A crowd of housing activists that call themselves Housing Justice for All, held a meeting last Thursday in the Bronx. In keeping with its platform, there were chants of “Fight, fight, fight, Housing is a human right.” HJA’s big goal is to see universal rent control for everyone in New York state.
About thirty minutes into the meeting, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was introduced to speak about the issue. She opened with a big picture statement about her idea for a housing guarantee. “What are we doing to make sure that housing is being legislated as a human right. What does that mean,” she said. She continued, “What it means is that our access and our ability and our guarantee to having a home comes before someone else’s privilege to earn a profit.”
Here’s a video of this portion of her talk:
Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY): “Our guarantee to having a home comes before someone else’s privilege to earn a profit.” pic.twitter.com/B1qSCK57OQ
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) June 4, 2019
She went on to tell a story about her “luxury” apartment in Washington, DC and how a new not-for-profit building in New York looked just like her new apartment (see below). “What we have been taught that is a luxury, should not be a luxury,” she said.
In short, Democratic Socialism is going to solve all of our housing problems.
The problem with this is that someone had to fund that lovely new building for senior citizens in Queens. It appears the funding, in this case, came from a nonprofit called Enterprise Community Partners which was created by James Rouse, a man who made millions in real estate, building shopping malls among other things. From the group’s website:
Hard work and ambition made Jim one of the most successful real estate developers in American history, bringing together people from all walks of life in places he’d built: housing developments, mixed-income communities, shopping and business centers, waterfront marketplaces and even an entire planned city.
Then one day in the spring of 1973, three women from his church approached him with an idea. Where they lived, in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C., were two of the worst apartment buildings they had ever seen, named The Mozart and The Ritz.
Seeing the lack of decent housing for people with very limited means, they asked a simple question: Why not buy the buildings and fix them up, so people can live in decent housing with dignity?
Rouse sounds like he was a great guy and a great capitalist who used his fortune to help others. But what happens to guys like him when housing becomes a right? Who will have the money and the expertise to help, both of which Rouse earned in the capitalist system? Here’s AOC talking about luxury apartments for everyone: