Tuesday January 11th 2022
Lecture within the framework of the course South: Space and non hegemonic paradigms of knowledge
Tutor: Iris Lykourioti
In this presentation, Chester Arcilla explains the political-economy of the Philippine socialized housing program and its implications on subaltern resistances. The socialized housing program provides the relocation required legally for evictions of informal settlements. Compelling slum dwellers to purchase unlivable and unaffordable housing in remote peri-urban sites, the program privatizes profits, socializes risks and costs, and curtails democratic participation. Urban subalterns respond with diverse resistances ranging from quiet encroachment to an Occupy movement. Here, quiet encroachment for in-city home-remaking after evictions requires the break-up of families, negotiations with slum gatekeepers and community support. Many slum communities have also countered with people's planning for on-site upgrading or near-site resettlement, achieving some success with allied NGOs and state champions' support. However, the people's plans are constrained by housing subsidies, which often exclude the poorer slum dwellers. In 2017, the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap - a coalition of urban poor groups, enacted one of the largest empty socialized housing takeovers in the Global South. This occupation may signal a shift from defensive anti-eviction protests and barricades to an offensive strategy for urban resource redistribution in the Philippines but has provoked state containment strategies from an increasingly fascist regime.
Chester Antonino C. Arcilla, PhD is an associate professor of economics and urban studies at the University of the Philippines-Manila. His work centers on helping the poor struggle for their right to the city and marking histories of and struggles against home-unmaking accompanying neoliberal urbanization and financialization in the South. His recent publications include: Heterogeneous subaltern collectivities and neoliberal entanglements: Resisting neoliberal frontiers, pragmatic socialities and the right to the city for all struggle; Ensuring the affordability of socialized housing: Towards livable and sustainable homes for the poor; Producing empty socialized housing: Privatizing gains, socializing costs and dispossessing the Filipino poor; and Personal politics and ethics in engaged ethnography in urban subalternity.