The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Spanish Population Mobilizes Against Home Evictions

Apr 1, 2013

In Spain, the entire country continues to mobilize against “desahucios,” that is, against evictions of homeowners who can no longer pay their mortgages. Unemployment, job insecurity, and wage cuts are the cause.

The current legislation makes it possible for banks to initiate legal proceedings against people who can no longer make their monthly payments, which continue to go up as variable interest rates rise. If after several months the borrower is insolvent, they can be evicted from their home and the housing is turned over to the bank that issued the mortgage.

But even worse than being put out in the street, those evicted are not free from the mortgage debt. Nor is any family member who co-signed for the mortgage loan. All are responsible to continue to repay the loan on a home to which they no longer have the keys! The bank can even resell the home.

Only the poorest, most isolated individuals with no relatives can get free of this debt after foreclosure. This horrible phenomenon, creating misery for hundreds of thousands of people, has continued to develop along with the economic crisis. The banks now have a huge real estate inventory, recovered thanks to a truly revolting law. It’s no wonder that the mobilization against it has continued over the past two years, with broad support in the population.

Growing protests demand that families remain in their homes. Many have raised their voice against the fact that the debt to the banks is not ended when the keys are turned over. A petition calling for a change in this law has been signed by almost a million and a half people.

The Spanish government says it will consider a reform of the law, but without committing itself to anything. The banks are opposing any proposal that lets homeowners off the hook. If homeowners don’t pay back, the banks will be on the hook for these “toxic assets,” that is, the so-called non-creditworthy loans.

As has been true for some years now, the situation of the Spanish working class continues to deteriorate. It’s no surprise that the number of those determined to back down the government and the banks is increasing.