John North & JM Thorn
For decades housing has been a crisis point in Irish society. It has been so in its own right and it has also stood as a placeholder for a whole range of failures, shortages and lacks in the Irish economy affecting all areas of public services. The publication of a new strategy, Housing for All, by the coalition government is an indication that the crisis will continue and grow deeper. The muted response by the trade unions and opposition parties shows that an alternative has yet to be built. (read more)
The housing crisis housing is not a natural disaster or a result of mistaken policy but rather the result of changes in the economy - reinforced by specific housing and economic policies pursued by successive governments - that have favoured one class over another. It is this theme of class inequality that runs through every aspect of the housing crisis. (read more)
According to Lenin, for a revolution to take place, it is usually insufficient for “the lower classes not to want” to live in the old way; it is also necessary that “the upper classes should be unable” to live in the old way; when it is impossible for the ruling classes to maintain their rule without significant change. Nothing could more clearly illustrate that failure in Ireland than the crisis in housing and the inability of Irish capitalism to resolve that crisis. (read more)
Earlier chapters argue that Irish capitalism is unable to rule in the old way and resolve the housing crisis. Current evidence of opposition policy does not demonstrate the converse. Most critics seem happy to remain within the tent of social partnership, dependent on polite negotiation to arrive at consensus. The 2018 Raise the Roof demonstration at the Dáil was organised by the Irish trade union leadership and supported by Sinn Fein and most of the minor parties. (read more)
Throughout this booklet we have argued that the capitulation to property speculators by the government is unsustainable. The Housing for All policy simply adds petrol to the fire. Larger and larger sectors of the population will be frozen out of the housing market and trapped in an unregulated rental market that squeezes a greater and greater proportion of income towards basic shelter. (read more)
The story of the housing crisis has been marked by anger and discontent and a gradual erosion of the political parties who have been responsible for the catastrophe. It has also seen a whole range of responses - political action, protest, demonstration, occupation and open violence between activists and bailiffs on some occasions. What has not come about is a mobilisation sufficient to change the overall mechanism of the property market, rather than panicky attempts by political parties to avoid blame. (read more)
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