The meeting in Milan was a great opportunity for the PAH to participate in a space that holds a long history of social mobilization in the fight for the right to housing. It particularly made us think of the interweaving between the struggles for housing and the practices of mutual aid. All through gathering and connecting experiences and struggles with people who are trying to imagine a different model in Italy and in Europe, by building relationships and sharing knowledge.
We believe that mutual aid, through the construction of easily replicable practices can be a move towards action and collaboration across countries. The PAH was present at the meeting stating how we got to break the structural individualism imposed on us by becoming a social actor in a collective fight. The ensuing empowerment and awareness has been the catalyst for moving forward together and accomplishing important victories we never thought possible. For instance, stopping evictions, forcing banks to condone mortgage debts after foreclosure, increasing social housing, changing various laws, and many more that have put housing right at the centre of the political agenda in Spain.
We shared with our Italian compañerxs, one of the biggest victories of the PAH: turning every day individuals with no prior social movement involvement into proactive activists for the right to housing. Few things are greater than watching an indebted person who felt like a failure and was ashamed of her situation on the first day of arrival, become, in a few months, an empowered participant in the PAH struggles through collective learning in assemblies and direct actions, becoming part of horizontal spaces meant for everyone to learn and everyone to teach. By participating in the decision making of the everyday life of the PAH, more and more people have become aware of their inner strength to fight an unfair system, and that, indeed, we are much more powerful together than we were ever made to believe.