Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.
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.
Grace Blakeley investigates the curious case of Carillion: how the company’s slow decline and abrupt liquidation reveals the nature of modern capitalism.
The collapse of Carillion could be a watershed moment. Let's seize it to end economically disastrous outsourcing schemes. By Cat Hobbs.
Campaign groups highlight UK complicity in Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses.
Three founders of Momentum talk to Ashish Ghadiali about the two years that have transformed their lives and the fortunes of the British left.
Andrew Smith from Campaign Against the Arms Trade gives the run-down on one of the UK's most profitable - and most deadly - industries.
The real story behind the fire in Grande Synthe’s Linière refugee camp, Dunkirk. From 'Bordered Lives – How Europe fails refugees and migrants' by Hsiao-Hung Pai
Javier Pérez De La Cruz writes about the working class Berlin neighbourhood wrung dry by gentrifiers.
Across the world, thousands of protesters are taking on the planet’s biggest fossil fuel companies. We should support them – and if we can, we should join them. By Kara Moses
Students are suffering the effects of financial instability, stress, and slashed mental health services. Mark Crawford reports.
They're not defending free speech - they're just seeking to shore up their own power, writes Ilyas Nagdee
Jeremy Hunt is poised to flog the last of the NHS
Peter Roderick sounds the alarm on an 'attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS'.
Viva Siva, 1923-2018
A. Sivanandan, who died this week, was a hugely important figure in the politics of race and class. As part of our tributes, Red Pepper is republishing this 2009 profile of him by Arun Kundnani
Sivanandan: When memory forgets a giant
Daniel Renwick calls for the whole movement to discover and remember the vital work of A. Sivanandan, who died this week
A master-work of graphic satire
American Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley’s comic commentary on America, the US Jewish diaspora and Israel is nothing if not near the knuckle, Richard Kuper writes
Meet the frontline activists facing down the global mining industry
Activists are defending land, life and water from the global mining industry. Tatiana Garavito, Sebastian Ordoñez and Hannibal Rhoades investigate.
Transition or succession? Zimbabwe’s future looks uncertain
The fall of Mugabe doesn't necessarily spell freedom for the people of Zimbabwe, writes Farai Maguwu
Don’t let Corbyn’s opponents sneak onto the Labour NEC
Labour’s powerful governing body is being targeted by forces that still want to strangle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, writes Alex Nunns