Enric Duran

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Enric Duran Giralt, anti-capitalist activist

Enric Duran Giralt (Vilanova i la Geltrú, 23 April 1976) also known as Robin Bank, Robin Banks or the Robin Hood of the Banks is a Catalan anticapitalist activist[1] and member of the Temps de Re-volts collective.[2] On September 17, 2008, he publicly announced that he had 'robbed' dozens of Spanish banks of nearly half a million euros as part of a political action to denounce what he termed the predatory capitalist system.

From 2006 to 2008, Duran took out 68 commercial and personal loans from a total of 39 banks with no guarantees or property as collateral. He had no intention of repaying the debts, and used the money to finance various anti-capitalist movements.[3] In 2008, Duran released both an online article entitled "I have “robbed” 492,000 euros from those who rob us the most, in order to denounce them and build alternatives for society" (translated), and an online video, each explaining what he had done and that he had left the country to view the reaction and consider his next move. This was also published in the free magazine Crisis, in Catalan, of which 200,000 copies were printed and distributed by volunteers throughout Catalonia. A second newspaper, We can! Live Without Capitalism was distributed on March 17, 2009, and a third, We on September 17, 2009.[4][5]

Stated reasons for actions[edit]

Duran stated that he sought to create a debate about the financial system and the current capitalist system, proliferate protest actions against it and fund the social movements that seek to create alternatives. Duran called his action one of 'financial civil disobedience', and stated that he was prepared to go to prison for his actions. He planned for the anniversary of his declaration (September 17, 2009) to be an action day where people meet, both in Spain and abroad, to share alternatives to capitalism.[6][7]

Response of authorities[edit]

In 2009 Duran returned to Spain, and was arrested by Spanish police on March 17, 2009 at the University of Barcelona, as charges had been brought against him by six of the thirty-nine banks concerned. He spent two months in prison before being freed on a bail of 50,000 euros.[8][9]

In November 2011, a presentation was made to a civil judge requesting the annulment of his contract with Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria. On November 25, 2011, the state prosecutor requested that the judiciary pass down an 8 year prison sentence for Duran, for the crimes of presenting false documents (in securing his loans) and continued insolvency. The defence attorney based his case on the fact that imprisonment for unpaid debts has been abolished in Spain. Duran himself responded by maintaining that "I do not think that the judiciary is entitled to judge" (translated from Catalan), due to their disinterested response to the financial speculators who have made necessary great suffering for much of the European population, and to the September 2011 changes to the Spanish constitution to make the repayment of debts the absolute priority of the country. He also claimed his actions as an act of social justice - an attempt to redress in some small way such injustices perpetrated by those in power.[10][11][12]

Duran cited the pardon granted to the chief executive of the Banco Santander, Alfredo Sáenz Abad, in November 2011, as an example of the bias of the judiciary towards the powerful and well-connected, and argued that "when the government violates the rights of the people, insurrection is the most sacred of rights and the most indispensable of our duties" (quote translated from Catalan). He called on his supporters not to waste time campaigning for his acquittal or release, but rather to follow his acts of civil disobedience towards the banks with their own. In March 2012 he released a video explaining his legal situation and making the same call.[13][14]

Previous activism[edit]

Duran was involved in the "Look for the abolition of debt" campaign(1999/2000), the "Global Resistance Movement" (2000/2002) the "Campaign Against the World Bank"(2001) and the "Campaign Against the Europe of Capital"(2002) [15]

Catalan Integrated Cooperative[edit]

In April 2010, Duran began promoting the Catalan Integrated Cooperative as a practical example of the ideals detailed in We can! Live Without Capitalism. In 2011 the cooperative accepted responsibility for a former industrial complex, with a view to turning it into a centre for environmental activities.[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]