Housing Actions – November 2022
Housing rights are increasingly attacked across Europe. The pandemic, the energy crisis, the war and the militarization, the liberalized real estate market, the lack of social housing, and many other factors threaten our fundamental right to housing. We, as European Action Coalition for the rights to housing and to the city (EAC) defend housing as a basic human right, not a privilege, not a commodity. We condemn the governments’ positions who give priority to the right to property over the right to housing, who threaten poor tenants and squatters without even trying to address abusive landlords. We take strength in the multiple resistances of our comrades, our struggles continue everywhere against capitalism, which violates our rights putting profit above people. In the last months, movements across Europe have been organizing actions to express their opposition to the system. Here is an overview of some of them. Solidarity with all our comrades !
04.11 / Athens: Demonstration 'Against state repression and the violence of capital – Exarcheia remains a neighborhood of resistance and struggle'
Since the EAC’s transnational meeting took place in Athens between november 2-6, 85 representatives of 36 different grassroot movements from 20 european countries joined this demonstration. After the demonstration we collectively formulated this text:
“[…] In solidarity with those who struggle against speculation and gentrification in Exarcheia, on the 4th of November we joined the demonstration ‘against state repression and the violence of capital – Exarcheia remains a neighborhood of resistance and struggle’ that gathered close to ‘Panepistemeio’ metro station, with the aim of passing by the parliament building. This demonstration did not take place : from the moment the front banner tried to take to the street, the police shot teargas and flash-bang grenades into the assembly and then gave chase as the people ran for safety towards Exarcheia. On our side, we saw local comrades who were willing to take to the streets and resist the militarized police forces. We ourselves have been targeted by police violence against protesters.
In the European Action Coalition, we come from very different places. In the ways we are organizing locally, we have different political backgrounds, practices of struggle and we come from different geographies, which means that the levels of experienced state repression differs, which means that we are not exposed to the same violence and police repression. However, we all stand united to condemn the use of chemical warfare agents and violence. We learnt that at least two people had open head wounds, one comrade dislocated their shoulder joint, another suffered heavy burns to the leg, not to mention countless people with bruises. Also several photo-journalists were beaten. And 16 comrades were arrested.
Our workshops and assemblies took place in several spaces of struggle of the local athenian movement during those days: squats, social centers and in the Polytechnic University. The latter is the historic space of resistance against the Greek military junta, where we took our ‘family’ picture’ at the memorial for the murdered students. Today all the Greek movements will commemorate the uprising of the 17th of November 1973. Our experience during these days in Athens, considering the continuity of authoritarian politics and the tendency of state fascization, underlines the urgency of these protests.
All strength to the comrades in Greece! We are grateful for the inspiring insight into your struggles that you shared with us. Our solidarity is with the people in Greece and everywhere who are resisting the violent destruction of their neighbourhoods and houses, as wells as violent displacement of people. If the main struggle that connects us is the one for the rights to housing and to the city for all. It is inseparable from the resistance against neo-fascist governments, authoritarian state politics and far-right movements. No pasaran – they will not pass! Together we will win!”
Whose streets? Our streets!
Whose streets? Everybody’s streets!
12.11 / Bucharest: March for Housing! organized by Frontul Comun pentru Dreptul la Locuire/The Common Front for the Right to Housing
The call for joining the demo in Bucharest:
“Access to decent housing is a FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT, yet it is violated every day! Rents are rising. Bills go up. Prices go up. ALL ARE RISING, only our wages are NOT RISING. Winter is coming and with it comes the threat of spending the holidays in the cold or even on the streets. It’s absurd, but at this point an exhausted working mother decides between paying the rent and feeding her children. A son decides between paying utilities on time or buying his sick parents the medicine they need.
We will not bear the costs of your crisis! While the Romanian state spends money on militarization and armament, the population has to bear huge maintenance costs, the result of geo-political games in which we have no say!
It’s time someone said that what is happening to us IS NOT RIGHT!
Come with us on November 12 to remind the authorities that RIGHT is when everyone has a safe place to call home, not when thousands of homes sit empty while thousands of people sleep in overcrowded apartments or on the park bench!
✊ Cap energy costs! We demand a reduction in bills exceeding the same months from 2021. Rising housing costs are caused by financial speculation and the pretext of a war we don’t want to participate in!
✊ Stop all evictions! We demand proper relocation of all evictees, including moving them into housing of necessity!
✊ More public and social housing! We demand an increase in the stock of public and social housing by any means at the disposal of the local public authority: construction of housing, conversion of empty buildings into public housing, remunicipalisation of empty privately owned buildings left to decay for property speculation.
✊ Easy access to social housing! We demand fair criteria, simplified procedures and educated anti-racist and anti-classist staff!
✊ Public access to the current list of municipal and sectoral local authority housing stock!
✊Rent control! The capitalist market means an unlimited rise in rent costs while the current crisis makes it impossible for the most precarious to buy property. Without the limits demanded by the most precarious and imposed by the state, the big landlords will get rich off our hardship!
✊ Completion of the social housing block in Prelungirea Ghencea and construction of the other 7 blocks announced! Hundreds of social housing applicants on the priority list of the Bucharest City Hall depend on these houses.
✊ City halls to access the funds that the Ministry of Development can allocate for the construction of social and need housing.”
18.11 / Naoussa: Occupation by HARTA
On 18th of November, our Comrades from HARTA in Naoussa, Greece occupied a building, vacant since almost a decade now. It was a symbolic squat that lasted 48 hours to demand social housing.
It is absurd that there are so many thousands of houses in the municipality of Naoussa, while so many people, so many households face a huge, unlivable cost of living, including rent, mortgage, energy, food. Many are paying for the profit of a few who own all the means necessary for our lives: land, housing, energy, food. At the same time, the air we breathe is toxic because, due to the lack of insulation in our homes and the cost of heating, we resort to the cheapest and most harmful solutions for our health. The many are slowly dying because the cost of living for housing, heating, electricity, food , transportation is wiping us out so that a few can profit.
NO PEOPLE WITHOUT HOUSES! NO HOUSES WITHOUT PEOPLE!
21.11 / Athens: Huge anti-eviction protest cancels the eviction of a retired journalist
🤬 On Monday morning, Ioanna Kolovou, a retired journalist from #Illisia, #Athens, was violently evicted of her home for a 15.000 euro debt to the bank (that was not the mortgage). A metro station will be constructed a few minutes from it.
✊ This was followed by an incredible mobilisation by neighbours and supporters who rushed there and demonstrated, managing to re-occupy the apartment! The authorities walked away after a few hours and Ioanna K. will stay at her house for now.
Well done to the comrades of Ενωτική Πρωτοβουλία κατά των Πλειστηριασμών (United Action Against Auctions) and to all the others present today who finally succeeded in preventing the eviction.
United we can stop all evictions!
22.11 / Athens: Defend Prosfygika!
On 22nd of November, police attacked again in Athens, this time the squatted neighbourhood of Prosfygika. Two persons were kidnapped, and one more missing for some hours. In the afternoon in a second attack when there was a solidarity assembly 79 comrades were brutally arrested. Next day, in the morning a mobilization in solidarity was taking place in front of the court.
ℹ️ 400 people live there, some of them live in a self-managed community, many are refugees and migrants. The Greek government has big development plans for the 8 buildings of the neighbourhood and is threatening the inhabitants with eviction since years.
✊ We, the European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and to the City, stand in solidarity with Prosfygika squatted neighbourhood and condemn the action of the police !
Our solidarity goes to all refugees and migrants squats in Europe !
Brussels, Prague, Frankfurt and more: Solidarity Actions with the Community of Squatted Prosfygika!
Comrades from Brussels, Prague and Frankfurt among others expressed their solidarity with the Community of Squatted Prosfygika. Hands off the squatted neighborhood of Prosfygika!
Stop state violence, #StopEvictions!
24.11 / Cluj Napoca: Everything is too expensive! organized by Căși sociale ACUM / Social housing NOW
On 24th of November our comrades from Căși sociale ACUM / Social housing NOW in Cluj Napoca went out on the streets to express their dissatisfaction with the rising costs of living. The title of the event was: Everything is too expensive! Utilities, food, housing.
💥 Housing and utility costs not to exceed 20% of our income.
💥 Wages and pensions to rise in line with living costs.
💥 Reduce and cap energy, food and housing prices.
💥 Social utility tariffs to apply to all those earning below the median income.
💥 The number of social housing units should be increased in line with real needs.
💥 Regulate rents.
On the placard it says: “Social housing, not militarization!”
Milan: Solidarity with Comitato Abitanti Giambellino Lorenteggio – Siamo tutti Robin Hood!
🗣 #Italy: 9th November: comrades from Comitato Abitanti Giambellino in #Milan were convicted as a criminal organization – sentences ranging from 1 year and 7 months to 5 years and 5 months in prison! 🤬
The comrades were found guilty of occupying abandoned public houses in a city where the high cost of living is unbearable. The judgement is a political attack on housing struggles and on those who organise collectively to satisfy their needs!
✊ These are not criminal organisations but collectives in resistance! We can support them through solidarity actions and by helping them to raise funds for their legal defense
France: the Kasbarian-Bergé law shall not pass! Resist criminalization of tenants & squats!
⚠️ The Kasbarian-Bergé law entered parliament on 28th November and was voted by the majority with the support of the right and far-right. 🗣 On Sunday 27, our comrades in France were taking to the streets and did a camping in front of the National Assembly to protest this new attack against tenants and squats! 👊
#Tenants summoned to court due to a rent debt risk cancellation of their rental contract and automatic #eviction, even if paying off their debt. #Squatters risk up to 3 years imprisonment and €45K fine. All prevention procedures ‘delaying’ an eviction are to be nullified. 🤬
This law is brutal: In times of extreme inflation, with drastic rises to the cost of basic needs like housing & energy, the government puts poor people before the stark choice of homelessness or imprisonment. 🖕 We choose to resist! ✊
Let’s show #solidarity to our french comrades! Resist anti-squat laws everywhere – Kasbarian-Bergé shall not pass! Housing is not a crime!
There is also a petition you can sign ✍️ tinyurl.com/rp79apet
And a website for more information http://selogernestpasuncrime.org
28.11 / DAL – Droit Au Logement camp in front of the National Assembly! 🔥
Under the slogan “Se loger n’est pas un crime” a camp was organised next to the National Assembly, tenants, poorly housed, homeless and occupants followed the debates in session of the proposed Kasbarian-Bergé law.
“We stay there until the end of the debates and from tomorrow we mobilize against this scoundrel law!!!”
25.11 / Poznan: Rozbrat Stays!
🔥 Good news from our comrades in Poznan/ Poland! The trial against their squat, #ROZBRAT needs to be restarted from the beginning:
On November 25th the appeals court in Poznań repealed a verdict that ordered Rozbrat’s eviction. The case will be heard again by the first instance court at a later date. The question of ownership rights to the Rozbrat property was brought to trial by Darex, a company that has been trying to privatise and landgrab the property. With municipal authorities’ tacid permission it would defraud milions of zlotys and clear the way for real-estate developers to devastate the western city forest that Rozbrat is situated on, with their investments.
The social struggle and legal actions in defense of Rozbrat are the only obstacle – and we won’t give up.
For more info visit rozbrat.org
The struggle continues!
The city belongs to us all!
Rozbrat is here to stay! 🔥🏠✊
28.11 / Thessaloniki: Mobilization against the Eviction Operation of Mundo Nuevo Occupation
“Since early morning the cops invaded the Mundo Nuevo Occupation. 😡😡😡 The Regulatory Media talks about 4 arrests inside the building as well as raids around the building.The three comrades who had come to the perimeter of the building were released.”
People are gathering in solidarityHands down #squats! Mundo Nuevo occupation is to stay! ✊
30.11 / Madrid: Demonstration against Blackstone
The residents of the blocks of Bratislava and Stockholm streets in Alcorcón have been fighting for a year against their landlord, Blackstone’s real estate company Testa. In November 2021 they began to receive the first letters from the company. In them, Testa announced abusive rent increases of more than 40%. “In practice, this translates into evictions from their homes,” the Sindicato de Inquilinas (Tenants’ Union) points out. After the rent hikes came the demands for the end of the term and the requirements to leave the houses. “After several months, the City Council has positioned itself on the side of the tenants, asking the vulture fund to establish a collective negotiation table, withdraw the demands for the end of the term to the neighbours and commits to request a meeting with the Ombudsman to end this situation”, announced the Union of Tenants. This is not the first time that the union and the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca have managed to get institutions to take their side in defending the right to housing. On 29 September, the Getafe City Council approved a motion along the same lines, with Vox voting against. A few days earlier, the Torrejón Town Council unanimously approved by the three groups in the local government -PP, PSOE and Unidas Podemos- another motion inspired by the demands of the Sindicato de Inquilinas to support the more than a thousand people affected by the abuses of the investment fund in the housing blocks it owns in this city, which include rent increases of up to 100%. “Meanwhile, Blackstone’s attitude remains the same. Their only response to requests for negotiation are the lawsuits that are already reaching most of the tenants they intend to evict from their homes”, lament the Sindicato de Inquilinas. “Testa maintains a purely speculative eagerness, preferring to violate our most basic rights, such as the right to decent housing, with the sole argument of increasing its economic profitability,” says the motion approved by the City Council of Alcorcón, to which El Salto has had access. The text of the motion recalls that the Testa dwellings were built on public land and transferred in 1995 to be rented out under the Official Protected Housing regime. It also states that at least 80 homes in the development now in the hands of Blackstone continue to maintain the public housing regime and that, therefore, prices cannot be raised freely.