Harry Walker: A School of Rebellion for ‘La Prospe’

  • In 2019 it went from the Harry Walker square to the Harry Walker workers’ square, but the name change was not enough for them. They wanted to show in the public space everything that that fight meant for the neighborhood and, since the city council did not put the claimed plaque on them, they did.

It made their stomachs ache every time they saw the plaque with the name of the square. In what head could a public space won through neighborhood struggle be dedicated to a company that mistreated its workers and that, if they had not stopped it, would have filled the land with flats? Of course, in Andrés Naya’s, no. One of the first demands of the neighborhood’s centennial commission -celebrated in 2019- was the name change of the until then Harry Walker square, by square of the workers and the workers of the Harry Walker. Petition that was heard by the council: the new name has been official for a long time; but the neighbors wanted more. They wanted to be able to explain in the public space, in the form of a plaque or ceiling, what the struggle in that factory meant in the 70s. 62 days of strike that marked an entire neighborhood. And, since the town hall did not pay much attention to them and if they know anything at La Prope it is to organize themselves -worthy heirs of the strikers of the Harry Walker– they made it themselves and placed it this Sunday, in a emotional popular act.

“The struggle of the workers at Harry Walker was a benchmark for the labor movement and for the neighborhood movement. They reacted to low wages and deplorable working conditions; they timed the number of pieces they produced; so they decided to rebel and denounce the harshness of the rhythms at which they were made to work. And the neighborhood was the scene of those demonstrations. The assemblies were held in the street, at the factory gate and the repression, with the policemen on horseback, the whole neighborhood witnessed it, a neighborhood at that time in full growth and with an absolute lack of facilities. The mobilization of Harry Walker It was a school of rebellion”, narrates proudly Naya, one of the most authoritative voices to talk about the history of the neighborhood movement in New Barris (and in the city).

La Prospe experienced a scene similar to the one experienced this Sunday on June 10, 2017. After holding a round table in ‘casal’ to rescue the oral memory of those 62 days of strikethe neighbors went to the square and stuck on the marble plaques behind some white stickers, in which it was written: “Plaça de les treballadores i treballadors de Harry Walker. 62 dies de vaga, de lluita, d’unitat i de solidaritat” .

always one more step

Two years later, In June 2019, the official change of the plates took place. But in the new ones -the regulations- they kept the name: “Plaça de les treballadores i treballadors de Harry Walker”, but it did not say anything about the struggles that took place there. So one more step had to be taken. Several more, in fact. First they achieved another of their goals: the publication of the book ‘Harry Walker: Little Worker, Victory Veinal’, carefully edited by Barcelona City Council. A jewel.

“In a virtual meeting in November 2021 they told us to be more original in our requests, that they had already spent money with the change of plates and that we make other proposals, that they did not see the need to place anything else on the Harry Walker fights, “recalls Naya. So, tired of being given a long time, they decided, as usual, make it and put it on themselves, which happened this Sunday, in a lively parade that started from the site of the old Plástica Flor, one of the liveliest neighborhood fights.

Tab and Prospe

This Sunday’s party also served to get the Pestaña and Prospe, the big heads of the neighborhood created for the recent centenary and that the pandemic has allowed so little to come out. the of Tab is lined with phrases from texts by the anarcho-syndicalist that gives its name to another of the most important squares in the neighborhood; and the head of ‘the prosperity is made from tiny photos of hundreds of photos of women from the neighborhood. Both big heads, made by young local artists, danced to the rhythm of the Batuprospe, as on great occasions.

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The mobilization of the Harry Walker -which linked the workers’ struggle with the neighborhood because after the closure of the factory the company intended to build floors and more floors there despite the fact that the land was classified as a green area and it was the neighbors who achieved not only that no more blocks were built, but also that the square was opened and the facilities were built– is not the only one that the neighborhood wants to place on its streets this year.

This 2022 celebrate the 50th anniversary of the neighborhood association – it was born in 1972, such as the Social Center of Santsand one of the actions they plan to commemorate him is to remember him at the 92 Argullós street, space ceded by the parish in which the assembly was born and from which so many protests were planned, such as the mythical by the traffic lights, that they also want to remember on the street, where they like to experience everything.

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