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USF call: Defending the common goods for the future of cities and territories

Naples, Italy, 6th September 2012
Over 250 local, national and international inhabitants’ organisations and networks for rights related to habitat, engaged in the struggle for decent living conditions in cities and territories, participated in 42 initiatives which were organized as part of the 2nd Urban Social Forum (USF) in Naples, Italy, from 3-7 September 2012. The USF is completely independent, self-managed, self-financed and presents an alternative to UN-Habitat’s sixth World Urban Forum (WUF 6). The USF is collectively responsible and committed to defending the right to the city and territories of common goods.

We hereby denounce:

  • The failure of neoliberal policies which have led authorities to violate legally recognized human rights, to land-grabbing, to the violation of natural resources and common goods, resulting in a systemic, environmental, food and urban crisis affecting more than 1.2 billion people around the world left without housing and without a decent, safe environment; a crisis which is becoming dramatically worse with more than 60 million people facing eviction;
  • The threat on the rights to a future of inhabitants, all living beings and the ecosystem, inflicted by financial globalization which is trying to eradicate democracy in order to get their hands on social and natural common goods, an inalienable inheritance of the Earth and the inhabitants, and which has turned the city into a commodity;
  • The role of UN Habitat which, through their "Manifesto for Cities”, wants to assume leadership for non-democratic and pro-developmental Urban Planning, proposing a partnership which hands over authority from the State and Local Authorities to the private sector, handing over the keys of the city and territories to whoever wants to use it to speculate with the false promise of offering necessary financial resources for getting out of the debt crisis;
  • The waste of public funds for WUF Naples, which represents a backward step regarding the Habitat Agenda and the WUF Rio 2010, with the exclusion of many important topics from the official agenda like evictions, the right to the city based on the social functions of property and of the land and on the principle of democratic management;
  • The stigmatisation of the victims of the crisis, who have become indebted by their mortgages and high rents who, with precarious work or no jobs, also lose their homes, migrants, Roma community, the poor;
  • The criminalization of the homeless, who fight for their right to housing, to land and for common goods and we demand the immediate release of the 2 activists, Tim Sak Mony (Borei Keila) and Yorm Bopha (Boeung Kake) imprisoned this week in Phnom Penh (Cambodia).

We want to contribute through solidarity  to the rebuilding of beautiful and liveable cities and territories open to all inhabitants, designed based on the principal of "good living” and on the World Charter for the Right to the city.

We underline our commitment  to participatory and direct democracy, the defence and participative management of common goods, the rebalancing of the city-countryside relationship, the social functions of property and food sovereignty, claiming the right to their defence through responsible resistance.

We demand  urban and social housing policies based on a social, urban pact which is an alternative to the neoliberal paradigms, i.e. their individual and collective rights and the rights of inhabitants to be creators of a community which respects diversity, a basic condition for a future living in harmony with nature, non client-users of the territories.

We demand  the recovery of the necessary resources for implementing these policies for social and anti-speculative use of public property, in support of self-management and the know-how of inhabitants, for progressive taxation of the real-estate markets, in particular of vacant property, to be released from the stranglehold of sovereign debt.

We propose  a policy against the commoditization of cities, for the rights of their inhabitants to participate in their social production and for equitable distribution of wealth.

We struggle for democratic management of the city, direct participation from its inhabitants in the design, implementation and control of policies and of the public budget.

We demand  that the projects which have a negative impact on the lives of inhabitants be preceded by, compulsory and binding, social and environmental impact assessment, and based on participation.

We take on as our own  the struggles for the right to housing and to the city of Naples inhabitants organisations, in particular against evictions of tenants and those with mortgages, against expulsions of Roma, for the demolition of the Vele building and the social and urban recovery of the Scampia neighbourhoods, to make water supply and local services public again, as shown by the 27 million Yes votes in the 2011 referendum, for the public management and against assigning social housing to the real-estate company Romeo, for the defence of beaches for all, all these being key factors for freeing the city from the camorra and corruption.

We support  the struggle for the rights to housing, to the city and to territories of common goods in Italy and across the world, launching a call to mobilize through solidarity and bringing together of organizations and inhabitants’ networks and for the right to habitat and to the city at the local and international level, inviting the local authorities and other bodies which share the USF principles to commit to this topic, contributing to the elaboration of an open agenda  :

  • World Zero Evictions Days – for the Right to Habitat (October)
  • Gathering of 1million signatures for Public Management of common goods (European Citizens Initiative)
  • Africa Social Forum (Kinshasa, 17-20 January 2013)
  • World Inhabitants Assembly (WSF Tunisia, 23-28 March 2013)

USF Organizing Committee: www.forumsocialeurbanonapoli.org  - info@forumsocialeurbanonapoli.org

IAI: www.habitants.org - info@habitants.org

HIC: www.hic-net.org  - gs@hic-net.org

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