Yesterday, and for the 8th time, around 50 activists managed to stop another eviction for loan non-payment since 15-May Spanish protests began. Only in Madrid, 2,532 families were evicted during the first quarter 2011. The victims of the mortgage crisis assume some of the responsibility for having signed a loan over their possibilities, in a context of national encouragement towards home-property as the only way of housing. However, bank institutions largely overvalued real estate, which has led to a paradox. Not only does a household pay off their debt by loosing their home, but due to the current legislation they also owe additional money; real estate is valued now at a much lower price by the same banking institution. Furthermore, over 700,000 new apartments in Spain remain empty after completion, trapped in after-crisis legal limbos.
The Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (Mortgage Victims Platform) proposes to change this amongst their solutions compiled in form of a manifest. Debt must be settled with foreclosed homes and without any additional fee, like it happens in the US and in other countries of the EU. If a household is unable to make mortgage loan payments, the bank must only repossess the home. This grass-roots association aims to stop evictions, but also urges the Government to take over mortgaged dwellings and turn them into low-rent social housing. This initiative has already proofed successful in the Basque Country. The PAH also proposes the loan market to be audited, as well as limiting loan installments to a maximum 30% of the monthly income. As they state in their manifest, the call to stop evictions comes from the current violation of the UDHR Article 25, the Spanish Constitution Article 47, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Article 11.
Today, more than 50 riot policemen prevented a 9th flash mob from achieving their goal. Moreover, the method to notify evictions has become stricter, according to the current state of affairs. Instead of notifying a certain date and time, from now on they will rather mention a time interval spanning several days or weeks. This measure tries to avoid demonstrators chaining themselves to the entrance door. Activists have reacted by staying overnight at to-be-foreclosed homes at critical nights, and have recently called to squat every evicted dwelling.
Suffocating situation in Madrid’s turmoil summer, and still two hot events to come: the national protest march for True Democracy is arriving 23rd July to the capital, demonstrators coming from all over the country; and the Pope’s mega-visit in August with a disproportionate cost of 50 million euros. Suffocating.
[image> Stop Evictions Flash Mob, Madrid 19/07/2011 via elpais]