Social housing & homelessness in Lincoln

Social Housing and Homelessness in Lincoln (Lucy)

Discussion Notes: 14 November 2017 at Mint Lane, Lincoln

Reading: chapter 1 of Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paolo Friere

http://www.msu.ac.zw/elearning/material/1335344125freire_pedagogy_of_the_oppresed.pdf

Scholars present: Lucy, Phil, Mike, Louise, Eddie, Laura, Meredith, Sarah, Fen

Lucy offered to guide a facilitated discussion on Homelessness in relation to Chapter 1 of Paulo Friere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1972), and with honesty, explained that when working as a Homelessness Support Worker was often frustrated that the role made her feel part of the problem rather than the solution. Unfortunately, this was because when trying to assist the homeless she also felt like an oppressor through ensuring they ‘complied’ with the defined (and punitive) supported housing rules, thus clearly identifying with Friere’s proposition of false charity. This unlocked a much
wider and diverse dialogue. Some of the key points and perspectives freely presented by scholars are summarised below:

Are we all part of the system anyway?

 We can only be engaged with the reality that we are in… we can work and live within/without the system… we have choice, we are privileged to choose – we acknowledge that others do not have choice
 There is always the possibility of hope… our frustration should not stop our perseverance to change the system
 How we are educated (inculcated) via the system reinforces the system. Ditto being ‘treated’ by the NHS
 There is alternative education – Freire’s purpose in educating peasants (Mike kindly gave useful insight in to Freire’s background and his lifelong determination to educate the oppressed, and ultimately the oppressors).
 The current system constrains our abilities to offer help: employees “up against the wall”, “gagged by funders”
 Oppression of workers in UK – are trade unions part of the problem? Are they bullies?
 Elsewhere (non-UK) appears to have better cooperation between trade unions and employers
 UK is poor relation – lack of labour, skills, worker’s right, zero hours contracts adds to causation of homelessness
 Important to recognise the principle of trade unions – what brings them together = collective purpose
 Identification of Squatting/Travelling movement as real self-organisation/help – creative pooling of resources
 What is the definition of ‘Homelessness’? Does it have meaning? – defined by government (system)
 Homeless/homelessness demonised; abetted by media perception: serves the system’s purpose?
 Statistics report significant rise in homelessness – Universal Tax Credit (UTC) will make it worse
 UTC is a deliberately designed sanction to create forced employment – made to work therefore conform
 Leads back to Freire’s perspective of Dehumanisation – work is part of the system = prostitution
 Work equals humiliation, and is further entrenched and measured through work based appraisals
 Creating temporary autonomous zones (i.e. alternative free festivals) offers fresh perspectives for the oppressed
 Exilic Communities – mutual aid/liberation. See ‘Living on the Edges of Capitalism’ (Grubacic & O’Hearn, 2016)
 See ‘Riot. Strike. Riot. The New Era of Uprisings’ (Clover, 2016). Undoing professionalism: hierarchical arrogance
 Solution: our refusal to work – value comes from human labour – system requires surplus value to survive
 Growth is essential for the system. When growth can not be met, it begins to asset strip, moves production out
 Counteract by right to strike – withdrawal of labour; system would react by enforcing war to recreate status quo
 We need to make a leap of faith. Consider occupation and cooperation to find alternative solutions
 Work with the system to influence new housing projects which do not put property in landlord ownership
 Better tenancy rights. More social housing. There should not be limitations who can access housing
 Housing not allocated through the lens of the deserving and undeserving. ‘Ownership’ should be communal
 Can we occupy the commons? There are alternative ways of living/being. Home ownership creates divisions
 Follow Freire’s proposition – strive to make a difference through educating and learning – seek objectivity
 Who is really homeless? Should we give money to the homeless/beggars? Opinions divided

 

Notes by Fen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *