Skip to content or view screen version

European Housing action round-up 2007

earth NOT money | 20.10.2007 19:45 | Free Spaces | Repression | Social Struggles | World

The fight for the Enforceable Right to Housing in the midst
of Property Speculation

Campaigning for Housing and Land Rights in Europe.

It seems when "free-market" is adapted to the places where people
live, love, raise their children and their vegetables, THE LAND, from a
pure financial asset is becoming a poisoned asset; "Poisoned" in
fact by the voices and souls of people fighting for their dignity, for
their right to live in peace in the place where their families died rather
than become subject (physical and economical) of Stock Market brokers
in their Private Equity business.


The housing crisis is above all a "crisis of poverty", the of people in the streets of exile, injustice, real estate speculation. The middle classes are not like those in Argentina, crying famine after instantly feeling the blows of the financial crisis, but they feel their impoverishment, the shrinking of their already tiny living spaces. The time of revolutions and the communes have passed, where we blockaded the mines and the walls of our factories, yelling like the Canuts, "Live free working or die fighting" The society of the spectacle has transformed activists and all those involved in social struggles, so that they now participate in creating their own misery. The National Guard can attack us and step on us, and we will be there, victims of a violence that has no other cause than our own poverty. Following the traveling camera of French Television that the police administration will be watching, could lead the number of our application for social housing, to become a priority. Ultimately nothing will change, as the unequal distribution of wealth that pushes precarious workers to live further away from the city centre to have a place to stay, and the beginning of the global migration of the world's poor.


The fight for the Enforceable Right to Housing
in the midst of Property Speculation

Campaigning for Housing and Land Rights in Europe.

It seems when "free-market" is adapted to the places where people
live, love, raise their children and their vegetables, THE LAND, from a
pure financial asset is becoming a poisoned asset; "Poisoned" in
fact by the voices and souls of people fighting for their dignity, for
their right to live in peace in the place where their families died rather
than become subject (physical and economical) of Stock Market brokers
in their Private Equity business.

January 2007 was an important date for Europe. Something like the
beginning of a Pan-European strategy for Housing and the Built Environment
( for business only)

And as all bad policies imported by the fellow American cousin, UK is the
first testing ground before leading to the Federal States of Europe.


Whilst business and stock market analysts were busy estimating their next
profit windfall from the amount of "capital accumulation" which
REITs could potentially bring into Europe, a substantial movement for the
Right to Housing and Against Property Speculation was forming right in the
middle of the financial heart of Paris. On the night between the 31
December 2006 and 1st January 2007, homeless families,
immigrants and their supporters from three different activist groups -
Jeudi Noir (Black Thursday) , DAL Droit Aux Lougement (Rights to Housing)
and Macaq, together occupied the Rue de la Banque just in front of the
Stock Exchange, a bank owned by some international finance speculator
which had been left empty for three years. There they set up a mock
"housing crisis ministry" which they called the "Ministry of
Housing Crisis" in a bid to keep housing rights on politicians'
agendas before the next presidential elections.

In doing so, they pressured the government to adopt a new law to make
housing an enforceable right like education or other basic human rights.

This new French law Le droit au lougement opposable (DALO) (Enforceable
Right to Housing) will give the possibility to all homeless people and
those without a regular place to live (roof over the head), to appeal
against the public authorities and the government where their incapacity
of offering an adequate level of (social) accommodation leads to increase
of homelessness and housing crisis. At present, in France, this law is
planned into two main phases:

At the end of 2008, the"enforceable right to housing" will apply to the
more vulnerable part of the society; homeless, single women with children
and people who cannot afford a home.
After 1st January 2012, the"enforceable right to housing" will be extended to all the people whose housing standards are judged to be sub-standard, dangerous or below basic human standards.

Fighting for Dignity

The force and power of the French social movement for the right to housing
is trying to address the strong inequality of the housing and how the land
allocation system and ill thought-out planning policies and market-led
architectural decision is turning our cities and our countryside in pure
financial asset. They are also raising the issue of how the social
qualities of public spaces are more important than decisions over land
allocation which favour short term profit.

For this reason, and for many other reasons, African immigrants, homeless,
poor families and activists took to the streets again without waiting
until the winter to reclaim their human right to have a roof on their head
and live in peace and dignity with their children and friends.

Here is an account of what has been happening in Paris during October 2007 :


Since Wednesday October 3rd, homeless men and women, including both French
citizens and those with work permits (most often working at the hardest
and lowest-paying jobs) have been engaged in an emblematic struggle to
obtain real housing. Every night, between 120 and 170 families occupied
the sidewalks in front of 24 de la Banque, across the street from the
stock exchange. Despite police repression and harassment, they resisted
together, demanding both for themselves and for everyone in danger of
homelessness, both French and immigrants.

The National Guard attempted to remove the protestors on Thursday 4th
October, confiscating tents and the sleeping bags and arresting 62 people.
That evening, the tents were set up, in front of 24 Rue de la Banque, 139
homeless people stayed over on the first night. Thursday evening: 111
tents were set up, and almost 200 people stayed over that night.

Organizers: DAL (Right to Housing) , CDSL,Contact : DAL 01 42 78 22 00
dal at - 24 rue de la Banque - Paris 2e



On the 29th of September "Urbanisme et Démocratie" (Udé) and the
"Collectif Logement" opened the 07/08-campaign for housing and land rights
in Paris with a demonstration demanding funding for and creating of public
housing. Both organizations look back on a long history of local
residents' struggle to participate in the development of their city.

The demonstration in Paris, Sept, 29, 2007 was to call attention to the
problem of lack of public housing and being one of the actions opening the
HIC campaign 2007-2008 a demonstration was organized by the "Collectif
Logement" and "Urbanisme et Démocratie" along the new tram line in Paris.

This venue was chosen as the tram is considered as one of the success
stories of the Paris municipality along with the bicycles now provided by
the city all over Paris at a nominal cost. The idea was that the time is
now ripe for the city to tackle the housing problem in a serious way and
provide housing for all.

Each demonstrator bore with a poster "Un Toit? Un Droit! Tous Solidaire" -
"A roof? A right! Solidarity above all". Flyers were distributed
underlining the great jump in the cost of housing in 20 years, (3.5 times
compared to general inflation only 1.5 times ) demanding that the city now
concentrate on housing everyone decently.

The demonstrators formed a long chain that started at the Porte de Vanves
and moved towards the Porte de Orleans.

Links :




Rally against Olympic evictions in London

On the 23rd of September a rally against Olympic evictions took place in
Hackney, with a march from Hackney Town Hall to the Olympic site. This was called
by the Manor Garden allotment holders forced to relocate on this date.

The demo was organized in solidarity with other evicted groups such as
Clays Lane Housing Co-op who have already been evicted from their homes and
traveller/Gypsy communities soon to be evicted.

The demo in Hackney called into question the excessive social, economic and
environmental costs of the Olympics as a catalyst for (de)regeneration.

Between the 24th and the 26th of September activities were planned around a
conference about Real Estate Investment Trusts called REIT World UK 2007.
Details for actions will follow. The London Tenants Federation who are supporting
this action, would like to encourage wider debate and awareness of the issues
of REITs
(see latter end of text below). During the winter other activities will
take place gathering and distributing information on current housing issues and
working towards the creation of autonomous and public political spaces.


Campaign kick-off in Zurich: How to make a city socially sustainable

By guided tours and meetings at the former industrial area "Zollfreilager"
the Zurich Tenants Association demonstrated how to secure non for profit
housing in a global city. Legally binding city planning is necessary to
obtain a sustainable social mix in the city, the association claimed at
the occasion of World Habitat Day.

Like everywhere in the globalizing world, in Zurich, non for profit
housing is vanishing due to reconstruction and demolition of affordable
units. Zurich, up to now known for its unique 25% share in communal and
cooperative housing, is extending its global city status to the housing
sector: While private investors are building most profitable houses and
offices in a city plagued by a never ending housing
crises, the city itself runs out of land to create more space for
not-for-profit housing.

That's why the tenants association of Zurich's key demand is for a
housing contingent for all zones (as it is practiced already), but also to
fix a contingent of 25% of non profit housing in new housing zones to
secure the 100 years old tradition of cooperative and communal housing in

Mass mobilisations of Direct-action/squatting in Denmark:
Activists in Denmark have attempted to squat a replacement for the
occupied social centre Ungdomshuset which was evicted over six months ago.
On Saturday 6th, thousands of people took to the streets of
Copenhagen following a co-ordinated day of action, which was met with
heavy police repression, resulting with a total of 436 arrests according
to Danish mainstream media. Later in the evening, the G13
press group issued an statement declaring an end to the day's successful

Timeline of events | Photo Galleries:

Background History Of The Ungdomshuset Social Centre

"The building was completed on 12 November 1897, with the name
"Folkets Hus" (The People's House). The house functioned as one of the
resorts for the then-incipient labour movement of Copenhagen. Since
labour organisations were unpopular in the eyes of the authorities, and
reprisals were often carried out against them, the organisations had to
build their own headquarters ; Folkets Hus was the fourth of
these to be built. The roots of several demonstrations and meetings were
planted in Folkets Hus, and as a result it was strongly linked to the
great demonstration against unemployment in 1918 when workers
stormed the Danish Stock Exchange (Borsen). In 1910, The Second
International held an International Women's conference at the house,
during which Clara Zetkin launched the idea of an International
Women's Day. Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg visited the centre."

APRIL 2008

Call for decentralized squat days of action + invitation to preparation
meeting this

1) Call for days of decentralized actions in defense of squatted &
autonomous spaces in Europe, April 2008;

2) Invitation to a preparation meeting in "Les Tanneries" (Dijon,
France), November 2007;

Call ------- >

« On Friday the 4th and Saturday the 5th of April 2008, we call for two
days of demonstration, direct action, public information, street-party,
squatting... in defence of free spaces and for an anti-capitalist popular

Through these two days, we want to help create more visibility of
autonomous spaces and squats as a european/global political movement. We
want to develop interconnections and solidarity between squats and
autonomous spaces. We want to keep linking our spaces with new people and
new struggles, and support the creation of autonomous spaces in places
where there has not been a history of this kind of action. We want to
build, step by step, our ability to overcome the wave of repression
falling on us.

We call for decentralised and autonomous actions of all kinds, depending
on what people feel to be the most appropriate to their local context.
You'll find below the political content we wish to
give to these two days.

The rest of the call can be read on It is not
a final text, but a way to introduce and discuss the project. It was first
proposed by a group of people involved with various autonomous
spaces around Europe. This summer, we travelled with it and introduced it
to various collectives. Given the present dynamic of resistance around
autonomous spaces in Europe, it seems that the word is spreading quite
quickly and enthousiastically.

Preparation Meeting

The success of this call now depends upon our capacity to create a bigger
international working group. The whole event will happen without any
"central commitee", and will be made of a various autonomous
decentralised actions. Still, we think it is important to have a physical
meeting, in order to exchange ideas and strategies, discuss the contents
of the call, see how to create common information tools around
that project, how to connect and help the various local initiatives.

Thus, we're calling for an international preparation & coordination
meeting on November 24th & 25th 2007, in the autonomous space "Les
Tanneries", located in Dijon, France. It is a squatted social centre in
a post-industrial environment, occupied since 1998. Thanks to years of
struggle against the city council owning the buildings, the project has
reached a certain degree of stability. It hosts a collective house, a
gig room, a hacklab, a free shop, an infoshop, a collective garden, a

We hope that many of you will be able to join. Please tell us a bit in
advance if you're planning to come, so that we get an idea of the number
of people we have to accomodate and plan food for. You're very welcome to
pass this invitation to squats and autonomous spaces that you know. The
call can be downloaded as a flyer from

Furthermore, any help with translations in whatever




futher contacts >





earth NOT money
- e-mail:
- Homepage: