In 1872, Friedrich Engels wrote The Housing Question, tying the working class’s perpetual housing crisis to the free market in Victorian England. The century and a half of housing crises since have proved Engels correct.
Glyn Robbins is a housing worker, campaigner, and trade unionist.
The New York City Housing Authority has been starved of investment for decades — and it’s being used to justify privatization by stealth. But tenants are fighting back, asserting the right to good-quality public housing for all.
On this day in 1907, 10,000 New York families led by socialist teenager Pauline Newman — the “East Side Joan of Arc” — began a historic rent strike.
For decades, ordinary residents have been pushed out of cities like London and New York to make room for offices and luxury apartments. But the pandemic has massively reduced demand for these same locations — turning city centers into ghost towns, full of shiny new buildings that no one needs.
A movement defending working-class interests isn’t just about what happens at work, but also about the places where we live. A labor movement fight against evictions can break the power of landlords to ruin our lives — and make the case for why we all deserve affordable, quality housing.
As housing becomes more and more unaffordable, liberal mayors have jumped to recognize the crisis. At the same time, they’re fully committed to the status quo, giving carte blanche to developers at the expense of legitimately affordable housing.