Tuesday, March 03, 2015

State Houses for All!

Image result for Tamaki housing protest
Tenants protesting NACT government selling state houses in Tamaki a working class community in Auckland City, New Zealand.

The NACTs (National and ACT) are making a major push to sell off the state housing stock to developers, and pretending that the private providers of “social housing” will meet the need for affordable housing. Rubbish! The NACTs are kicking working class communities like Tamaki out of their houses and selling off the valuable land to their property developer mates as a ‘market solution’ to housing.

For the NACTs workers should pay out of their wages for housing in the market. Where slave wages mean workers cannot afford market rents the state relies on private charities and Maori trusts to step in.

Labour’s answer is to promise to subsidise private ‘affordable’ houses for $400k that no working class family on the minimum or even median wage can afford. The Greens promise more state houses but their middle class focus is on affordable, sustainable housing which includes more private ownership.

Mana offers to build many more state houses, but it will allow tenants to buy them! It also wants government to pay for cheap $200k houses for sale. Hone Harawira also seems to approve of Maori Trusts buying state houses in Tamaki and shifting them up to Kaitaia. So far this Trust has taken nine houses from Tamaki tenants. Hone got arrested for opposing the eviction of Tamaki state housing tenants. Is he now backing the selling off of state houses to Maori Trusts?

So it looks like there is no political party that stands on the principle of affordable state houses as a basic right to workers as part of a living wage. A major social gain that was won by workers in the 1930s depression is being destroyed and with it any possibility of workers achieving a living social wage.
What is the social wage?

NZ’s health, education, welfare and social services provided through the State are all part of the social wage. The social wage is heath, education and housing paid for out of taxation that supplements the market wage as ‘Working for Families’ does.

However, none of the political parties will tell you that the social wage is really just returning to workers part of the surplus value their labour power creates which is taken off them as profits and taxes. The buying power of the market wage plus social wage equals the real wage. So the sale of state houses is yet another cut to the social wage and therefore the real wage of NZ workers!

Social Housing providers – will be picking up the deferred maintenance and development that is required (by the state) to house the NZ population. We do not accept the “do gooder” social housing trusts taking over from the NACT government.

This divides the working class among those who are eligible under this trust scheme or that trust scheme, and those who miss out.

We say: No Sales! Not for $1 not for $0!

No social housing take-over! 
No tenants buying our houses! 
No dividing the working class!

The capitalist state is so bankrupt National is desperate to sell state assets to prop up the profits of the rich through another round of tax cuts. The temporary tax relief for the rich comes at the long term expense of the working class.

We must fight back against this asset sale and undertake to take back all privatised state assets built by the labour of the working class. For this we need a revolutionary workers’ party.

Mana movement is not that party when it leads the fight for state houses on marches to parliament, diverting the energy and resources of Mana (as a flax-grass roots movement) into the hot air and dirty politics of the parliamentary talk shop.

Our fight has to be based on mobilising those who refuse to move, and need support. We need to organise occupations in state housing areas - defend each house, each street, each neighbourhood. Build Mana as a movement on the streets and neighbourhoods – start with occupations of state houses.

Occupy! – defend and resist evictions!

Occupy! - build support for those willing to occupy against privatisation!

Occupy! - build solidarity of working class communities with trade unions ranks!

For a crash program to build state houses for rents pegged to the living wage determined by workers rent tribunals!

For the right of every working family to an affordable state house for life!

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