The Scourge of the Lower Classes
Ethical landlords don't exist. They’re a myth. Each of them exploits their tenants, which is how they make their profit. It's not necessarily an individual choice by the landlords, it's just how for-profit housing works. Making my preferred term for landlords land-leeches, as it more adequately describes how they function in society. If you’re a landlord and that bothers you, you can stop being a landlord at any time. Since the last time I checked being a middleman for the bank just makes like harder for the rest of us.
Understand: I’m no fan of property owners who participate in rent extraction. And I’ve made no effort to hide my seething hatred for landlords. (see: We Don’t Call Them Tenants for Nothing). But go ahead and defend the institution if you like. I would actually appreciate it. I want enough of you fucks out in the open as possible. Because explain to me, and everyone else, why a landlord is entitled to make money from my families need to sleep in doors?
We are caught now in a juxtaposition of finally seeing our world as it has been up until this point, and viewing all the possibilities it might be as a result. The only legitimate question we are left with is, will you accept the return to normalcy? Normalcy, not as it was three weeks ago, but as the neo-liberal acceleration into fascism?
Amidst all the crisis and death, the superfluous layers of our society have been stripped down to its core essence. At our roots; the basis our society was always built on, we find a feudalism that was never undone. A theocracy that was never about the constituents. A plutocracy that was never about it’s serfdom. And under this mask we find the divine right of the lords of the inner empire, which we’ve been raised so callously to believe was retired many hundreds of years ago. An out-dated system of ruler ship; ownership of the masses. Through these blemishes on our society, we can finally view our nation without the rose-colored lenses as it is today.
It feels weird, does it not, that in the year 2020 we still have people we refer to as 'lords' who have power over our basic lives in such an unchecked way. What’s the point of screaming, “We fought a war against tyranny!” if some sausage shaped weirdo can fuck us over for no reason just because he 'owns' the land?
John Locke, believe it or not, actually advocated for the idea of a natural right to property, which was a fairly radical idea during his time because it opposed the feudal entitlements to land held by a ruling minority of aristocrats. Things like land and space, along with springs, oyster-beds, or other forms of natural capital, are non-produced. And if neither the landlord’s nor anyone’s labor is a factor of the land’s existence, then why should society’s laws entitle landlords to payments from anyone too poor to buy property?
Do you honestly think people are not deserving of adequate housing, regardless of ability to pay? If you answer “yes” to this question, then you’ve proven yourself not to be a serious person and we no longer need to listen to you. Because the truth is, that because they are human and because they can suffer, is the very reason people deserve it. No other reason needs to be given.
If the point of having a society isn’t about caring for each other, to ease suffering, and help realize each life’s potential, what’s the point? To hoard wealth? To build empires on the throats of other nations? And who deserves the blame for this mindset?
It’s pretty obvious that the largest share of the blame rests on those who are making a fortune off of poverty. Conciliatory landlords and trailer park operators, the post-recession evolution of home-flippers, who took advantage of the desperate poor and made a fortune in the process. Parasitic businesses who thrive on misery, the foreclosure movers and storage companies, short-term lenders, and the like. And all of these institutions and practices, along with its actors, needs to be burned to the fucking ground, and it needs to happen now.
“But how will landlords earn a living and pay their mortgage?” What serious person would ask this question? One might as well ask, “If we institute gun reform how will the hitman earn his living?” I don’t view the business of renting as a legitimate enterprise. The same way I don’t view being a hired gun as a legitimate enterprise. Whenever a landlord tells you that rent payments are their entire income, they’re telling you that the only thing they do for a living is own your home. And landlords who complain about mortgages making them "broke" are a special kind of manipulative liar. Their biggest fear boils down to cashing out their equity, taking their bag of cash and becoming a renter. Their fear is literally only about becoming equal with their tenants, dropping down in class stature.
Landlords are, however, great humanitarians. As they provide cheap affordable housing to the poor. How do I know this? Because they never miss an opportunity to tell me. Who knew that the greatest humanitarians of our time, where the very ones extracting 70% of our incomes so they can have a “job” and feel important. But, it’s workers who build, renovate and maintain properties, not the owner class. And the tenants provide the funding for repairs, payments for the mortgage, and profit for the owner. Nothing about that is vaguely appropriate.
I for one would be embarrassed for people to find out that I was a landlord. A more enlightened, civilized, society wouldn’t allow such an institution to exist. And anyone who would defend an institution of exploitation, is not only a morally reprehensible person, but someone who should be laughed out of the public sphere. And if you are a landlord, know that I consider you less than human. Because there are legitimate ways to make a living. And being a “lord of the land” isn’t one of them.
So if you rent, I implore you; join your local tenants union. Join a rent strike. Join the fight for human rights, human dignity, and an end to the divine right of lords. We have to strike while the iron is hot, as it is everyone who is at risk if we do not. It’s time we broke off these chains.