"The Right to Change": Scholar Activists and the Occupation of Apollo House, Dublin

Authors: Audrey Kobayashi*, Queen's University, Rory Hearne, National University of Ireland, Maynouth
Topics: Human Rights, Social Geography
Keywords: Dublin, Apollo House, scholar activism, homelessness,ocupation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Studio 4, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Against the backdrop of eight years of austerity, bank bailouts, and the emergence of a housing crises and new generation of homelessness in Dublin, in December 2016, activist groups occupied Apollo House, a 10-storey building owned by the Irish States National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), which had been slated for demolition and redevelopment. During the month-long occupation approximately 40 people found shelter. Activists, politicians, actors, journalists, musicians, and many volunteers gathered materials and donations to provide shelter and to get the message out concerning the need for affordable social housing. The occupation received extensive media coverage before the occupants were required to leave in advance of the demolition. This event contrasts with the authors' previous work on the "risen people" movement that demonstrated successfully to prevent the imposition of domestic water meters as part of the government austerity program. While neoliberal governance and austerity budgets have affected people across a wide class spectrum, there are major differences between middle-class home owners and the unhoused in convincing politicians and the general public to listen and to act. In this paper, we reflect upon the implications of the Apollo House occupation for scholar activism; the lessons to be learned about joining and participating in this struggle, how theoretical tools might usefully infuse resistance practices, and how scholarship might contribute to capturing more enduring legacies.

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