Ricardo Tranjan’s new book, “The Tenant Class” will be launched on May 16, 2023. This book illuminates the shadowy angles of housing issues from previous years up until today—from how we talk about the issues, how we label, how we try to break it into all different issues so that no one area or leader is accountable. Very insightful truths which have been previously, deliberately, obscured, are now revealed in this edifying exposé.
It’s way past time to share this skillful analysis by a professional economist who peels away the lies, aka acceptable social class biased rules about who really deserves what. This author calls on us all to resist falling, or pushing others, into the false narratives deep at the heart of a so-called housing ‘crisis’.
Housing crisis or collusion?
The reality is this age-old, well thought out plan to divide the masses into warring social classes and impose unfair housing policies on certain populations has been well-known to government law-makers, real estate corporations, and our financial institutions.
A system that quietly invites regular people and families to live peacefully; yet a system that has the power to wage literal war on tenants who will be labelled and seen as uncooperative deadbeats causing landlords unfair harm, even though it’s the landlords who are being given the money, and the power, and the ability to financially freeze tenants out of our homes with above guideline increases. Landlords are pretty much free to hold tenants as financial hostages, and threaten to drop us into the void of houselessness straight into the path of state violence.
And drop us they do. It’s a completely legal, profit-obsessed business model that has been widely replicated and celebrated as the best and easiest way for the ‘landlord class’ to gouge enormous profits from the ‘tenant class’. Whether we’re still incumbent, or whether we’re evicted and renovicted, there is a constant green light from government allowing even higher financial extraction from newfound tenants.
Housing includes so many players from ‘mom & pop’ basement renters, to humongous real estate corporate magnates. As this author states, the way we talk about the housing issue gets completely twisted. Bad business gets rewarded as if it’s good business, but then again it is very good for landlords, but very bad for the tenant class. The landlords say it’s very bad for them because they’re taking so much financial risk (as if tenants are not taking any financial risk). The bigger landlord corporations are, the more they’re praised and incentivized by government funds to prioritize profits over people. Many hands get washed and look sparkling clean when in reality they evade accountability to provide proper affordable housing to working class people.
Are families who need to sign a lease for adequate shelter treated as merely commodities? Yes. This is such a tragedy for so many families, and also a travesty. The ‘real estate landlord class’ is highly encouraged to treat human beings and the homes they offer in exchange for our hard-earned money as their cash cows. We’re told by government leaders that if we are ‘good’ tenants then our landlords will be nice and fair and do proper repairs, and hopefully not raise rent too much. But aren’t they (government leaders and landlords) part of the larger group who designed our housing needs which have become their massive monetary gain? Yes, they are. This eye-opening book explains all the economic machinations behind the system in detail.
State violence: a so-called solution?
The city ensures we have a highly funded army of police officers; protecting property, not people in the tenant class. The officers ironically state how they cannot get involved in tenant/landlord disputes. But then who are those uniformed people escorting families off landlords’ property? When there’s literally nowhere left to go but to the park or under a bridge, the ones supposedly ‘serving and protecting’ us are swiftly weaponized against vulnerable people who’ve been stripped of assets and all defenses. Being criminalized in this way is indefensible.
Our governments who promised to put rules in place to stop this type of exploitation, have instead taken all forms of protection away. It’s complicated alright with classism, racism and sexism, ableism, and ageism all popping up. It’s astounding that evictions resulting in the loss of our homes have rarely been properly recognized as the act of revenge that is often at the core. Our rights as human beings to not be threatened, and our rights as tenants to not be forced into financial distress and threatened with houselessness have been pushed aside along with our rights to be paid a proper living wage above the poverty line.
So many tenants are workers who are being cheated by unfairly low wages at work. Yet still, the story gets quickly turned around as if all the tenants are potential deadbeats with no intention of paying. This is “too funny”, as my late friend, Gary would say: “If I had no intention of paying then why am I working 2 jobs?”
The human rights of the tenant class must be regained in much the same way that workers’ rights are still being fought for. We appreciate the author for writing this timely book inspiring us to stand with our neighbours, unite in the fight, and organize!
Organizing together as tenants and resisting the status quo can actually save peoples’ lives.
So many fall into despair and depression by falling into this trap of runaway rental prices that cannot be paid with such pitifully stagnant salaries. Employers, along with the government, are beating us down and constantly restricting our wages. Even taking workers to court after calling them heroes previously! Tenants and workers must fight strategically together on both fronts for affordable rent and for livable wages. Since this unfair system is not technically broken, it’s strictly up to us, the organized tenant class to join firmly with labour’s working class and dismantle this unfair system.
We need to unite and fight and shut it down! Workers need labour unions! Tenants need tenant unions! All of us organizing is the way to go! The Tenant Class is an excellent resource encouraging us — showing us that working class tenant power is real. If we must become tenant class warriors then we must in order to help others on the precipice of falling into that river of houselessness designed for the tenant class to be left behind.
Instead we must organize and design a fair affordable housing system and abolish this abhorrent and long-standing housing system fuelling corporate greed. We welcome The Tenant Class as the well thought out roadmap. Thank you for your generosity and thought leadership, Ricardo Tranjan. Your amazing achievement can be our achievement going forward in solidarity.
Join the book launch, May 16 at 7pm at 720 Bathurst, Toronto.
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