* An Encuentro, or encounter, is a gathering of housing activists, practitioners and scholars from across Europe and North America who will come together to share skills, knowledge and experiences. The focus will be on brainstorming, learning from each other and building international networks.

Housing Justice Encuentro in Barcelona

from 4-7 April 2024

Organised by the Catalunya Tenants’ Union and the “Property and Democratic Citizenship” research project based out of Ghent University and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (ERC-CoG-771795).

Thursday, April 4th Guided Tour of Local Initiatives

Barcelona has a rich and vibrant recent history of housing struggles. Led by local groups the tour will make stops at key sites of housing struggle and organization in Barcelona, getting to know some of the housing justice initiatives taking place today.

Friday, April 5th Workshops

Workshops from 9.00 to 18.00 at CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, C/ de Montalegre, 5), led by the Property and Democratic Citizenship ERC project.

Workshop 1.
Financialised Corporate Landlords
The rise of corporate landlords has created many new challenges for tenants, but also offers new opportunities to organise large numbers of tenants at once. Financialisation of property treats housing as an asset that must continuously generate higher revenues through ever-increasing rents. In this panel we discuss the consequences of the rise in financialised corporate landlords in the field of housing with a focus on understanding how these landlords operate and our strategies to resist them.

Lenea Maibaum, Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco and Veritas Tenants Association, San Francisco, US.
Pablo Pérez, Sindicato de Inquilinas de Madrid, Spain.
Desirée Fields, Associate Professor of Geography and Global Metropolitan Studies, University of California, Berkeley, US.

Workshop 2.
Alternative Housing Models
How can we arrange property relations differently? How can we scale up from one property to a network of alternatives? What are the challenges we face when we try to act outside of or against dominant capitalist property relations? In this workshop we will discuss the plurality of strategies and struggles that exist to generate housing alternatives.

Mietshäuser Syndikat, Tenement Housing Syndicate, Germany.
CoHab, Action research group for cohousing and collective ownership in Athens, Greece.
Mara Ferreri, Assistant Professor in Geography, Polytechnic of Turin, Italy. Urban & Housing researcher at @InhabitationLab and volunteer @ladinamo_

Workshop 3.
Racial Justice and Housing Justice
Organising for housing justice goes hand in hand with the fight for racial justice. In Europe, race intersects with ideologies of white nativism and exclusions through (presumed) citizenship status. Racism in the housing market makes it near impossible to find affordable housing. Highly profitable industries are created for housing asylum seekers in substandard accommodation. In the United States, access to housing rests on a series of racial exclusions from segregation and discrimination to the devaluation and destruction of Black and immigrant neighbourhoods. Even formal inclusion often results in discrimination (higher interest rates and higher risk). In this workshop we discuss how a fight for housing justice is necessarily also a fight for racial justice and share strategies for bringing these movements closer together.

Dominique Walker (she/her), Moms 4 Housing Inc, Oakland, US.
Jess Gonzalez, Amics del Moviment Quart Món, Barcelona.
Gargi Bhattacharyya (they/them), Professor of Anticolonial/Decolonial/Postcolonial Theory and Praxes, Decolonising Arts Institute, University of the Arts London, UK.

Workshop 4.
Building Tenant Power
Tenant organising against rent exploitation has been around for centuries. In this workshop we explore some historical examples of tenant struggles and then look at how these historical examples can inform ongoing organising strategies to build rent strikes and tenants unions. In this workshop we engage in a living history exercise that explores contemporary forms of tenant mobilisation across Europe and North America. This is just the start of a discussion that will carry on throughout day 3 in a series of structured conversations on specific themes. 

Jaime Palomera, Sindicat de Llogateres de Catalunya and head of housing at the Barcelona Urban Research Institute (IDRA).
Sharlene Henry, Co-Chair of the York South-Weston Tenant Union, Chair of the 33 King St Tenants’ Association. Sharlene is an autoworker at the Stellantis plant in Toronto, and she has been on a rent strike for 11 months.
Hannes Rolf, assistant professor at the Institute of Urban History, Stockholm University.

Saturday, April 6th International Gathering of Tenants Unions

International Gathering of Tenants Unions. From 9.00 to 20.00, led by the Catalunya Tenants’ Union at Can Batlló (C/ Constitució, 19).

Workshop 1.
Rent Strikes, Member Defence and Direct Action Tactics
This workshop will explore methods of tenant mobilisation and resistance to secure rentals at more favourable prices or conditions. Classic mobilisation pathways, such as rent strikes and other forms of resistance (standing firm, eviction blockades, etc.), will be highlighted, discussing various strategies and tactics against landlord abuses.

Workshop 2.
How we grow: Territorialisation, Expansion, and Coordination/Federation
This discussion will tackle the recurring challenge of how to promote organisational growth, territorial establishment, and coordination among unions in second-level structures (federations, coordinators). The focus will be on sharing strategies for increasing the number of affiliates, territorial extension, as well as coordination and federation among various organisations.

Workshop 3.
Representation Schemes and Collective Bargaining
This topic will cover how unions achieve representative capacities against landlords and the state, the available representation schemes, the existence of legalised collective representation frameworks, how they exert pressure on authorities for recognition, and tactics used to impose collective bargaining on landlords.

Workshop 4.
Alliances with Labor Unionism
This workshop will examine the importance of coordinating tenant unionism with labour unionism, how conflicts between the two are articulated, and how they can mutually strengthen each other.

Closing ceremony of the Encuentro Union representatives from several countries will give short speeches about the importance of international tenant solidarity, leading up to the joint reading of the Barcelona Declaration.


Interested to join?
At the moment we have reached full capacity but you can register for the waiting list here and we will contact you as soon as spaces free up. The event is free of charge.

Do not hesitate to get in touch for any questions you may have, you can reach us at:

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