Category Archives: Habitat Unit of Berlin University

Upgrades v Evictions

Thursday, 29 September 2011
Berlin University, Germany

Upgrades v Evictions

I wish to thank Misereor and the Habitat Unit of Berlin University for inviting me to speak on 'Upgrading Urban Shack Settlements' at this meeting on people centered upgrading approaches. Abahlali baseMjondolo has a lot of experience on this important issue and I will do my best to share that experience with all of you here today.

Before I begin it is important for me, on behalf of Abahlali baseMjondolo, to thank Klaus Teschner and Misereor for their support when we were facing serious repression. One of the great weakness of our democracy is that the legal system is commodified. This is one reason why the state is often happy to force the struggles of the poor into the courts. It is very easy for the state and other elites to isolate the struggles of the poor by criminalising the struggles of the poor. If we enter the courts without good legal representation, which costs money, we are in a very dangerous situation. Misereor has enabled us to enter the courts with good legal representation and this has meant that we could get a fair hearing there. We also want to thank Klaus's comrade, Knut Unger, who has hosted our comrades here in Germany and has done so much to organise political support for our struggles, especially when we are facing repression.

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