Monday, November 30, 2015

Monday News in the end of November 2015

Having solidarity with immigrants is important in any liberation struggle. There are politics and economics of immigration that people should know about. The working class movement promotes always international solidarity, because liberation is not confined within national borders. Liberation should exist for people globally. During this time of capitalist globalization, many contradictions exist. The world has been integrated more via the advances of technology, global production chains, and the lightning fast movement of capital around the planet. The globalized economy is borderless. While governments in the world are doing less to regulate the flow and trade plus finance in the world, many reactionaries are taking increasingly tough action to restrict the flow of people across borders. These restrictions ironically won’t stop migration since workers are still migrating and many immigrants are workers who struggle to feed their families and themselves. We still see smugglers and human traffickers exploiting migrants. We see more militarization of the U.S. border with Mexico. Even the militarization of the border hasn’t worked to solve immigration issues. The U.S. Border Patrol documented 477 deaths among border-crossers in the Southwest in 2012, a sharp increase over the year before, even though total migration from Mexico has slowed. The official count of border deaths is understated, too, because not every victim is found. Migrants also are forced into more remote terrain where they are exposed to extreme temperatures and the like, which is a product of the militarization of the border. Capitalists depend on migrants, but they use restrictions on immigration too in order to promote lax wages, divide and conquer strategies among workers (whether they are documented or undocumented workers), and to fight genuine international working class solidarity and networks of resistance. There has been an increase of migration across borders worldwide. This has occurred in China too. The idea of a borderless Europe that is welcoming to migrants is a myth. For example, though Muslims account for about 5 percent of Europe's total population of 500 million; they are the target of hysterical campaigns by mainstream parties and violent attacks by the far right. Though sanctioned and promoted across the political spectrum, Islamophobia has become the central vehicle for far-right parties to win support and gain political legitimacy. The migrations have been influenced by the policies of Wester colonialism and modern imperialism which harmed many nations of the Global South. People from the Global South go into industrialized nations because their nations have been harmed by the economic policies of the global North. Today, in New York City, one in three Black residents is an immigrant, so not all immigrants in America are Hispanic human beings. Demographically, immigrants have stabilized population growth in America along with economic expansion here. We should campaign against U.S. government and corporate policies that damage employment opportunities and cause poverty in Mexico and elsewhere around the world. We can organize support for working-class struggles in other countries. We can campaign here to unite native-born workers with their immigrant sisters and brothers in struggle. We need a progressive solution to immigration issues.

There is a serious problem of the lax of affordable housing in New York City. It has been 2 years after the New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has govern the city. NYC still has many people suffering low wages, struggling schools, and racist cop terror. Many people, disproportionately, Black and Latino families live in dilapidated housing. We know about landlords and renters economically exploiting the poor and people of color in the city. Rent has increased massively in the past years, which has grown gentrification which is an attack on the poor including people of color. There are about 60,000 homeless people in NYC during the summer of 2015, which is a record. That is enough people to fill Yankee Stadium. Many of the homeless live in parks, streets, subways, in their cars, etc. De Blasio’s plan wans inclusionary zoning which means that a portion of new housing is to be offered to low and middle income earners at below market rate. Developers love this since they receive tax break and government subsidies if they comply. Bloomberg did this policy previously too. The results of Bloomberg’s efforts is that units deemed affordable made up less than 2 percent of housing growth between 2005 and 2013, less than population growth. In San Francisco, similar regulations have not stopped rents from even surpassing those in New York. De Blasio has set a target of 25 to 30 percent of new housing in rezoned areas to have affordable rents. Affordable for whom? Not the poor, that’s for sure. Just 16,000 apartments for families making $42,000 and less would be created—3 percent of the actual need according to the city’s own figures. True, some thousands of new apartments might be built with rents pegged for families squeaking by on $50,000 or $60,000 a year. At the same time, 100,000 market-rate apartments would be built in the same neighborhoods, displacing more working-class people—black, white, Latino and Asian—and accelerating the drive toward ever higher rents. The program is to be launched in Brooklyn’s East New York, Cypress Hills and Ocean Hill, where a mere 132 new units out of 6,000 are supposed to be set aside for people making less than $25,000 a year. The ghetto and barrio poor, then, are to stay stuck in their homes. De Blasio proposes to build luxury high-rises on New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) parking lots and other “high value” land within housing projects. The purpose, supposedly, is to raise money to install working light bulbs, fix leaky roofs, replace gas-leaking stoves and supply heat in the winter. Brooklyn’s Wyckoff Heights and the Upper East Side Holmes Towers in Manhattan have been selected for this since they are already gentrified neighborhoods.

To overcome the housing crisis, there should be made available the existing supply of livable quarters and build new places for people to live. The social order must change to deal with social need not corporate profit. The neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn is among the most rapidly gentrifying areas of the city. Over the past year alone, the median price of a residence there has leaped $200,000 to nearly $750,000, which is still $100,000 less than in Harlem. Gentrification has even begun to spread to the South Bronx, long synonymous with urban decay. In a city where nearly 70 percent of residents rent, one-third pay more than half their income for that purpose. A minimum-wage worker spending half his income on rent would have to work 139 hours a week to afford the average apartment. Meanwhile, more than a quarter of a million households await space in a NYCHA project. There is housing segregation, the lifting of rent regulation, and rich people gaining even more real estate in Manhattan and other areas of New York. The Astors alone have Fifth Avenue mansions. The 1993 Rent Regulation Reform Act allowed the deregulation of rent-stabilized apartments, of which NYC still has one million. That number is falling quickly. Gentrified areas have vacant buildings. The advocacy group Picture the Homeless said that it is estimated that the thousands of properties in the city that are kept vacant could house some 200,000 people. Blacks and Latinos make up more than 95 percent of the homeless families in the overcrowded, filthy city shelters, in neighborhoods far removed from their schools, medical providers and extended family.  Robert Moses opposed allowing black veterans returning from World War II to move into newly built Stuyvesant Town development in Manhattan. Racial segregation, which was built in to the American capitalist system, has been reinforced by the government. Many black people were restricted from getting mortgages because of discrimination. 98 percent of the FHA insured loans between 1943 and 1962 went to white borrowers. The 1968 Housing Act existed after the rebellions and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. So, the right for low rent, quality, and integrated public housing continues. Also, people have the right to have housing in general and this is a struggle for jobs for all.

There is a homeless problem in Los Angeles too. In LA County, the amount of people living in tents, makeshift camps, and their own vehicles has increased by 85 percent. Los Angles Homeless Services Authority said that as of January of 2015, there are over 44,000 homeless people in the county and 26,000 in the city of Los Angeles itself. Many are found in the downtown’s Skid Row and today they are found everywhere from Pasadena to the Westside. They exist in the freeway medians, community college campuses, etc. During the 1970’s, Democratic Mayor Tom Bradley proposed concentrating the homeless in Skid Row.   Back then, downtown was shunned by office workers and the rich. Cardboard boxes are found in the streets. Today, construction cranes crowd downtown skyline. There are more expensive apartments and restaurants replacing the cheap hotel room, motels, and single room apartments. The poor used to occupy these areas. There are skyrocketing rents that moved working class people out of Highland Park and Boyle Heights. Many working people find difficult to afford a place to live. Many homeless people suffer mental illness, untreated addiction, HIV, and other disabilities. Staph infection and tuberculosis are found in Skid Row too. Thousands live in Skid Row in 54 blocks, which is the largest concentrated of unsheltered people in the country. The capitalist system makes people who are black, poor, Latino, etc. to struggle for the basic necessities of life, which are food, housing, water, sanitation, employment, and health care. The elites won’t advocate a public works programs to create affordable, quality housing, schools, clinics, and libraries. In September, Democratic mayor Eric Garcetti and several L.A. City Council members declared a state of emergency in response to the surge in homelessness, promising to allocate up to $100 million to the problem. Months later, there’s no plan and no money. “Every few years, elected officials declare a crisis in homelessness or housing and pledge to spend millions of dollars or to pass new laws to address the chronic shortage of affordable homes,” the Los Angeles Times observed in a 28 October editorial, but “promised public funding dries up or gets diverted to new crises.”

The city currently allocates more than $100 million a year for the homeless, but tellingly, much of that is spent on cop crackdowns. There are policies that get the possessions of the homeless. Cities in America criminalize certain actions of homelessness. Criminalized for having no place to live, the homeless are regularly harassed and arrested by the police, fined for sleeping on the sidewalk, jaywalking or dropping cigarette ash. In the past year alone, as protests over the killings of blacks and Latinos swept the country, L.A. cops killed several homeless men. LA’s real estate moguls want to continue the status quo in buying up lands, etc. That is why many black people are moving from LA because of rising housing costs into the suburbs. Many black people are moving into Lancaster and Palmdale in Antelope Valley. Black people there faced racism. Aiming to drive black people out of town, armed sheriff’s deputies, sometimes nine at a time, conducted surprise searches of Section 8 rentals, looking for petty violations such as marijuana possession. As a result, more than 350 families lost their housing vouchers and some became homeless. City officials’ calls to “wage war” on Section 8 families they branded as “criminals” and “security threats” incited further racist attacks. In 2010, the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Palmdale was firebombed, and black families’ properties were defaced with racist graffiti. This July, the L.A. County Housing Authority and Antelope Valley officials were found guilty of racial discrimination against hundreds of Section 8 voucher holders, only five of whom have had their subsidies reinstated. LA is known to be an anti-union city. The current system allows workers, minorities, the poor, and immigrants to be exploited and abused for the sake of maximizing profits. The working class and the poor should unite to fight wage oppression, so classism and other injustices are ended. We want the best for LA too.

By Timothy

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