postvirtual

“A Decent and Adequate Home”

In #GlobalRevolution, Madrid, Spain on 25 October 2012 at 21:55

October 25

Dear people,

For three days now, people who were evicted by Bankia or are at risk of eviction have been camping outside the bank’s headquarters. Today there was a demonstration in their support.

The issue of evictions has finally caught on. Not only on the social networks, but also on tv and in the papers. It was about time. The numbers are staggering. Every day, five hundred evictions are being executed in Spain. At such a rate it amounts to roughly 180.000 evictions a year. If we estimate three persons per household, then we are talking about more than half a million people.

Some of them find shelter with family and friends, some of them are occupying, others are out on the streets.

‘A man’s home is his castle’, so they say. This morning in Granada, a man refused to surrender his castle when police came to evict him. He committed suicide instead.

So evictions are becoming main stream news. Today, El País published a page full of personal tragedies. With all the people forced out onto the streets on a daily basis, you can imagine that they had a wide choice of particularly tearjerking cases.

At the same time in the same paper, current mortgage custom and the way the banks abuse it, have been fiercely criticised by the judges who are supposed to sign the evictions. They argue that a part of the public funds with which the government bailed out Bankia should be destined to lift the burden of indebted families.

“Bail out people, not banks”, is another of the slogans at Occupy Bankia.

The socialists in the opposition have already presented a bill which aims to stabilise the situation and limit the amount of evictions. Bloody freaking hypocrites. They admitted that previous legislation they passed with the same purpose has failed. In the last four years (three of which have seen the socialists in power), 350.000 families have been evicted.

Then there are the ghost towns on the outskirts of the cities. I have seen them. Blocks and blocks of uninhabited molochs, built in the last years of the boom.

It all seems so simple. After the bailout, Bankia is owned by the state. Now the first thing the state has to do is extinguish the debt of people who were evicted by the bank, and do so retroactively. Next thing is to declare a moratorium on all evictions, until this whole debt thing has been sorted out.

There are many more houses than families in Spain. So there must be a way to solve this puzzle. In fact, it is the government’s duty to do so, according to article 47 of the Spanish constitution: “All Spaniards have the right to a decent and adequate home. Public authorities shall promote the necessary conditions and establish the appropriate standards in order to realise this right, they shall regulate the use of the land in the public interest to prevent speculation.”

Bankia has already stated that it will not negotiate with the people camped out on its doorstep.

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