The Platform of Citizens Affected by Mortgages (PAH) presents a new campaign to reclaim solutions to the dramatic housing crisis
The PAH will hold peaceful demonstrations (“escraches”) in electoral events during the European Parliament elections campaign.
Since 2009 the PAH has been fighting to secure the right to adequate housing, and has denounced the dramatic consequences of the abusive mortgage law. In Spain, homeowners are liable for 40% of the valuation of the house, plus interests and judicial costs, even once their house has been foreclosed. This leaves evicted families with huge life-long debts. In a country with 27 percent unemployment rate, the consequences of this law are dramatic. Since the start of the crisis, there have been 500,000 foreclosures and 184 evictions per day, and the situation of hundreds of thousands of families is critical. Many lives are at stake.
Today the PAH is one of the largest social movements in Spain with over 200 local sections. After 5 years, the PAH has had many achievements. Importantly, we collected 1.5 million signatures to present a Citizen-Initiated Legislative Initiative with three demands that can help solve the housing crisis: a) A moratorium on evictions; b) The cancellation of mortgage debt upon handover of the property to the bank; c) The creation of public rent housing with empty homes owned by banks. According to surveys, 90% of the population supports our demands.
We have also stopped over 1,000 evictions and provided housing to over 1000 people through our Obra Social campaign.
But in spite of all the efforts and overwhelming popular support, the Spanish Government of the Popular Party (PP), under strong pressure of the banks, opposes our demands. This, we believe, demonstrates that politicians legislate in response to the interests of the banks and the financial markets instead of making the policies demanded by the people. It is a sign that our democracy is de facto hijacked by the influence of economic interests.
The Popular Party is a member of the European People’s Party (EPP). The campaign we have recently presented will inform voters that voting for the People’s Party means voting against the three demands of the PAH, and against citizens’ demands. It means voting in favor of the continuation of massive evictions and in favor of bank bailouts paid with public money, for which tax-payers get nothing in return.
The PAH is part of the “European Action Coalition for Housing Rights and the City” network , linking various European protests for a more democratic and social transformation of European structures and urban development based on the rights of citizens.
We believe that the right to housing should be guaranteed globally and the goal of the new campaign is to push for it in the European context. We believe in a Europe of citizens, a Europe that guarantees the basic right to adequate housing and gives more priority to the interest of people than to the interests of the banks.
For further information, read the manifesto: http://www.reclaiming-spaces.org/2014/05/movimientos-sociales-europeos-se-movilizan-en-protesta-al-empeoramiento-de-las-condiciones-de-acceso-a-la-vivienda