Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/842/20034
Londoners march for homes
Average rents in London have now reached an eye-watering £1,160 a month. Council house waiting lists are ballooning. Evictions are on the rise. Anger at this situation is felt particularly keenly by young people who also have to contend with endemic levels of low pay and huge student debts.
This was reflected in the youthful make-up of the capital's recent March for Homes, with marchers largely drawn from 'generation rent'. In total around 5,000 Londoners converged on City Hall on 31 January demanding a genuine solution to the capital's housing crisis.
The march demanded rent control and council house building. It was called by a coalition of housing campaigns and anti-cuts groups including the Socialist Party.
Among the protesters were residents from the New Era estate and Focus E15 campaigners who have led important struggles over housing in the past year. There was also a visible trade union presence, particularly from Unite the Union’s housing workers' branch, which organised a successful strike at the St Mungo’s housing charity at the end of 2014.
The Socialist Party and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) have been to the fore in local campaigns for the demands that the demo was called around. Nancy Taaffe, prospective parliamentary candidate for TUSC in Walthamstow, spoke from the platform outside Shoreditch church saying that we have to use “all the weapons in our armoury” including strikes, protests, occupations.
Nancy said that ultimately we have to build a political vehicle for workers and youth which will fight for a programme to solve the present housing crisis.
The march was met with huge levels of support from bystanders. As the South London leg of the march snaked its way around Southwark’s working class estates, people on the streets spoke about their increasing resentment at gentrification pushing up rents and forcing working class families out of the area.
Many people signed up to find out more about the Socialist Party having seen our members’ lively participation in the march.
In The Socialist 2 February 2015:
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