Criminalization of the housing movement in Brazil

25/07/2019 admin 0

Last June 24th four activists for housing were arrested in São Paulo, Brasil, while seventeen others linked to the movement for squatting were put under arrest; fifteen more are threatened of detention. The arbitrariousness of the operation is another signal of the steady drift towards fascism of the state of Brazil, that is, the complete subjugation of public institutions to the interest of big landowners and investors.

The activists were members of housing movements that squatted and returned to the common huge buildings in central São Paulo; they were accused of  criminal association and extortion, something that was also employed in other countries to criminalize squatting, but not yet in Brazil. For their defense, a new organization was created: the “Popular committee in defense of political prisoners and  popular movements“, whose members are activists, worker union members, artists, journalists, lawyers and other people concerned by the criminalization of social struggles.

Given the  previous cases of extreme repression perpetrated by Brazilian authorities against social movements, that include extrajudiciary killings such as Marielle Franco‘s death in March 2018, it is extremely important that all people concerned to the right to housing and to the city in all the world mobilize to denounce these arrests, to claim liberty for the prisoners, and the end of arbitrary persecutions against activists.

The second earthquake

31/07/2018 admin 0
"Emidio di Treviri" is a working group performing research action in the areas hit by the 2016-2017 earthquake in central Italy. They are showing how the political management of post-catastrophe housing, consumption, health, are increasing social inequalities to the point of creating a social earthquake, even worse than the real one.

Same old story in Milan: The destruction of Isola

07/08/2016 admin 0
In crossing the Isola neighborhood in Milan, whoever knows Barcelona suffers a kind of déja vu. The same buildings, the same companies, the same destruction as in Poblenou in 2004. Nouvel is replaced by Boeri, and the Universal Forum of Cultures with the Expo 2015.

City Life Vida Urbana: How evicted turn into activists

23/03/2016 admin 0
Boston has today the highest income divide of the US: evictions invariably hit latinos or afroamerican neighborhoods. City Life / Vida Urbana since the 1970s keeps building a network of mutual aid among those who suffer the consequences of these housing policies, also through the use of theater, rituals, symbols.

Horizontal anthropology in the margins of Barcelona

30/03/2015 admin 0
Stefano Portelli's La ciudad horizontal (Bellaterra, 2015), a research on Bon Pastor's 'casas baratas': a neighborhood where no serious fieldwork can be led without getting involved, without challenging the existing barriers, without revealing clearly the aims behind the research itself. In this case, those are to influence urban planning, to stop the demolition of the neighborhood, and to demand an active role for the residents in the transformations of their territories.
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A dead city

21/01/2015 admin 0

Like chinese boxes, this documentary not only brilliantly shows the institucional and political corruption behind the police-orchestrated hoax known as ‘4F’, which began on February 4th, 2006 in Barcelona’s calle Sant Pere Més Baix, but it also extends in a coil the understanding of horror to wider levels of society: from the police, to the judges, to the press, to social services, to the city council, to gentrification, in brief, to power in itself. Like before Joaquim Jordà’s De Nens (2003), now Ciutat Morta leads us from a particular history to the deep and terrifying comprehension of the general, of society, of the city. To the memory of Patricia Heras, the dead poet.

The Rumba of Barcelona (the “Can Vies effect”)

26/05/2014 admin 0
Requested by the metropolitan transportation authority TMB, catalan autonomic police evicted the historical Can Vies squat in Sants neighbourhood (Barcelona). But the eviction caused a wave of popular uprisings that lasted five days and five nights, and that ended with an attempt to collectively reconstruct the social centre.

There is life in the lagoon

26/04/2014 admin 0
We normally consider Venice as a dead city. Its destiny seems such an inescapable fact that so little is done and even thought to imagine a different future. But something is moving in the lagoon.

Where there be dragons: Multiple modernities in Kathmandu

10/11/2013 admin 0
As opposed to the orientalist stereotypes depicting Kathmandu (Nepal) as a place out of time and of the world, the social reality of Nepal reveals an admirable vivacity. Artists and intellectuals participate in this debates, contributing to make it a laboratory of postsecularism and "multiple modernities".

Ciudad Meridiana… exists!

05/10/2013 admin 0

The history of the neighbourhood of Ciudad Meridiana is a perfect summary of Barcelona’s urbanistic schizofrenia. Built in the Sixties on a land accounted as too damp to build a cemetery, with no transportation or services, secluded and unfit to live in, but with a strong neighbours’ movement, it has always been a problematic territory, unknown to the rest of the population: many of its inhabitants started to leave it already in the Eighties, trying to climb socially and spacially, getting over the decade in which the neighbourhood population reached its peak. Since 2001, when Catalonia and Spain were still inside the “housing market bubble”, the immigrants began arriving to Ciudad Meridiana, through mortgages the banks offered crossing the endorsements, and through other tricks that the financial capital used to “infiltrate the world of the urban poor”, as anthropologist Jaime PALOMERA writes in his essay about the neighbourhood. After the crisis began, Ciudad Meridiana was described as an eviction city, and now again for its strong neighbours and squatters movement. Recently there was an interesting debate: the City Council proposed to establish there an innovative “FabLab” related with MIT, but the neighbours reclaim that same spot for a food bank, much more useful to face the growing poverty of many families [see article here].

Two cities in the same Lisbon

27/08/2013 admin 0
Two Lisbons live together in the same place, and represent two different urban imaginaries: the Marchas dos Santos populars is an effort to bring back to life the impossible memory, of the organic unity lost in some faraway past, before the 'Pombaline Split', when all Lisbon was bairrista.
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Memories of the resistance: the Flor de Maig

30/07/2013 admin 0
What remains: Flor de Maig, built in 1896 and photographied in 2013 (credits: José Mansilla).

The story of the city of Barcelona can be told focusing on its modifications: its urban plans, projects and transformations, i.e., on what changes. But the story of the city can also be told focusing on what remains, through what survives, what resists on the great void created by the struggles over the territory. Some elements – parks, places, buildings, corners – as classic sociologists said, maintain an identity, some relationships, and an enormous popular meaning. This is the case of Flor de Maig, the emblematic building of one of the big workers’ cooperatives of the XIX and XX century, which conveys the memory of Poblenou: a memory of struggles and resistance. Since 2012, some residents recovered the building, and transformed it into a place of denunciation against the neoliberal direction that the city of Barcelona is undertaking, or, as their website says, to give an answer to the needs, the challenges and the unsatisfied desires of the contemporary capitalist city. Will they succeed?

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Taksim halkindir- Taksim belongs to the people!

05/06/2013 admin 0

Early in the morning I find Taksim square already full of people and fully operational, among the flags of the left-wing extraparlamentary groups, and of associations of the civil society, from feminists to LGBT, from kurdish anarchists to muslim anticapitalists and marxists…A commentary from our correspondent in Istanbul: [in spanish and italian]

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World Assembly of Inhabitants at Tunis WSF

27/03/2013 admin 0
FSM 2013 opening parade, on march 26th in Tunis

From March 26th to 30th, in the frame of the Tunisian meeting of the World Social Forum, a World Assembly of Inhabitants (WAI) is taking place, organized by the International Alliance of Inhabitants, Habitat International Coalition and No-Vox networks. Here is the program of the WAI meeting; to prepare the WAI, the International Alliance of Inhabitants promoted the visual project Memories of inhabitants, compiling hundreds of interviews to activists for the right of housing in 4 continents. We add some reflections about the Forum itself, which was planned in time of generalized euphoria, but is now facing a much more complex reality: Altermundialism seeks new breath in Tunis, from the blog Tunisie Libre; WSF to blast austerity, Yasmine Ryan in Aljazeera; What I learned about feminism from a Moroccan men’s chorus, Maria Poblet in In these times; and One year after the revolution from Nawaat.…

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