Make McNamara’s Class Pay! Against all Landlords! Squat the City!

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Date:
Bernard McNamara and his class are thieves who well deserve our scorn and derision. But if our communities want to take control of our city we must organise together. 
 
News broke last week of how residents in a Dublin apartment complex are facing a €4 million bill to fireproof their homes. Or else they face eviction. Around 900 people live in 300 apartments in the Longboat Quay complex in Dublin's docklands, 'built' by developer Bernard McNamara in 2006. People paid between €450,000 and €750,000 for apartments there at the height of the boom. Longboat Quay also incorporated some social housing units. 
 
No doubt the establishment and their media will personalise the narrative (‘McNamara as villain’) and they will sympathise (‘hand-wringing for victims of the bust’) but they will not save us. In truth, this is not a case of one bad apple, but more like a rotten barrel. The McNamara scandal is par for the course for the Irish state and its subservience to the rule of money. 
 
In the rigged game of casino capitalism from Wall Street to Frankfurt, the Irish state is first to provide bail-outs to rescue large banks and bondholders. To pay for these debts and interventions, the state begins to cut social spending and to demand that people work harder and longer for less. More and more, the state uses the crisis to defund social programmes and to privatise its services. The state creates NAMA to ensure that housing remains a commodity to be bought and sold on a market, not a basic human need that we might provide for one another collectively. Social housing is sacrificed and the numbers of people waiting on the list grows. So too does the number of homeless people on the streets. 
 
This is a violent process, one dictated by the power of money. Police are deployed with riot shields to evict squatters. Police are always there to ensure the installation of water meters. But they do not investigate the ‘reckless endangerment’ brought about by the likes of McNamara who build unsafe housing units. For the Irish state, profits for the wealthy matter more than the lives of ordinary people. 
 
Worse still, the Irish ruling class and their politicians are insufferably smug and self-satisfied when they talk down to us to justify these cuts. As if we didn’t know they were on massive salaries and never facing the real consequences of social housing cuts! As if we had forgotten their fund-raising with property developers at the Galway Tent or on golf classics! As if we didn’t know we are being fleeced! 
 
But we say ‘enough!’ We refuse to play by the rules of a rigged game. In hundreds of small, determined acts of liberation, we are breaking the power of the property developers, the banks and the state they have effectively bought and paid for. We squat empty buildings and turn them into homes. We squat abandoned sites and turn them into social centres that we make lively with songs, dancing, food and discussions. We support housing protests taking place all over the city. Our struggles overflow and our communities grow stronger. 
 
We refuse to be victims of Ireland’s ruling class; we are their gravediggers.
 
WORDS: Tom Murray
 
REFERENCES
This photo of the 1% Network was taken outside Bernard McNamara’s home on Ailesbury/Shrewsbury Road in 2008/09. The 1% Network organised a walking tour of the homes of Ireland’s wealthiest 1% to remind people that austerity was not inevitable. 
 

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