“The housing crises is an active agent of repression and as been since Thatchers time. Where the working class activities that couldn’t be suppressed were commercialised.” Stefan Szczelkum.
Part of that he is talking about is the present obsession of owning a house. And the entrenchment of many in the working classes to become a cog in the commercialisation process. Rather than becoming part of a movement working to curb Thatchers neoliberal legacy. Instead many are inadvertently working to maintain it. By placing their future and trust in the hands of banks.
When people lived in council houses with controlled rent. One of the lesser things they worried about was being evicted or being made homeless. How many can say that today, particularly when they are paying a mortgage in a housing market that’s prices have gone through the roof.
Back in the day your secured tenancy in a council home was much the same as everyone else’s. Your problems were much the same as your neighbours. That is until the arrival of Margaret Thatcher and the neoliberal project. Which basically meant. Forget your solidarity, and sticking together. Now we live, she could have suggested under the neoliberal motto of. “Everything is for us and nothing for you.”
This has been Thatchers legacy. And its history has been forgotten in the
For most people housing used to be about a place to live not something for generating income and profit. But to so many these days their house has become their main financial asset. Meaning their reason for existence is practically to serve the needs of banks as their days nights and worries all end up focused on paying a mortgage.
Basically houses have become financial instruments. which is why so many end up in the hands of banks and private equity firms, when the housing market crashes.
Then inevitably these financial instruments, ie your house, end up in the hands of private landlords where the cycle of distortion in the high cost of rents continues and the cost of owning a house becomes even more oppressive in a market controlled only by profiteers, rather than needs.
We are now living in and experiencing the most intense and expensive sales campaign that corporations have ever undertaken. And their financialisation of everything, could be their swan song and in turn ours, if they can not be curbed.
Because the money markets, banks and hedge funders are running out of ideas and becoming desperate in their lack of their ability to developing anything that is useful to ordinary people. Rather than attempting to create anything productive. They are now attempting to sell our world back to us under the guise of affordability and many of us surprisingly are buying back the commons that was almost a birth right not to long ago.
When we should really be organising and unionising for the right to a place to live and getting the market out of housing. Why should our basic rights to shelter in a so called welfare state, be reduced to the ridiculous defeatist Hobson’s choice, heard all over the place. “It’s cheaper to buy a house than to rent one.” When did that become our raison d’être
We need homes where we can at least feel secure enough to battle the many other financial catastrophes that are now threatening our lives and our wellbeing. We are not here to be fed to the developers by councils and administrations who have long forgotten it is we, the citizens, they are supposed to serve
Thatcher understood people in secure homes was the biggest threat to market capitalism. That and of course secure jobs. Which is why she encourage the selling of council houses and managed to convince enough working class tenants to buy what they already collectively owned. Not to mention denying their off-spring of the cheap rents they themselves have probably enjoyed most of their lives.
It was an easy step then to encourage home owners to treat their houses, not simply as as a home, but as an investment. And Thatcher also understood once the home becomes peoples highest asset and their fate depends on the price going up or down, all sorts of class sensibilities are shaken.
For instance Like. You are my enemy if you threaten that. If you produce cheap rented housing you are a threat to my investment. Or in short. you are a threat to my moral deservedness to getting rich from my house.
The cynical entitlement of landlords has kicked in everywhere, even in many of the working classes who once championed the right to social housing. Of course this was also part of Thatchers plan and she knew well what would be the outcome. She would be so proud to see her ideas at work all around us today. Our city has been sanitised, packetised, rationalised and sold to the highest bidder. Under our collective noses.
Why don’t we ask, should banks and private equity firms actually be allowed to own so many houses, if any at all? While many of the population live in homelessness or squalor under private landlords? And how do these people acquire and be in control of so many houses? We need to ask where is the financialisation of our homes going to lead us? Because many have already watched the cards of economic failure fall so many times, on the wrong side of ordinary peoples purchasing power.
That is those who pay attention to history.
To conclude. Why is a secure home important? Because shelter is a fundamental element of survival and there for should be a concern for us all. And the better-off need to become aware because when a push comes to a shove, even those who feel comfortable and feel above it all need to remember. The corporate oligarchs who are sucking the poorest of us dry, also cares not a jot about middle class aspirations.
And when the rest are on the street they will come for the higher wage earners next. We are far from an economic system that any of us should feel any comfort in. Because this obsession with owning things in a finite world is doomed to failure.
Add to this the Western elite who have been feeding at the trough of Thatchers legacy for the last fifty years or so, know this and are becoming desperate though the shrinking of their empire and the threat of a multipolar world and will sacrifice anything to hurriedly squeeze the last penny from our pockets, as well as put as many on the streets as needed to preserve their interests as their ship bloated on the plunder of our wealth starts to sink. And if we don’t act we could go down with it.
Because without the basic fundamental security of a home, every other social problem magnifies the cost to our health, our economic situation and our ability to plan, anything!
What can we do to stop it? Well nobody has all of the answers to that. But there are a few staring us straight in the eyes. There is plenty we can do by applying our collective imagination to the task of rebuilding community institutions as is now happening in all sorts of places. But the process could easily be started by most, simply by joining a union. If we remember union busting, was another of Thatchers greatest achievements, that and in allowing the interests of the markets into our homes, the workplace, government offices and now our private lives.
The easiest way to know what to do is to start to rebuild that which the working classes once took pride in building and that the Tories now take the most pride in privatising or destroying.
I think you will find social housing and unions should be near the top of our list for action. If we are to go forward to any kind of decent sustainable future.