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City Seminar: Joana Kusiak

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Nationalization from the Grassroots? Berlin Housing Struggles and the Memory of Law Joanna Kusiak, Kings College, University of Cambridge

Can we collectively decide to expropriate our greedy landlords? While nationalization is often assumed to be a top-down, state-led intervention, Berlin’s popular movement Deutsche Wohnen Enteignen is currently seeking to expropriate predatory real-estate corporations from below. The key leverage is Article 15 of the German constitution (Grundgesetz), written in the context of the postwar political restructuring of the German state. This legal clause makes it possible to turn land, natural resources or means of production into social ownership for the common good of the society. But can the intrinsically capitalist rule of law really include a window to socialism? Forging a radical proposal to solve the housing crisis, Berlin activists are working simultaneously from within and from without the German legal system, both politicizing the law and exploring its limits.

This talk is part of the Infrastructural Geographies - Department of Geography series.

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