Transnational views on the political challenges and transformative impacts of rising tenants’ movements.
On 17 September this year, 15,000 people joined a march in Amsterdam, demanding radical solutions to the housing crisis, with new demonstrations planned in Rotterdam, The Hague and other places. Demands are growing to end the taxation on rental houses and provide social housing for large parts of society. On 26 September, one million people in Berlin voted ‘Yes’ in a referendum for expropriation and socialisation of the housing stocks owned by big landlords such as Vonovia, the largest landlord in Europe. In Sweden the tenant movement successfully stopped the government’s plans of market-rent settings in June. Later 1,000 people demonstrated for social housing policies Stockholm. The tenant organisation Ort till Ort is also demanding expropriations of Vonovia.
These are just three inspiring examples of tenants’ protests that have risen during the past years and months in many countries across Europe and beyond. It is the necessary reaction to decades of deregulation of rents & property and the resulting fundamental crisis of affordable housing. Movements are searching and struggling for new forms of rent control and the socialisation property. After an age of marketisation and financialisation, many people consider the provision of housing for all as a public task and socialinfrastructure.
The struggle starts at local levels, and it is here where solutions are created. But the struggle cannot be won without confronting the political-economic structures and powers at national level and across borders. With our events we try set a few spotlights of information and debate on the contents, forms, and aspirations of the current movements, their political impacts, and challenges. What is their “relation” to the financial industries that govern the world?
Our aim is to identify questions, needs and options for further action and communication.
Reports from the movements:
- Netherlands: Gwen van Eijk, Woonopstand and recht op Stad Rotterdam
- Sweden: Åse Richard, Alla ska kunna bo kvar, Uppsala.
- Berlin: N.N.
Supporting organisations: Bond Precaire Woonvormen (NL), globalinfo.nl (NL), MieterInnenverein Witten (D), MieterAKTIONärIn (D), Ort till Ort (Swe)
Organised by: Socialise Housing across Europe activist research initiative. In cooperation with Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung.
Dr. Armin Kuhn
Senior Fellow for rent and housing policy, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung
Phone: +49 30 44310 197