Video: Spain's "Robin Hood" mayor sets off on a march against austerity

Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo had accompanied activists on supermarket raids where food was distributed to the poor.

Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, the mayor of the small Spanish town of Marinaleda (population 2,645) in Andalusia, has begun a three-week march from Jodar, the city with the highest unemployment in the region, in protest against the continued austerity in the region.

Sanchez Gordillo has previously hit the headlines for accompanying activists who stole food from supermarkets to give to the poor.

The Irish Times has the story:

Seven people have been arrested for participating in the two raids, in which labour unionists, cheered on by supporters, piled food into supermarket carts and walked out without paying while Mr Sanchez Gordillo (59) stood outside.

He has political immunity as an elected member of Andalusia's regional parliament, but says he would be happy to renounce it and be arrested himself.

The International Business Times has video of the raid at which Sanchez Gordillo made his appearance:

Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, centre, sets off on his three-week march. Photograph: Getty Images

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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Lord Sainsbury pulls funding from Progress and other political causes

The longstanding Labour donor will no longer fund party political causes. 

Centrist Labour MPs face a funding gap for their ideas after the longstanding Labour donor Lord Sainsbury announced he will stop financing party political causes.

Sainsbury, who served as a New Labour minister and also donated to the Liberal Democrats, is instead concentrating on charitable causes. 

Lord Sainsbury funded the centrist organisation Progress, dubbed the “original Blairite pressure group”, which was founded in mid Nineties and provided the intellectual underpinnings of New Labour.

The former supermarket boss is understood to still fund Policy Network, an international thinktank headed by New Labour veteran Peter Mandelson.

He has also funded the Remain campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe. The latter reinvented itself as Open Britain after the Leave vote, and has campaigned for a softer Brexit. Its supporters include former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour's Chuka Umunna, and it now relies on grassroots funding.

Sainsbury said he wished to “hand the baton on to a new generation of donors” who supported progressive politics. 

Progress director Richard Angell said: “Progress is extremely grateful to Lord Sainsbury for the funding he has provided for over two decades. We always knew it would not last forever.”

The organisation has raised a third of its funding target from other donors, but is now appealing for financial support from Labour supporters. Its aims include “stopping a hard-left take over” of the Labour party and “renewing the ideas of the centre-left”. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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