This week the world’s biggest property fair, known as MIPIM (Marché International des Professionnels d’Immobilier – the International Market of Real Estate Professionals), takes place in Cannes, France. Multinational developers, financiers and management companies including Savilles, the British Property Federation and Goldman Sachs will meet to do deals that enable them to profit from carving up our cities and communities.
Some 20,000 people will be attending MIPIM, paying an entry fee of €1,600 each. Amongst them will be our supposed ‘representatives’ from local authorities including Bristol, Glasgow and Sheffield, and London councils such as Ealing, Hounslow and Southwark. The Greater London Authority will also be represented, with London mayor Boris Johnson attending. At last year’s event he gave a keynote address.
But this collusion isn’t going unchallenged. On Thursday 6th March activists confronted a team of property developers preparing to set off for the event by bike to make sure they didn’t get away unchallenged. In the afternoon, protesters from a broad coalition of groups also gathered at London’s City Hall to protest the evictions and unaffordable housing created by the handover of London to private companies, many of whom will be at MIPIM.
At the demonstration members of tenants associations, private tenants organisations, housing co-operatives, homeless groups and squatting campaigns plastered estate agents signs with stickers declaring ‘LONDON NOT for sale’ and held a speak out, sharing stories of housing struggles from the Capital.
Thursday’s action was one of many being organised in response to a call from the European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and the City. This week, activists from ten countries across Europe will travel to Cannes to take part in a people’s tribunal, presenting evidence of the crimes of companies involved in MIPIM.
Those from London, part of the Radical Housing Network, a network of groups fighting for housing justice launched last year, will highlight some of the many cases of housing privatisation through which companies profit at the expense of communities.
One example is the Heygate estate, little more than a mile from City Hall, where 1,000 council homes are being lost after the estate was sold off at a loss to LendLease, who will be attending MIPIM next week. Just 71 of the new homes being built will be for social rent.
Another is South Kilburn, where council tenants are being forced into smaller but more expensive homes owned by MIPIM-attendees Catalyst and Genesis, or displaced entirely, making way for high-cost private rented or occupier owned housing. Genesis was also the target of protests in November when renters occupied a show flat in one of its east London developments and held a ‘housewarming party’ to highlight unaffordable rents.
But this week is just the beginning. In October, the first UK MIPIM is being held in London. With the housing crisis set to get worse, we’ve got no choice but to fight back.
Land, Labour, Liberty ● This land is our land ● The crisis of conservatism ● Television and class ● The case for BBC reform ● The great British land sale ● The English radical tradition ● The World Transformed ● Book reviews ● and much more
And you choose how much to pay for your subscription...
Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have been betrayed by the US, giving the Turkish state a green light to carry out atrocities in Northern Syria, writes Amber Huff and Patrick Huff
As a wave of strikes is planned across London, Petros Elia – an organiser with the United Voices of the World Union, outlines racist outsourcing practices that implicate some of our biggest ‘socially responsible’ employers
Extinction Rebellion must recognise the impacts of colonialism and capitalism, and demand a just transition for all, argues Aranyo Aarjan
As long as our politicians feed, rather than challenge, racism, the most marginal in our societies will continue to be at risk, argues Remi Joseph-Salisbury
Nick Hayes on the fight for riparian rights, with anglers and kayakers as its focal point
This summer, Irish LGBTQ campaigner Joseph Healy joined the Pride march in his home town of Newry. Here, he explains how life on the border has changed - and the stakes of Brexit installing a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic
People are taking charge of land and housing across the UK, posing an alternative to the commercial market. But is it enough? Hazel Sheffield reports