Barcelona in 1936 was anarchy central, the night lit up so often with bombs that the city’s nickname during the civil war was Rosa de Foc (‘Rose of Fire’). All that’s left, the revolutionary gymnastics over, the Communist Party HQ now an Apple Store, is the Rosa de Foc bookshop. But I’d heard rumours of Calafou, a “postcapitalist eco-industrial colony”, its mission self-sufficiency, to reimagine an economy, decoupling from consumer capitalism.

It’s to Calafou that I’ve trekked, hiking, after a bus and two trains, deeper into the valley. I push through the trees, and suddenly ...


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