In Dublin today, an intensifying housing crisis is provoking a dramatic public response. Activists, spearheaded by groups like Dublin Central Housing Action, occupy empty properties, draping banners from windows sarcastically proclaiming “10,000 welcomes from 10,000 homeless.” They organize tenants to contest illegal evictions, door knocking in neighborhoods where renters are precariously subject to landlord whim. They research property registers and records, and in guerilla blogs such as “Slumleaks,” they shine a light on negligent landlords who hoard properties and leave them derelict. They march through historic city streets—canyons of Georgian brick and wet pavement—disrupting traffic and chanting, “Housing is a human right.”
The electoral win of Syriza in Greece substantiates cross-European objections to austerity. Contrary to recurrent warnings that have for years emphasized how Syriza’s electoral victory would jeopardize Greece’s future in Europe and plunge the economy further into crisis, the first weeks in government underline that Syriza’s rise to power may be just what was needed to return the political to European politics. People across Europe now go beyond mere solidarity with Greek efforts, as they call for collective action to revisit the question of how to deal with fiscal policies and indebted nations. The call is for people to come before profit, not a centralized subordination of policies to a very particular economic calculus and to technocratic power.