The “London Radical Housing Network” supported by international activists who try to build a “European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing an the City” have called for transnational action and meetings at the occasion of the real estate fair “MIPIM UK” in October (17th – 2oth). Here is their call in it’s 29th August version.
This is a call to housing activists across Europe to come to London this October 17th-20th to oppose austerity policies and the financialisation of our homes and cities, and to create the networks of resistance necessary to defeat it. From the 15th-17th MIPIM, one of Europe’s biggest real estate fairs, will be taking place in London. Landlords, real estate speculators and politicians are meeting to discuss how to make more profit out of the misery of housing and other urban consequences of the global crisis.
The London Radical Housing Network is inviting all those fighting housing privatisation, rent increase, housing shortage, evictions, gentrification, and profiteering urban transformation to join the European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and to the City at MIPIM UK this October. Protests and actions are planned throughout 15-17; a strategy meeting of the European Coalition will occur on Sunday and Monday 19-20th.
In London we are a network of 16 groups fighting for better housing. We need to build on all our local strengths to build international strength to force change. Because crises cross borders, and the speculators profiting from our misery cross borders, our organisation needs to do the same. As an international investment event in London, the heart of global capital, MIPIM UK provides an opportunity to do this.
We accused MIPIM profiteers for the first time this March in Cannes, France; developers, investors, landlords. This time we are focusing the lens on local and national governments, who are failing to provide social housing solutions, who are denying the necessary protection for tenants and mortgage holders, and who continue to sell our cities away to the highest bidder while evicting our communities. In London they feed the bubble by trying to destroy all alternatives to private renting and home-ownership, while evicting social housing through state gentrification.
Recently, in many European cities new struggles have begun against evictions, which have been caused by mortgage defaults, loss of jobs and income, rent increases, demolitions and privatisations. At the same time there are various other forms of struggles for housing and urban rights, such as anti-demolition movements, anti-gentrification coalitions, protests against the criminalization of homelessness, demands for rent control and struggles for new forms of self-organized social housing and land management. All these struggles have a common foundation in the human right of everybody to have a secure place to live, and in the demand for cities which should be designed and managed for and by the inhabitants and not by authoritarian governments for the profits of few property owners. In most of the countries these struggles also have a common enemy: national austerity policies backed and enforced by supranational institutions and treaties like the Troika and the European Fiscal Compact. Ultimately there can be no way out of the social crisis of housing and urban life without overcoming this neoliberal EU-constitutionalism by alternatives which are based on the right to housing and land and on the democratic treatment of housing and land as commons for all.
We want to gather these struggles to learn from each other’s’ strategies against our states, and build a coalition capable of acting on a European level.
We are not willing to let our cities become the preserve of the rich. We are not prepared to lose our right to have our homes here. Across Europe we have seen an unprecedented financial crisis, caused by housing speculation, which we have had no role in causing. Yet we are being forced to suffer, whilst those who were responsible go on to profit even further.
We will be protesting during the Mayor of London’s opening speech on Weds 15th, who has played a key part in the social cleansing of inner-city London. We invite you to join us from the evening of Thursday Oct 16th in preparation for an alternative conference on the financialisation of our homes, and an internationally focused action on Friday 17th, 5pm. On Saturday 18th we will join the Trade Union Congress march and the anarchist bookfair, and will prepare for a residential meeting on Sunday and Monday the 19th-20th.
We will provide accommodation, and have secured a budget to help with travel expenses. Please send responses and queries to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can book travel in early September. We aim to have translation provided.
The agenda for the meeting will be finalised in the days preceding, though proposals should be in by mid-September.
A draft schedule is below:
- Tuesday 14 – first arrivals
- Wednesday 15, 9:30 AM – demonstration at beginning of day of action against MIPIM, as the mayor of London makes the opening speech.
- Thursday 16– potential ‘house of the Commons” event in Oxford, more arrivals and networking, agenda planning for meeting
- Friday 17, 11am-4pm – potential London alternative conference on financialisation of housing 5pm – demonstration at MIPIM with international guests
- Saturday 18 – the Anarchist Bookfair, with a slot on the European dimensions of the housing crisis – Trade Union Congress mass march against austerity -more agenda planning for meeting
- Sunday 19 – meeting of European coalition
- Monday 20 – proposals, decisions, and action points of European coalition, to be completed by 5 PM.