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Creating A Common Global Space Of Solidarity For Urban Social Movements

This is an appeal for the unity of urban social movements which strive to give concrete expression to economic, social and cultural rights, as well as housing rights in particular. It is launched by the organizations and networks of inhabitants, co-operatives, tenants’ unions, community centres, original populations and committees for housing rights all over the world.

In view of the following facts:

  1. the prevailing neo-liberal globalization, based on exclusion and inequality, is causing more and more violations of housing rights affecting over a billion people in the world, who are homeless or badly housed, under threat of forced eviction, discriminated against due to wars or in difficulty because of catastrophes, or because they are migrants, women, poor or populations discriminated against such as the Dalit and the Rom;
  2. according to the UN-Habitat this figure will rise to over 1.7 billion by 2020, an increase of 70%;
  3. the repayment of foreign debts required mainly by the World Bank and the IMF, make it impossible and mere wishful thinking to achieve Target 7 of the Millennium Development Goals Aims set by the United Nations, which is to improve the housing conditions of 100 million people;
  4. new initiatives, associations, inhabitants’ networks are springing up every day to resist forced evictions, fight against privatization and the deregulation of the housing sector, and defend housing rights in a spirit of solidarity and occupy empty properties and urban wasteland;
  5. in the course of this everyday struggle there emerge from the communities, neighbourhoods and slums a number of alternatives which pre-figure not one but many possible models for public urban and rural policies, real alternatives for sustainable human development;
  6. these forms of popular, social experience demonstrate the extraordinary capacity, ability and maturity of urban social movements in collective efforts to find creative and effective solutions to the various urban and rural problems;
  7. these movements are different in origin, culture and geographical location, but they share the principle of solidarity and are deeply rooted in society; they have a common interest in building a possible alternative world and cities.

For these reasons, we believe we should undertake the task of giving global articulation to such discourse and initiatives as inhabitants’ associations, broadening alliances with other associations and social movements, local authorities, and all those who share the principles of housing rights and rights to the city.

We therefore urge and support:

  • unity among urban social movements to create a global meeting place, in a spirit of collective solidarity, for comparing experience, forming a public debate and proposals, supporting initiatives; a meeting place based on the mutual recognition of cultural diversity, but also on complementarity and balance for our right to organize ourselves autonomously as an international urban movement;
  • participation at the meeting of urban social movements in the World Social Forum 2005 at Porto Alegre to continue the exchange of experience and discussion, setting a common agenda on the regional and global level, starting from the struggle security of housing tenure, dignity and zero evictions:

- popular control over the payment of social debts and the cancellation of foreign debts
- the re-launching public urban and housing policies and opposition to privatization.
Our co-ordination and agreement represents one of the most important challenges to neo-liberal globalization. Only in this way will we be able to build another possible world and other possible cities.

Never again will the struggle be an isolated one!



Appeal , MSU