National Sections of the L5I:

Sweden: Nationwide demos against Social Democrat/Green plan for market rents

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On July 1, the Swedish Social Democrat/Green government plans to enact a reform which will enable marketisation of rents on newly constructed public housing apartments. Having initially tried to bury the proposal in a committee, probably hoping that the issue would somehow go away, the government has now allowed itself to be pushed into action by its right-wing junior partners. (For more on the coalition and the January Agreement, see https://fifthinternational.org/content/political-crisis-sweden-strike-ac...)

For its part, the leadership of the 538,000 strong Tenants’ Association, which negotiates rents in collective bargaining agreements, has felt forced by the pressure of its membership to launch a campaign against the proposal, calling for demonstrations and petitioning against it. In the Gothenburg area especially, more radical forces have rightly pushed further, organising protests not only against this proposal in particular but against the whole, rotten January Agreement in itself.

Sunday, April 18 was called as a national protest day against marketisation of rents. Nationally, over 150 protests were organised, with many cities, such as Stockholm and Gothenburg, having a protest (small and corona safe) on almost every suburb square or public transport station over the course of the day.

In Stockholm, Arbetarmakt comrades organised one of the protests, in the proletarian suburb of Skärholmen. Arbetarmakt comrades held speeches, handed out flyers and spoke to locals about the planned attack on every tenant's rights. In Gothenburg, Arbetarmakt participated in local protests, also handing out our flyer and helped keeping the protests there going along with local tenant organisers there.

As the Arbetarmakt flyer said:

"Liberalisation of rents on newly constructed public housing would be a big step toward complete marketisation of all rents. According to a consultant firm's report, marketisation of rents in Sweden would mean about 50 % higher rents in Stockholm, and 30-50 % nationally. All steps towards marketisation of rents must be stopped. Housing is a right. It shouldn't be something for landlords to make profits from, or a commodity.

- Stop all steps towards marketising rents
- Stop all conversions of public housing into private apartments - instead, convert private apartments back into public housing
- Stop all greedy, private landlords - return all housing to public ownership
- For massive renovation of all public housing that needs it
- For a nation-wide inspection of all public housing, with representatives of the workers' movement and the tenants
- Lower rents
- For a massive programme of new public housing with good standard and reasonable rents. Build away the housing crisis!
- The workers' movement must fight for these demands, through mass struggle and to force the government to back down from its attacks".

Our flyer was well-received in Stockholm and Gothenburg, as were our speeches. The movement against marketisation of rents is growing in Sweden right now, proving to be another problem for the Social Democrat-led government as it is constantly pushed by its liberal allies to fulfil the right-wing policies agreed to in the January Agreement. The campaign will continue, with new protests and online meetings planned.

Arbetarmakt

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