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Disaster Communism

(By Rahula Janowski):

It is time for disaster communism.

The fires are still uncontained. Over 8,000 people have already lost everything, and while I pray that no one else loses their home, that looks unlikely. There is NO affordable housing in this area, in the Bay area, including the north bay. Where are all these people supposed to go?

It's time for some disaster communism, disaster socialism, some disaster anarchism. We know the speculators are drooling and champing at the bit right now...there's so many ways to make a profit from a tragedy (articulated clearly by Naomi Klein as "Disaster Capitalism"). If we move forward in the capitalist way, each family's loss and struggle will be their individual loss and struggle, and it will be horrific. It will not end well for anyone except those for whom things always end well, those who can use money to wipe their butts with but never have anything to spare.

BUT what if we took a different way? What if every single housing rights organization, every homeless advocacy group, every student group, every single left leaning politician, every agency that can participate, helped all the people displaced by this fire to be TOGETHER in their struggles, and demand something different?

What if we expropriated every unit in SF that is unoccupied for all but two vacation weeks, and housed the people from that neighborhood in Santa Rosa in them? I know the millennial tower is leaning, but maybe living in a leaning tower will be better than a shelter, live in lopsided luxury for a while? What if every illegal air BnB unit was handed over to displaced families?

What if every law enforcement agency came under immense pressure, from above and below, to ignore property laws, refused to evict squatters?

What if every landlord who raised rent right now was not only prosecuted and fined and shamed, but the property they were speculating on was nationalized and given to the people who already live there, or to displaced people?

What if every landlord had to show what their actual costs for maintaining a property are, and were only allowed to charge %5 or 10% over that in rent? Or, better, what if we socialized all the housing, or at a minimum all the unoccupied housing? if SF had a 100% occupancy rate, we could probably house everyone while rebuilding happens.

I mean, the possibilities are endless, and it's time. It's time to shift gears. I mean, it's BEEN time. But if the capitalist scum who have done so much harm can see this as an opportunity, maybe we should do. It's a fucking literal opportunity to build a new world in the ashes of the old.