Reflection / Discussion Based on the Movie "Push"
Watch the documentary Push of Fredrik Gertten (2019) and reflect on the questions below – either in writing and/or in a discussion in class.
You can use the following link to access the movie (it costs €5): Push: The film – The Shift #RIGHT2HOUSING (make-the-shift.org)
1. In Chapter 1, we defined globalization of housing as the trend that the role of local actors in building, financing, owning and managing housing is increasingly taken over by economic networks that are global in scope. How is this reflected in the movie?
2. The story illustrates that local communities and neighbourhood business are under pressure because of global financialization. How do you perceive this in your own neighbourhood and/or city? Do you think money ‘circulates’ in your neighbourhood or not? In what ways does or doesn’t it?
3. In the film Saskia Sassen compares financialization with mining. She argues that finance shouldn’t be confused with traditional banking. We need banks – they sell money – whereas finance is a mode of extraction, just like mining: once value has been extracted they don’t care what is done with it. A traditional bank wants its customers’ children to be future clients, so it cares about relationships, but finance doesn’t care at this personal level, except if they are very, very rich. Do you agree with her? Why (not)?
4. In the movie we see that poor/middle class people have problems finding affordable housing. At the same time, it is stated at one point that: ‘If you can’t afford to live in Notting Hill, you shouldn’t live in Notting Hill’. Who has the right to the city? And who is responsible for providing this right?
5. Nine months after the fire, most Grenfell tower residents did not have an alternative dwelling yet. One of the difficulties is that affordable accommodations are hardly available in the neighbourhood or elsewhere in London. What is your opinion? Should the residents have the right to be accommodated in the same neighbourhood (or district)? And is your answer the same for renters and owners?
6. Joseph Stiglitz compares neoliberalism with a religion. Do you think that is an apt comparison? Why (not)?
7. What are possible solutions for the global housing crisis? How can cities win the fights against investors/hedge funds? (You might find some inspiration on the website of The Shift, a movement led by Leilani Farha, the former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing: https://www.make-the-shift.org/).