Rent Forgiveness & the Unforgivable Concept of Rent

From an Oakland Resident

Here in the so-called United States we are at just over a month of shelter in place ordinances due to COVID-19. We here in California have benefited from a statewide eviction moratorium for renters. In so-called Oakland (actually the land of the Muwekma Ohlone people) we have seen the strongest of those renter protections.

Yet once the moratorium is over, we will all owe back rent, leaving many deeply concerned about earned debt. This has birthed the current online movement demanding rent & mortgage forgiveness for all. In the Bay Area specifically, with the growing housing crisis and cost of living rates, rent forgiveness is essential.

This is now a moment for us all to grapple with the idea of rent itself. Yes to lower rent prices, yes to accessible housing, and yes to our current need for rent forgiveness. Along with that, a big NO to the crime of rent. We must build a housing movement that fights for the current needs of renters and homeowner families. And at the same time, develop the necessary mass movement to take a stand against capitalism’s desire to charge us to live on the lands we call home. Rent is a new concept in human history and one of our modern era’s biggest crimes. Let’s end rent!

Featured image credit: Tierra Mallorca / Unsplash