From the absentee landlords of ‘An Gorta Mor’ to the modern day ‘entrepreneurs’, landlords have forever been the bane of Irish society.
The word ‘Landlord’ where I come from is a dirty word – in the circles I frequent, it’s up there with ‘tout’ and ‘drug-dealer’. Opinions vary of course on which is the dirtier.
And what is a landlord? Well a landlord is someone that, in the pursuit of profit, views a home (yours or mine) as a commodity – it is no longer a ‘home’ to them but instead has now become a ‘house’ – and there’s a crucial difference in the definition. But as a commodity, they view it as something which is to be bought and sold or rented as part of the free market.
One only needs to take a quick dander around Belfast, or any housing estate in Ireland or beyond, to see the extent to which landlords have completely over-run the housing market here. Every second house in some streets has a ‘To Let’ sign hanging decrepitly from its exterior.
Landlords do not exist as some sort of ‘service’. In as much as they are required (you know, if you need somewhere to live but can’t afford a mortgage?) this is only because the ‘free market’ has designed it as such – Private enterprise takes precedence over public ownership.
They are a business class with one motive – profit. Everything else is secondary. YOU are secondary. You are nothing more than an extension of that ‘commodity’ that they bought to rent out and make a few quid. And you are profitable.
And there are plenty of these scumbags in our midst; those that were once proud members of our community, those that wore the badge of ‘working class’ with pride, those same people who acquired ‘community jobs’ with big pay-packets and mortgages to boot. And where are they now?
Some were honest, they up and left for greener pastures. Some were less honest and still skulk and slime amongst us – the great pretenders, afraid to lose the ‘working-class’ label; even more afraid to lose the big bucks.
Believe it or not, landlords are not the problem (am I being too kind here?). They are a small extension of a whole class of people in our society who view everything as a potential source of capital – and that class is but one small extension of a very complicated system that enforces this as a societal norm.
There is a better way of doing things – we need to remove the profit motive from our economy – we need to stop thinking of ‘democracy’ in the sense that is peddled by the system that enslaves us, for it means so much more – and we need to move away from ‘democracy’ in political institutions. No amount of democracy in free market parliaments will help anyone – it’s high time we demanded a democratic economy. That is the only form of democracy that will truly set us free.
“We are out for Ireland for the Irish. But who are the Irish? Not the rack-renting, slum-owning landlord…” – James Connolly,