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Sun Apr 28, 2013, 10:27 AM

Resisting Evictions Spanish Style

By Melissa García Lamarca

Source: New Internationalist

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Every day in Spain more than 500 eviction orders get delivered to households, leaving lives broken up like rubble. Sadly this is not a new story – over 420,000 foreclosures and 220,000 evictions have occurred since 2007. The loss of homes comes on top of vicious austerity measures, unemployment levels creeping above 25 per cent and massive political corruption scandals. As greater numbers of the recent jobless reach the end of their two-year unemployment insurance payouts, the scale of evictions ratchets up.

Most Spaniards purchased property because they were heavily encouraged by the state to do so. The institutional drive to increase home ownership dates back to the first Minister of Housing under the Franco dictatorship, José Luis Arrese, who stated in 1957: ‘We want a country of homeowners, not of proletarians.’ Promoting homeownership was a way for the state to abdicate responsibility for providing social housing, turning insubordinate spirits prone to protest about their living conditions into orderly, moral and disciplined citizens.


Following Martí’s foreclosure, government officials and a bank representative, escorted by the police, went to deliver the eviction order. But they backed down upon encountering dozens of people blocking the entrance to his home. This has become a key strategy in PAH’s Stop Evictions campaign, which has ramped up with strong support from the indignados (‘the outraged’, as participants in Spain’s mass movement for political change are called). Over 550 evictions have been halted across the country, and banks have been forced to negotiate social rent or to foreclose a home but drop the debt for hundreds of families. Solidarity has also come from other sectors, such as the Assembly of Locksmith Professionals in Pamplona who unanimously decided in December 2012 that they would not change the locks on houses under foreclosure proceedings. They have been joined by fire-fighters in Catalonia and A Coruña, who refuse to assist evictions.

On top of stopping evictions under way, PAH and indignado groups have also been occupying foreclosed buildings to provide shelter for evicted families with nowhere to go. A wave of occupations is occurring across the country. ‘We don’t want to steal anyone’s house, but we have nowhere to go and these chalets are empty. It’s crazy,’ stated a woman living in one of 70 occupied properties on the outskirts of Madrid. Until two years ago, she was an administrative assistant and her husband was a plumber. ‘We want people to understand that we are not despicable or lazy. We used to be the middle class.’


Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/resisting-evictions-spanish-style-by-melissa-garc-a-lamarca

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Reply Resisting Evictions Spanish Style (Original post)
polly7 Apr 2013 OP
MADem Apr 2013 #1
Laelth Apr 2013 #2
JNelson6563 Apr 2013 #3

Response to polly7 (Original post)

Sun Apr 28, 2013, 10:35 AM

1. Home ownership is a great thing. Usurious lending practices are not.

Poor Spain. It's one of my favorite countries, in terms of people and culture.

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Response to polly7 (Original post)

Sun Apr 28, 2013, 03:45 PM

2. k&r for exposure. n/t

-Laelth

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Response to polly7 (Original post)

Mon Apr 29, 2013, 02:14 PM

3. Mainstream news will never cover this!

Don't want the poor across America to hear about this. I know there are organizations out there who do some of this stuff here in the US (most notably I believe is Occupy) but I don't think there is a unified, nation-wide effort like they have in Spain. Yet.

Great article! Thanks for posting that here, it gives me hope.

Julie

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