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----- Original Message ----- 
From: johnaimani 
To: r...@lists.riseup.net ; rac-la_support...@yahoogroups.com ; 
Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2010 1:04 PM
Subject: Class Struggles in Los Angeles 2010

Struggles in Los Angeles 2010


May 5th, 2010

Today, before the HCED of the City Council of Los Angeles a motion made to 
place a 1 year moratorium on rent increases by Councilman Alarcon and amended 
by Councilman Herb Wesson of the 10th District to limit the moratorium to 4 
months (and a possible 2 extra months) passed with a notable exception of Jan 
Perry of the 9th District.  The motion will now go before the full City Council.


On one side stood the landlords; the big and, especially, the small given their 
space to speak and be cheered rather wildly by the crowd of supporters.  They 
explained what hardships such a moratorium would bring them.  And in truth, 
their inability to raise rents would mean, everything else being equal, their 
inability to improve their property.  In counter to this there is a law that 
allows the landlords to pass on the costs of such improvements to the renter 
(CITE?).  In counter to that while it is true that the freeze would impair  
such landlords who do pass  on increases in rent into improvements in property, 
the landlords would be vastly outnumbered by those who would be hurt if such a 
suspension of rent increase were not put into place.  In addition to that, Mr 
Wesson advised that due to the crisis and the causing and resulting decline in 
the 'value' of such residential property that the coming re-assessment (for 
purpose of property taxes) that these landlords would be receiving a tax 
decrease upon their properties.  

This crisis is hurting almost all but it is inflicting greater wounds upon 
those of us who have no property, those of us who have nothing but their 
ability to work, those of us standing on the other side of the city council 
chambers, facing up to the owners who seek to further increase their livelihood 
at the expense of those of us who, in truth, have nothing more to give.


Here is the rub.  The landlords bring with them two weapons which they are in 
no way hesitant to use.  They bring with them the ability to make political 
contributions for or against elected officials who stand again for office.  
Further, they bring an almost certainty of these very same people exercising 
their personal franchise to cast a vote for or against this or that politician 
or would-be-politician.  And lastly, they are organized as they demonstrated 
with strategically placed in the back of the room cheerleaders who began (and 
clapped to the end) when one of them spoke.  Arrayed against these are us.  Who 
are we?  We are many.  We are many more than them.  What do we have?  Nothing.  
Nothing, that is, that we can fork over to the political cash-wagons of this or 
that politician.  Where is our power, in this arena?  Many, though not all, 
also have the right to vote but do so at a percentage far les than our 


We must run comrades for political office who will stand up not only for those 
who vote for them but also those who cannot vote for them.  This last we 
cannot, as yet, immediately do anything about.  But we can do something about 
those who could vote for our representative, but in the past have not exercised 
their right to vote.  These comrades know their interests which is nothing but 
our interest but have not been inspired by any candidate to make the efforts to 
not only vote but also to impress this urgency upon their friends, their 
relatives and, most importantly, themselves.


Our candidate must be one of us.  He/she must be directly responsible to us and 
only us just as the candidates of wealth are answerable to those who fund their 
campaigns.  He/she ought take this position at a workingman's wage, say $40,000 
which is approximately the yearly total of a 'union-waged' position paying 
$20/hr with all above that allocated to a fund for either political or social 
purposes aimed at improving the lives of the poor and workers receiving wages 
up to that of a 'union wage'.  This candidate ust also articulate, advocate and 
advance the three necessaries:  1.) the right to a job for all wanting to work 
at a 'union-wage':  2.)  The right to housing and an end to involuntary 
homelessness; 3.) the right to free and quality health-care; 4.) the right to 
free education up to the person's ability; 5.) the right to participate in real 
job-training so as to dramatically improve the skill levels of the unemployed, 
the underemployed and, those who are for now, the unemployables; and, 6.) the 
right of a worker to go to where he/she can best provide for themselves and 
their families.  Under NAFTA the labor-power of workers is the only commodity 
upon which are placed restrictions, limitations and denial of entry at the 
US/Mexico border.


There is a reason all of these things are necessary and there is a reason that 
all of these things can be done.  As to the first, this crisis is not about 
housing, it is about the failure of an economic system in which one can be 
denied work by those that own the means-of-work.  Why are workers denied jobs?  
Because the owners can no longer make money on them.  Why can the bosses no 
longer make money on the workers?  There are two answers which amount to but 
different sides of the same equation:  1.) The capitalists can produce the same 
product at a different place with workers whose existing standard of living 
requires a lesser wage and, therefore, these jobs are exported to low-wage 
areas and the goods they make are sent back here to be purchased by workers who 
no longer have the ability to purchase them save through debt; and, 2.) The 
capitalists, even without the export of jobs to low-wage areas, find that the 
productivity of even these slightly-relatively-better-paid workers is such 
that, on a market-wide level, demand (i.e. need or want backed by the ability 
to purchase (i.e. through sale of the ability to work is the workers only 
source of 'effective demand')) is sated and swamped and workers find, first, 
that their hours (and paychecks) are shrinking; and, secondly, that they or 
their fellow workers are laid off and join the ranks of the unemployed, 
capitalism's 'reserve army of labor' while the 'fortunate' ones who retain 
their positions are put the strain on and abide without protest for fear of 
also losing their jobs.  A vicious circle ensues wherein because one is laid 
off the product of the other that he/she would have purchased goes wanting and 
the other find soon that his/her services are no longer required.   


This is insane.  All that the construction, repair, invention of anything takes 
is 1.) laborers, of which there are many; 2.) resources, of which labor and the 
 land can provide; and, 3.) Sustenance which again can be produced by labor out 
of the bounty that nature has provided us and which stands in jeopardy just so 
because of an economic system that values profits over men and women, that 
regards profits above even the land which the seekers of individual wealth are 
day-by-day despoiling and destroying.  For our own survival we must take charge 
of our lives from those who value us only as long as they can make money on our 
labor.  Money, by the way, is a myth.  It is a sleight-of-hand that disguises 
where it is that real value is produced and has the potential to be produced.  
This fact is proved by the fact that (at the direction of its chairman, Ben 
Bernanke and Secretary of the Treasury, Paulson, and President George Bush) the 
Federal Reserve produced $750 billion out of thin air to give to faltering 
financial companies such as AIG, Goldman-Sachs, Merrill-Lynch, Bank of America, 
etc.  Money is nothing; labor is all.


While none of these things can be advanced and enacted solely at the city 
council level, that does not mean that we ought not contest there.  For there 
real decisions, as this battle over rent increases, affecting real people are 
made and made daily.  This is a battle over the allegiance of the civil 
authorities as to whether they support the landlords or the land-renters.  
Should we not exercise the constitutional rights we have (for as long as we 
have them) to change the Constitution and add amendments that will "provide for 
the general welfare" of the residents of this geographical area, then the shame 
will be on us for 'they got the guns, we got the numbers".  They got the 
power.but we got the votes.  If we can get them.  If we can find, support and 
elect these pawn-pushers of power at this lower level it can provide the model 
of the masses in motion for our own interests so as to contest at the state, 
national and world-wide levels of power.   




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