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The Chickens come home to roost!
Tuesday August 26, 2008 21:08 by Sean Matthews - Belfast Workers Solidarity Movement (personal capacity)
The struggle against property developers....
While the rest of us are coming to terms with a deepening recession, growing house repossessions, stagnation in rises and steep rise in the cost of living. In the face of a so-called downturn in the housing market and credit crunch, the wealthy in the form of parasitic property developers and speculators expect to be bailed out by the Government for their calculated era in borrowing too much from Banks and leading to first time buyers
According to Brendan Cunnane a spokesperson from the The Construction and Property Group, "Urgent action is needed to prevent total market failure". (BBC News article- 20/08/08)
“In particular we are asking the Assembly, the Executive and the local banks as key enablers in the sector to work with us and resolve these issues by finding a zone of possible agreement to move forward,”(Belfast Telegraph, 31/07/08)
This serious situation is compounded by the fact that thousands of construction jobs have been lost in the industry over the last year as result of the greed and ‘risk’ taken by property developers and building contractors.
This ‘risk’ factor and scare-tactics of further major loss in jobs is also being conveniently used by property developers to force the government to intervene and crush any opposition. So much for the success of ‘iron will of the market’ leading to the trickledown effect!
Yet we are constantly told by the politicians and their lackeys in the rich club to succumb to the ‘wealth creation’ and ‘risks’ being taken by property developers as the norm in which we are expected to bail them out every time through generous tax incentives protectionist and subsidising their racketerring. Despite the fact that they have millions tucked away in off shore accounts away from the prowling eyes of the tax system.
All this underscores the ethos of capitalism, where equal opportunity only exists for the few. The only risk takers are the vast majority of humanity forced to sell our labour and liberty to a boss often it unsafe and dangerous working conditions who profits at our expense.
According to the International Labour Organization over 2 million people die each year in relation to workplace accidents and diseases such as Asbestos.
Such is the extent of risk taking? Or those of us who have no access to affordable housing or social housing never mind a mortgage due to property tycoons and landlords living off capital. Who was it who actually built the houses and industries because it certainly was not property developers?
What can be done? Firstly the thousands of empty properties across the North remaining dormant should be immediately taken over, socialised and provided to those in need without relying on empty promises from our ‘local’ assembly who won’t and can’t deliver because many of them are landlords and property tycoons. This requires building a movement built from below upwards linking fighting tenant and workplace resistant groups based on direct action that will force the Government to capitulate.
Everyone should have the right to housing and be able to live in a decent level of comfort , but no- one should be able to live off the labour of others due to private ownership of a resource they didn't do anything to create, and don't use themselves.
Socialised ownership of housing maintained and run by a federation of community/workplace assemblies would allow for people to take control over their own homes, existing owner-occupiers would be able to keep their houses without paying out tens of thousands to banks, and the only people who'd lose out would be the capitalists and landlords shafting everyone else, but even they'd have somewhere to live if there is room.
Finally, in the words of Spanish anarchist Buenaventura Durutti,
“It is we the workers who built these palaces and cities here in Spain and in America and everywhere. We, the workers, can build others to take their place. And better ones! We are not in the least afraid of ruins.”