[EN] Meeting of the European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and to the City Athens 2022

Once again the PAH has taken part in the gathering of the Coalition, this time in Athens between the 2nd and 6th of November, with an intense programme that we have covered between everyone fully and with high productivity, thanks to the good interaction between our facilitators and local groups.

The experience we lived will not easily be forgotten. In addition to Athens, we could mention the names of Prosfygika, Tsamadou, Notara, Politechnio, and Exarcheia precisely because it is in these environments that we have come into contact with the local grassroots movements and their struggles.

Struggles that we share in the spectrum of a gently but steadily growing Coalition. Struggles that have to do with the right to housing and the city, but which are crossed by other factors such as patriarchalism, the different discriminations based on gender, race, origin, etc., and aggravated even more now with a brutal rise in the costs of electricity and gas that leads us directly to energy poverty.

For all this struggle, we have been sharing debates, knowledge, experiences, discussions… setting up action initiatives for the coming months.

We have walked the streets and squares of the Athens neighbourhood most threatened by gentrification, as genuine as it is. A metro station that might be welcome elsewhere, in Exarcheia is a political gesture understood in the neighbourhood as an attempt to put an end to resistance to authority. Strefi Hill has been sold to private capital for property speculation. https://reporterre.net/A-Athenes-le-quartier-populaire-d-Exarcheia-lutte-pour-sa-survie

Some of us left with paint stains and matching shoes after the demonstration, which we attempted but barely managed to start because the police immediately dispersed us. Our intention was to show solidarity with the local groups.

 So this time the family photo was taken next to the monument to the students and teachers who were victims of the massacre perpetrated on 17 November 1973 when the army, in times of dictatorship, entered the Polytechnic University with its tanks.

Sometimes it is necessary to hit rock bottom in order to gain momentum and find the way out. Everyone knows this. The way to get in touch with local problems is through the inevitable contact and communication with those who live in the neighbourhoods, who form cities and form people, nations and states. We wonder then why the responsible politicians always have a higher order to obey, contrary to the will of the people.

Thank you members of the European Coalition for these shared days. You are a sure source of inspiration and empowerment.

“The beginning of struggle, new battles, guide and hope the first dead…”

Alexandros Panagulis

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