Little Red Blogger

This blog looks at radical politics(with a libertarian socialist slant), music and culture. Marx to Mises, Girls Aloud to Steve Reich...

Location: Wiltshire, United Kingdom

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Hull Giroscope Housing Co-op versus The Big Boys

Excellent although worrying article in the Guardian's usually depressing Society section. The article looks at the Hull based Giroscope Housing Co-operative who have renovated and rented out dilapidated properties since the early 80's. Giroscope has done a good job of putting Mutualist principles into effective practice.

Giroscope are unfortunately in a spot of trouble, but not luckily of their own making. Many of of the houses that they have painstakingly renovated are threatened by a diseased local housing market and the predatory practices of local developers. The area that Giroscope has been operating in has been used a dumping ground for anti-social tenants benefiting the slum landlords. There are also plans to extensively redevelop the area that Giroscope operates in which would involve compulsory purchase orders and levelling of a large number of houses. All of this is in the name of that sacred cow 'development' or as I like to think of it 'enrichment'. Local councils and local developers rigging the local property market and extracting rents from the poorest and most deprived in our society, Capitalism as usual really!

In the article Giroscope openly imply that the local council and the development corporation have no idea what is actually going on the area. It is clear that in Hull we have a clear clash of approaches and mindsets, local planners and corporate types are used to thinking in the language of command and control. There is plan and it must be executed and then profit will be extracted. Giroscope operate in almost the opposite way working in traditional co-op fashion from the ground-up expanding organically and minimising the amount they exploit the local population as they do so. So it is a clash of ideologies and a clash of world views Giroscope seeing themselves as ordinary working people yet cast by the developers in that insipid phrase 'client group'..when the developer is aware they exist at all..

So who will win? being fairly cynical my money is on the local council and it's corporate cronies. The classically capitalist combination of corporate and state support arrayed against local people will crush the co-op unless they get help and support from the outside. Unfortunately they do not have a website or much of a web presence at all. All we can do is wish them luck against the oppressive forces working against them.