Coronavirus crisis: for a national rent strike now!

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Coronavirus crisis: for a national rent strike now!

Renters Can't Wait. Here's Why Canada Needs A National Rent Freeze Now

https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/epg87m/coronavirus-canada-needs-a-nat...

Coronavirus emergency money won't make it in time for people whose rent is due April 1. Nearly 490,000 people have signed the 'Cancel Rent And Mortgage Payments During Covid-19 Petition'...The fact there is a freeze on mortgage payments allows homeowners, property-owners and landlords to accumulate rent from us, while they incur no fees or interest. It's discriminatory toward the working class.

This is essentially a tipping point.  Toronto resident Bryan Doherty says he's not counting on politicians to make the call. He's encouraging his neighbours and anyone who is having financial trouble to withold this month's rent. 'We should come together and take care of each other. I'm worried about tens of thousands of my neighbours and it either being impossible for them to make rent or for them to give that much money under these circumstances.

There's no shame in not paying rent now and we shouldn't necessarily wait for consent from the politicians or the landlords."

 

Coronavirus: Calls To Suspend Rent in Toronto Get Louder

https://nowtoronto.com/news/covid19-rent-freeze-toronto/

"A growing number of Toronto tenants call for a rent freeze as the big banks put mortgage payments on hold..."

 

Vancouver Tenants Union

https://twitter.com/YVRTenantsUnion/status/1241005380374847489

"I can't make the rent on April 1st!"

 

 

Rent Strike Now! Please sign 'Cancel Rent and Mortgage Payments During COVID19' Petition, pass this important information on to others similarly affected and DON'T PAY THE RENT YOU CANNOT AFFORD!

Dear PM Trudeau,

I will not  be paying my rent because I cannot and should not be compelled to do so during this global crisis. You can help. Freeze rents, freeze evictions now!

[email protected]

Douglas Fir Premier

I've been organizing with the Ottawa rent strike committee, and momentum has been building with each day.

FAQ: Ottawa, Keep Your Rent!

@COVIDrent

NDPP

Glad to hear it DFP. Please post anything of interest!

 

"The rent is due April 1st...We need a moratorium on rent. And mortgage payments. Now."

https://twitter.com/AdyBarkan/status/1241818767929135104

 

'As I was saying to the landlord only this morning. 'You can't have everything.' - Dorothy Parker

NDPP

"Yesterday I called on Justin Trudeau's government to enact a 3-month rent holiday. CCPA just revealed that nearly half of 3.4 million Canadian households who rent have less than one month's worth of savings. The government must act urgently to relieve ttheir rental burden!"

https://twitter.com/dimitrilascaris/status/1242488571233214466

DON'T GO BROKE TO PAY THE LANDLORD! RENT-STRIKE NOW!

NDPP

Petition: Cancel Rent and Mortgage Payments During COVID-19

https://www.change.org/p/federal-government-of-canada-cancel-rent-and-mo...

"COVID-19 is having a devastating effect...Our federal government should act in a similar fashion to Italy's and mandate the suspension of rent and mortgage payments during the Coronavirus pandemic."

Please sign, forward and circulate!

Pondering

NDPP wrote:

Petition: Cancel Rent and Mortgage Payments During COVID-19

https://www.change.org/p/federal-government-of-canada-cancel-rent-and-mo...

"COVID-19 is having a devastating effect...Our federal government should act in a similar fashion to Italy's and mandate the suspension of rent and mortgage payments during the Coronavirus pandemic."

Please sign, forward and circulate!

I don't agree. I think we should do like Denmark. Nobody loses their job, government paying 75% of wages lost due to covid19. That way people can continue paying rent and morgages and still have their jobs coming out of this. Most people can live off 60% of their salary especially with all entertainment shutdown. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..it seems to me more possible to have a rent strike than to get the gov to adopt the denmark plan.

NDPP

Tenant Advocates Encourage Rent Strike in Ontario Due to COVID-19

https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/tenant-advocates-encourage-rent-strike-in-ont...

"Some tenant advocates say that when April 1 comes around next week many people renting have no intention of paying their rent and they're telling other renters to do the same due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 'April 1 is shaping up to be a bit of a bloodbath..."

 

FMTA: 'It's No Joke!'

https://twitter.com/TorontoTenants/status/1241442496879702023

"Let's Stop Rent For April 1st..."

NDPP

Calls To #Keep Your Rent on April 1 Grow Louder

https://twitter.com/JohnOCAP/status/1242843658044538883

"This kind of action forces the hand of those in power and points to a very different kind of society. The need for even greater boldness will be acute in the next period and the openings for such forms of struggle will be there..."

#KeepYourRent

https://twitter.com/hashtag/KeepYourRent?src=hashtag-click

"Template email that folks can sent to their landlord if they cannot afford rent for April..."

 

Bacchus

And then a wave of evictions come May 1st

Douglas Fir Premier

Bacchus wrote:

And then a wave of evictions come May 1st

I'm not sure about other jurisdictions, but for now, evictions have been frozen in Ontario.

kropotkin1951

A rent strike will not solve anyones problem but only defer them. The government needs to step up and use the tax rolls to send everyone a basic income. Not that I think that is a likely scenario.

Badriya

I found this on the Twitter feed posted by NDPP.  I think it deserves a post of its own.

Major U.S. retail and restaurant chains, including Mattress Firm and Subway, are telling landlords they will withhold or slash rent in the coming months after closing stores to slow the coronavirus, according to people familiar with the situation.

https://fortune.com/2020/03/24/coronavirus-rent-payments-retail-industry-subway-mattress-firm-covid-19/

Douglas Fir Premier

If the problem is that you've lost your job, and you have to choose between paying your landlord on April 1st or hanging on to your money so you can feed your family, I'd argue a rent strike is a decent - if temporary - solution to your most immediate concerns.

Douglas Fir Premier

Badriya wrote:

I found this on the Twitter feed posted by NDPP.  I think it deserves a post of its own.

Major U.S. retail and restaurant chains, including Mattress Firm and Subway, are telling landlords they will withhold or slash rent in the coming months after closing stores to slow the coronavirus, according to people familiar with the situation.

https://fortune.com/2020/03/24/coronavirus-rent-payments-retail-industry-subway-mattress-firm-covid-19/

Thanks, Badriya. If a rent strike is good enough for the capitalists, it's good enough for the workers.

Pondering

Then there will be mass evictions because few people will be able to catch up. There is no reason for a general rent strike. Many people are still working and can afford their rent. People are going to get UIC or other compensation that will allow them to pay their rent. If they keep the money it will likely be spent before they have to pay it back. Just because someone is renting out a unit doesn't mean they are rich. 

It is terrible to encourage poor people to skip paying the rent because they will end up evicted if not now this summer.

Paladin1

Once things settle down would these rent strikers owe all the rent back to the landlords or are they freebies where the landlords just have to suck it up?

Bacchus

Douglas Fir Premier wrote:

Bacchus wrote:

And then a wave of evictions come May 1st

I'm not sure about other jurisdictions, but for now, evictions have been frozen in Ontario.

 

And when that restrictions are removed? As they will be in May or June, and you have to then pay all that back rent at once or get evicted?

Douglas Fir Premier

Douglas Fir Premier wrote:

FAQ: Ottawa, Keep Your Rent!

Paladin1

Douglas Fir Premier wrote:

Douglas Fir Premier wrote:

FAQ: Ottawa, Keep Your Rent!

 

 

Quote:
The government has already announced financial support and mortgage suspensions for businesses and landlords.

I haven't seen an official statement about this. Am I just missing it? As of yesterday there was nothing.

Globe and Mail posts

Quote:
The City of Toronto on Tuesday urged private-sector landlords to find solutions with tenants whose finances have been affected by the novel coronavirus, after a Monday conference call that Mayor John Tory held with large landlords and industry associations.

That doesn't sound like mortage defferal for businesses and landlords.

Pondering

Cheques are only coming out mid April so landlords will probably defer to that date if they know their tenant is waiting for it. Landlords don't want to lose all their tenants at the same time either. 

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

A coalition including the BC Ecosocialist Party, the Democratic Socialists of Canada, ACORN Canada, and Courage, have issued the following Statement on Rent/Mortgage Freeze & Emergency Income Support

Quote:

Join us in calling for a Rent/Mortgage Freeze & Emergency Income Support to Protect Workers and Families

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented action. We, a coalition of the BC EcosocialistsACORN Canada, the Democratic Socialists of Canada, and Courage call on the federal, provincial, and local governments to act now!

We are counting on you, Tim, to forward this message, and to invite any organizations that you are involved with to join us by signing on.

We are calling for all levels of government implement the following measures:

  • An immediate moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.

  • Immediate moratorium on utility and telecommunications shut-offs due to non-payment.

  • Immediate suspension of rent. Any rent that would have been due during the pandemic period must be forgiven.  

  • Immediate suspension of mortgage and property tax payments. Mortgage interest must be frozen during the pandemic period.

  • Emergency subsistence payments sufficient to cover essentials (food, medications, telecommunications) must be made to all people in Canada.

Today, Canada is facing a crisis of unprecedented proportions. Millions of Canadians are at risk of losing their livelihoods and housing due to job loss from the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on our economy. Many have already been affected with tens of thousands of layoffs across the country and Employment Insurance claims skyrocketing to ten times their normal level.

Anything less than the full implementation of these demands is a failure of government to uphold its most sacred obligation: the protection of the people in times of great crisis and an abdication of their moral responsibility to ensure Canadians are safe and secure.

We invite all organizations and individuals to sign on.

We sincerely hope that you are keeping well, and keeping your distance from others. 

In solidarity, 

BC Ecosocialists Board of Directors

Douglas Fir Premier

Paladin1 wrote:

I haven't seen an official statement about this. Am I just missing it? As of yesterday there was nothing.

The CMHC published this on Tuesday:

COVID-19: Understanding Mortgage Payment Deferral

The COVID-19, or coronavirus crisis has left many homeowners in Canada without a job or with reduced hours and wondering how to pay their mortgage. Homeowners facing financial stress may be eligible for a mortgage payment deferral up to 6 months to help ease the financial burden.

And from CBC:

CIBC, RBC, TD, BMO and Scotiabank all said that landlords have the option to defer their payments regardless if they carry insured or uninsured mortgages. A few banks, including Scotiabank, give the option to postpone mortgage payments for up to three non-principal residences.

Paladin1

Douglas Fir Premier wrote:
And from CBC:

CIBC, RBC, TD, BMO and Scotiabank all said that landlords have the option to defer their payments regardless if they carry insured or uninsured mortgages. A few banks, including Scotiabank, give the option to postpone mortgage payments for up to three non-principal residences.

Thanks for the info DFP. I was curious about the CBC statement above so I found the article. I don't think your quote captures the whole picture. Some other statements from the article include

-Some say banks have denied mortgage deferral requests, despite government announcement

-she reached out to her lenders, knowing that some of her tenants were going to have trouble making April's rent amid the COVID-19 pandemic. / But, she says, the banks denied her. 

-The problem for Curlew and many others: The deferrals aren't as easy to get as they seem. They're being given out on a case-by-case basis, and sometimes those who need the most help say they aren't getting it. 

-The federal government hasn't announced any aid directly attached to rental units or renters. Premier Doug Ford has said that no one will be evicted for their inability to pay rent, but the Ontario government has not waived rent for the province. 

 

So there actually is no specific protection or aid for landlords and property contrary to what that rent strike article suggested.

Pondering

It's ridiculous. Landlords still have to pay their morgages and workers are getting income replacement so they can pay their rent. 

I hate it when the left makes itself ridiculous for making stupid demands. They might as well be asking for Christmas to be moved to February. It makes no sense and it assumes all landlords are bad or rich. 

Pondering

Someone has to pay for all of this. Who has all the money? (It isn't landlords). 

This is a war so this is the time to demand wartime taxation and to point to where all the wealth is. 

NDPP

Oh come on. This government will never make the rich pay for anything. And this little dribble of support, such as it is, will not last long either. Unless we organize, we are simply economic assets that are no longer affordable and will be downsized. Because money does talk and bullshit does walk.  If anyone had been paying attention to the barbarism with which existing poor and homeless have been treated in Canada you would already know what is in store for you too.

Douglas Fir Premier

Courage has launched a really cool app that maps support for the rent strike.

For folks who are undecided about committing to withholding rent, it allows them to pick a threshold at which enough people are striking that they'd join too. Once that threshold is met, they're notified.

At the beginning of the month, over a million people will either not pay their rent, or go into debt to pay it. 

To protect our health and ensure that everyone has shelter, all levels of government must take measures to:

  • Cancel rent (no paying back later)
  • Suspend (not defer) mortgages and foreclosures

By pledging to not pay your rent (whether you’re able or not), you help do two things: put pressure on governments to suspend rent for everyone, and protect the most vulnerable tenants from being evicted.

For a strike to be successful, unity is key. We need to overwhelm the system, forcing governments to negotiate, and forcing landlords to turn their frustrations on the banks, not on their tenants.

There is strength in numbers, and our power comes from our unity. Pledge today and help us gain the critical mass necessary to provide affordable housing for all.

Douglas Fir Premier

Paladin1 wrote:

-she reached out to her lenders, knowing that some of her tenants were going to have trouble making April's rent amid the COVID-19 pandemic. / But, she says, the banks denied her. 

It also says; "Curlew says the only reason for refusal she was given was that she was trying to insure her rental properties, not the home she lives in. But now that banks have stated rental units are included, she's going to call her lenders again."

To me, it sounds like this was just a bit of early confusion about a brand new initiative in response to a rapidly escalating crisis.

Paladin1 wrote:

-The federal government hasn't announced any aid directly attached to rental units or renters. Premier Doug Ford has said that no one will be evicted for their inability to pay rent, but the Ontario government has not waived rent for the province. 

So there actually is no specific protection or aid for landlords and property contrary to what that rent strike article suggested.

Meaning there was no direct financial aid in the form of cash bailouts from the government. But yes, mortgage deferrals are absolutely a form of aid.

Douglas Fir Premier

From the Courage site:

A number of groups have popped up that serve as organizing hubs for rent strikes. You can find local information and support here:

EdmontonFB group
GuelphFB group
HalifaxFB group
KingstonFB page
Montrealwebsite | FB group
NiagaraFB page
OttawaFB group
ReginaFB group
Torontowebsite | FB group
VancouverFB page (the Vancouver Tenants Union) 
VictoriaFB group | FB page
WinnipegFB group

 

Pondering

It is more realistic than having a "rent strike" followed by mass evictions this summer. 

It is in the best interests of the uber-wealthy to save the economy and its workers because they need workers and consumers to continue generating wealth for them. 

The future is a wide open question mark now.  Trump numbers have risen during the crisis because people believe what he is saying. The US is going to have more deaths than China by far both in absolute numbers and percentage of population. That will come as a massive shock to his supporters. They believe him. They don't expect their hospitals to collapse under the strain. They don't expect young people to be struck down. I think if you took his approval ratings only in the states that have been hit they would be very different. 

I am genuinely fearful for what is going to happen in the US. They have a lot of guns. They will not accept not being able to get medical treatment when they have been paying high insurance rates all their lives. They will not accept being unable to feed their families. 

Right now everything is happening both quickly and slowly at the same time. There is no final tally on which countries will have been the most successful in procuring medical equipment and lessening the spread and death rate. 

China is stepping up and sending doctors and equipment to Italy and other countries. It would be humiliating for the US to accept help from China. I don't think they will accept it but I don't see how they will be able to refuse it when Americans are dying for lack of care. It's going to be worse than Wuhan in some places. 

The percentage of wealth pooling at the top as a result of years of tax cuts and bailouts is all that can save us not rent strikes. Rent strikes will just backfire. 

I am disappointed the NDP is being so weak about this. This is the moment to get real and open the debate on who should be getting bailout money and what jobs we are saving or creating. Nothing like it has happened since the black plague. 

Soon will be the time to argue that extreme free market economics and deregulation has weakened us not make us more powerful. Sinking money into oil and armaments is not the most productive use of government funding. That is picking winner and losers. 

People are going to be in shock.  When they start to come out of it we need to be ready to propose we follow the Green New Deal. We have to be ready for Alberta to be infuriated but that will happen sooner or later anyway. We already bought a white elephant in TM. We are not going to come roaring out of here ready for business as usual. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

It is more realistic than having a "rent strike" followed by mass evictions this summer. 

..this is a fear not a fact.

Bacchus

Douglas Fir Premier wrote:

Paladin1 wrote:

-she reached out to her lenders, knowing that some of her tenants were going to have trouble making April's rent amid the COVID-19 pandemic. / But, she says, the banks denied her. 

It also says; "Curlew says the only reason for refusal she was given was that she was trying to insure her rental properties, not the home she lives in. But now that banks have stated rental units are included, she's going to call her lenders again."

To me, it sounds like this was just a bit of early confusion about a brand new initiative in response to a rapidly escalating crisis.

Paladin1 wrote:

-The federal government hasn't announced any aid directly attached to rental units or renters. Premier Doug Ford has said that no one will be evicted for their inability to pay rent, but the Ontario government has not waived rent for the province. 

So there actually is no specific protection or aid for landlords and property contrary to what that rent strike article suggested.

Meaning there was no direct financial aid in the form of cash bailouts from the government. But yes, mortgage deferrals are absolutely a form of aid.

Not really. As it turns out the interest on the deferred payments will continue to accrue costing anyon with a mortgage more and it shows up as missed payments which hits the credit rating and costs more in added interest

For some landlords, this IS their job and cause undo hardship for them.

Paladin1

Quote:
Our demands are simple, we want:

-A freeze on rents across Ontario.

-No back pay as a result of unpaid rents.

-A freeze on rent increases.

"no rent until containment"

That's an awefully nice gesture. Don't pay rent for what could be 6, 12 or 18 months. And no back pay. As Bacchus wisely points out, in many landlords cases this is their full time job. I took a look at a few of those groups. They don't want discussion or a conversation with landlords and politicians. No negeotiating. They want everyone to just stop paying rent.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..for years landlords have worked to remove rent controls and tenant rights. for years landlords have ruled the roost. many gouged and offered substandard housing. for years governments have backed away from their responsibility to create affordable housing..leaving it up to the markets. things have been stacked against tenants for as long as i've been politically aware. 

..this strike is about tenants surviving not landlord survival. in a time when governments are still bailing out oil and gas, for instance, after umpteen years of support subsidies.  

..we are not all in this together. power is still in power and continues to look to rigging the game. so no moral lectures please.

Douglas Fir Premier

Speaking as someone who's been a landlord, I wouldn't call it a job any more than I'd call owning stocks a job.

This brilliant Twitter thread by @pangmeli breaks it down nicely.

Douglas Fir Premier

Paladin1 wrote:

I took a look at a few of those groups. They don't want discussion or a conversation with landlords and politicians.

Or it could be that April 1 is six days away. Time's better spent organizing neighbours than arguing with folks who ar ejust there to concern troll.

Pondering

epaulo13 wrote:

..for years landlords have worked to remove rent controls and tenant rights. for years landlords have ruled the roost. many gouged and offered substandard housing. for years governments have backed away from their responsibility to create affordable housing..leaving it up to the markets. things have been stacked against tenants for as long as i've been politically aware. 

..this strike is about tenants surviving not landlord survival. in a time when governments are still bailing out oil and gas, for instance, after umpteen years of support subsidies.  

..we are not all in this together. power is still in power and continues to look to rigging the game. so no moral lectures please.

So you are saying that this is what Sean from Ottawa is like because he is a landlord. Oh, and the nurse who rents out half her duplex. Why is it exactly that you think she should give her tenants hundreds of dollars?  

A rent strike wouldn't hurt the big guys at all. Less than a mosquito bite. Some landlords are horrible, maybe even a lot of them, but most are just regular people who buy buildings and rent places out for a living. 

What would be the motivation for people to let others live on their property if they aren't collecting rent?

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..sean is not representative of what has been going on for years. he is not part of power. don't try to lump him in with those landlord and governments i spoke about.

Bacchus

Why not? He will suffer just the same/

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Why not? He will suffer just the same

..your suggesting landlords are all the same. they are not. i was clear in what i described. while you can say they will/are suffering..and here i talk about a mom & pop like landlord..this cannot be used as a reason not to strike. if your landlord is reasonable this will not be a strike issue. but to say i must pay my rent instead of eating so my landlord can eat is a false argument. 

..this issue is what has been highlighted in 2 responses so far without addressing the entirety of my post. i will not keep responding if that continues.   

Douglas Fir Premier
NDPP

I have had many landlords in my life. A few were nice. Most weren't. I learned a thing or two about renting over the years. One,  never rent where the landlord lives on the premises. Two, big landlords are almost always easier to negotiate with than small. Here in Toronto, the average rental for a one bedroom is 2,000 a month. In such a 'hot' market both the corporate landlord and 'mom and pop' usually charge as much as they think they can get. I used to have quite a nice old 1br place in little Italy in downtown Toronto on a treed street near Bellwoods Park. When I noticed the landlord renovating a similar suite to mine next door, which rented then for 1000 a month, but which had larger windows, I asked him what he was planning on charging. 'Whatever they'll pay,' he said with a smile. It went for 2,000. A couple of months later he sent me a form letter advising me he required my suite for an elderly relative, a valid ground for termination of tenancy. A few months after I left I noticed he was renovating it. Bigger windows. Shortly thereafter I met the neighbour who used to rent the suite next to mine. He had also been given the elderly relative story.

'Landlords grow rich in their sleep.' - John Stuart Mill

Don't pay what you can't afford. Rent strike now.

 

Pondering

Okay. So lets say a whole bunch of people go on a rent strike. No problem because evictions are on hold. As soon evictions are again permitted they will be evicted unless they can come up with all the back rent and current rent. 

 

NDPP

Possibly. But this is now and that is then.

Paladin1

Pondering wrote:

Okay. So lets say a whole bunch of people go on a rent strike. No problem because evictions are on hold. As soon evictions are again permitted they will be evicted unless they can come up with all the back rent and current rent.

I feel like the organizers of the rent strike aren't really thinking about the long term effects nor have peoples long term health and welfare in mind.

Do they expect people to just not pay rent for a year and then go om like nothing happened? Meanwhile the owners are out thousands or tens of thousands of dollars? If I was a landlord and someone was getting money from the government to help pay rent and my tenants turned around aid told me I wasn;t getting a dime I'd be a little pissed and not just shrug my shoulders.

If the rent strikers aren't going to at least try to work with the building owners does that mean they should recieve half of the emergency funds from the government?

Reading through the pages and comments of these groups I half expect them to start demanding that landlords just sign over the property to the tenants for free.

Bacchus

Not to mention but once they are evicted, they will pretty much find it difficult to rent anywhere else, ever. Since the non-payment will be listed on their credit score and on several lists utilized by landlord groups

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Reading through the pages and comments of these groups I half expect them to start demanding that landlords just sign over the property to the tenants for free.

..i kind of like this idea. i once and continue to hold on to an idea that everyone born on this earth receive 1 acre of futile land that cannot be sold or left to inheritance. it can only be traded for another so like minded folks can form communities. and for cities a lesser sized piece land.

eta: the whole idea of what a city should look like would need to be revised. 

Douglas Fir Premier

From Climate Justice Ottawa:

"Climate Justice Ottawa endorses COVID-19 Rent Strike Ottawa. CJO is in solidarity with the rent strike because we recognize how COVID-19 shines a light on existing inequalities, including access to affordable housing. We work to challenge political systems that do not align with an equitable and healthy planet and work in partnership with justice-oriented movements like Rent Strike Ottawa in recognition of the interlocking systems of oppression present in our society. The present moment is a critical time for solidarity and coming together to fight for the rights and dignity of the people who are most vulnerable."

Pondering

They are making a big mistake. Piggy-backing on a national emergency while it is happening to push a political agenda doesn't look good on anyone even if they claim to be representing the poor.

The present moment is a critical time for solidarity and coming together to fight Covid-19.  It is not time to debate who is the most oppressed and why and what should be done about it. 

The rent strike is not focused on the needs of the poor right now. They are pushing an ideologically based action that some people may actually follow thinking that because of Convid-19 they are protected and won't have to pay it back. Or they will understand that it will come due, but spend it because impoverished people always have more needs than money. 

Basically they are screwing over the most vulnerable people in society to push their political agenda. Are they going to step up and help the people evicted mid-summer? 

They should definitely be highlighting the issues of the less fortunate in life but they should be doing it from a place of knowledge of what their actual needs are right now. A rent strike is not what they need. They are not thinking about climate change right now or rights and dignity. Whatever level of poverty they are suffering they just don't want to catch Covid-19 on top of their current misery.

They should be looking into conditions for the homeless right now and making suggestions for them and for people who are addicted to hard drugs. Anyone living off the underground economy can't survive isolated. Pragmatic solutions are needed right now not longwinded speeches that no one is listening to. 

Rent strike sounds like an advertising campaign. Something dreamed up to be clever and shock. Shallow. Slick. (witin the context of what is happening right now)

We are all, even here, myself included, obsessed over Convid-19. That's valid. This is earth-shattering. The notion that everything will just gear back up and things will be as they were in December is completely unrealistic. Populations will be in shock. We can't even imagine what will happen after this is over but it will not be business as usual or just recovering as we did (or didn't) after 2008. 

But right now, when I think of all the people suffering, most needlessly, I am sick to my stomach. Watching the red spread over the map of the world is like watching a disaster in slow motion. I think of the misery of people stuck in refugee camps. I think of Mexico in denial. What about all the refugees that were in transit and the ones being held in detention. The US is just at the beginning of this. Republicans massively believe Trump and believe that this is all overblown. They have been acting accordingly. By the time they realize he is wrong it will be way too late to save their communities. States are competing for supplies paying over 5 times the cost. Trump is sending out one time payments because he wants everyone back to work within weeks. 

Now is the time to be focused on the current needs of vulnerable people and when not focusing on that focusing on what is to come. The world is going to be in a shambles. In these moments of seismic change lies the opportunity for revolutions. We live in a democracy which allows for a soft revolution.

The Green New Deal was economically sound before all this happened. From a practical economic perspective we need to do it on steroids. It is by far the best path to longterm sustainable economic recovery. Alberta is being decimated and begging for money. The oil companies should not be off the hook for paying for orphan wells but they will probably go belly up before paying. We should pour federal money into cleaning up wells and helping farmers. 

Social housing should be energy efficient using geothermal when possible or whatever else is available. 

 When this is over is the time to massively expand free public transit as it helps  those who need it the most. Students that couldn't earn money over the spring and summer, seniors, low income workers. Families. And helps us meet emission targets.

We should be debating the meaning of national security in terms of food chains (once the crisis has peaked). 

We are going to have massive amounts of data on how all of this impacted carbon emissions. 

We are going to spend billions of dollars on recovery and it will last years. The only question is what it will be spent on. 

Time to dust off the Green New Deal and see if it can be updated.  The argument "but it will cost too much" is gone. We are going to spend billions. 

Also a good time to promote basic income more vigorously. 

I know I have been rude and longwinded and I am sorry for that but too frustrated to keep quiet. At best a rent strike will just fail completely at worst it will convince people to not pay their rent and get evicted. It is ineffectual in convincing anyone of anything or making a lasting difference in anyone's lives. 

We need to focus on the immediate needs of the people of the world and ready an alternative plan to the ones the government is going to offer. Leave off with the indigenous rights posturing and ideological talk.  Do cover what it costs for indigenous communities to have clean water and food security. As soon as we come out of this we have to be ready to present strong arguments against what they plan to do with the billions with alternative plans in hand. 

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i've always argued that people are far more progressive than the politicos give them credit for. they are perfectly capable of making their own decisions and not some form of lemming. i say this after many years as an activist. 

..my step daughter living in vancouver has lost her income because of what is going on. i've sent her all the info on the rent strike and she has chosen not to strike. 

..this is turning into an attack on the organisers which is starting to sound kinda desperate. people will decide what is best for themselves. it's good to have an option that includes acting in solidarity with others.   

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