The Sindicato de Inquilinas de Gran Canaria (Tenants Union of Gran Canaria, SIGC) and the Federación Anarquista de Gran Canaria (Anarchist Federation of Gran Canaria, FAGC) publicly adhere to the «Social Shock Plan» developed by several social organizations across the Spanish State in response to the sanitary, economic and social crisis caused by the Covid-19.
However, even though we endorse the whole «Shock Plan», we think that asking the authorities to do something is not enough. It is also essential both to set out the measures to be taken in case the working-class demands are not met, and to secure the methods to protect us and take care of ourselves. Therefore, we demand:
1º Payment of rent, mortgage, and basic supplies (water, electricity, gas) must be immediately suspended, but also any credit debt contracted by vulnerable people with any financial entity. The interest over such debts must be settled. Additionally, any eviction process issued against people in a vulnerable situation must be suspended.
2º Salaries must be secured, but also a Universal Basic Income must be approved to cover people without regular income (especially for families whose children are affected by school canteens shutdown). Prices of basic necessities must be limited in order to prevent shortages. Dismissals, not only individual and collective dismissals, but also temporary suspensions must be prohibited, and every single dismissed worker must be immediately reincorporated.
3º Any non-essential work activity must be suspended.
4º Housing alternatives must be provided to the homeless, for whom the #Stayhome campaign is an insult. On the other hand, empty houses in the hands of banks and financial funds and entities must be socialized.
5º Private hospitals and all their resources must be socialized. These resources must be devoted to ensuring healthcare to historically excluded populations such as migrant and convicted people.
In case these demands are not met by the Government:
We call upon Working and Tenant Unions across the Spanish State to call a General Strike and an Indefinite Rent and Mortgage Strike. We urge the population to call it on their own in case these Unions are not up to the task.
If they force us to work in non-essential jobs, only a massive General Strike can protect us.
We understand that this systemic collapse situation exacerbated by the Coronavirus may be used as an excuse to impose an even more savage, controlling and inhuman Capitalist model. Working conditions may be further degraded and the austerity dogma may strike the poorest even harder. However, this situation may also be taken as a chance for us, the lower class, to finally unveil the imperfections and frailties of this System. We must conquer back our lost field and force, through collective action, a change of paradigm to a more social, equal, and free society.
Rent Strike in the Spanish State
Many renters are suffering from alarming life conditions due to the Covid-19 crisis, and the Government has refused to take any measure that would improve their situation. Hence, the Sindicato de Inquilinas de Gran Canaria (Tenants Union of Gran Canaria) called a General and Indefinite Rent Strike starting from 1st April, within the International Rent Strike call. This Strike —the first Rent Strike in Spain this century— was immediately supported by thirty housing organizations throughout the Spanish State. However, by 30th March there were already over 200 Tenants Unions and other housing organizations following this call.
This Strike is our response to a humanitarian emergency, maybe less spectacular than that of the Covid-19, but equally lethal: hundreds of thousands of people are being forced to choose between either feeding their children or paying the rent.
The measures announced by the Spanish Government last 31st March are ridiculous, as they protect real estate owner’s profit at the expense of the most vulnerable ones: the renters.
Applying for a microcredit in case your landlord owns less than 10 houses? That’s just the formula that led us to the 2008 crisis: over-indebting the poorer. 4-month payment extensions if your landlord is a «big landlord»? More over-indebtedness, more «feast today, famine tomorrow», as nobody knows how our situation will be like in 4 months. 50% release? No, we demand a 100% suspension of payment. It’s just unconceivable that the French right-wing Government has adopted measures that the so-called Spanish «progressive coalition» Government does not dare to take. 6-month extensions for evictions? That’s basically the time that an eviction process can be postponed through the regular dilatory appeals. That’s sweeping reality under the carpet and putting off thousands of evictions to the end of the year.
Consequently, the Sindicato de Inquilinas de Gran Canaria will continue the General Rent Strike until the Government adopts the following measures:
1. Suspension of the rent, especially if the tenant is in a vulnerable condition or if the landlord is a legal entity or a big real estate company (the minority not meeting these requisites should demand a Universal Basic Income, as specified in our own ‘Shock Plan’). If this measure is not taken by the Government, we won’t pay until we have regular and enough income.
2. Socialization of abandoned houses in the hands of vulture funds and financial and bank entities (especially those bailed out with public funds) to be assigned to the thousands of homeless people.
We won’t accept that landlords exhaust our meager income as the production system is halted. They just cannot force us to choose between either eating or paying the rent. Our message is clear: We don’t get paid; you don’t get rent. Long live the Rent Strike!!