The Housing Crisis is Global! Anti-imperialist perspectives on “foreign” investment and our homes

When: 6.30pm, Tuesday, November 29
Where: Russian Hall (600 Campbell Ave)

Accessibility info at bottom


何盈欣 Beverly Ho, Chinatown Action Group
Hessed Torres, Migrante BC
Ivan Drury, Alliance Against Displacement and The Volcano newspaper
Natalie Knight, Yurok, Alliance Against Displacement and The Volcano newspaper
馮葉 Stephanie Fung, Chinatown Action Group

What is the role of foreign investment in the Lower Mainland’s current housing crisis? Politicians across the political spectrum point the finger of blame at foreign investors. But their solutions don’t change the profit-driven housing market that leaves renters and homeless people out in the cold. This explanation has trickled down and sometimes we hear low-income, homeless, and evicted people also blaming “foreigners” for their evictions and homelessness.

“Foreign” is a racially charged category that is used to represent certain racialized and displaced communities, such as low-income and working class Chinese, and newcomer refugees. The all too common belief that “foreigners” bear the responsibility for our housing crisis reflects a long history of anti-Asian racism in Canada, and particularly in B.C. It also buys into the idea that local capitalists are somehow preferable to capitalists who may originate in other countries.

But foreign investment and its role in the housing crisis is much more complicated than the mainstream media and dominant political parties would lead us to believe. For the great majority of us, the housing crisis means that we live under constant stress, that we work way too much to make rent, that we are always at risk of being evicted by landlords and developers. And it means homelessness. The dominant political parties are cynically playing to our anxieties while creating legislation that only represents the interests of landlords, not renters, not those of us crushed by a lifetime of mortgage debt, and certainly not the homeless.

This forum presents alternative perspectives to the foreign investment myth by building an anti-imperial critique that acknowledges Canada’s role as an imperialist country in a global market. This critique will weave together three main themes: 1) British Columbia as a settler province constructed through the dispossession of Indigenous peoples from their lands, an ongoing act of dispossession that constitutes the first “foreign invasion;” 2) the history of anti-Asian racism in B.C., and the role anti-Asian racism plays in the current foreign investment myth; and 3) the role of private property and global capital in the current crisis, and alternatives for both understanding and building solutions to the housing crisis in B.C.

In the interests of countering the dominant narratives that have framed and limited how we think about this housing crisis, Alliance Against Displacement and the Chinatown Action Group have prepared a package of articles that frame a background to this forum. This is not required reading for participants, but we want to share the package that we developed between our groups in preparation for this event. Download the reading package here.

We will have coffee, tea, and light snacks available throughout the event. We are working on securing simultaneous translation in Cantonese and Mandarin.

The forum is taking place on the unceded coast salish territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Wauthuth) and Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) peoples.

Accessibility Info

The forum is being held in the main upstairs hall. Entry through the front door is accessible by a wheelchair ramp and there is an elevator to the second floor. The wheelchair accessible bathrooms are downstairs and accessible by the elevator.

Childcare is available onsite in a separate room. Please RSVP with your childcare needs.

Co-organized by Alliance Against Displacement and Chinatown Action Group

Alliance Against Displacement

Chinatown Action Group
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