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Law-Poverty : a register of grievances established during ’caves’ meetings, Belgium

(Droit-Pauvreté: cahier de revendication élaboré lors des réunions des "caves", Belgique)

03 / 1993

LST (Luttes, Solidarité, Travail = Struggles, Solidarity, Work), Namur, Belgium, is an association reuniting the poorest families and workers and others who share their struggles, their solidarity and their work. It aims to fight poverty and its causes, social injustice and the theory of assistance.

It is especially during the "caves" meetings, where people of the "Fourth World" (a French expression meaning the poor of the industrialised world)get together, that members of the organisation search for means of action. To mark the tenth anniversary of the association a register of grievances was presented, the fruit of the work undertaken in the "caves" from September to November 1992.

The evolution of present legislation, especially concerning unemployment benefit, the right to a "minimex" (the minimum income needed for subsistence : State allowance for people without any income), professional training and work, will necessarily have an effect on their lives. "We have therefore put out firm propositions, fundamental for the recognition of our existence and our full accession to citizenship, or at least that of the poor. Our struggle will be all the more fruitful as it will be heard and passed on by others. In view of this we hereby submit to you (...)our grievances and our suggestions in the hope that you will adopt them as your own".

A common background of rallying the people and their struggles in Namur, as well as other regions, has taught the members of the association that for the poorest the most elementary legal rights of all citizens must be conquered every day. The effective knowledge of these basic rights, especially the right to housing, education, peaceful assembly and above all the right to live a life that conforms to the standards of human dignity, presupposes (among other facets)the enjoyment of a decent income guaranteed by the state, as it is impossible to ensure this by working. The political world should understand and accept the fact that the first peoples to combat misery are those who suffer from it and that it is urgent to think about the problem and create a time and place for collaboration between the world of politics and the very poor themselves. "We cannot insist enough on the importance of the recognition of the poorest in the role of special partners in order to direct political decisions in the right direction and to orientate social legislation. We intend to comment on the guidelines and the social policies which are in gestation at present on the basis of our collective history, as badly conducted or badly applied social policies always result in indelible failures for the poorest.

After this presentation LST touches on four domains of daily life and the struggle by the poorest for recognition of their rights (education, housing, work, decent minimum income guaranteed; the practices of certain CPAS- Centres publics d’aide sociale = Public Social Aid Centres)in three stages: personal accounts relating how the very poor live, an analysis of these accounts to reveal the conditions to which social policies must respond and a brief commentary on the prospects of changes in social policy and legislation. A fifth point is touched upon: the problem of continuous education in populous areas for the effective recognition of the right to peaceful assembly.

The register of grievances finishes with propositions for reflection and action.

Mots-clés

revendication sociale, groupe de pression, pauvreté, solidarité, droit, besoins essentiels, formation, éducation, famille, emploi, citoyenneté


, Belgique, Namur

Commentaire

This "register of grievances worked on during the caves meetings" was presented during a work session (21 November 1992)held for representatives of the political world and of the underprivileged peoples during the celebrations of the LST’s tenth anniversary.

Notes

Original card in French in Dph data base. The ’title/sub-title’ field corresponds to the ’translated title’ field in the French card.

Contact : LST=Luttes, Solidarités, Travail, rue Pépin 64 - 5000 Namur - Belgique Tel: 081 221512 - Person to contact: LEFEBVRE, Luc.

Source

Rapport

LST=Luttes, Solidarités, Travail, Cahier de revendications élaboré lors des réunions des caves, LST (Belgium)

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