Action Alliance against Housing Shortage and Urban Degradation, Newsletter 103
Protest and resistance against rising living costs
At the European Summer University of Social Movements in August, the Forum on Capitalism addressed the question of whether we are witnessing a transition to a new form of development of capitalism. And if so, what form will it take?
Speakers were Frank Deppe from Philipps University Marburg, Julia Eder from Johannes Kepler University Linz and Dominique Plihon from Sorbonne University Paris-Nord. https://www.esu22.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/Kampagnen/ESU22/Downloads/Programm_ESU_2022_D_web.pdf
The three agreed that in the current market capitalism of the West, the state is intervening more and more, technologies such as digitalisation are playing an increasingly important role and ecology has also become a new factor. We are witnessing the shift towards an authoritarian capitalism that uses more and more violence to save itself.
The declassifications associated with the ever-increasing concentration of power and capital were not addressed in detail in these short lectures. Perhaps it was assumed that everyone knows that impoverishment and the threat of impoverishment are a consequence of capital concentration.
In his lecture “Aspects of the New Right-Wing Radicalism” at the University of Vienna on 6 April 1967, Adorno explained why the social preconditions of fascism still persist. In the first place, he named the prevailing concentration tendency of capital. And he explained: “This tendency towards concentration still means, on the other hand, the possibility of the declassification of strata which, according to their subjective class consciousness, were quite bourgeois, who want to hold on to their privileges, their social status, and possibly reinforce it. These groups still tend to hate socialism or what they call socialism, that is, they shift the blame for their own potential declassification not to the apparatus that causes it, but to those who were critical of the system in which they once had status, at least according to traditional ideas.” (Theodor W. Adorno: Aspects of the New Right-Wing Radicalism. Berlin 2019, p. 10)
Not discussed at all in the Forum Capitalism was the fact that in recent years the number of non-voters has continued to rise. In local elections in the poor districts of the big cities in the Federal Republic, over 50% no longer go to the polls. In the USA, this has long been the case in federal parliamentary elections as well. For the German political establishment, this is an indication that they can continue to operate their market-based democracy even if the turnout in state and federal elections continues to fall. This is supported by the fact that the relief packages of the traffic light government only marginally benefit the poor and people with low incomes.
It is long overdue that protests are being formed against this. However, we from the Action Alliance against Housing Shortage and Urban Destruction have to point out that the last must be the first in the fight for a just society. It has become normal to walk past homeless people and drug addicts every day. The protest movement that is now forming must break with this normalisation and demand housing for the homeless. Where it is believed that a struggle for justice is possible while people around you fall into the bottomless pit without including them in solidarity cannot win.
The homeless owe us nothing, we owe them their own homes.
Equal opportunities in the housing market
The European Commission declared 2007 the “European Year of Equal Opportunities for All”.
As before, since then the rich have become richer and the poor more and poorer.
The transformation of housing into a financial asset thereby exacerbates the current housing crisis in cities by raising the contradiction between housing as a commodity and housing as a basic need to a new level: Exploding rents, housing shortages and displacement are some of the uncontrolled excesses of financialisation.
On 15 August 2022, the 1st workshop of the Cologne Round Table for Integration took place on the topic of equal opportunities on the housing market. The aim was to work out proposals to overcome the obvious disadvantages of migrants in the search for housing.
It was not clarified in advance what the desired equity of opportunity is in a society where social inequality continues to increase.
In France, the motherland of “freedom, equality, fraternity”, sociologist Francois Dubet has addressed this:
“Because equality of opportunity is the basis of a just distribution of individuals among unequal social positions, it risks transforming social life into a kind of competition in which everyone becomes the competitor, if not the enemy, of everyone else in trying to acquire relative rare positions and resources.”
He was also aware of how to act so as not to end up in social Darwinism:
“The struggle for equality of opportunity must go hand in hand with the struggle to reduce social inequalities, inequalities of positions and resources. This is not only the best way to approach the horizon of equal opportunities itself, this is also the only facon to offer guarantees and a basic social justice to those who fail in egalitarian competition, even if it was fair in the process.”
In the workshop of the Cologne Round Table for Integration, one of the most important tasks of the city was seen in social housing construction:
“In Cologne, the construction of housing for lower and middle incomes must have absolute priority. There is a gap of about 80,000 flats between the calculated demand and the currently available housing supply.
City-owned plots of land are currently allocated according to a concept and the requirement of
construction of 30 per cent subsidised housing. This is not enough. The
land must be used primarily for social housing construction and also a
municipal housing company within the Stadtwerke group for community housing.
be used. More larger flats for families must be built.”
The demand to get the homeless off the streets does not appear in the list of demands, recommendations and proposals. This absence also leads to the question of the understanding of equal opportunities to which the Round Table is committed. How can there be equity of opportunity for refugees and migrants in the housing market if those who have been excluded from it are not brought into housing? How can there be justice of opportunity without stopping evictions? Especially since everyone, natives and immigrants, are affected by this.
Programmes, reports, news
Current hour on WDR on 11.09.2022
Two thirds of all homeless people have been victims of violence
Homelessness – a growing problem?
Sunday speech for the poor
Homeless Day: Social organisations warn of worsening situation. “Summit meeting” in Bellevue Palace inconclusive
“Middle class leaves Cologne”
Cologne housing industry expects rent increase by council
Flats expensive and too small :
Surveyors: Many families are leaving the cities
Housing shortage. Police officers and nurses also want good housing
Bring back the right of first refusal!
Greens and tenants’ associations demand that the federal government pass a new law soon
Adapting cities to the heat
Hamburg has the highest homeless rate
Crafts criticise citizen’s income as too high
Spain and Portugal: rent caps
17.09.2022, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Rally against vacancies: “Flats for homeless and refugees”, corner of Berrenrather Str. / Friedrich Engels Straße
17-25 September 2022, Photo exhibition “mülheim anders” at SSM, Am Faulbach 2
17.09.2022, 2 p.m., We don’t pay any more, corner of Frankfurter Strasse/Rösrather Strasse
18.9. 2022,| 14-15:30, Rainer Kippe: Housing for all. Abolish homelessness at last. SSM, Am Faulbach 2, 51063 Cologne
20.09.2022, 19:30 – 21:30; Housing shortage in Cologne, with Michael Weisenstein and Kalle Gerigk, Salon Freiraum, Gottesweg 116a, 50939 Cologne
22.09.2022, 15:30, Social Committee
23.09.2022 Nationwide climate strike
23.09.2022, from 3 p.m., Opening of the Pioneer Park, Bischofsweg 48-50
24.9.2022, 14-15:30, Tom Küven, Heinz Weinhausen: “New work” at Faulbach. Instead of luxury living on the river. SSM, Am Faulbach 2,
For a city without homelessness
For a city without forced evictions
For a city without drug-related deaths
For a city without violence against women and children
For a city without deportations
For a city without poverty
17 September 2022
Klaus Jünschke and Rainer Kippe
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Newsletter 103 – 17 September 2022
Action Alliance against Housing Shortage and Urban Degradation, Newsletter 103