In Los Angeles, emboldened tenants are winning big against abusive corporate landlords. But as the city fails to enforce the terms of their victories, landlords continue to harass tenants with impunity.
Mathilde Lind Gustavussen is a PhD candidate in sociology at the Free University of Berlin.
The city of Oakland’s longest rent strike has ended in victory for tenants. They didn’t just win necessary repairs or rent control; they decommodified their housing, getting profit-motivated landlords out of the picture altogether.
Since the 2008 housing crisis, huge corporate landlords have taken over an alarmingly large share of the rental market. But the more tenants share the same landlord, the greater the number of potential organized tenants that landlord has to face down.
The Hillside Villa Tenants Association has successfully forced a municipal government to approve the public purchase of a building to preserve affordability. The victory, a historic first in the US, creates a blueprint that can be followed across the nation.
Eminent domain has long been used to displace working-class people of color in Los Angeles, as in many cities. In a twist, a group of LA tenants is campaigning to use eminent domain to save themselves from eviction.
By calling for a ban on for-profit charter schools, Bernie Sanders has gone further than any other candidate to confront the privatization of our schools. But we can’t fully defend public schools if we let nonprofit charters off the hook.