Archive for 19 luglio 2019

Meeting Minutes

luglio 19, 2019
Meeting Minutes del 19 luglio 2019
 
La mia vita è sempre in pericolo, ma io non dimentico la tua legge (Salmo 119,109)
 
 
GETS DONE
It is amazing
What gets done
When God
And I act as one
David Herr
 
 
Non conosciamo più la gioia delle cose durevoli, frutto dello sforzo e di un lavoro scrupoloso
 
Zygmunt Bauman
 
* 1867 nasce a Digione Anrè Lalande, filosofo francese
 
“Il precetto divino non è solamente Dovere, ma anche Concedere: non solo vieta, ma anche libera alla vita genuina”
 
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
 
 
Mi piacerebbe inserire nella meditazione non solo la Bibbia canonica ma anche i Vangeli c.d. Apocrifi: non spetta alla chiesa/e giudicare il documento di Valenza degli scritti, non riconosciuti sacri, ma al credente. Ho un nuovo e-reader con questi scritti che riporterò, qualche volta

Manifestazione contro il cambiamento climatico, attivisti occupano l’ingresso della banca

luglio 19, 2019

19.07.2019 – Castellammare del Golfo – Redazione Italia

Manifestazione contro il cambiamento climatico, attivisti occupano l’ingresso della banca
(Foto di FFF & ER)

Insieme a Milano, Torino e altre 15 città in tutta Italia, anche Castellammare Del Golfo ha partecipato alla manifestazione “La Casa è in Fiamme” promossa da Fridays For Future ed Extinction Rebellion, i due movimenti per clima che nell’ultimo anno si sono fatti conoscere in tutto il mondo. Gli attivisti, indossando i costumi dei personaggi della nota serie TV La Casa di Carta, hanno svolto ovunque manifestazioni pacifiche contro i finanziamenti delle banche all’industria fossile.

In Italia sono due le principali banche colpevoli che sono state prese di mira durante questa giornata di scioperi: Unicredit, nella top30 delle banche mondiali che finanziano i combustibili fossili, e Intesa San Paolo, il più grande gruppo bancario italiano che fa affari finanziando gasdotti in giro per l’Europa e per il mondo.

A Castellammare del Golfo la manifestazione è iniziata alle ore 10 di mattina davanti la filiale della banca Intesa San Paolo ai quattro canti.
Sotto gli occhi stupiti dei turisti e dei passanti, gli attivisti sono riusciti a trattare un problema estremamente serio in modo teatrale. In più di 30 tra universitari, bambini e adulti, si sono buttati a terra al suono di una campana di allarme e sono rimasti là per buona parte della mattinata inscenando l’ecocidio di cui la banca si sta rendendo complice. Successivamente quattro attivisti si sono legati davanti l’ingresso della banca compiendo un atto simbolico che comunque non è rimasto inosservato.

“Sappiamo benissimo chi sono i ladri del nostro futuro e chi i loro complici, non gli permetteremo di continuare ad estrarre e finanziare i combustibili fossili alterando il clima globale e distruggendo la vita sulla terra” -è il grido che si alza da uno degli attivisti legati all’ingresso della banca- “Agiremo pacificamente e lo faremo in nome del nostro futuro e di quello delle prossime generazioni”.

Ormai da decenni gli scienziati di tutto il mondo ci avvisano della catastrofe che gli esseri umani stanno causando, nonostante ciò i politici continuano ad agire come se avessero la situazione sotto controllo e buona parte della popolazione quindi non percepisce la gravità dell’emergenza. Da più di sette mesi però la situazione sta cambiando, sempre più cittadini si stanno ribellando poiché impauriti dal report dell’IPCC, il foro scientifico dell’ONU, ma ispirati dalle parole di Greta Thunberg.

Gli organizzatori della manifestazione hanno fatto sapere che anche in Sicilia sta nascendo Extinction Rebellion, un movimento che si è fatto conoscere in Inghilterra per le sue forti azioni di disobbedienza civile pacifica e non-violenta, ispirate ai grandi della storia come Martin Luther King e Mahatma Gandhi.

Poor tenants pay for landlords to live like kings. It doesn’t have to be this way

luglio 19, 2019

18.07.2019 – UK – George Monbiot

Poor tenants pay for landlords to live like kings. It doesn’t have to be this way
(Image by George Monbiot Facebook)

Britain has enough housing – it’s just that a series of outrageous policies makes it accessible only to the rich.

By George Monbiot for The Guardian

I have a friend who works almost every waking hour, mainly to pay the rent. Her landlord lives on a beach, 4,000 miles away. He seldom responds to her requests, and grudgingly pays for the minimum of maintenance. But every so often he writes to inform her that he is raising the rent. He does not have to work because she and other tenants work on his behalf. He is able to live the life of his choice because they give their time to him. As there is a shortage of accessible housing, they have no choice but to pay his exorbitant fees.

Rents charged at such rates – far beyond the costs of capital and maintenance – are, in these circumstances, a form of private taxation, levied by the rich on the poor. The penalty for failing to pay this tax is arguably greater than the penalty for failing to pay taxes owed to the state: eviction and homelessness. People say “I work for Tesco” or “I work for Deliveroo”, but the reality for many is that they work for their landlord. While the average mortgaged household spends 12% of its income on housing, the average renting household spends 36%. I have met plenty of people who hand over 50% or more.

The UK has become a paradise for landlords and hell for tenants. Buy-to-let mortgages, easy evictions, uncapped rents, generous tax breaks and the replacement of social housing with housing benefit (a bill that now amounts to £22bn a year, much of which is paid to private landlords) have turned the rental sector into a licence to print money, at the expense of both tenants and taxpayers. In the 13 years between 2002 and 2015, average wages for people who rent rose by 2%, but their rents rose by 16%.

The effects are devastating not only for people’s finances but also for their family life and peace of mind, as Catrina Davies reminds us in her beautiful, elegaic book Homesick, published this month. After a childhood clouded by her father’s bankruptcy, the subsequent loss of the family home, destitution, divorce, chaos and mental illness, she finds herself on the wrong side of the magic line between those who own and those who don’t. She is engaged in an endless struggle to lead a good, fulfilling life, without being crushed by the demands of rent.

After living in a tent, a van and a static caravan, she rents a tiny box room in a crowded, angry house in Bristol for £400 a month. While she struggles to meet her bills, her landlords blithely travel the world. Eventually, it all becomes too much. She flees into a collapsing shed in Cornwall, without planning permission, electricity or water. She now lives on the wrong side of the law, under corrugated iron and decaying timber, in extreme precarity, but with a measure of freedom she has not been able to find elsewhere.

She is surrounded by the dysfunctions of Britain’s property market. A miserable, pokey flat comes up, but there are no available jobs that could possibly cover the rent. Buying is impossible: the average price of a house in Cornwall is £206,000, while the average wage in the county would permit her to borrow £51,000.

This disparity is partly explained by the vast market in second homes and holiday homes. In the UK, while 320,000 people are officially homeless (and many more are invisibly sofa surfing or sleeping in sheds or cars), one in 10 adults now owns more than one home. These owners are overwhelmingly rich and middle-aged or elderly. During the first 10 years of this century, the number of homes standing empty for most of the year rose by 21%.

Davies encounters an almost feudal economy, in which non-owners work for the owners. Some of the employers – offering casualised work at the minimum wage cleaning and servicing holiday homes and staffing cafes and car parks – are also the local landlords, who set rents their own workers cannot afford. The economy is sustained by people living in tents, vans and caravans. She notes that “basic needs can be satisfied very cheaply when you don’t have a landlord to support”. But landlords have become punitively expensive to maintain.

The folk theory of crazy rents and mortgages is that they are the result of too few houses and too many people. But one of the amazing facts of our time is that the UK has more bedrooms per person than ever before. Throughout the boom in house prices, the number of dwellings here has been growing faster than the number of households. There is plenty of housing – for the rich. But a series of outrageous policies ensure that it remains inaccessible to the poor. There are council tax discounts for second homes and holiday homes, and for single people in large houses. The capital gains tax on second homes and investment properties is lower than income tax. Why work if your extra homes earn more than you do – even if they are left empty?

If the number of homes had grown by 300,000 every year since 1996, the average house today would be only 7% cheaper. This is because of the economic decisions successive governments have made, ensuring that our surplus homes – and surplus rooms – are inaccessible to those who need them most. Yes, we need to build more social housing, but even a massive programme would take many years to counteract the effects of our pernicious system. As the Land for the Many report(commissioned by the Labour party and edited by me) points out, we also need explicit policies to stabilise house prices and prevent homes from being treated as financial assets. Among them are stiffer restrictions on evicting tenants and raising rents, stronger regulation of buy-to-let mortgages, a national register of landlords, with iron rules ensuring that the homes they offer are safe and fit, and higher rates of capital gains tax for additional homes.

We will need private landlords for the foreseeable future, and they should be able to make some money from their property. But they cannot be allowed to use their position as owners of a limited and non-reproducible resource (the land on which their houses sit) to extract private taxes from people much poorer than themselves. We claim to be a nation that values freedom. But freedom is currently the preserve of the rich.

 George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist

 

Reproduced with kind permission from the author


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