I am writing down this pages to announce that I have expropriated 492,000 euros to 39 banks through 68 loan deals. If we include interest on arrears, the present amount of debt is over 500,000 euros which I will not pay.
It has been an individual disobedience action towards banking that I have carried out deliberately to denounce the bank system and to use the money for supporting initiatives which alert from systemic crisis that we are starting to live and which intend to build an alternative society.It is an action totally unconnected to any violence form, that I claim as a new way of civil disobedience, up to the height of the times we are living. When consumption financing and speculation are dominant in our society, what could be better than robbing the ones who rob us and distribute the money among the groups which are denouncing this situation and building alternatives?How could I get such amount of money without neither properties nor bank guarantees?
After some research and attempts, in the spring of 2006, I started going ahead definitely with this idea; I was making various banks, savings banks and finantial credit establishments think that I wanted to refurbish my flat or buy a new car. In some cases, I was doing that by using a company I created with the aim of justifying certain investments as the purchase of audiovisual materials for a production company.
The advantages of asking for a loan by a company are that debts as a company, even when it is a sole shareholder company, do not get registered in your personal credit history, so you can always increase your debts indefinitely without being detected by CIRBE (information system about debts from the Bank of Spain). There are some other ways to deceive CIRBE that I will explain to anybody who want to carry out an action with a similar purpose than that to mine.
These loans were applied without any guarantee neither from another person nor from any properties, just by my signature and an invented occupation with a great false payroll that was making them believe I was earning enough money to cover the financing by far. The crux of the matter is banks have no way of checking wether the payroll one presents to them is real or not, as long as the company and the person really exist.
I also had to present them some right bank statements that I could get by circulating money from company accounts to personal accounts through payroll transfers in order to pretend some personal deposits, which banks were believing at all. In some cases, they were asking me for a job contract, Income Tax Return or work history. They were asking my companies for the quarterly VAT return and, when they were older than one year, for the Corporate Income Tax.
All this can be properly presented: sometimes with real information and when it is not possible, with a printer, a photocopier, scissors and sellotape it works wonders!
Sometimes, I had to buy the car I had asked the loan for and then I had to sell everything before I stopped paying so they could not seize anything and so we could have more funds to finance popular struggles.
Achieving this can be surprising, achieving 492,000 euros with no bank guarantees in an economic downturn context. It shows how the banking promotes indebtedness from families over any control or over any risks contingency plans and common sense.
In conclusion, there is a fact which can help us understanding the possibilities and opportunities that exist for this kind of action: banks need to grant loans because that is the main way for them to get benefits and, as we have already explained in a previous article, because the financial system needs to sign out more and more bank credits to create more and more money each time. It is a wheel that will not stop until the system brings to a standstill. As individuals, instead of keep on helping the wheel to roll by asking for loans for production or consumption, we have the opportunity and responsibility of making things difficult to this system, making them believe we want some loans and so they think they will create this money thanks to us. Afterwards, by not giving back these loans we make disappear this money and the one created out of the blue from the guarantee we had signed for refunding debts. This system works on the basis of trust so if we can spread mistrust by carrying on similar actions, then we will be able to abolish it (destroy it?)!
Why this action?
This crisis, that has been already explained in previous articles, was to be expexted -specially in its energy aspect. Three years ago, I heard about peak oil theories and I thought that when the crisis triggered it would be fundamental for us to be ready to face it. This could be an opportunity for social change, a time to make the most of it. But if we were not preparing ourselves for it, future could turn even worse than what we are living now, as shortage management by economic and politic authorities could lead us into new ways of fascism.
Very often, one of the problems we find nowadays when we talk about social transformation is that it is difficult to identify the main enemies. As we have seen in the article related to the finantial system, there are hidden and evil mechanisms which permit that the money creation process is controlled by a minority and, because of that, they make the economic system work according to their interests. Revealling the identities hidden in this minority, hidden in this banking system which is getting us towards environmental collapse, seemed fundamental to me and it was a clear motivation for encouraging me to carry out this action and to announce it openly.
Another convincing reason for me was the opportunity to strengthen social movements so they could be ready to face the crisis, trying out some alternatives which could turn into the example of a viable way of life when the crisis breaks out. I thought we would need more money than we could get by other normal means as, according to my experience in social movements, one of the main restrictions for transformer projects has always been the lack of enough economic capacity to run strategic projects that are ready to start when it is found convenient and to maintain them for the time it is considered necessary.
There are society alternatives which are just getting off the ground from practice and with no really stablished ideas. There are so many initiatives that, from autonomy and self-management, are starting to practice new ways of life that they consider to be alternatives to the current capitalist system. There are clear and driven efforts to get coordinatet and organized jointly through nets, to start puting into practice another society model. The path is set off, now we need to keep on going and gather strength.
Where is the money?
Once the commissions, interests, notaries, taxes and various expenses related to the action but not directly related to social change were paid, there were leaving around 360,000 euros that have been assigned, amongst others, to the publication you have between your hands1. Other destinies have been various actions and initiatives addressed to raise awareness about the systemic crisis (energy, food, aconomic…) as well as, and specially, to enhance a wide social movement which promotes different ways of living in society while it is also facing present capitalist model until it can replace it.
I will not give any more concrete details in this document because it could cause some problems to the projects that have received this money without being responsible for that, but I hope that people with whom I’ve been sharing time lately will start the word-of-mouth which will make possible that a lot of people know for sure that the funds fate has been directed towards this sole aim.
A call for action
Above all, this action aims to be an appeal for everyone to think about what can and want to do for changing the state of things within its means or even for changing what could seem impossible to change…
If I have carried out this financial disobedience action, risking my own freedom to show that the economic system is more vulnerable than it seems and to obtain all this amount of money for the construction of alternatives, maybe there will be many other people who can do something else if they trust themselves, if they get to free themselves from the false fears we are deliberately educated in by the system and if they resolutely think that just through the people, from below, we can change the state of things.
Taking as an example the style of action I have carried out and taking into account personal and economic context of each one, some people will perhaps realize about some things they can do within their reach:
* Tenants, undergoing with the continuing increase in the costs (usually linked to the increase in purchase prices) can join together to commence a rent strike, as the one from 1930 and 1931; I am sure there are some people who are alreadythinking abou it…
* If you are paying a mortgage since not too many years and you still have to work for many years in a job you do not like at all, you could maybe stop paying the mortgage and squat your flat. If you do it alone you will probably have a problem (not a bigger problem than the one you already had though, and what is more: you can consider spending your time doing what you like, consistent with your ideas and vocation) but if a lot of people does the same in an organized manner, it will be the banking the one who will have a problem…
* If you are committed people and you want to collaborate with social movements, now you know there is the possibility of asking for some loans and not paying for them so you can finance the struggles, while you put obstacles to the financial system at the same time. There are some ways of doing this without getting any criminal charges for it, you just should do it in a smaller scale (related to mine) and you should not spread your action. I can give you a helping hand on this, hehe.
* If you are already on the way of living with no bank accounts because you have any sentence-fine (very common nowadays) that you do not want to pay, why don’t you expropriate some money to the banks before you get to the point of no having any checking accounts?
With these various options and any others you can think about you will always be delinquent accounts (or at least until this system in crisis lasts…) so it would be advisable to think about an action followed by a personal plan of living in a different manner, with neither checking accounts nor properties.
* Anyway, if you can not or you do not want to carry out any of the actions before mentioned, there are two easier things that everybody can and must do as soon as possible: not asking for any loans and taking out all the money from the banks.
By keeping loans, credit cards and checking accounts, we are an accessory to the banks which represent the heart of a capitalist system that is spreading our planet’s destruction, poverty and our life’s slavery all around.
Taking out all your money from the banks is something that everybody can do simply by getting a little bit more organized to manage payments and earns in a different way.
And if you receive too late this call for action, because there are some debts you could not pay and you are already in the banks’ defaulters lists… why don’t you contact me to set up a defaulters union? There are more people registered in defaulters lists than in unemployment lists…and living without checking accounts is some kind of art which deserves to be shared!
What I am going to do from now on.
While writing this public document, there has not been presented any criminal charges on me; this fact proves that I have been able to carry on the action to its end without any control or any police suspicion.
Anyway, according to the Spanish state’s judicial system (not taking into account its ethical motivation), since I have done this confession, I should be charged with greater fraud (from 50,000 euros and over) and punishable insolvency. I can be charged from 2 to 6 years for the first accusation and from 1 to 3 years for the second one.
So I have preferred to claim this action publicly as civil disobedience so everybody can know what can they do and to question the very financial system instead of hiding the action as any person who thinks first in his/her own integrity would recommend me.
But as my position is that of clear recognisement and that of moral and political defense of the facts, as I do not think that the judicial system is legitimized to judge me (as a part of a completely undemocratic political system, depending from the same economic authorities to whom I direct my action against) I have decided to accompany this public explanation of the facts with my physical disappearance. By this way, I will avoid possible reprisals against my freedom or my body which would prevent me from continue defending and explaining these facts openly. I will keep on being an active member within catalan social movements through virtual participation while I have to be phisically in some other point of the world from where I can also take part in social struggles.
Further forward, I reserve the right to come back an physically appear in catalan territory if it is proved that catalan civil society is prepared to defend freedom for the people who publically face our society’s economic and political authorities.
If I was ever judged, of my own will or not, I can tell you the only verdict I will accept will be the aquittal from court as considering that my action does not constitute a crime because of its ethical motivation and because it is a gesture of solidarity against the authorities which are more damaging this society and because it is an action in favour of the common good. Apart from this, I will not negotiate any lower sentencies for avoiding serving my sentence, neither will bail nor pay a fine or negotiate the debt. If state is uncapable of getting rid of the pressure from factual powers, then everybody will be able to see it when they put a person like me into prison.
From this moment on, you can reveal my identity and contact me on the web http://www.17-s.info where you will also find further thorough information.
The merger between two activist traditions
This action from Enric, even innovative, does not emerge out of the blue; historically, activists from various trends have been risking for common good over current legality either by directing actions against the banks to finance struggles, or doing public civil disobedience actions to transform something. In banking expropriations field, tradition begins at the beginning of twentieth century, in countries such as France and Italy, as well as in the Spanish state, with the spectacular robbery to the Bank of Spain in Gijón by el grupo de los solidarios, in 1923, for instance.
Mythical figures in our history such as Durruti, Quico Sabaté or Salvador Puigantich have carried out this kind of actions, which are always dangerous as they put in danger their lifes and branchs workers ones. Some other methods, safer for people but much more complicated, have been those of notes or traveller’s cheques forgerying. This last action against Citybank, helped Lucio Urtubia become known all over the world. He is still alive and has recently given some talks around catalan territory to present the documentary Lucio, el anarquista irreductible.
Civil disobedience strategy begins in the ninetienth century by Henry Thoreau and gets very well-known through names like Gandhi and Martin Luther King. In the spanish state, pacific disobedience just started to get considered as a possibility after dictator Franco’s death, given that in times where violence is committed by the State with total immunity, non-violent disobedience is completelly impossible. Since the 70’s up to now, some of the most recognized social movements -as the successful refusal to serve in the military and the squatter movement- are based on this disobedient premise.
One of the problems for the meeting point lies in the opposite situations starting point. The first situation needs to work underground; the second one is a public action which bases its strength on its social support and its actions legitimacy. The action we are talking about now can fuse them both because it has two different parts: the direct action one (which has already been carried out and its secret nature has enabled the action success) with the civil disobedience one (which is starting today, with the confession and public defense the author does, seriously questioning banking’s moral legitimacy.
If this example will still remain as an isolated action or if it will represent the seed for a new action strategy, either public or hidden, time will tell. All of us, each individual who want to change the state of affairs, have the last say.
This post is also available in: Catalan