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Let’s build an active coalition for the right to housing and the city across Europe!

Documentation of the general parts of a collective call which was discussed among European activists in summer 2013, as a possible call for common actions. While some groups signed this call others prefered to be less explicit in the strategical perspectives and especially the implicated strict commitments, which we leave away in this quotation.  The text still may serve as some reference point for discussions about an European strategy.

Let’s build an active coalition for the right to housing and the city across Europe!

Let’s unite our struggles against the financialisation of our livelihoods and against the European austerity regime!
Let’s build a broad coalition of solidarity for a true social Europe, which guarantees the right to housing for all!
Let’s join forces to transform housing, land and cities into commons
!

We, (…)  who are committed to the international struggle for the universal right to housing and the city, call all social movements of inhabitants across Europe without borders: Let’s unite our struggles against the financialisation of our livelihoods and against the European austerity regime! Let’s build a broad coalition of solidarity for a true social Europe, which guarantees the right to housing for all! Let’s join forces to transform housing, land and cities into commons! Let’s demonstrate our collective will, to build a European counter force for secure social housing conditions (…)

We are confronted with a brutal European austerity regime which continues to transform our livelihoods into financial assets for global speculation, which violates the universal right to housing every day, which destroys democracy at all levels and has no socially acceptable solution for the crisis of capitalism.

We share the common orientation that the necessary alternative to this barbarism can only be built through the critical role played by broadly based social movements for an alternative European social model.In this context movements of urban inhabitants (both tenants and mortgage payers/holders) will play an crucial role.

This new European social model must be based on the guarantee of equal social rights for all and the will to orientate all policies toward the realization of equal living standards in all countries and cities.

One basic element of this alternative European model is the full implementation of the right to have a secure, good and affordable place to live without discrimination. This right includes the right to adequate income, food, public education and all necessary local services. It also includes the right to move and the right to live in democratic Communes, which have the economic capacities to meet the general needs and the social, economic and cultural rights of all their inhabitants.
One basic element of this alternative European model is the full implementation of the right to have a secure, good and affordable place to live without discrimination. This right includes the right to adequate income, food, public education and all necessary local services. It also includes the right to move and the right to live in democratic Communes, which have the economic capacities to meet the general needs and the social, economic and cultural rights of all their inhabitants.

Instead of placing  the business costs of failed financial speculation on the public and ordinary citizens in the form of debt and misery, we demand that all the ficticious values of the financial assets – and thus the debt – must be cancelled.

Instead of continuing the plundering of our societies for the payment of this debt the real use-values of our houses and urban infrastructure must be given back to society.

The EU market-orientated policies and competition rules cannot be continued. In contrast, it is necessary to defend and rebuild a significant sector of commons and public services such as public housing and public community facilities and services/projects.

In order to meet the local housing needs it is necessary that a significant and satisfying part of the housing stock in all towns and cities of Europe, as well as housing finance and land, will be excluded from markets and be organized under direct public and democratic control. At the same time all tenants, mortgage payers/holders and dwellers across Europe by international law must have enforceable rights, which guarantee common standards for the security of tenure, affordability, accessibility, construction quality, democratic participation and fairness.

We are convinced that our goals, interests and local strategies need the building of strong transnational action coalitions, which organically reflect the needs and the struggles at the grassroots and which confront powers and societies across Europe with urgent and strategic demands towards system changing institutional reforms.

By organizing coordinated direct actions we want to express our collective will to defend the universal right to housing of everybody across borders against everybody who is violating or attacking this right. We want to express our collective will to improve the coordination of our European resistance against the austerity measures, installed by an illegitimate coalition of institutions and governments which serves the profit interests of few instead of the equal rights of all.

(…)

Actions and demands (…) should connect struggles for alternative social housing policies in north, south, west and east of Europe and also build relations with housing struggles in other continents.Direct actions should confront the European powers with an alternative vision and a growing power from the grassroots. 

More detailed demands will be discussed (…). But it is already certain, that among our priorties the demand for better legal protection against evictions and the transformation of foreclosed homes into social rental housing, affordable and secure for the inhabitants living there, will have high priority. This demand can be practically expressed  and partly enforced by blockades of forced evictions, a type  of action which has spread  throughout the world in recent years. Another priority will be the demand for the requisition of vacant houses for the needs of the homeless and poorly housed, -practically expressed by people setting up squats. Other targets with high priority are the transnational financial property investors and the dire consequences of their business models in housing, demands for social housing support and rent control and also demands and action against the closure and privatisation of public infrastructure and public spaces.

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