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[A]ny supply-side solution is wholly inadequate to the time frame of a housing crisis, especially when housing doubles as a vehicle for speculative investment. Last year over one in four apartments in Seattle’s downtown core stood empty, yet renters saw little relief beyond a temporary pause in rising rents. It’s unclear what better idea opponents of rent regulation have to offer than “wait it out.” With tenants at imminent risk of homelessness or displacement, the only other obvious short-term fix is to subsidize their rents, through vouchers, for example. Considering the substantial expense of such a program, and the questionable wisdom of signaling to private landlords that the public will absorb their price increases, limiting rent hikes starts to look like the fiscally responsible choice.

Katie Wilson, “Who’s Afraid of Rent Control?”

Plato […] was not engaging in flights of fancy when he concluded that forms are things with outright and independent existence apart from substance. He was attempting to confront, head on, the challenge of explaining our experience of meaning; and he was willing to bite the ontological bullet, as it were, rather than let go of the power and reality of that experience. Western European languages don’t have a term for entities that are like ideas yet exist independently of any mind. ‘Angel’ may be the closest that they get. But to claim forms are like angels is, these days, to ask for trouble rather than to solve it.

Jan Zwicky, The Experience of Meaning

[S]ome/many of us live in the “cliffhangers,” as Patty Berne puts it, of the disability rights movement—the spaces where a white-dominated, single-issue, civil rights approach that depends on the ability to use lawsuits to achieve disability liberation leaves many of us behind. Some of us are disabled folks who are able to access care attendants to help us live that are paid for by the state, Department of Health, or Social Services. Some of us are disabled people whose disability the state never approves of—so it’s not “real.” Some of us fear that letting anyone in to care for us will mean we are declared incompetent and lose our civil rights, so we guard the houses where we can be sick. Some of us know that accepting care means accepting queerphobia, transphobia, fatphobia, or sexphobia from our care attendants. Some of us are in the in-between of needing some care but not fitting into the state model of either Total and Permanent Disability or fit and ready to work—so we can’t access the services that are there. Many of us are familiar with being genuinely sick as hell and needing some help but failing the official crip exams because we can still cook, shop, and work, only slowly and when there is no other choice. Some of us are not citizens. Some of us make twenty bucks too much. Some of us will lose our right to marry if we go on state disability, or our access to work or housing. Some of us belong to Nations that will not accept state money. Some of us—always, and especially post-Trump, with the rise of fascism calling for the end of Medicaid, the ACA, and the ADA in the US, and socialized medicine and human rights lesgislation throughout the world—are continuously worrying about what happens when our precarious right to state-funded care goes away, and what our survival strategies will be then.

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice

[W]orking only for the rich, as [Donald] Trump does, and working only for the poor and wage earners, as [Kshama] Sawant does, is not at all the same thing. To think so is to assume that political power is evenly spread out in our society. The needs of those at the top must receive as much attention as those who are at the bottom? The problem with this assumption is money itself. Money is not just paper in a purse or information in a mainframe; in short, it’s not neutral, something mainstream economists believe and teach, year in and year out. The abstract measure of wealth is also the greatest form of social power in our society, and the only institution that challenges or checks this power is democracy.

To require that a leftist or socialist work for everyone in a community is to ignore the mammoth in the room, namely, that money primarily works for a small group and ignores the rest of the population. Sawant is hated because she fully understands that democracy is one of the few weapons that’s available to those at the bottom.

Charles Mudede, “Seattle’s Elite Hate Kshama Sawant Because She Only Represents the Poor and Wage Earners”

[B]oth on the right and on the left, the nationalization of banks in insolvency is seen as inescapable and/or desirable, without questioning much the social costs of nationalization, especially when the latter are conceived as transitory actions with the future reprivatization of the same banks in mind. Toxic assets to the State, i.e., to the collectivity, good banks to private interests! This is the usual song and dance: socialize losses and privatize benefits.

Christian Marazzi, The Violence of Financial Capitalism, translated by Kristina Lebedeva

It’s important that we understand the difference between the limits of advocacy and the limits of mobilizing.

In the advocacy approach, there’s really no pretense that people need to be involved at all. Members can write a check to an organization, which hires staff and take care of business. That’s not going to work if we want to change society in fundamental ways.

How about the mobilizing approach? Some movement people invite folks to open meetings or direct actions and call that organizing. But it’s not. It’s self-selecting work, because it involves mobilizing people who already agree with us. […]

The difference between mobilizing and organizing becomes clear during workplace organizing—say, planning a strike—because we’re trying to build to 100% participation, which means total unity. To achieve 95–100% participation requires us to talk to every single person. We spend most of our time talking with workers who absolutely do not want to talk with us—that’s the hard and important work of organizing, engaging people who don’t want to be engaged.

Jane McAlevey, in Puya Gerami, “No Shortcuts to Organizing”

There’s a Haida proverb of which I am quite fond. In its simplest form it is this: Asi tlagaay xhan dii qinggasang: “The ground might see me” or “the earth might see me.” You could say, in Haida, I won’t do this or I won’t do that because the ground might see me. Or you could say, If I did this or that, taajaay xhan dii qingghayaagasang, “the beach sand would be able to see me.” If that’s what you say and you mean what you say, the earth is more than just a place to go hunting and fishing and drilling for oil. It’s a moral and ethical benchmark. A benchmark with eyes. Other people may be good ethical reference points as well, but the basic moral reference is the ground beneath your feet. You don’t exit the moral domain when you leave the house and go into the forest or put out to sea or walk down the beach. You enter a larger, possibly stricter, moral sphere—and when you return to the house, you bring that heightened sense of morality with you. Doing so won’t enable you to save the world, but you might just manage to save your self-respect.

Robert Bringhurst, “The Mind of the Wild”, in Robert Bringhurst and Jan Zwicky, Learning to Die: Wisdom in the Age of Climate Crisis

You are never mentioned on Ararat
or elsewhere, but I know a woman’s hand
in salvation when I see it. Lately,
I’m torn between despair and ignorance.
I’m not a vegetarian, shop plastic,
use an air conditioner. Is this what happens
before it all goes fluvial? Do the selfish
grow self-conscious by the withering
begonias? Lately, I worry every black dress
will have to be worn to a funeral.
New York a bouillon, eroded filigree.
Anything but illness, I beg the plagues,
but shiny crows or nuclear rain.
Not a drop in London May through June.
I bask in the wilt by golden hour light.
Lately, only lately, it is late. Tucking
our families into the safeties of the past.
My children, will they exist by the time
it’s irreversible? Will they live
astonished at the thought of ice
not pulled from the mouth of a machine?
Which parent will be the one to break
the myth; the Arctic wasn’t Sisyphus’s
snowy hill. Noah’s wife, I am wringing
my hands not knowing how to know
and move forward. Was it you
who gathered flowers once the earth
had dried? How did you explain the light
to all the animals?

Maya C. Popa, “Letter to Noah’s Wife”

In Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” Mark Antony’s funeral oration for Caesar turns the public against Brutus, leader of the cabal that murdered Caesar, by repeating “Brutus is an honorable man.” Antony juxtaposes that phrase with muted praise of Caesar, until the meaning of the phrase slowly changes from descriptive to ironic, revealing in the end that Brutus, and the murder of Caesar, were both dishonorable.

If, despite [Christine Blasey Ford]’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, [Brett] Kavanaugh is confirmed, I hope someone in the Senate will use the word “decency” similarly, in a way that makes plain what he or she believes a man can do to a woman without damaging his reputation: “Brett Kavanaugh may have held down a 15-year-old girl and made her fear she was going to die, but Brett Kavanaugh is a decent man. Brett Kavanaugh may have humiliated a woman by forcing his penis into her face, but Brett Kavanaugh is a decent man.”

Theresa Brown, “Decent Men Don’t Do These Things”