Another paradigm is possible – alternatively, where dispossessory pieces of paper (eviction notices) are unenforceable; where profit-motives do not demolish peoples, cultures, and histories; where rent-free, de-commodifed housing exists for all.
Where are we now?
Private property, evictions, rent, and all related violences are necessary to the function of a capitalist socio-economic order. It is the capitalists and their incessant drive for profit, and the landlords seeking more rent and higher speculative prices on their real estate that clear homes of “squatters” to make room for “deserving” tenants.
- Deserving tenants: people whose rent lines the pockets of the rich.
- Squatter: deserving tenants who have fallen on hard times
- Hard-times: the reprocutions of capitalism that disenfranchises people in cycles of organized neglect, dehumanization, and disadvantage.
We starve, we bathe without hot water, we languish in the street, we make calorie-deficient decisions, because the capitalist exists; the capitalist has enforced the idea that wealth and property should be privately owned. The monopolies of suit-and-briefcase vampires, their spreadsheets that account for us only as numbers, drain our human value and our human spirit.
The capitalist system arbitrarily inflates the prices of vital life-giving commodities — housing or food, transportation, medicine, internet, electricity, you name it — in order to extract the maximum amount of profit. There is no rhyme or reason to our rent hikes other than greed. Greed and because we the people, the working class, are not in control. Worker-tenants know best how to manage our lives because we’ve done it for so long with so little.
There is no scarcity of housing, contrary to what the real estate state tells us. The lack of available housing is a political choice, not an administrative one. In fact, we live in a world of abundance, where resources are almost too plentiful, where the State, the punishers of private property, can only fabricate reasons to deny anyone housing. No one should be evicted. No one should pay rent.
Precarity of everyday life under capitalism
At any point, the obligatory logic of capitalism can *turn* tenants who pay rent into tenants who cannot afford to pay. This logic keeps us in a constant state of precarity and instability as a means to generate new profit opportunities executing more evictions to move out long-standing tenants to raise more rents to churn out more profit. One example:
The landlord for a fellow tenant, Tenant X, calls the cops and feeds the pigs lies. Landlord Y tells the pig that Tenant X vandalized the building, broke some shit, did some graffiti. Landlord Y hoped to start a nuisance case to evict Tenant X once arrested. The pigs blindly obey this property-owning landlord and haul Tenant X to jail. Whether Tenant X did the vandalizing doesn’t matter. Landlord Y inflated the estimation of property damage so Tenant X’s bail exceeded his monthly rent, which exceeded what he had on hand. He sat in jail while his family scraped together the money. Tenant X missed work, their boss fired them, and as a result his family lost their main source of income. Tenant X got out of jail without money for that month’s rent and no job. On top of that he receives a holdover eviction case because of the nuisance. It doesn’t matter, he can’t pay rent anyways. Tenant X and his family lose their home. The family is on the street. Streeteasy and other realty websites say the apartment is going for 65% more than the price he was paying. Tenant Z just moved to the city and all the listing prices are within the same range. Tenant Z will pay the price. What choice do they have.
Capitalists, landlords, and gentrifiers benefit from this compulsory logic. Under capitalism, we have lack of opportunity, artificial scarcity of resources, hereditary poverty, job insecurity, on- the-job exploitation, predatory policing, and the monetary and psychic taxes of prison, health precarity, medical debt mental illness, and drug addiction, etc to infinity. A system dedicated to profit and commodification forces us to make “irresponsible” choices, coerced into sacrifices, held at gun-point into bad situations.
Finding the rent-less road
Attempts to abolish the intrinsic features of capitalism, while keeping capitalism as a system intact, are futile and naive experiments. Smiley-face stickers on 14-day marshall notices, rainbows on police cruisers, black and brown colored band-aids, or reformist make-up will not change the essential nature of racial capitalism. We cannot tame, or make benevolent, the apparatuses of oppression that beat our neighbors because they cannot pay rent, because they are houseless, because they are criminazable black or brown, and because they are mentally ill. The capitalist system thrusts these conditions onto our neighbors. Those neighbors reveal the intrinsic failures/ features of the system and thus, based on capitalist logic, the capitalist system must punish them.
We do not want nice batons, nice judges, nice pigs, nice prisons, nice hired goons, nice landlords, and most certainly not NICE EVICTIONS.
There is no eviction with good cause. All evictions are violent, and a new world is possible without this violence. A world of socialism. To achieve this world, we must organize.
We must make these pieces of paper irrelevant by making them unenforceable. We must wield the immense power of our class against the police and the judges and the politicians until they drop to their knees and beg us not to do what they do to us every day: ANNIHILATE THEM.
Burn your eviction notice. Not as a symbolic act, but as a first step into organizing a future without the rule of the bourgeoisie, the landlords, and the pigs. Then take the next step. Join an organization. Start a TA. Stand arm in arm in solidarity with your neighbors. Build socialism.
– comrade equis