The “Reconquista” of Alcoi (Valencia)

El Partidor, neighborhood in Alcoi (between Valencia and Alicante). Photo: Jordi Flores Casasampere

Friday, april 1st, 3:30pm: projection of  “Derribando el olvido”, documentary film on Alcoi, at the Festival de Cinema Anarquista de Barcelona (in the Antic Teatre)

The transformation of the center of Alcoy, the most ancient industrial city in Spain, between Valencia and Alicante, entails great demolitions in the Partidor neighborhood, cradle of the spanish working class movement. The City Council is buying the buildings of the neighborhood one by one, then evicts its inhabitants, fostering deterioration and creating an excuse for their demolition. In the name of common good, and of the improval of urban life, all around Spain the historical places of the working class are under attack, like if history was only the history of the ruling classes; this process is even more dramatic where there were strong struggles and rebellions against the new-born capitalism. “The shame of having to attend to your own funeral“, as sang by Alcoi’s poet Ovidi Montllor, about the reconstruction of a steeple burned during the Civil War.

In 1873 in the Partidor neighborhood broke out the Revolta del Petroli“, a libertarian and luddite revolution, that few years later was criticized by Engels himself, in his polemic against anarchosyndicalism. Now the owners of the buildings of the Partidor prefer to keep the flats empty, and to rent them one week every year to the tourists who want a balcony for the “moros y cristianos” festival. Each year this feast commemorates the “Reconquista“, the military victory against the arabs and the christianization of these lands. But the Reconquista is also the systematic removal of the memory of 5 centuries of muslim history, some signs of which are still recognizable. Likewise now, as Miquel Amorós (self-taught philosopher from Alcoi) describes, “the new urbanistic methods try to erase historical marks, to organize the oblivion” of two centuries of proletarian and anarchist history, engraved in the neighborhoods and in the urban fabric of the cities.

  • Jordi QUIÑONERO (2005) The sociological concept and the social value of urban fabric [Download PDF]
  • Miquel AMORÓS (2003) Urbanismo y orden, a Las armas de la crítica, Barcelona: Virus. [Download PDF]
  • Documentary “Derribando el olvido” [Watch] – El Partidor Neighbors’ Association
  • Jordi QUIÑONERO (2007) Informe sociourbano del barrio del Partidor [PDF]