Recent gristle for the mill in La Vanguardia regarding the diverse fates of different immigrant collectives in Barcelona’s greater metro area. On one hand, the Ecuadorian collective, once numerous and prosperous, now all but disappeared, some returning to Ecuador and others following the job trail in other pastures. On the other, the Chinese are buying up commercial real estate and opening new businesses at such a rate that it has become neighborhood gossip. There is no lack of work for the Chinese construction crews that arrive on site Friday at 10 PM and have the new store ready to be stocked up by Monday at 7AM and opened at 9. “Italian” fashion? “New York” fashion? Fruit and produce? Shoes? Kwikee Mart? Méi wèntí!
So what is the competitive edge of the Chinese community versus the once-mighty Ecuadorian community? It’s the banksters, stupid! More precisely, the fact the Ecuadorians got jobs and mortgages during the construction boom, while the Asians invested in businesses with family or trust-based loans. Now that the building jobs are gone, the Equatorians are getting foreclosed while the Chinese seem to be rolling in the dough. And they are, because they didn’t borrow it from the motherf*cking banksters.
During the boom years, when everyone was getting shackled by the banksters to own a home, it was “common sense” that renting was akin to flushing your money down the john. At that time Spain had about 18% of its residential units for rent; Germany, in contrast, has more than 80% for rent. Home ownership has always been an ideal in Spanish society, and for a while average mortgage payments were even smaller than average rents. Add the two together and you have a nation chained in debt… and in Spain you cannot drop off the keys and walk away… you must keep paying even AFTER the bank has foreclosed “your” home. Yes, it’s true.
The ones who really got shafted were the last wave before the collapse, as usual. Those who bought homes in 2007-start of 2008 paid top euro on a market that has already collapsed 30% and counting. Those are in fact already underwater with their mortgages… but many, many more are struggling to keep afloat while the crisis rolls and batters them against the rocky cliffs of debt.
The Chinese are on a buying spree for commercial space in Barcelona and probably many other places too. They are loaded with the cash we sent them in exchange for cheap goods and they are using it to purchase cheap property stolen by the banksters. This they can do because they don’t borrow money from banks, so they can use it to build their businesses and not service usurious interests. Turns out those pseudo-commies actually knew our capitalism better than we did! I can hear karma giggling from here…
I for one, having known the insular and dusty pre-Olympics Barcelona, consider immigration to be the best thing that ever happened to the city. Yes, it has its problems, but it has brought so much LIFE: color, aromas, flavors, accents, culture, traditions, striking differences and similarities… one of the few things that makes the city actually worth living in.
As for the Chinese in particular, I have been studying their arts for many years, and know Chinese masters of my highest human respect. So, while abhorring their Regime and everything it stands for (as with my own), and harboring no illusions as to the corrupt and arrogant nature of their rich (as ours), I am at peace with Chinese folk and am happy that someone is keeping the neighborhood from becoming a crisis postcard of shuttered storefronts and bankster destruction.
Should we be worried about ending up slurping noodles under the whip of a soulless Han overseer? I don’t see why, any more than we seem to be worried about being under the whip of soulless bankster overseers. The problem is not ethnic, but the way debt is used against us by the capital: everything else is just smoke and mirrors meant to keep us divided and conquered. Our common goal as humans is higher than our competitive goals as consumer units. I don’t care what motherf*cking color my brothers and sisters are when we stand back to back resisting against the system; all I know is that we fight together to be free, which is worth more than all the bankster’s riches and and a joy they will never know: the joy of feeling human.
China in Barcelona photo via Creative Commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/strike/3332426307/
Ecuadorian bar in Barcelona http://www.lavanguardia.es/vida/20101214/54086882529/los-ecuatorianos-ya-no-son-buenos-clientes.html