Last Saturday, the 19th of October, we hit the streets of Dublin as part of a Europe-wide day of action for the right to housing and the city. In Dublin, this involved a movable feast from the Dept. of Environment (Custom House Quay) to a banner drop on the Ha’Penny bridge, passing through the IFSC on the way and listening to music, theater and inputs from activists and residents about different aspects of the housing crisis.
In the run up to the day Mick wrote this opinion piece the journal.ie and following it Aubrey Robinson put together this video. You can read the statement from the European alliance here and you can here about what happened in some of the other cities across Europe here.
Part of the reason behind putting this action together, at a European level, was an increasing recognition among European social movements of both the difficulty of winning concrete victories through purely local/national struggles (demonstrated most clearly in Greece and Spain) and the importance of the European institutions as the centre of command in contemporary Europe (demonstrated most clearly by the power of the ECB and the bailout programmes).
Moreover, the strategy of Europe’s political and financial elite has been to ‘nationalize’ the crises, forcing peripheral populations to shoulder the debt burden and playing on a nationalist farming according to which Greek corruption, Spanish laziness and the feckless Irish play a strong role.
During every single EU referendum we were told that further integration would provide us with the institutional mechanisms we need to face the challenges of globalization. Today, when those challenges are more evident than ever, the European institutions have primarily deepened the crisis and reinforced the power of finance and its exploitation of social wealth.
For the moment the future of the European Alliance for the Right to Housing and the City is unclear, but we will be meeting at a local and European level over the coming weeks to reflect on the journey so far and where we can go from here.