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"From Tourist Housing and Class Struggle" or how to organize people against the capital where it is believed there is no conflict

  • A few days ago the PAS union of the Bilbao Metropolitano invited us to participate in a conference. The talk explained “The study of tools and struggles against turistification” and there we made our simple contribution.

The capitalist metropolis of San Sebastian has changed a lot since we launched the Network for Housing in Gros in 2016. Fortunately, the neighborhood workers they support have also changed a lot.

The year 2016 was a hard year, some named it San Sebastian Capital of European Culture and the others named it Cultura del Capital. The cork knob in our country marked the turning point. We could say that for us Barcelona 92, San Sebastián 2016 was the time to clean San Sebastian by the urban bourgeoisie.

The year 2020 was also a time of change, as beyond the pandemic struck everyone, in the neighborhood, another virus attacked us, the vulture Azora. Pandemic and Azora's presence lifted powders and from day to day we went from being a simple group that socialized a problem to being a Housing Union. Advisory work, hard negotiations, organization of the tenants of Azora -- some even expropriated Azora a couple of floors. Wow!

We will not lie to anyone, from the beginning our goal was to create a union.

If we did not address the issue of housing quickly, as a result of tourist activity, we would be frustrated by all the possibilities, condemned to all residents living outside the neighbourhood.

The housing problem is not only considered great, but also strategic. Because housing is, like yesterday, the main exponent of class conflict in our neighborhood. That is why starting union housing is to contribute to class recomposition. And that is that the workers steal two (and more) times the value of our work: at work and when we pay the house.

We must be clear that what we are proposing here is not an isolated criticism of the rental price. Because the problem is not the price of housing (of course also), but the price of housing. We want to encourage the de-commodification of housing, and to do so we need to encourage greater control on this issue. Based on your organization.

Let's look at the current reality, what data do we have?

In the years 2021 and 2022 the income level of the neighborhood was 27,741 euros, in fourteen pages. EUR 1,981,5 per month, withholding approximately EUR 1,754 per month to the worker's pocket.

What we propose is not an isolated criticism of the rental price. Because the problem is not the price of housing (of course also), but the price of housing

Now, it would be logical to give the average rental price. But the reality is so hard that if we get the lowest we have enough to explain the situation we live in. The first three cheapest rentals we can find in Idealistan (data is December) are 1,000 euros one room, 1,100 euros one room and 1,100 euros two rooms (35 square meters).

Therefore, the worker must offer at least 62% of the salary for hire. If housing is shared, 31%. That also has its own reading.

Following the data, the number of apartments offered in recent years was 53 houses. On the contrary, that of Tourist Housing in 2022, 295. Its average price per night is EUR 295, i.e. an entire month EUR 6,090.

To complete the data, there are currently 5,522 vacant homes in Donostia, more than 300 of them in Gros. We must be aware, however, that these do not include tourist housing. If we all put them in the same bag, and for us, of course, that is the case, we would have some 600 empty houses. 50% of them are for the Tourist Housing business.

Therefore, the problem is not that there is no house, but a business that is done with it. Therefore, given the measures proposed by both neoliberalism and socialdemocracy, as well as the construction of new housing, we can only close the doors to speculation and deepen the total de-commercialization of housing.

With regard to the commodification of housing, it raises the social relationship that capital implies: on the one hand, the bourgeoisie and the landlords, and on the other, those who live in rent, mortgage or occupation. The first, small vulture and low funds, form a political bloc that represents the same interest, the most speculative. The latter, only their work, or the representation of those who do not have it, a block in favor of the decommodification of housing.

Although the issue of housing has an absolute centrality, it is clear to us that this is not the Ravala of Barcelona, but that does not mean at all that it does not have an absolute centrality, but that what has centrality is implemented differently. Essence and appearance.

Knowing the reality of the neighborhood is essential. While secret redundancies and fierce tourist processes are taking place in Gros, regular dismissal is more difficult. This led us to think about other tools for housing issues and has to lead us in the future.

In summary, housing is used as a commodity and neighbors are related through it. Whether with employers or banks, or promoting the privatization of public space and the intensification of tourist services. The campaign against tourist housing is therefore of great importance.

In order to understand the development of the campaign, it is essential to meet the objectives of the first unions.

1. Union strengthening: merger of new members, functional union, referent and legitimacy. Reference for neighbors and legitimate for the opposite.

2. Organizing neighbors: generating conflicts and extending the union approach to all corners of the neighborhood. Be part of the union in all the portals of the neighborhood.

3. Create the Donostia Housing Movement and set common agendas to organize housing unions in all neighborhoods.

4th. Strengthening of Hondarpe: articulation of the political community, integrity (perhaps partial). Along with other neighborhood agents.

To feed these objectives, the campaign against Tourist Housing has two sub-objectives:

1. Fighting spaces to capital by limiting speculation. To do this, we present the "Guide against Tourist Housing", with meetings of residents to ban economic activity on the portals.

2. Neighborhood organization: on the one hand completing a network that deals with this issue, and on the other hand, guaranteeing people who will have the union reference in every corner of the neighborhood.

We will not go here to account for the details of the guide, which are exposed in our social networks, but we will comment on a couple of issues. It has to be said that the campaign was not wrong. The presence of a neighbor in Monday's collective counseling pushed us to do this work. Things about militant co-investigation, listen.

At first we act with a lot of uncertainty. Because we were not completely convinced that this gave legal guarantees. But for us, what was important was to do the same exercise, so that the neighbors would meet and debate, taking as a reference the Housing Union.

Then, if a judge were to oppose it, then... the decision may be legally unwarranted, but if we did things right we could provoke a conflict. And that's where we put the most important point. In the need to generate conflicts. Because conflict allows the development of consciousness, understanding consciousness, of course, as the choice of organization.

It should also be noted that people who have joined through the campaign against Tourist Housing have been present in other initiatives that had nothing to do with it. The issue advances in the configuration of the political community.

Finally, we have learned that, in addition to that, we have recently published a guide to combating the theft of bonds. Another effective instrument for defending the working class.

Gros Housing Union

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