Text of Socialist Party leaflet
Housing & health crises; refugees fleeing war sleeping on the streets while profits soar — Government of the rich to blame
Outrageously, the government has announced that refugees applying for asylum under the international protection scheme will be denied accommodation by the state. This shameful policy will double the number of those sleeping on the streets in the coming weeks. It is abject cruelty on the part of the government to treat human beings seeking asylum from war, poverty and persecution like this.
It’s also systemic racism, with the government’s two-tier system treating Ukrainian refugees differently to other refugees, especially refugees of colour.
FF-FG-Greens’ housing catastrophe is heaping misery and injustice upon working-class people, both those already living here and those seeking refuge from war and oppression.
A record 11,632 people are living in emergency accommodation and 290,000 are part of the hidden homeless. These figures will likely rise after the temporary ban on evictions is lifted. There is no reason that anyone residing in this state should be without decent and secure accommodation. This is a government of the rich. Profits for the capitalists have soared in the tens of billions while housing and health crises for working-class people have proliferated.
Organise against the poison of the far-right
In the last weeks, far-right groups have been seeking to capitalise on the desperation and misery the system is offering, whipping up division, and racism, and despicably targeting vulnerable refugees. Their talk of “unvetted males” is an attempt to play on fear and prejudice. Gender violence is usually committed by a partner or ex-partner or somebody the victim knows. It has zero to do with immigration, refugees, or nationality – and everything to do with sexism and machismo. Such toxic attitudes are part and parcel of the outlook of these groups.
Criminal inaction by successive governments on the housing crisis and their underfunding of social services such as health and education has created fertile soil for the far right to intervene with their poison. The anti-refugee rhetoric of the government this week will only encourage and legitimise the disgusting ideas of the far right even more.
We need to unite in our communities and workplaces to counter the threat of the far right. At the same time, we need to take on the government whose failure is feeding its growth. The trade unions must mobilise their 500,000 members to combat the racist lies of the far right and demand the wealth and resources in society are taken back from the profiteers and used to end the various crises that all working-class and poor people face.
Build a struggle to take on the rule of profit.
Capitalism today means increasing wealth for a narrow elite, and increasing misery, insecurity and crisis for working-class people of all backgrounds across the world, including forcing people to flee their homes. It has always promoted racism and division among the working class. Fight for a democratic socialist society where the wealth and resources are brought into democratic public ownership so they can be utilised in the interests of all.
System failure behind the housing crisis:
– 42,000 apartment units with planning permission in Dublin have yet to begin construction – developers are hoarding for profit, waiting for land prices to go up;
– Building commencements were down 23% July – Oct 2022 – rising costs were hurting developers’ profits so they didn’t build. This is the disaster of housing for profit, rather than need;
– There are 166,000 vacant homes in this state, the highest rate in Europe.
Housing crisis needs emergency measures
– Slash and freeze rents at affordable levels. Make the eviction ban permanent. For the compulsory purchasing of homes that are lying empty and seize those that are being hoarded for profit by developers
– No one should be living on the streets or in homelessness generally. End the racist system of Direct Provision and immediately requisition empty corporate-owned buildings to accommodate refugees arriving. Emergency measures should be implemented, such as the building of modular homes to house people on a temporary basis as part of a transition to permanent housing.
– The resources of the major profiteers and construction companies should be seized to end this crisis – take their land, companies and profits into public ownership. A state-owned construction should be set that directly employs workers on trade union rates of pay, to build homes at cost price.
– For a major programme to build quality, green public homes on land owned by the state. The resources exist to fund these measures, they’re just being hoarded by the super-rich. The richest 1% in Ireland have €232 billion, or 27% of all the wealth. We need emergency taxes on this wealth.