Let's build an open space for all those struggling for a City of Common Goods as an alternative to the market-city of UN-Habitat's WUF
With the participation of some thirty associations making up the Organising Committee, and in particular, with interventions by: Father Alex Zanotelli, Combonian Missionary; Consiglia Salvio, Movement for Water; Cesare Ottolini, Global Coordinator of IAI and member of the International Council of the WSF; and Mauro Forte, urbanist, the University of Naples Faculty of Architecture has hosted the public presentation of the Urban Social Forum (USF).
During the first week in September, Naples will be the world capital of the struggle for the right to housing and to the city of common goods; involving movements of struggle and local, national and international organisations in solidarity meetings in working-class neighbourhoods, in the exchange of experiences, the sharing of strategies for struggle and the production of sustainable alternatives.
The 2nd USF, which will be held in Naples from 3 to 7 September 2012, was born as an alternative in response to the World Urban Forum of UN-Habitat (WUF). WUF's key-theme, “The Urban Future” seems more like a trade fair than a serious summit where governments take on specific commitments to confront the global urban and housing crisis.
So, the USF's 2nd Edition Appeal underlines its support of the inclusive principles of the World Social Forum (WSF) and the need, at a local, national and international level, to develop the convergences begun experimentally and positively at the World Assembly of Inhabitants in Mexico City in 2000 and further developed at the 1st Urban Social Forum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2010, the World Assembly of Inhabitants in Dakar, Senegal, in 2011, the World Habitat Days in October 2011, and at the Peoples' Summit at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2012, to be carried on at the next World Assembly of Inhabitants at the WSF in Tunisia in 2013.
The USF is setting out to be a participatory platform extended to local, national and international organisations and networks (such as the Habitat International Coalition-HIC, No Vox, and the International Alliance of Inhabitants-IAI), to discuss the problems caused by neoliberal policies in local areas.
The Organising Committee has invited all those interested to sign the Appeal to the USF . It has also invited organisations and networks to propose activities within the framework of the four theme-days planned for convergence and interaction between local, national, and international levels.
Among those initiatives already in the program are: anti-eviction workshops, assemblies on water as a common good, meetings of “housing debtors”, inhabitants' cooperatives, against the criminalisation of the homeless, and on the urban exclusion of migrants and nomads, an anti-speculation stroll along the Bagnoli promenade, and a Tribunal on violations of the Right to Housing, in front of WUF's location.
Debates have been announced at the highest academic and social level, including a dialogue between Edoardo Salzano, the founder of Eddyburg.it, a radical urbanist website, and David Harvey, a world-renowned geographer and critical thinker.
Last but not least, the USF will be able to count on the presence of Raquel Rolnik, the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on the Right to Housing, not only during debates, but also at meetings in some working class districts of Naples where there are dramatic violations of this right.
All this will have an enormous impact on the city, reinforcing solidarity with and between local struggles, and counterposing specific initiatives, and a rather critical document, to UN-Habitat's platform; whose pre-announced draft is unable to commit governments to resolve the dramatic housing and urban crises that are shaking many societies.
Therefore, even if the City of Naples, the Campania Region and the Italian Government can justify their substantial economic and logistical support for the WUF; their actual failure to reply to the proposals of the Organising Committee in favour of setting up the USF, including providing its logistics infrastructure, or welcoming participants arriving from all over the world, is totally unjustifiable, and an affront to democracy.
The time available does not permit further delay: the Organising Committee has therefore launched a strong appeal to local institutions, and in particular to the Mayor of Naples, to the Campania Region and to the University.
The Organising Committee is inviting you to sign the online appeal for participation in the USF, to propose initiatives and to support the USF, which is completely self-managed economically, and organised by volunteers.
Listen to the Press Conference in podcast on Radiolina
Further info: cel. 3202363156, and www.forumsocialeurbanonapoli.org
The Organising Committee of the Urban Social Forum
The USF Calendar in preparation: July-September 2012
Throughout this month of July, organisations belonging to the USF can propose initiatives to be inserted in the calendar (debates, meetings, visits, music, events, filmshows, etc.). These must be consistent with the Appeal and the need to build convergences, so as not to disperse our strengths.
The Organising Committee has planned a joint opening session on 3rd September, and a final convergence assembly during which a document will be approved, setting out our next steps, and summarising the common position of the USF with regard to UN-Habitat.
Organisations and networks can propose activities (workshops, seminars, visits and cultural activities that fit in with the calendar, based on 4 thematic days:
Day 1: The Right to Housing and to the City as a Common Right. Deconstructing Urban Planning Procedures: architecture must be participatory, taking into account local people's specific needs and resources, in order to satisfy the rights of all inhabitants, irrespective of their citizenship.
Day 2: Social and Democratic Reappropriation of the City of Common Goods, and opposition to privatisations - within a framework of social and environmental sustainability according to co-participatory and co-management procedures. Refusing to delegate to the organised crime of the mafias, speculation and systematic corruption, the administration of territories.
Day 3: Focus on the Right to the Sea as a Common Good - public ownership of beaches and the shore, involving organisations struggling for the right to Free Access to Beaches.
Day 4 (last day): The Right to the Environment and sustainable city relative to the countryside; and proposals to prevent the over-use and abuse of common goods (protection and management of public water, correct waste disposal and a culture of recycling, opposition to overbuilding).
The USF will conclude with a big Final Demonstration and Event.
mob. +39 320 2363 156
Application forms are available on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Volunteer translator for housing rights without frontiers of IAI who has collaborated on the translation of this text was: