Make the rich pay for the housing crisis!

(The Workers' Advocate, Vol. 19, No. 10, October 1, 1989, pp. 1,5)


. Working people, employed and unemployed! Now is the time to push forward the militant actions! The rich and their government are the cause of homelessness. Now is the time to make the rich pay for the housing crisis!

. The capitalist housing crisis has taken a terrible toll. The ranks of the homeless have swollen to four million. Even more are on the brink of homelessness, trapped in growing poverty, soaring rents and crumbling buildings.

. But with this growing misery comes growing anger. The victims are fighting back. From New York City to San Francisco mass struggles have broken out. Actions against evictions. Occupations of vacant buildings. Marches against housing budget cuts. Resistance to police abuse. And the October 7 march on Washington. D.C.

. Working people, employed and unemployed! Now is the time to push forward the militant actions! The rich and their government are the cause of homelessness. Now is the time to make the rich pay for the housing crisis!

Reaganism Equals Homelessness

. Under Reagan, the housing problem became a nightmare. Reaganism meant a profit orgy for the capitalists and growing poverty for the working people. Layoffs, wage-cutting and soaring rents swelled the ranks of those needing assistance for decent housing.

. But Reagan just spit at the poor. He cursed the homeless as nothing more than derelicts. The already inadequate "safety net" of government social programs was sliced to ribbons. Federal assistance for low-cost housing was attacked with a vengeance, dropping from $26 billion to S8 billion.

. And while Reagan shook his finger at the poverty-stricken, his rich friends set upon what was left of the HUD budget like sharks in a feeding frenzy. The HUD scandal showed Reagan's contempt for the very idea of public housing.

Kinder, Gentler" Reaganism

. Now along comes Bush promising to be kinder and gentler. He has even sent his HUD secretary, Jack Kemp, to clean up corruption in HUD. But this sudden concern over housing is just a big show. Far from restoring the budget cuts of the Reagan years, Kemp is using the corruption at HUD as an excuse to further gut government housing programs.

. Kemp is especially eager to further "privatization" of housing projects. But it was just such "privatization" which freed the financial swindlers, construction capitalists, and Reaganite cronies from virtually any regulation and led to Reagan's HUD scandal. Kemp's plan is like fighting a fire by pouring gasoline on it.

. The only regulations Bush and Kemp are serious about are those for suppressing the poor. Under the guise of fighting drugs and crime, new rules are being created to speed up evictions of tenants in public housing. Police raids, and mass evictions in the projects have become the last words of Bush's "kinder, gentler" program. In short, Bush and co. are following Reagan's legacy.

Bipartisan War on the Poor

. The housing crisis is not just the product of the Reagan and Bush administrations, however. The Democratic Party politicians bear full responsibility as well. Oh sure, some Democrats in Congress quibbled over a few dollars here and there in the Reagan/Bush budgets. But in the end, the Democratic majority in Congress allowed social benefits to be cut, making it impossible for many of the poor to keep pace with housing costs.

. Indeed Democratic Party politicians have taken up the Bush/Kemp program against tenants and the homeless as their own. A few weeks ago, the Democratic mayor of Philadelphia, Wilson Goode, slashed the city budget for aid to the homeless by 50%. In New York City, Mayor Koch has destroyed a shantytown erected in a park by the homeless, and let loose his police to brutalize housing protests. The Democratic mayor of San Francisco, Art Agnos, has done the same. The Daley administration in Chicago has conducted police raids and mass evictions in the projects under the banner of Bush's phony war on drugs. Meanwhile, in the recent mayoral primary in Detroit, big-time liberals Coleman Young and John Conyers did not discuss rehabilitating abandoned houses and giving them to the homeless. Oh no, they debated who could tear them down faster while finding more ways to evict people. The list could go on, but the point is made. The Democrats are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Capitalism Is Behind the Housing Crisis

. Why is it that the Reaganite Republicans and liberal Democrats alike have such a similar stand on the housing crisis? The reason is that both parties serve the interests of the capitalist bloodsuckers.

. Under capitalism, profit is king and the needs of the masses be damned. Just look at a few features of today's housing debacle. Slumlords raise rents so high that many are driven into the streets. They let buildings decay and abandon them altogether to invest in more profitable ventures. The real estate barons and corporate interests hover over the decayed neighborhoods waiting to level working people's homes and replace them with more profitable luxury apartments or commercial construction.

. The capitalist politicians smooth the way for the profiteers. When the poor ask for housing, the government officials say "sorry, we have budget problems. " But when the super-rich say they need millions in tax breaks for one of their projects, the same politicians are only too glad to help. If the masses protest this state of affairs, the police are sent in.

. The housing crisis has demonstrated the bankruptcy of the capitalist system itself. A thorough solution to the housing problems of the masses requires a revolution overthrowing the capitalists, replacing them with the rule of the workers, and building socialism.

Fight the Rich and their Government

. Homelessness and the housing crisis are part of the class war of the rich against the working people. Working people, both employed and unemployed, with housing and without, must reply with a determined struggle against their class oppressors. Build up the mass protests and other militant actions! Target the struggle against the capitalists and their political stooges, the Republicans and the Democrats! Only such a struggle can force the wealthy exploiters to provide more decent, affordable housing. <>

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Last modified: February 17, 2009.