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Second International Meeting: Building g-local defence for victims of the real estate markets

As part of the World Social Forum, on 27 March, with the aim of facilitating discussion about experiences of struggle, sharing analyses and strategies, strengthening international solidarity with local struggles and defining shared tools for awareness, alerts and solidarity, the II International Meeting on "Building g-local defence for victims of the real estate markets" took place as a thematic contribution to the World Assembly of Inhabitants.

In the presence of a diverse international audience, speakers shared experiences from the U.S.A. (Silvia Orduño, IAI USA-Canada), Italy (Michelangelo Di Beo, Unione Inquilini); Germany (Knut Unger, Ruhr Tenants Forum) and Argentina (Ernesto Paez, MODEVIFA).

Each speaker shared their experience/struggle from a perspective critical of the neoliberal system, where housing insecurity for economic reasons, i.e. evictions, foreclosures and real estate fraud, is common to capitalist societies, and housing is treated as a commodity, while the provision of this service is entrusted to the market, instead of housing being seen as a social right, and the basis for public policies making it accessible and secure for all.

Silvia, from Michigan, denounced the eviction of people from 20,000 households with police violence. She considers that the U.S. government will not help and that any tribunal cases will not be won. She participated in this meeting "to fight for others and to learn from others".

Michelangelo highlighted the plight of the 250,000 families facing eviction in Italy due to the liberalisation of the market and the daily resistance led by anti-eviction pickets organised by the Unione Inquilini (Tenants Union) and other organisations. He thinks Italy needs to increase the availability of social housing, as well as assistance for those who can't pay and legal support for the families affected.

Knut indicated that his struggle, in Germany, is to stimulate political debate and reflection on the situation. The legal process is underway, but there is still a lack of public money for solutions. And at the international level, they make recommendations on the situation and ways to move forward. It is important to identify structures for international cooperation to develop closer relations, in order not to be entirely dependent on governments.

Ernesto told us that the crisis in Argentina in 2001 generated a million and a half mortgage debtors. Through the MODEVIFA organisation, which covers 18 provinces and 28 organisations across the country, they proposed 4 laws that saved 900,000 families from eviction due to mortgage debt. Through the creation of a trust in the Ministry of Finance, old debts of the Banco Hipotecario were cancelled (people were paying 5 times over due to interest). A joint commission was created between the legislative, executive and judicial powers to promote these laws and in addition, they encouraged reform of the civil code where, currently, housing is immune from seizure.

In Mendoza province, all of the housing was recovered, for 30,000 families. The national government transferred 2 million dollars to the Instituto de la Provincia to refinance mortgage debt. MODEVIFA filed complaints against the international organisations and condemned the financial system.

There is no doubt that this final presentation will serve as an inspiration for other organisations that are beginning their struggle to rescue victims of the real estate markets.

After these presentations, an interesting debate began with contributions from Portugal and Spain, between countries who are experiencing the same problems. Finally, those present agreed to attend the II World Assembly of Inhabitants to make contributions to continue with the g-local struggle.

It is worth noting that the visual framework for the meeting was provided by Veronica Pancheri's photographic display "Building Habitat", presented by Antena Sur Zero Evictions.

Перевод этого текста выполнен добровольцем из группы за жилищные права без границ МСЖ:

Juliette Rutherford


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