Housing Movements from Around the World Converge on the Social Form in Montreal and come to Consensus on a Series of Coordinated Actions in October
Montreal QC - Social Movements from around the world recently converged on University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) and McGill University for the World Social Forum 2016. The events took place from August 9th -14th. Even with the large numbers of rejections, several housing organizations, alliances and coalitions found their way to Montreal.
Montreal QC - Social Movements from around the world recently converged on University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) and McGill University for the World Social Forum 2016. The events took place from August 9th -14th . The forum got off to a rocky start when it was learned that members of several organizations had their visa applications rejected by the Canadian government. The rejections numbered over a hundred.
However, even with the large numbers of rejections, several housing organizations, alliances and coalitions found their way to Montreal and conducted a series of panels and workshops on issues such as forced evictions, preservation of public/social housing, high rents and the displacement effects of rapidly gentrifying communities around the world.
The series of events led to a two day convergence assembly which was anchored by the Montreal based housing group Front D’Action Populaire En Reaménagement Urbain known as FRAPRU . The two days assembly opened on Wednesday with organizations providing context of their struggles in communities around the world. A sense of importance and urgency seemed to rise in the room as people began to realize our struggles were the same and in many cases perpetrated by the same trans-national actors. Trans-national banks, developers and equity players like Blackstone were called out and targeted. In fact institutions such as the United Nations, UN Habitat, the World Bank, were targets of the organizations, alliances and coalitions in the room. UN Special Rapporteur Leilani Farha made a special visit to the assembly and was warmly greeted during Wednesday’s assembly session.
Organizers from FRAPRU took the information from the Wednesday’s session and synthesized the issues to figure a plan and strategy for Thursday’s session. The Thursday session started with a presentation by Lorena Zarate of Habitat International Coalition
(HIC) on Habitat III the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. Lorena made it very cleared that Quito will be important in October 2016, but not for Habitat III more so for events being organized by the people-- like the Peoples Social Forum Resistance Habitat III and the International Tribunal on Evictions. Lorena’s presentation was followed by impassioned pleas from International Alliance of Inhabitants
(IAI/AIH) members Bartiria Lima (CONAM, Brazil), Kone Massa, No-Vox
asking for solidarity in their respective struggles, and made it clear that we shouldn’t expect the UN to solve our problems because history has shown they are not for the people.
A member of the European Right to Housing Coalition put out a proposal to focus on October 3, World Habitat Day to conduct a series of coordinated actions around the world. IAI/AIH chimed in with a friendly amendment to the proposal asking to use the entire month of October 2016 to focus on coordinated actions around several events including; World Habitat Day, Habitat III and World Zero Evictions Days with the understanding that not all groups have the capacity to participate in all events but with careful messaging we could connect our actions. The four international alliances and coalitions agreed to be the coordinators of information using their respective websites as repositories for information leading up to the actions.
WORLD SOCIAL FORUM 2016
Assembly of convergence*
INHABITANTS FOR THE RIGHT TO DECENT
SHELTER, HOUSING, URBAN LIFE AND THE RIGHT TO LAND
Organized Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 August, 2016, at UQAM
For the right to decent housing and shelter, for the basic right to accessible and affordable space where everyone can live in security, peace and dignity;
Against the privatization, commodification, speculation and financial manipulation of real estate, housing and land;
Against evictions / expulsions / land grabbing / forced displacement and social cleansing / gentrification / urban segregation suffered by low-income populations, the consequences of market and urban policies especially provoked by major renewal projects and international events with disastrous consequences;
Against the degradation and increased precariousness of housing and living conditions experienced by a significant portion of the world’s population caused by capitalism, inequality, war, climate change...
Call to Action
The Convergence Assembly on THE RIGHT TO DECENT SHELTER, HOUSING, URBAN LIFE AND THE RIGHT TO LAND organized with the 2016 World Social Forum, issues a call for action all along the month of October 2016 in the framework of:
- the World Habitat Day October 3, 2016;
- the Forum of resistance and alternatives to Habitat 3 (UNO) to be held in Quito (Equator), from 17 to 20 October, 2016;
- against the INTERNATIONAL PROPERTY MARKETPLACE (MIPIM) to be organized in London from
October 19 to 21 2016.
Furthermore, the Convergence Assembly on THE RIGHT TO DECENT SHELTER, HOUSING, URBAN LIFE AND THE RIGHT TO LAND organized with the 2016 World Social Forum
- declares its solidarity with refugees evacuated from Fukushima in Japan, denounces changes in radiation standards that violate the health and safety of inhabitants from the region, demands their resettlement and financial compensation, declares its commitment to circulating the international petition of support and to organizing acts of solidarity (dates to be announced).
- denounces the violent and illegal eviction of the residents of the Coopérative sur Généreux, a space of alternative community living in Montreal (Quebec) and demands their reoccupation of the premises;
- calls for solidarity and mobilization in support of the Alternative Summit to be organized January 12 to 14, 2017 simultaneously with the Franco-African Summit of January 12 to 15, 2017 , in Bamako, Mali and denounces the evictions / land grabbing caused by the commodification and speculation of habitat and land in Africa;
- calls for mobilization against the International Property Marketplaces (MIPIM) , to be held in Cannes (France) in March 2017 and in Tokyo, Japan in May 2017 to denounce the merchandizing and speculation of housing and the land.
* On this assembly, organized by FRAPRU and NoVox network, members of 3 network have participed : NoVox, Habitant International Coalition (HIC) and International Alliance of Inhabiatants (IAH)