Housing and the city - International meeting and action day
Some 120 activists from 31 organizations from 21 European countries (including Turkey and CADTM-Belgium, present as observers) met in Lisbon from 21 to 25 September 2018. At this international meeting of EAC member organizations, strategies were discussed to fight for the fundamental right to housing and to the usufruct of the city by its inhabitants. Strategies have been discussed to fght the financialization of housing and the neoliberal policies that go with, which are at the root of the current housing crisis across Europe.
What is EAC
The European Action Coalition (EAC) is a network of European civic unions that fight against housing problems, particularly against the current crisis generated by the financialization and gentrification of cities. It was born around 2014, thanks to the awareness of many grassroots organizations that the housing problems with which they are confronted, although they may have specific characteristics in each region, have global origins and aspects: the prevalence of the interests of banks, real estate funds, vulture funds and other financial institutions over the rights of the inhabitants.
The resulting European alliance has been working in three main axes:
1) co-ordination of actions at European level, targeting in particular the European public authorities;
2) study of various aspects of the social relations involved, namely the functioning of the financial world and mortgage debts; legal issues involved in the denial of housing rights; publication of these studies;
3) training and discussion initiatives.
In addition to these coordinated initiatives, each local group maintains its autonomy and develops its own local strategies.
The agenda of the EAC meeting in Lisbon: organizing, studying and action
This meeting of EAC took place in Lisbon and, in addition to the issues related to organization and internal operation, had two important aspects:
1) a diverse set of workshops on various housing issues: problems faced by residents; role of banks and private debt; the right to the city; housing and racism; ...
2) a day of action on the streets: demonstration, march, street performances, under the theme of the right to housing, fight against the financialization of all aspects of daily life (starting with housing), right to the city; visits of foreign participants to some quarters in struggle; street actions to avoid impending evictions.
Several proposals for action and organization have been launched, others already underway have been cleared (see the EAC website and the Habita website for detailed information); the advantage of establishing some strategic alliances with other activist networks, particularly the CADTM, especially for the issue of illegitimate private debts, was clear. It should be noted in this connection that a working group (AITEC, France, see interview below) is already in place for studying global, statistical and social aspects that are not accessible to local action groups; the PAH (mortgage-affected platform) in Spain has also developed studies and actions in the field of illegitimate private debts.
Action day: about 2500 people in the streets in Lisbon
Interviews with members from EAC
Although it was not possible to interview all the groups present (there were 31, engaged in an intense agenda of activities, from morning to night, for 5 days!), here are some of the interviews we could make:
Housing Action Now (Ireland)
Living Rent (Scotland)
Fontes e referências:
Ver site da EAC.