CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky today signed an order determining the evictions of tenants for failure to make rent or housing payments could be detrimental to public health control measures to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This order will expire on October 3, 2021 and applies in United States counties experiencing substantial and high levels of community transmission levels of SARS-CoV-2.
As the U.S. is roughly #20 in the COVID Olympics, “substantial and high levels of community transmission levels” exist for 90 percent of American renters (National Fair Housing Alliance, in which “fair” means $0/month).
Some Americans may object to this, feeling sorry for small landlords, e.g., the owner of a Boston-area triple-decker in which the owner’s family occupies one flat while the other two were rented (until March 2020, when the system switched to a Burning Man-style gift economy).
I wonder if we can recycle anti-landlord propaganda developed by smarter people in China and Soviet Russia so that Americans (at least the ones who aren’t landlords) can all get behind Dr. Walensky.
The Land Reform Movement, also known by the Chinese abbreviation Tǔgǎi (土改), was a campaign by the Communist Party leader Mao Zedong during the late phase of the Chinese Civil War and the early People’s Republic of China. The campaign involved mass killings of landlords by tenants and land redistribution to the peasantry. The estimated number of casualties of the movement ranges from hundreds of thousands to millions. In terms of the communist party’s evaluation Zhou Enlai estimated 830,000 had been killed and Mao Zedong estimated as many as 2 to 3 million were killed.
Those who were killed were targeted on the basis of their social class rather than their ethnicity; the neologism “classicide” is used to describe the killings. Class-motivated mass killings continued almost throughout the 30 years of social and economic transformation in Maoist China, and by the end of reforms, the landlord class had been largely eliminated from Mainland China or had fled to Taiwan. By 1953, land reform in most parts of mainland China was completed except in Xinjiang, Tibet, Qinghai, and Sichuan. From 1953 onwards, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began to implement collective ownership of expropriated land through the creation of “Agricultural Production Cooperatives” transferring property rights from the former landlord class to the Chinese state.
We can probably get some appropriate posters from the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre (I loved it there in November 2019!).
Comrade Lenin sweeps away the capitalists after the Decree on Land:
Readers: What are some ideas for good posters? How about landlords trying to block access to vaccine clinics and your state’s governor flattening them with a dump truck full of freshly printed executive orders?
(Note that the above should not be interpreted as a suggestion that the U.S. has adopted “Socialism” or “Communism”. A distinguishing characteristic of Socialism, at least Chinese- and Soviet-style, was that every able-bodied adult worked. The principal distinguishing characteristic of the current American system is idleness. Americans can get married and live off a spouse. Americans can divorce that spouse and continue to live off him/her/zir/them via alimony. Americans can have sex with a high-income already-married person and harvest the child support. Americans can sit in public housing for three generations and watch TV or play Xbox in between appointments to get more Medicaid-funded opioids. All of the above would have been considered criminal parasitism in the Soviet Union. The current U.S. system, therefore, is almost the polar opposite of Socialism, at least from the perspective of the individual citizen.)