability in which over 300 people would find themselves: unemployed, homeless and many of them with an irregular legal status that made it impossible for them to find work, a home or access to medical care aside from being vulnerable to persecution from immigration police.  

The City of Barcelona reacted to the pressure from the media and promised that if the inhabitants cooperated and left their homes, they would be granted a temporary housing for the duration of one month, a job placement program, and favorable reports to facilitate access to the "documentation" for all the inhabitants of La Nave.

Following the eviction of July 24, none of these promises have come to fruition. In some cases, it is true that people that had been evicted were assigned living quarters in city shelters but without keys and with obligatory hours of entry and exit of the facilities. None of the people evicted feel that the City Hall came through with their end of the bargain. It was especially scandalous that none of the shelters even had a kitchen which made nutrition very expensive and complicated.

Feeling abandoned and betrayed, in an act of protest, the inhabitants of La Nave locked themselves inside a church in Poble Nou in order stress their struggle and to pressure the municipal government.  When after three days of lock down, they received more promises of improvements they decided to leave their confinement, which had become hard to sustain as with few exceptions, they did not receive much support from local activist circles this time around.
Today, most of the former inhabitants of La Nave continue to have the same issues they had the morning of their eviction but without the safety net provide by the collective in La Nave. Their struggle for their basic rights and subsistence reflect much deeper structural problems in regards to the relationship of Old Europe and migrants.  Many inhabitants of La Nave are beginning to present their grievances, and as citizens they are denouncing the collective marginalization and the institutional aggression shown them because of their status as impoverished migrants.


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