Time to evict capitalism




The Irish government’s pathetic attempts to solve the housing crisis in Ireland are continually proving to be abysmal failures for workers and young people. Far from delivering homes en masse, these ‘solutions’ are lining the pockets of landlords and developers at the brutal expense of workers and of the youth in particular. Homelessness continues to skyrocket, with the number of people using emergency accommodation having reached a staggering record-breaking 13,500, with over 4,000 of these being children.

The housing policies being adopted by the Irish government are nothing short of murderous. In 2021, 115 people died on the streets of Dublin, and a further 95 in 2022. These stark figures inadequately illustrate the full scale disaster of the housing crisis, as tens of thousands are either couch-surfing or trapped in their parent’s homes. Many young people are being forced to flee the country as ‘rental refugees’, for fear of becoming victims of the rapacious housing market with 70 percent considering emigration.

For over a decade, the market has failed in addressing the housing needs of the population. Workers and young people are completely priced out of purchasing their own home, with the average house price in Dublin being €509,000 and €350,000 nationally.Tenants are routinely extorted for obscene rents, with the average monthly rent in Dublin reaching €2,100. This is approximately the monthly wage of a newly qualified teacher! Pressured under extortionate rents, many workers and youth are forced to choose between heating and eating in order to survive.

There is a critical lack of supply of housing available for purchase or rent. This has produced an exceptional demand amidst the growing population in Ireland. Coming straight from the horse’s mouth, in March 2023, then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, stated that there is a deficit of 250,000 homes in the state. Meanwhile a paltry 30,000 were targeted for construction in 2023, with a tiny fraction of these being social housing. In January of this year, a British investment fund, SW3 Capital, purchased 85 percent of a newly built housing estate for rental, with each house fetching a colossal sum of €3,175 per month! 102 years on from the declaration of Irish Independence, British absentee landlordism once again rears its ugly head in Ireland.

The government will maintain this disastrous trajectory as loyal servants of the interests of landlords, developers and vulture funds. As Ireland’s greatest revolutionary James Connolly aptly expressed: “governments in capitalist society are but committees of the rich to manage the affairs of the capitalist class”. It is for this very reason that Connolly was a committed communist, who fought for a Socialist Republic. He understood that capitalism was at the root of British imperialism. Absentee British landlords had plunged thousands of workers and tenant farmers into abject poverty. To bring about the change it was fighting for, it was essential for the working class to overthrow capitalism as well as British imperialism. Connolly fought tirelessly to connect the fight for national liberation to the struggle for socialism.

To add great insult to injury to workers and youth in Ireland, over 15,000 households received eviction notices in the first 9 months of 2023. 63 percent of these were due to the landlord selling up in order to make a quick buck. Even during the dark days of the Great Famine, annual evictions averaged a lower figure of 8,000 annually! As Connolly declared: “After Ireland is free, says the patriot who won’t touch socialism, the evicting party, under command of the sheriff, will wear green uniforms and the Harp without the Crown, and the warrant turning you out on the roadside will be stamped with the arms of the Irish Republic.” How prophetic a statement that rings lucidly today.

Capitalism is increasingly failing to deliver a basic standard of living for the working class and youth. Ireland’s parasitical capitalist class will continue to devour the country’s wealth, further depriving the masses of necessities while offering no way forward. Multinational vulture funds will continue to pillage the housing system in Ireland. The sole solution is socialist revolution. Only through the seizure of the means of production from the wretched parasitical hands of the capitalists and landlords, by the working class, can a mass building program of public housing be rolled out to scale that will meet the housing requirements of the population.

We must nationalise the housing stock of all the big landlords to house the homeless immediately. By nationalising the capital of the banks and insurance companies, with the nationalisation of the construction industry under workers’ control as part of a socialist planned economy, we can deliver housing for all in short order, relegating homelessness to a bygone, barbaric past of capitalism. Now isn’t that worth fighting for?