Yesterday I wandered around the Barri Gotic in search of Plaza George Orwell. He apparently spent some time in Barcelona during the Guerra Civil, and the Catalans of the 1930's, ever comrades in anarchy and socialism, named a plaza after him.
On Sunday, I went for the first time to see Castellers compete. Castellers are the troupes of athletes who build human towers, sometimes up to several stories high. Watching them all cooperate to put up a tower, with thirty or so members at the bottom creating a base, then layers of increasingly smaller team members climbing up to the very top, was extraordinary impressive and inspiring. After each successful Castell, there was a huge amount of energy and accomplishment that surged throughout the group. And what's more, the three groups--ostensibly competitors--would actually help out the other troupes. Each troupe would send ten or so members to help build up the base of the team that was building their Castell, and then that team would reciprocate. Historians believe that the hoplite army was the origin of Greek Democracy; that standing side-by-side with one's fellow citizens, each man forming a link in the phalanx, breeds a sense of camaraderie that necessitates equality in place of monarchy. Could it be that the sport of Castellers, which includes members of both sexes, and necessarily of all age groups (the one on top is always a child of 4 or 5), and the cooperative nature of competitions be the nature of Barcelona socialism?