The following appeal was proposed during the Assembly of urban social movements at the European Social Forum, which was held on September 20th in Malmö (Sweden). It will discuss the mobilisation at the time of the summit of European housing ministers which will also be held in Marseille on the 24rd and 25th of November.The first meeting is open to everyone and will be held in Marseille on Tuesday September 30th at 19H00 at the Maison de l'Architecture, 12 boulevard Théodore Thurner, 13006 Marseille. Contacts: Benoit 06 42 70 49 46 and Marc 06 14 61 50 20
24rd and 25th November 2008, everyone together in Marseille:
Against a Europe of speculation, rent increases, privatisation of social housing and urban segregation.
For a Europe for the right to housing and the right to choose one's housing, for the right to a city, to a healthy environment, accessible and renewable energy, for a Europe of solidarity, that fights for housing. European housing and town planning ministers will meet in Marseille on Monday November 24th.
Since their meeting, rent, real estate and land prices have never been so high, yielding unequal private income and speculative profits. The crisis and insecurity touches everyone: tenants' rights are being seriously compromised, getting on the property ladder can only be achieved through serious indebtedness, the so-called urban “revitalisation” is chasing the working class, not only from the city centres, but also from the outskirts. Forced and swift expulsions are being multiplied, social housing is threatened by its financing and its privatisation, repression is battering the people who live in insecure housing.
The ministers are only worried about speculators' profits and banks threatened by the prospect of a real estate crash.
In Marseille, the ministers could not find a better example of the dramatic consequences of the “financialisation” of real estate, town planning and housing policies being pursued for 20 years and putting cities in competition, as desired by Europe, within its framework of the Lisbon strategy.
The city centre of Marseille, a very popular area, is therefore, the object of intense speculation, which is encouraged by local authorities. For example, hundreds of families are being evicted from rue de la République, and many buildings have been deprived of their liveliness to be put up for retail sale at 5,000 EUR/m2. The present owner of the property is a subsidiary of Lehman Brothers, in New York, which is now bankrupt as a result of the subprime crisis. Many houses will, inevitably, be empty for years, unless the local authorities decide to requisition them and convert them into social housing.
Europe has chosen Marseille as the European city of culture for 2013. This is bad news for housing; for each international cultural or sporting event triggers speculation and aggressions against people from working-class neighbourhoods.
To prevent an increasing part of the population from being thrown out into the streets, from facing uncertainty and indebtedness, to prevent the nurturing of urban segregation accompanied by intense violence now and in the future, we are demanding the full recognition of everyone's rights to housing by all levels of institutions, as well as an end to expulsions, the policies of “gentrification” of urban centres and the social cleansing of the working class districts. We are demanding the re-establishment or the maintenance of rent regulations policies and measures to protect tenants.
To finance a real right to housing for everyone, we are demanding a tax on real estate profits at the European level, a permanent action by the European Central Bank to counter the inflation of housing and rent prices, and budget increases.
To implement this, we are demanding that a real public housing service be implemented at the European level instead of the neo-liberal policies and injunctions of the European Commission.
Done at Malmö, during the European Social Forum by the No-vox, IAI, HIC international networks.