Followers of this blog will be familiar with Spain’s housing movement Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (we’re written about them here and here). To our great delight, Housing Action Now are bringing two members of the collective to Dublin this Friday to launch the book Mortgaged Lives (recently translated into English and part financed by our good selves).
Mortgaged lives, which is available here, tells the story of the rise and rise of one of Europe’s most important social movements. From its origins in Barcelona in 2010, the PAH has grown to become a national organisation with hundreds of local groups across the country and widespread support. The group continue to work along a number of campaigns, fighting to change mortgage laws and housing policy, resisting evictions and negotiating debt cancellation, and occupying empty housing units held by banks and the SAREB (Spain’s equivalent to NAMA). The other side of the PAH has been its development of a new style of social movement politics, with its extremely effective hybrid of the horizontal and participative practices associated with grassroots movements, effective responses to immediate problems reminiscent of community work or trade unionism, and an ability to juggle policy reform, the call for social rights and the more direct empowerment of victims of the mortgage crisis as they occupy and self-manage housing.
Friday’s event will launch the book but also feature a talk by the PAH activists and a discussion of the relevance to the Irish context. The event kicks off at 7.30 in the offices of the Mandate trade union on Cavendish Row (Parnell Square opposite the side entrance to the Gate Theatre.)