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(en) Ireland, WSM anarchist journal - Workers Solidarity #100 - The New Era in the North - Working-class fight back!

Date Tue, 18 Dec 2007 13:11:17 +0200

While Martin McGuinness was flying off to ‘sell’ the North to American investors
with promises of low corporation tax, we are in the midst of wee bit of class
war with classroom assistants and posties taking action to defend their
interests against ‘the new era’ of the bosses. In the meantime, water charges
are still coming through the backdoor by being added to our council rates
despite the politicians’ promises made at the last election. ---- Obviously
lobbying government isn’t going to get us anywhere; mass non-payment is the only
possible tactic if we want to defeat their plans. House prices continue to soar
and slum landlords and private developers continue to ransack and plunder our
communities under the spin of ‘social regeneration’.

Related articles from the WSM:
Sinn Féin and the peace process http://www.wsm.ie/story/301
Morons in power http://www.struggle.ws/ws/2002/ws70/north.html
Republicanism in crisis http://www.struggle.ws/wsm/talks/republicanismFEB05.html
Dealing with sectarianism http://www.struggle.ws/wsm/talks/sectarianism2002.html
WSM post-ceasefire articles http://www.struggle.ws/wsm/peaceprocess.html
WSM pre-ceasefire articles on northern conflict

Over the last couple of months residents in the Village area of South Belfast
have taken a bit of direct action including threatening blockades in order to
force the Government to deliver on election time promises to improve housing.

Local residents in South Belfast, specifically in Andytown, are also fighting
back forcing the Carvill Group (supported by the Department of Social
Development) to pull out of their ‘yuppie’ development plans on the former site
of Andytown Barracks. The ‘Stop the Sell-Off’ campaign is open to anyone who
agrees with opposition to the sell-off of public lands for private development
and demands a new, inclusive and binding public consultation. Their activities
have included petitioning, protests, surveys of local opinion on what the site
should be used for and a ‘reclaim the site’ day which espoused everything the
private developers are against.

As we enter into the ‘New Era’ we will see plenty more of these ‘yuppie’
development plans and privatisation schemes called ‘Private Finance Initiatives’
and ‘Public Private Partnerships’ designed to rip us off while lining the
pockets of property barons. We must take inspiration from these housing
struggles as it’s our job to organize where we live and work to expose these
ugly sites; at the end of the day political parties are part of the problem
rather than the solution and petitions won’t do the trick most of the time.

As anarchists, we’d like to see all housing become social housing, collectively
owned and maintained by communities, so that individuals and families can have
homes to live in without spending half their working week to pay for rent to
landlords, service charges to PFI companies or mortgages to the banks. This
means defending what's left of social and low-cost housing in the short term,
and trying to build up networks of tenants' and residents' groups that can take
control away from private companies, landlords, and the state in the long term.

When people talk about communal ownership of property, they often think that
anarchists want to steal someone's nice house away from them and fill it with
dirty squatters. That's not the case, we think everyone should be able to live
in a decent level of comfort, but no- one should be able to live off the labour
of others. Communal ownership of housing 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 at the
moment, but even they'd have somewhere to live!

On the Web:

More: http://www.afed.org.uk/res/resist69
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