Outraged and fighting for the Right to housing!
It is no coincidence that a series of global initiatives are being put into place in this warm month of October; among them are the Global Week of Action against debt and international financial institutions, the Cry of the Excluded and, incidentally, the protests scheduled for October 15, United for Global Action.
It is no coincidence either that, at the same moment, for the first time, and in all continents, organisations and inhabitants networks are working together on the occasion of World Habitat Days.
We refuse to pay aodious debt that we did not incur, and demand that the countries be the ones to pay the social debt of which we are the legitimate « creditors ».
After the Arab Spring, the Icelandic revolution and the Greek and Spanish people's resistance, indignation is becoming more widespread, reaching the center of the US empire. The struggles strongly criticize the neo-liberal measures put forward by the very ones who are at the source of the global crisis; they demand systemic alternatives that are fostered by the responsibility of every individual in building and ruling a sustainable planet where human rights can prevail, where there is fraternity and solidarity, and not a planet that is a giant, self-destructive market.
A crisis exploded on real estate bubble sector reduced to merchandise
Inhabitants are at the hearth of this crisis- which exploded when the real estate bubble became unsustainable. They are victims of a vulture-like political and financial system that lies when it claims that there will be « ownership for everyone » in response to the state's withdrawal from housing and urban policies.
A vulture-like system that proposes measures which entails the demolition of vacant housing, numbering in the tens of millions, so that higher prices can subsequently be imposed, and the seizing of communal and public lands, instead of creating social redistribution policies which could easily provide housing, on a global level, to the billion of people without shelter or are inadequately housed.
At the core of these proposed measures is an Urban Social Pact, largely based on real estate and land being reduced to sheer merchandise, some of the effects of which have certainly been criticized, but are still widely accepted.
But if we accept these venomous measures, we are accepting structural adjustment programs that outline conditions which negate achievements that have been made on the social front, thereby violating the legal obligations of the countries which ratified the United Nations Charter, some of which are stated in articles 55 and 56: «All members pledge themselves to take action for the achievement of […] higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development […] universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion. »
It is important to note that, considering that more than half of the planet is urbanised, and that about 70 million people are at risk of being forcefully evicted because of shocks capitalist policies (bulldozers and war-related deportations, urbanism, infrastructure and reactionary measures to disasters and climactic changes), the number of those at risk of losing their homes will increase by 700 million in the year 2020.
The objective of the current global struggles is not only to confront these political neo-liberalist measures whose implementation would mean large-scale destruction- for it bases itself on the dismantling of democracy- which goes against the humanity and the planet.
This time, the struggles are taking on a whole new level, they are going against the very roots of the systemic capitalist crisis.
Confronting the systemic crisis, each using their own competencies, but in solidarity
In particular, inhabitants are now playing a more important role by resisting eviction, occupying lands and recycling vacant housing in order to instigate social utilisation of territories, and are testing and proposing public policies; all this, with a growing and responsible awareness that is essential in the development of a new Social Urban Pact, where human rights and the environment are prioritized.
It effectively means confronting a systemic crisis, each using their own competencies in solidarity with others; because « creditors » continue to give loans to « debtors » who are forced to repay their debts by relinquishing sovereignty over their common goods (land, property, strategic areas) in exchange for a much lower price, thereby transferring the wealth of nations and geopolitical powers into the hands of a few.
Resources? Taxes the rich, cutting military spending, debt relief, everywhere
How can this be done? Not only by cutting military spending and imposing taxes on financial and real estate speculative transactions.
For the first time, asking for debt cancellation has become a common demand in the Global South, in response to the crisis. Impoverished nations are now found everywhere- not only in Africa, Latin America and Asia, but also in Europe and in North America.
Yes, debt cancellation- debts that are odious because they came with the imposition of austere measures by the likes of creditors such as the IMF, the World Bank, and the Central Bank of Europe, who knew that these very measures were contrary to the interests of the citizens, but nevertheless imposed them- is increasingly being considered as a strategic measure to liberate the necessary ressources needed to pay for the social debt incurred by the signatory countries to the ICESCR (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights).
It is hard to believe that 99% of planet are now considering the idea that a revolution is necessary to counteract this downward spiral, and it is becoming more evident to the mobilized parties and their possible allies that things have to start somewhere.
The World Assembly of Inhabitants, which came about during the World Social Forum in Dakar, has played a significant role on this way of thinking.
The Urban and Communitarian Way, which came about during the WSF is a movement that is in the process of evolving and setting its roots in different territories. It is designed to convert the indignation of inhabitants into a systemic force of change.
The convergences of outraged inhabitants, force of systemic change
Because organisations and alliances of inhabitants increasingly feel that the convergences of efforts is of strategic importance; it serves as a common and solidary ground where everyone can share their experiences, formulate strategies, implement tools, struggles and g-local solidarity to confront this global challenge.
In unity, of course, with all those who are outraged, without borders.
The Volunteer translator for housing rights without frontiers of IAI who has collaborated on the translation of this text was: