Mass demonstrations against evictions and for the right to housing
By Arsén Sabaté
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Last Saturday, February 16, the PAH (“Platform of those affected by mortgages”) organized demonstrations throughout Spain, against the calamity of the evictions and for the right to housing. In 2012, an average of 526 evictions daily were carried out throughout Spain. And, since 2008 until now, more than 400,000 evictions have been ordered. As if that were not enough, a big rise in suicides is emerging, caused by this tragedy, that has increased, in view of harassment by banks and the threats of evictions. Year after year, the incomes of the banks Santander, BBVA and La Caixa have been increasing as they continue leaving people without a roof to live under.
The demonstrations were very massive in the main cities, with the one in Barcelona being the largest. Chants like, “Yes, we can” or “The next one evicted will be a Deputy” made themselves heard, and [there were] signs with slogans like “Stop evictions,” “For the right to housing, against financial genocide,” or more forceful ones, like “Fascist politicians, killers hired by terrorist bankers.” The reasons we demonstrated continue to be the most dramatic results of the scourges generated by this capitalist crisis, in which the banks are acting shamelessly with the support of the political class, against the working class and the poor.
In Madrid, where they also went out to the streets, one of most critical moments was when some demonstrators recognized Beatriz Talegón and López Aguilar, the Justice Minister in Zapatero’s government, and booed at them until they left the demonstration, accompanied by the police. Beatriz Talegón, Secretary General of the International Union of Socialist Youth, is the same person who, a week earlier, harangued and showed the leaders of the Socialist International up for their lack of scruples in calling meetings in five-star hotels and traveling in luxurious automobiles. However, Talegón forgot that she is the representative of one of the guilty parties and promoters of urban speculation and the policies of rescuing banks at the expense of workers and the poor.
Fortunately, over and above her statements about the “renewal” of social democracy, it is impossible for millions of people to forget the role that the PSOE has played in government. The demonstrations in Seville, Valencia, the Basque Country, Murcia, and a large number of other cities, showed the solidarity that is emerging regarding evictions and the capitalist crisis in general.