A post from the Southern Illinois Democratic Socialists of America Organizing/Discussion Facebook page
The Great Society and The War Against Poverty were laid to rest in the napalm ashes of the Vietnam War and the Reagan Reaction that came after the malaise of the Carter years. Dr. King died on this day in 1968 while advocating for sanitation workers in Memphis. 15 years later Ronald Reagan signed MLK Day into a national holiday while at the same time The Reagan Adminstration made sure the modest gains of the Poor Peoples Campaign withered in austerity. The 30 million dollars per day burden of killing Vietnamese peasants to save them from communism has become a 30 million dollars per hour Forever War. For Dr. King, the protest against mindless militarism and for economic justice was one and the same. It is not only fitting we remember the lessons of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is essential for our future to act upon them.
It should be noted that when Rep. Rita Mayfield and Rep. Curtis Tarver sided with Republicans and voted no and stopped an effort to Lift The Ban on Rent Control, it wasn’t a vote against a particular form of rent control. It was a vote against any form of rent control anywhere. It was a vote against democracy supported mostly by the real estate industry and developers, people who stand to profit from predatory rental agreements and gentrification.
Once again, we have profits over people. Money speaks for money while low-income people are not organized to protect themselves. With this vote we see the results of that. It is telling that the victory statement by the Chicagoland Apartment Association admitted that “affordable workforce housing… is currently lacking in supply, but the concept of rent control would make the goal of providing additional affordable housing less attainable because it would reduce the supply and quality of rental units to select from.” Simply put, the inability to force people out of their homes with sudden extreme rent increases will limit the number of units on the market. People with the least privilege and risk are expected to be left vulnerable so that wealthy and secure people are not inconvenienced in their effort to become wealthier and more secure at the expense of working people forced into homelessness.
The Democratic party, with a historic super majority in the Illinois general assembly, remains saddled with Koch Brothers/ALEC legislation that was implemented with regressive intent to serve the interests of the powerful and make sure every dollar earned by working families ends up in the company store with IOU notes added. There will always be a well-funded slick argument to support a grand pyramid scheme, but if a Democratic super majority cannot find the political muscle to stand up for people, it’s time to change the name of our party to GOP LITE.