Wednesday, September 26The Voice of London

Generation rent might have just found their Momentum

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership campaign has created a new movement, coined Momentum; we took a look at how this hopes to galvanise a very disparaged ‘Generation Rent’. Words: Mattia Bosio, Ena Bilobrk, Isabella Ellis, Jack Everitt, Cerys Kenneally.

It was World Homeless Day last week. So in London, with a swell of young people on the streets, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the event would have merited some serious attention.

It most definitely didn’t.

You could count the amount of people gathered outside Euston Square on one hand and with technical issues preventing speeches the event quickly dispersed.

It cannot be dismissed that Britain’s streets are filled with campaigners like never before.

Tory austerity measures have enraged thousands. But these movements are fragmented and sometimes, important events, like national homeless day, fall by the wayside.

Britain’s deepening housing crisis has seen home ownership fall for the first time since census records began and if it continues 50% of under 40s will be in rented accommodation by 2025.

Under the current government the situation shows no sign of improvement and unless there’s a coup they’re going to stick around until at least 2020.

The positive summer politics surrounding the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign were not resigned to merely Labour supporters but a mass movement and this just got itself established.

Meet, Momentum.

”We are working with other allies and partners, looking at how we can organise renters around tenants and renters unions, to lobby for better polices and campaign on the issue. We want to make real changes now; to help people get their deposits back and understand their rights, prevent more of the extortionate rent rises we have been seeing and stop the abuse that is sadly so prevalent in some landlord/tenant relations,” says James Schneider, media spokesperson for Momentum.

”The big part is helping people come together, because we are more powerful together. I’m in the rented sector and we don’t have many legal rights on our own, we are more powerful and get a lot more done if we are given ways to come together. The housing system is completely broken, there needs to be collective action and organising so that real positive changes can be won.”

Ex-Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, said: ‘’Any man, who beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself a failure.’’

It’s worth considering how the late Thatcher would feel if she knew that many charities now provide bus tickets, for homeless people, (many over 26), to sleep on London’s night buses.

We wonder if she’d reconsider her infamous housing act and Right to Buy scheme, that has defined the struggles many find themselves in today.

Current PM, David Cameron has promised a “housing crusade”, but this doesn’t appear to have been met with faith, as the left have only got louder.

The government’s response to their failures, housing crisis included, has been to whip up hate for immigration and encourage an anti-refugee rhetoric.

However, thousands marching in support of refugees highlighted the limitations of this strategy. But it’s the links between these campaigns (and those alike) that should not be undervalued by the left.

Because for them it provides instead, an opportunity of unlimited potential.

It is Momentum that plans to capitalise on this potential. And where figures like Russell Brand might have failed, the odds of this movement look a lot better.

A staggering quarter of a million people elected Jeremy Corbyn, who headed straight off to the refugee protest after his victory and was met with overwhelming cheers.

Those who may not have been Labour supporters previously got behind the friendly politician’s anti-austerity and somewhat revolutionary politics.

Though this may have been met with a mixed response from the Labour party and with David Cameron calling Labour a ‘national security threat’, the support from the public is clearly there.

It’s now a question of how to move it forward.

Following the shock Conservative victory, Owen Jones encouraged disparaged voters (and probably non-voters, too) to pick themselves up and organise.

Anyone considering themselves a part of ‘Generation Rent’ are likely to end up in this camp, so here’s the opportunity.

But if Momentum is to be successful in the long term, it will need to build a movement that turns generation rent into generation vote.

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