Grangegorman eviction - Solidarity starts with a Fry

The reactions to the attempted evictions of the 27 people who occupied the long vacant Grangegorman complex here and elsewhere online has been interesting. On the ground at the gates people passing have been curious, and overwhelmingly positive. Some have brought down gifts including the pictured fry up from council workers at the depot nearby.

But online some people have been obsessed with property deeds, who 'really' owns the buildings. In general this is an odd question as the answer, when you trace things back, is pretty much always that the Vikings or the Normans or the Cromwellians fought someone else for it, took it, and every since its been bought and sold for profit by the few. If thats how things work why can't I fight a developer for a 100 million plot of land now?

This particular parcel was indeed once valued as a 100 million development gamble, one that failed and got bailed out by NAMA Grangegorman is also a particularly odd example to see the question of deeds as being of more important than people's homes because it is 'owned' by NAMA. NAMA deny this but that's simply legal speak as they hold the loans on the property, they control the ownership.

Mick explains this in more detail "NAMA is a public agency, set up by an act of legislation, and backed by public money. As such the building is public, yet NAMA *act* like a private company. The squatters are, in a sense, acting on behalf of the public in prioritizing the public/social use of the property. Obviously we can have a conversation around whether we agree with that or not, but they are raising a very important point.

Similarly, in Spain their equivalent of NAMA has had 13 apartment blocks occupied by homeless victims of the mortgage crisis."

Dave points out that the hostility expressed by some against these people who took over a derelict vacant property and made a home and community centre of it is interesting and more than a little depressing. He doubts it all comes from landlords, angry that there are 27 people who have escaped their clutches, 27 people that they aren’t able to squeeze for ever-increasing rents.

A lot of the hostility comes from renters, its a displaced anger, kicking down against those less powerful rather than kicking up against those who exploit them. Many renting have recently had terrible experiences, huge rent increases and being forced to move over and over when they don't want to. This creates a massive amount of resentment, some of it seems directed against those who have managed, however temporarily, to escape the grim treadmill that renters are on. How dare they break the rules, when we have to obey them! Why shouldn’t they pay the high rents we are forced to pay?

Maybe these hostile commentators should step back and ask if these squatters are really their enemy, rather than the landlords increasing their rents and keeping property after property derelict. If you’re angry, kick up, don’t kick down.

We reckon the council workers had the right approach. Recognise what we have in common together and give each other a hand in our struggles. Solidarity, in this case, starts with a fry

WORDS Andrew Flood (Follow Andrew on Twitter )

Shortly after posting this on Solidarity Times  the Firebrigade turned up with a pot if soup


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