• Left Book Club - a discussion about housing

  • Thu, 10-10-2019 at 19:00
  • Open Doors Bradford
    29 John Street
    BD1 3JS City of Bradford
Left Book Club - a discussion about housing - Open Doors Bradford - Bradford

As this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Addison Act we can follow this up with a discussion around the failure of the capitalist system to solve the housing problems faced by working class people. Labours 2017 proposals for Council housing have been criticised as not going far enough.A potted history of council housing is herehttps://fet.uwe.ac.uk/conweb/houseages/councilhousing/section1.htmthe reason for the demand for decent housing is rooted in the development of the capitalist system and the early socialists in England were involved, Engels in his “Condition of the Working Class” described in detail the horrors of early Victorian conditions facing the industrial proletariat, housing is described in the Chapter titled “The Great Towns” pages 44-72 which is the chapter to be read for discussion.https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/condition-working-class-england.pdfWhilst the conditions outlined here were improved through Public Health Acts and demands from activists within the working class, in the following decades. The 1890 Housing Act was an important reformhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HousingoftheWorkingClassesAct1890Although some reforms were won these were inadequate. Things came to a head in First World War where additional workers were required in munition factories. Leading in 1915 to the situation where shipyard and engineering factories were threatening strikes to reduce rents.https://www.rs21.org.uk/2015/06/12/1915-glasgow-rent-strike-how-workers-fought-and-won-over-housing/One of the demands on a banner of the strikers in Partick was for more municipal housing. Lloyd George intervened and the rent strikers won, However post war the Government under pressure from the Russian Revolution and the threat of Bolshevism recognised a need to act fast to improve conditions; before they faced a similar fate to that of the Tsarist Russian Government!https://martinwicks.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/addisonactcentenary.pdf(The above article is from Martin Wicks who blogs here and has many other interesting articles on his blog https://martinwicks.org/2019/02/06/the-centenary-of-the-addison-act/ )As we live in the here and now and whilst having an understanding of history is important, it is more about what happens next. So I would propose a short discussion about the history and more time discussing the way forward. The pressure is again on for a change in housing policy as rents and housing costs soar in comparison to wages and shortages of housing especially in major cities are apparent.Critiscism of Labour proposals has been raisedhttps://leftfootforward.org/2019/05/labour-must-be-more-ambitious-on-building-council-housing/The last Labour manifesto page 60 is the current position and numbers for provision of Council Housing is not specifically given, I understand that this was a re hash of 2015 policy and there are changes likely soon. What do we think should be in this?https://labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/labour-manifesto-2017.pdfFor background reading a longstanding group fighting against right to buy and for more Council housing ishttp://www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk/dch/Some other articleshttps://www.insidehousing.co.uk/comment/comment/why-the-100th-anniversary-of-the-addison-act-should-spark-a-council-housing-comeback-62176https://socialistworker.co.uk/art/48638/Addison+Act+anniversary+shows+there+is+far+to+go