Living Rent members will be marching at the anti-Trump demonstration on the 14th of July.
Donald Trump, through his words and actions and the words and actions of his supporters, has become a symbol of racism and anti-immigration bias. This protest is not only a protest against everything Trump stands for, but it is also in support of migrants, refugees, ethnic minorities and religious minorities.
You might want to know why we have decided to join this demonstration, as a tenant’s union.
First of all, at Living Rent, we believe it’s our duty to protect all tenants – and we know that ethnic minority tenants, migrant tenants and refugee tenants are especially vulnerable from poor housing regulation, illegal fees and inflated rents. We want to show our solidarity and commitment to these groups, and support tenant’s rights to affordable, adequate, SAFE housing regardless of their geographical background or the colour of their skin. We want migrant, refugee and minority tenants to know they are welcome within Living Rent and within Scotland – and people like Trump are not.
The second reason for our participation is that we understand the issues that lead people to fall for the narratives of people like Trump. We are facing a crisis of low income and high living costs in both America and the UK. Trump and his UK counterparts would have you believe this is down to immigration; too many people are coming into OUR country and taking all the homes and jobs – meaning there are less for the rest of us.
We deal with the effects of the housing crisis every day, and we like to think we are familiar with the issues surrounding it; and we can tell you right now that migrants and refugees are not the problem. There are 5000 empty homes in Edinburgh alone – if high rents were because there are not enough houses, how can there be so many spare?
The reason rent is so high is because it’s left to “the market” – but the free market cannot work when it comes to a “product” that is essential; especially when the wealthy can always afford to buy 2nd, 3rd or even 70th houses after the rest of us are priced out. Poor people don’t have the choice to just not rent if it’s too expensive – everyone needs a roof over their head; so rents just keep going up. Rent controls, better protection for tenants and greater tenants’ participation are the only answers to the housing crisis.
Getting rid of immigrants doesn’t get rid of high housing costs – as long as landlords can charge what they want without regulation they will charge us through the roof (literally!) regardless of who lives here. That is why we completely reject the extremist right-wing narrative that immigrants cause the housing crisis, and once again emphasise the need for effective, tenant-led rent controls in Scotland.
It’s easy to protest against someone like Trump, but it’s not always easy to know how to tackle racism and anti-immigration sentiment in a practical way. We strongly believe that by improving living standards with rent controls, Trump and his ilk would no longer be able to use immigrants as a scapegoat for the housing crisis because it wouldn’t exist! So if you feel frustrated with the anti-immigrant narrative that is being pushed by some in Scotland, but don’t know how to help, we invite you to join our tenant’s union and help us fight for a better deal for tenants.
Block by block, street by street we WILL take Scotland back from the Donald Trumps of the world and put it back in the hands of tenants – regardless of where they come from or how they arrived here.
Meet us at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, on Saturday the 14th of July at 12pm.
(Glasgow members will go by bus leaving at 10.30am sharp: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/glasgow-coach-to-trump-national-demo-tickets-47963660600)