Dignity and Decent Housing for All!

There are over 5,000 homeless people across Ireland. And if current trends continue there will be over 6,500 homeless by the end of the year [1]. Our leaders worship the free market faith. We must organise together if we want them to bend to a social logic and the rule of fairness.
We do not expect those who inhabit Leinster House to solve our housing problems. Last week, Taoiseach Kenny ruled out state intervention in the property market to curb the cost of renting. “It is very clear that interference in the market to its detriment is not something we should do,’’ he said [2]. They call this ‘restoring confidence to the market’. We call this ‘destroying the fabric of society’.
We recognise this way of talking. Neoliberalism – or the free market faith - is a programme for destroying collective structures which may impede the pure market logic. This faith in the free market is powerful not only among those who live off it - such as financiers, the owners and managers of large corporations - but also among those, such as high-level government officials and politicians, who derive their justification for existing from it [3]. The consequences for housing has been profound. In the 1970s, social housing made up 33% of all new houses; today, it has dropped to 5% [4].
True, embarrassed by the numbers of people dying in the streets and shamed by the public condemnations of charities and homeless groups, the government may concede slow and piecemeal measures. But even then, the government cannot break its faith in the free market. Rent supplement may be increased – but this will only line the pockets of private landlords. Or the state will tender contracts to private companies to build temporary huts for families to live in – but this will only line the pockets of Denis O’Brien. ‘NAMA will provide 20,000 houses between now and 2020’, the government says – but there remains little guarantee that these will be affordable. And still, 75% of the Government’s promised “social housing” is to be built (supposedly) by the private sector [4].
Anarchists propose another path.
We see that we have more in common with homeless people than we have with the class of people who profited in the boom and who are still profiting in the bust – whether big developers or private landlords or government politicians. We refuse to bow to the free market faith in our society. We believe that housing is a human need that we can create for all.
We see all the empty buildings in the city - the dereliction created by those who hold the free market faith. We support squatting as a form of direct action to provide shelter for homeless families. 2015 has been the year of the squatter with small, determined acts of housing liberation taking place in Grangegorman; the HSE houses; on Phibsboro Road, in the Dream House; the Bolt; Avocado Bastard and the Firehouse squat (Check out the awesome video-documentary link below! [5]).
We support the Barricade Inn, a squatted anarchist social centre that holds regular information nights about squatting [6].
We support those housing action groups that are busy forming and talking to one another across Dublin and across Ireland. 
Our struggles overflow and our communities grow stronger. We expect no change from above. We look to one another and our own initiative to support dignity and decent housing for all.
… And, in the midst of all this human suffering and resistance, when we talk of a social logic of fairness, and of looking after our own, we do not forget the five adults and five children who died in a recent fire on a halting site in Carrickmines [7]. We do not forget their relatives who also struggle to find a place to live. And we do not forgive those who would put the value of their property ahead of the dignity of the bereaved. 
[1] ‘Peter McVerry Trust: over 6,500 homeless by the end of the year’, Irish Times, 19 October 2015
[2] Michael O'Regan, Sarah Bardon, ‘Kenny rules out market intervention to curb rental costs’, Irish Times, 14 October 2015
[3] Pierre Boudieu ‘The essence of neoliberalism’, Le Monde, December 1998.
[4] Fintan O’Toole: Opposition to social housing is matter of ideology not economics, Irish Times, 20 October 2015.
[5] Summer of Squats and Evictions: http://www.wsm.ie/c/summer-evictions-dublin-video-interview
[6] Barricade Inn. https://barricadeinn.squ.at/
[7] Travellers’ struggles are our struggles too: decent housing for all! See http://www.wsm.ie/c/irish-traveller-struggle-decent-housing…