London doesn’t have a housing problem it has a rich people problem. Despite soaring homelessness in the capital, figures recently released by the government show that the number of homes left empty in the city has risen for the first time since 2009.
There are currently 59,881 empty homes in London. That is enough to house everybody currently living in emergency temporary accommodation in the city – and everyone sleeping on the streets. 20,000 of these properties have been empty over two years. These are not second homes, properties which are rented out or homes used for holidays. They are empty, abandoned in some cases, or more often deliberately left vacant as investment opportunities.
It is this that is likely to be the reason the number of empty homes is rising in the capital but falling everywhere else in the UK. Luxury penthouses built not for living in, just for making money out of. These cunts are so rich they can’t even be bothered to rent out the properties they own – they just sit back and profit as house prices soar. Or at least they did. The party may soon be over with central London house prices now starting to fall.
This is the legacy of Boris Johnson. A capital city remade as a grotesque monument to capital. The real people of London forced out, or condemned to a life on the margins whilst billionaires built their own corporate Disneyland. A sterile landscape of glass and steel now dominates the city whilst once beautifully chaotic streets are overrun with chain stores and wacky trust fund businesses selling bowls of cereal for a fucking fiver. There is no place for human life in this city at all. It is just a place that money lives now.
An army of security guards stalk the privatised city streets handing out fines to kids playing football or folk enjoying a quiet beer in the park. Racist cops ruthlessly shut down working class culture wherever they find it, even banning clubs from playing music they don’t like. Uniformed filth carrying machine guns glare at people on the public transport system. Occassionally they shoot someone. The message is stark and clear. This is not our city anymore, this is a giant bank where the crooks of the world can store their wealth. And so we must be constantly policed, always watched in case we present a threat to the pampered lifestyles of the wealthy minority.
According to charities the number of people who slept rough on the streets of London this winter rose by 15% in just one year to 2,561. Beneath the glitzy facade poverty stalks the city. Bodies huddle in shop doorways whilst champagne glasses clink in restaurants where a meal costs more than a week’s wages. Children go hungry in grotty hostels beneath empty shyscrapers where the flats cost millions of pounds yet no-one lives there. This is what Boris has created. A ghost-town in sky that has shut out the city’s light.
Quietly though, everywhere, people are organising. Thousands of people whose homes are under threat grow more militant everyday. Students are on rent strike across the capital. Towards the end of the 2011 riots a mob headed towards Notting Hill and Sloane Square, smashing up designer shops and attacking restaurants. Unlicenced and boisterous street parties are shaking the newly gentrified enclaves that once belonged to the working class. Tenants facing eviction are barricading themselves in their homes.
Direct action, disruption and outright defiance are the weapons of choice, not petitions, or voting, or boring marches. Everyone knows now who is too blame and where they live. A reckoning is surely coming. Be ready.
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