On Luxurious Losses and the Downtown Eastside Somehow Still ‘Shocking’ Newspapers

What I saw in a day on the Downtown Eastside shocked me. Really? While this article borders on poverty tourism bereft of offering anything resembling a solution and continues the trend of moralizing the problem rather than seeing it as a perfect storm of policy failures, geography and history … it nevertheless paints a pretty good portrait for the rest of Canada and rightly frames it as a national issue.

And yet, giving up on the Downtown Eastside would be an awful mistake. All of the failures of this fortunate, thriving, caring country are on display on these streets: its failure to grapple with the crisis of mental health, its failure to tame the epidemic of drug overdoses, its failure to improve the condition of many Indigenous people, its failure to put a roof over the heads of its neediest citizens.

The suffering of this neighbourhood and its people should weigh on us all.

Our culture’s obsession with jobs as a solution to homelessness; criminalizing mental health; failing to see that trauma creates drug addiction; austerity and debt; the internal contradictions of neoliberal capitalism — all are more important factors than some sort of moral failure to save the DTES.

And don’t forget global speculation: ‘Shameful’: What’s driving the global housing crisis?. “Housing is not just about four walls and a roof but about living in a place where you have peace, security and most importantly, dignity”.

Dignity, you say? High cost of living in Vancouver prompts cancellation of Welfare Food Challenge. Holy shit we can’t even pretend to be poor for a month! Raise the fucking rates, Horgan. Why are we waiting?

This is life and death: Mother of Four Found Dead in Freezing Home After Her Welfare Was Cut Off.

Closer to home: Mother and special needs daughter are living in their van.

Like, I don’t understand how this is still happening. I really don’t. As much as I can string a few pertinent links together, I’m totally at a loss and I Don’t Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People.

Now, try and read this headline with a straight face: Vancouver luxury property market ranked world’s worst. Boo fucking hoo.

YIMBYs are not only dangerous, they are a total joke: Despite thorough debunking, neoliberal housing politics prevail in the Bay Area. As usual, just substitute Vancouver for San Francisco, because they are here and they are really, really dumb:

Wow, arriving at Godwin’s Law in record time. Yeah, taxation of foreign capital is a slippery slope to the Holocaust. More:

Satire of the day: You won’t believe how far into this ‘millennial homeowner’ piece it takes for us to mention their inheritance!

Not satire of the day: Surging Wealth Inequality Is A Happy Sign That Life Is Becoming Much More Convenient. This guy must live in an ahistorical objectivist vacuum where Ayn Rand didn’t die on social assistance and where automation has produced a leisure class instead of, you know, a bitter populist reactionary class and an ossified elite that deflects blame onto poor people.

Alberta of the day: Calgary’s Olympic bid slashes affordable housing promise. Oh wow, they’re not even waiting until the Olympics are over to break their promises!

Bonus: Single-Family Housing Upholds the Patriarchy and Hurts Moms.

There are 2 comments

  1. Wealth redistribution? Right, we already tried that, it’s called welfare (chq) Wednesday. Not only does it make them more miserable, they kill themselves. We spend $4.8 million a month on social assistance in DTES and about 40% of that is immediately spent on chemical concoctions & industrial substances (sold under the generic brand name ‘drugs’), by purchasers to stupid to collectively notice the difference.

    Google ‘poverty industry’ (yes, it really exists) and do a puff piece on that. That’s where the big dollars are getting funneled.

  2. “Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed.” – Herman Melville

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