Movement of the Day: Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca

PAH is the platform for those affected by foreclosures in Spain.

The Democratic Underground blog writes:

“Grown out of the 15-M or Indignados movement, they have managed to halt 692 evictions up until now. When they and 15-M jointly call for street protest such as the “white sea” or the “sea of citizens”, hundreds of thousands have responded in cities all over Spain, repeatedly.

Even more impressive, the PAH has put forward a so-called popular legislative initiative, a proposal of law sponsored by the people directly. It needed half a million signatures, but got 1,5 million.

In the ILP, they propose to retroactively halt all eviction procedures, to allow people who couldn’t keep up the mortgage payments to simply hand over the keys and walk away (called dacion en pago, or “payment in kind”), and to allow people to keep on living in their house at a social housing rent. Note that social housing in Spain is virtually nonexistent, whereas in the EU the average is 15 % of properties for rent. Now, the ruling Partido Popular, rather than voting on the ILP, has come up with a (counter)proposal for “mortgage relief”, which waters down the demands about eviction stops and dacion en pago, and has totally thrown out social housing. Note that the PP was elected on a platform of “no cuts”…

The PAH has now taken to a tactic which was born in Argentina as a method to point out those colluding with the dictatorship – the escrache , in which protesters name and shame politicians blocking the ILP, by peacefully protesting at their residence or in public places. The PAH has also just recently occupied a bank building that had been sitting empty for four years, since its construction. The bank had also been getting public money, so they figured (rightly imho) that they could squat on this property, and plan to extend this principle to other similar buildings.”

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