Thursday, April 16, 2015

It's not about buying homes, it's all about buying votes

The Islington Tribune sought the opinion of our local candidate upon the Conservative manifesto promise to extend the right-to-buy to include housing associations. It is unclear if the paper will print in full our reply but this is the text of our response.

The new extension of the right-to-buy is another hilarious example of the Tories making despotic inroads into the rights of private property: after changing the law to allow fracking under people's homes, they now want to seize the assets of private charitable associations to give away as electoral bribes.

It is part and parcel of the problem of reforming capitalism, that so long as the market remains in place, any reform can be undone in a knock down fire sale by any party in government. In this case, the right-to-buy seems, to my mind, to be a smoke screen for making councils sell off their most valuable homes. In any case, the temptation to buy votes with state assets will always exist for governing parties.

If any party succeeded, through taxation or borrowing, in building thousands more new social properties, they can be given away by the stroke of a Secretary of State's pen at any future date. 

This is what we call primary accumulation, or accumulation through expropriation, where piles of money are made for individuals by sales of public or common properties. It has a history as old as the dissolution of the monasteries and the Enclosure Acts. As long as representatives of the capitalist class wield political power this sort of thing will go on.

Bringing the wealth of the world into common and democratic ownership would prevent such accumulation of wealth, since land assets would have no economic value, only use value. There would be no more buying and selling, so there would be no means of disposing of common assets as private wealth. There would be no state power to sell them off at the whim of a minority. This is especially so, as common ownership is not possible without the active conscious decision and action of the overwhelming majority of people: why would they vote to give their homes away again?

The Tory's plan is to enrich a minority. We could all own our homes, and have secure tenures, through common ownership.

Hope that suffices.


Bill Martin

Socialist Party PPC for Islington North

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