Finding Radical Alternatives in Slums, Exurbs, and Enclaves

By: Joshua K. Leon

Cross-posted from Metropolis Mag

Originally published on Apr 7, 2015

Elemental’s Quinta Monroy houses in Chile have become a poster-image for Latin America’s activist architecture.
Courtesy Cristóbal Palma

 

Justin McGuirk’s Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture should be required reading for anyone looking for ways out of the bleak social inequality we’re stuck in. There were 40 million more slum dwellers worldwide in 2012 than there were in 2010, according to the UN. Private markets clearly can’t provide universal housing in any way approaching efficiency, and governments are often hostile to the poor. The only alternative is collective action at the grassroots level, and I’ve never read more vivid reporting on the subject.

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FIVE YEARS AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE IN HAITI, THE SAD STATE OF DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS

An Interview with Human Rights Organizer Jackson Doliscar

By Beverly Bell

Jackson Doliscar, community organizer and human rights defender.

Some things never change. In Haiti, no matter the century or decade in question, one can be certain that: the state and elite are trouncing the rights and needs of the majority, the population is protesting to demand land and justice, and the international community is taking the wrong side.

Five years after the earthquake that killed an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 (no one knows for sure) and rendered 1.9 million more people homeless, the fraudulently elected administration of Michel Martelly has abandoned any pretense of democracy. Having failed to hold elections three years in a row, instead letting national and local elective seats become vacant, the government now rules by decree. It is also attacking and killing human rights defenders. The elite, in combination with foreign corporations, are seizing land for agribusiness, mining, tourism, and free trade zones. The grassroots has taken to the streets to demand democratic government and an end to foreign occupation by the UN. Social movements are also mobilizing for defense of land, housing, and rights. The US has, until recent months, staunchly supported the government. It has backed this support with “security” funding, including more than $7 million for the police in 2015, for a nation not at war against anyone but its own people.

Jackson Doliscar is a community organizer and human rights defender. Since the earthquake, he has been the primary outreach worker in an international campaign for the right to housing for those left languishing under tents, through the Force for Reflection and Action on Housing (FRAKKA, by its Creole acronym). This is the first in a two-part series.

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January 12, 2013: What are the Memories? Where are the Lessons?

Today, the Haitian Collective to Defend the Right to Housing commemorates the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Titanyen, the site of the earthquake
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“Under Tents” Statement on Forced Evictions

December 10, 2012

On the 64th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we call on the international community to act against the human rights abuses taking place in Haiti in the form of arbitrary and illegal forced evictions.

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