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To Systematize, acting together towards the World Assembly of Inhabitants 2011

The multidimensional process of constructing the (World Assembly of Inhabitants 2011) was launched after the 2008 Madrid Declaration and at the 2009 Belém World Social Forum. It is the product of collective work and active participation and invites inhabitants’ organisations and social movements to become more active. It considers Systematization to be an integral and fundamental part of this process.

The International Alliance of Inhabitants (IAI) is contributing to this process in many ways through: UPU meetings; the work of the Alert System Antennas in Latin America and through the multimedia and multilingual web site. It is also seeking to increase available work tools, by involving new groups of inhabitants and social movements, by increasing and improving the production of Alert Reports, organisation profiles and life stories/ biographies of various types and formats. Now is the moment to take a qualitative and quantitative leap forward in preparing for the World Assembly of Inhabitants, taking a strategic step in the construction of the Urban Way. Because of this we feel that there is a pressing need not to waste those victories already won and to continue, in a more collective manner, in order to increase exchanges, to widen the network and to broaden the initiatives set up by organisations and grass roots movements. This can be done by putting local problems and goals into a global dimension and by linking the struggle for the right to housing with increased demands for the social, economic and cultural rights of people.

The time has come when we must create a new, shared space, so as to collectively construct the knowledge required for the World Assembly of Inhabitants 2011. This collective space should be open to all groups, organisations and networks of inhabitants, to geographical and cultural diversity, and to the many current forms of struggle and emancipation. It will be a single space, united in its principles of solidarity, social justice and appreciation of diversity, where there is a common, shared belief in struggle and in creating alternatives to the devastating effects of neo-liberal globalisation. An organised space, where together we can draw up and define the phases of work and elaborate common methodologies in order to share experiences and proposals in such a way that they are easily understood by everyone. At the same time it will be a richly diversified thanks to the exchange of informatics resources and to accessible technological instruments that will permit information to circulate more freely and will encourage new collaborations, with other actors, who are pursuing similar objectives and who use compatible methodologies, (Powos, Coredem, Museu da Pessoa, Alforja, Universities and local authorities).

What do we mean by Systematization?

The Systematization process proposed aims to contribute to the construction of oral history/cultural memory, to shared long-term relations and to the common bases and foundations of the collective knowledge of a network of inhabitants at both the local and international level.

Systematization means the collective work of:

  • Documentation : initiating the process of gathering data on; spreading the struggle; resistance; training; experiences of new models of living together and of development realised by organisations, groups and movements who operate at the local, regional, national and global level.
  • Creating collective knowledge : starting from action/experience, opening a space for confrontation, reflection and, subsequently, elaborating new forms of knowledge and highlighting efficacious work methodologies that can be used by everyone in order to advance the process of social change that will lead to the creation of a more equal and just urban environment. Here one needs organisational and theoretical instruments that make it possible to, on the one hand challenge neoliberal logic and, on the other, is both innovative and able to progressively change and modify public policies in our urban areas.

In practical terms, we propose to:

  • Set up a multimedia tool for documentation and exchange which can gather and collate experiences, actions and the good practises both of the organisations and grass roots movements who are part of the Alliance and those of external actors who, because of their methodologies and objectives are pursuing the same ends.

These materials could be:

a- oral histories gathered using a variety of techniques and tools: autobiographies, biographies, life histories, narrations of experiences, participative videos, photo services, film shorts and oral interviews;

b.- studies and investigation (individual and collective) of themes concerning housing rights, democratic and sustainable urban areas as well as studies on more general themes relating to the struggle for social and economic rights all of which offer useful indications for the analysis of similarities and differences, and highlight both the critical and positive aspects of public policies.

  • Create a data bank that is accessible to all. Each association will provide a résumé/summary of its contacts, aims and activities, thus members will be able to use a common active tool that enables them to share experiences and to get to know each other and will also help the network to expand.
  • To set up and activate Systematization Antennas, especially in the geographical areas where they do not yet exist. This means identifying the organisations / people who are already active organising meetings in order to stimulate the Systematization process. Those responsible for the Systematisation Antennae will be asked to produce short texts (15-30 pages), both as summaries of organisational meetings and as tools for the critical analysis of current social and economic processes. These short texts will deal with specifics and will propose new paths and actions that should be initiated. For example, these could be new campaigns and/or specific actions (e.g. the creation of cooperatives for communal housing, credit creation and environment management projects) or they could produce materials to be used in training activities.
  • Use common formats, that are easy to utilise on line on the various websites where narrative materials, texts for analysis, research and presentation of the results of Systematization.
  • Organise regional meetings to share and check on methodologies and on intermediate results of on-going work on Systematization.