By Ed Dalton
With millions of workers laid-off, furloughed, or fired, nearly one-third of the people in the US did not pay rent on April’s deadline according to The National Multifamily Housing Council, a twelve point increase over March.
May is likely to see even fewer tenants paying their rent, through both an inability to pay and solidarity with those who cannot pay. This is due to the fact that many had been working through March and were prepared for April’s rent, however this will not be the case in May when all those who did pay their rent will no longer have the money to continue. Revolutionaries have initiated rent strikes and seek to organize the situation into a class conscious force.
While the ruling class and its media begin to show concern for property owners’ ability to pay their mortgages, it becomes more evident that landlords are parasitic on the working class, whom without income cannot support the illegitimate revenue of the landlords.
Many apartment complexes have already issued notices to vacate to tenants who went on rent strike, and in many cases these notices are not legal, and the evictions cannot even be placed before a judge. While landlords cannot easily get court orders, they will still attempt to force evictions due to non-payment, forcing working people to come together to confront and prevent this. Even so, many will be thrown out into the streets for no other ‘offense’ than being unable to continue hosting parasitic landlords and propping them up with their hard work. The renter is expected to lose his or her income, while the parasitic landlord is expected to keep sucking them dry. This is the logic of capitalism and it must be denounced.
Reformists propose rent vouchers, which would never be made available to enough people, and would not offer a long term solution to the issue of privatized housing, where one person or corporation own dwellings which they do not inhabitprofits from those who own nothing, entire corporations are built on this basis, feeding on the labor of more and more workers and keeping them in miserable conditions.
Understanding the limits of forcing the government to subsidize all rent payments for millions of recently-unemployed workers does not mean that it is not part of the fight for a larger goal—the total expropriation of all rental properties and turning them over to the people. This is not a dream, but it can only be made a reality on the basis of armed socialist revolution, the establishment of a new state controlled by those who work, and the prevention of all parasites from rising back up, until class and the state can be finally overcome.
Tribune of the People endorses the Rent Strike, and calls on all our readers and supporters to promote it, while organizing to prevent non-payment evictions and the long term fight to secure housing for all; we work for it, we should receive it. We amplify the slogan: NO RENT WITHOUT WORK OR WAGES!