Vienna: Housing is a Human Right, 3/21/2019

Vienna: Housing is a Human Right

Vienna: Housing is a Human Right
by the German DGB Union, 3/21/19

Housing as a human right is subverted by the right of speculation. The Vienna Housing Fund buys up potential development land and prevents speculation. Rents in Vienna are half the rents in Munich.

Housing is a creative challenge since we are not born with built-in housing like clams. The state cannot steal away from its responsibility to guarantee life, liberty, and happiness.

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Housing as a Human Right by Arnold Kunzli, 1990 Bern Peace Week, June 2003

The human right of housing is subverted by the right of speculation.
When speculation is unbridled, sharks are protected against the sardinsardines.
This article by the Swiss emeritus professor Arnold Kunzli is translated from the German in Neue Wege.
Housing as a Human Right

By Arnold Kunzli

[Arnold Kunzli’s lecture “Housing as a Human Right” presented at the 1990 Bern peace week and broadcast later by radio DRS is translated by Marc Batko from the German in the Swiss Neue Wege 84, June 1990. The text shows that a right to housing also includes a right to land but that these two rights cannot be realized within existing property structures. Only a distribution of land ownership in a discretionary property of communes and a revenue property of individuals enables the human right to land and housing to be guaranteed to all people. As in his latest book “Rescue Freedom from its Protectors!”, Professor Kunzli (Zurich) reveals in this lecture how little capitalism and human rights are compatible with one another.]

The Idea of Human Rights

The idea of human rights, as we understand it today, was conceived during that secular movement of emancipation called the age of the Enlightenment. It implies that certain innate, inalienable basic rights come to the person, to every person without exception, owing only to the fact that he or she was born as a person, independent of sex, age, intelligence, race and membership to a class, religion and nation, independent even from time and space. These rights have a pre-political or supra-political character and are valid absolutely and universally. Standing above the positive law, they cannot be balanced, decreed or abolished and form the substance of what is called human dignity.

– In the formulation of the 1776 American Declaration of Independence composed by Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all persons are created equal endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

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The Crisis of Democracy by Joachim Hirsch

The Crisis of Democracy by Joachim Hirsch, February 2019

Decisions affecting social development are in the hands of private investors and state policy depends on their actions. The increasingly unequal income- and wealth distribution is the result of a strategic governmental policy that reacted to a capitalist crisis.

The social consensus made possible the relative stability of liberal democracy up to the 1970s. In the meantime, this has reversed. Looking to the future opens up uncertainty and anxiety and not hope anymore.

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Lawrence Felinghetti turns 100

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Capitalism and democracy: what if we have it backwards? by Sheri Berman

by Sheri Berman, March 11, 2019
For most on the left the story of the last decades goes something like this. During the postwar era the ‘primacy of politics’ was the rule:

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Spring forward on March 10 – with Bernie!

The head of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Univ said Trump may be in pre-dementia – unable to finish a sentence without drifting off into distraction.

The people ahead of the government change their minds. The 245 Democratic votes to revoke the national emergency is a triumph of truth and humiliation for Trump. He goes to his corner as a clear and present danger as McConnell goes to his insider trading
Public spirit can be restored with community centers and taxation of the rich. Medicare, Medicaid, Pell grants, Low Income Housing Tax credits, HUD, SNAP, EPA, Department of Education, The Legal Corporation, WIC food assistance, the National Institute for Health, and school lunches are achievements, not excesses or frivolities to be punished!

Mudslinging + enriching the super-rich = cynicism and mistrust In the horse-sparrow theory, horses must be fed so the sparrows can live (cf. John Kenneth Galbraith). In Adam Smith’s invisible hand theory, the common good or public good happens when everyone pursues their self-interest. In truth, the economy exists for people and not the other way around! The economy is a part of life, not a sledgehammer crushing self-determination and creativity. In Chinese, the same Chinese letter represents crisis and opportunity.

Is Trump synonymous with burlesque government, by scandal, cynicism, and incompetence? He appointed the Eli Lilly CEO as Secretary of Health and Human Services after the price of insulin skyrocketed 300% in ten years! No, corporate profits do not equal community health.
The financial sector should be shriveled and the public sector expanded..

Spring forward. Truthfulness is like a leap across seventy thousand fathoms of water (Soren Kierkegaard). Trump’s resignation would be an act of political courage and would save the country trillions! One act of courage can be more important than a thousand sermons! (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

more at www.openculture,,, and

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Public Good or Private Wealth

Public Good or Private Wealthby Werner Raza and Willy Sabautski

Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, summarizes the interests of Oxfam International in a few sentences:
The deep and growing chasm between the rich and the poor is not an accident. This gulf is the result of political decisions. […] Many rich countries have lowered or abolished property taxes; they hardly exist in poor countries. […] At the same time, governments reduce spending on education and health care or shift these indispensable services to private profit-oriented suppliers that the poorest cannot afford. […]

Misguided policy led us into this crisis and true policy can lead us out. We can overcome inequality when governments properly tax the wealthy and corporations and invest these revenues in health care and education.

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“Ten Years after the Financial Crash” by Rudolf Hickel, Dec 2018

How mainstream economics dealt with the crisis

For the first time,  the connections and consequences of speculative capitalism dominating the real economy were made visible.

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“Capitalism is Responsible for Your Depressing Office Building”

Over a century ago, John Ruskin predicted how ugly and inhuman industrialized capitalism would become.

By Chris Gelardi

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Video: David Harvey explains the “Crisis of Capitalism,” RSA Animate, 2010, 11 min more at,,,, and

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