It’s unfortunate


“Unfortunately there’s this intersection of our climate crisis and our housing emergency,” said Jonna Papaefthimiou, chief resilience officer for the Portland bureau of emergency management, adding that unhoused people “face the greatest risk from all kinds of severe weather.”

Peter Marcuse:

“homelessness exists not because the system is failing to work as it should, but because the system is working as it must”

—“Neutralizing Homelessness,” Socialist Review 88.1 (1988), 93.

Friedrich Engels:

The so-called housing shortage, which plays such a great role in the press nowadays, does not consist in the fact that the working class generally lives in bad, overcrowded and unhealthy dwellings. This shortage is not something peculiar to the present; it is not even one of the sufferings peculiar to the modern proletariat in contradistinction to all earlier oppressed classes. On the contrary, all oppressed classes in all periods suffered more or less uniformly from it. In order to make an end of this housing shortage there is only one means: to abolish altogether the exploitation and oppression of the working class by the ruling class.

The Housing Question, 1872, 17, emphasis in original.

There were some excerpts from Engels in the Deutsches Historisches Museum exhibit on Saturday. Reading this paragraph I am struck by how easily Americans use the phrase “working class” in a mildly condescending manner to indicate people whose status is beneath their own invariably “middle” class, and how impossible it is for Americans infatuated with Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, et al. to say “ruling class”.

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