January–February 2015        

Housing action now

Noel Martin

Ada Colau and Adrià Alemany, Mortgaged Lives: From the Housing Bubble to the Right to Housing (Los Angeles: Journal of Aesthetics and Protest Press, 2014).

in November, Housing Action Now, a collective of community workers, researchers, organisers and activists concerned with the housing crisis endemic in Irish society, launched the English translation of Vides Hipotecades (Mortgaged Lives) by Ada Colau and Adrià Alemany.
     This event was hosted by Mandate and jointly organised by Housing Action Now and the Spanish organisation Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (Platform of those Affected by Mortgages), which is co-ordinated by the European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and by the City, their umbrella group. The speakers on the evening where from the PAH, with two Spanish activists from that organisation, Jenifer González and Javier Arizmendi.
     Mortgaged Lives is a powerful, incendiary document produced by two of the founders of the PAH, which shows that people power is not only alive and well but is still the strongest method available to effect sustainable change that reflects the needs of people and not those of capital.
     The first half of the book tackles the roots of the Spanish housing bubble and the present housing crisis, dispelling some of its most prevalent myths while giving an insider view of the meteoric rise of the PAH, which has reproduced itself on a massive scale and has delivered the right to housing for tens of thousands of Spanish citizens who have been evicted from their homes, shackled with insurmountable debt and brought to breaking-point by the ruthlessness of banks and the political system.
     The concluding section of the book discusses the strategies necessary for creating and maintaining an effective and inspiring broad egalitarian social movement that can empower and enable individuals by forging collective solidarity through encouragement, support, and organisation.
     The following evening Housing Action Now, in conjunction with the PAH, organised a workshop for housing activists and community workers, also hosted by Mandate.

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