On Questions of Power and the False Dichotomy of Building New Rentals

Tea & Two Slices is a long-running local news round-up by NEEDS frontman and veteran dishwasher Sean Orr, who lives and works in Gastown, deeply aware of his privilege.

Pharma giant to contribute entire company’s value to opioid crisis. Oh wow, what a benevolent and selfless act! Like how Germany contributed their entire value to the post-World War I crisis! But seriously, this should be criminal. By filing for bankruptcy they are wiping out thousands of lawsuits against them. For shame.

Dan Fumano: Council approves East Van rental building seen as ‘litmus test’. I will never get the false dichotomy that this represents. Why is voting against this seen as voting for the status quo of multi-million dollar detached houses? Why can’t we say that we don’t want either? We don’t want rental projects that the historic working class of this area can’t afford. We want rental housing, but we want the right kind of rental housing, and we want rent control. I don’t see why this is so difficult to understand.

I laid it out pretty clearly back in July here and here when there was that uproar over Swanson voting no on a rental project next to a hospice that got approved, much like the one above, which led to a smarmy op-ed from the mayor:

“When we reject housing, we’re rejecting the only available housing option for over half our population…” Again, you’ve just conflated an entire swath of class lines and income brackets into one generic ‘renter’ class. It completely ignores the fact that affordable rental housing is nearly nonexistent for minimum wage workers. It’s reductionist. It’s market evangelism. It’s neoliberalism.

We need a trickle-up housing approach instead. Low cost non-market housing will help renters of all income levels. In Vancouver 29.7% of low income renters are housed beyond their affordability. This will give them options to leave their current overpriced units. Not the other way around.

OPINION: Goodbye, Victoria: B.C.’s speculation tax is forcing us to leave. Good riddance. We’re supposed to feel sorry for you because you refuse to pay your fair share? We’re supposed to feel sorry for you because you have to go without that extra house you only use a few months of the year while thousands who actually live in BC are being priced out of the market? How about no.

The nerve of these people. A full-blown crisis of democracy and these guys see an investment opportunity? Yuck. Vancouver condo developers head to Hong Kong.

Yes, the Climate Crisis May Wipe out Six Billion People. This idea of overpopulation is a dangerous Malthusian myth that plays right into the hands of white supremacy and the emerging eco-fascism. We don’t have an overpopulation problem or an immigration problem, we have a billionaire problem. Kai Rye with the best comment:

All this dangerous rhetoric about “over-population” being spouted by the Green Party and XR is not taking into account how colonialism and imperialism drains non-western areas of their ecosystems and resources through war and plundering, and then reacts with fascism and settler-nativism when people are forced to leave these areas and attempt to enter the United States or Canada.

And then there’s the leader of a country founded on white supremacy apologizing for wearing brownface when he was a 29 year old teacher in Vancouver. I know my purview is strictly local so if you want some more commentary/memes check out this FB post. In the meantime: Country’s white people divided on whether brownface okay or bad.

That’s the thing about racism. It isn’t a question of attitude, it’s a question of power. It isn’t this mistake that we make when we are young. It’s literally woven into the fabric of our national identity: Student’s racist video is far from a ‘stupid mistake,’ mothers say, as school allows him to return to class.

Tweet of the day

I’m pretty proud we’ve kept this out of the Vancouver Lexicon!

Bonus: ‘More Chill, Less Wack’ T-shirts designed by Chilliwack school trustee aimed at LGBTQ opponents.

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