Letter to the Editors

Letter to the Editors

Dear Editors,

On the morning of January 9, 2023, Collier Gwin, owner of the Foster Gwin Gallery in downtown San Francisco blasted water from a hose on an unhoused woman sitting on the sidewalk in front of his business. When the woman cried out in distress, Gwin calmly told her to “Just move,” before he sprayed her again. The incident was caught on video and spread far and wide.1

What we’re witnessing is the exact nature of capitalism and gentrification holding the value of profit over people and the attitudes of indifference and intolerance to boot.

Businesses coming in the cities take advantage of opportunities without giving back to the community. Then blame the individual for being out on the street when gentrification keeps evicting people, and the Airbnb industry keeps the cost of living blown out of proportion. Tens-of-thousands of empty dwellings while thousands are unhoused on the street, is a crime against humanity. And these anti-civil rights/gestapo-style/Zionist vigilante acts being taken out on the most vulnerable castes of society are a crime against humanity.

The nature of this vicious cycle is insidious and cunning, fooling us into thinking that capitalism is the only way to live and the best way to live, and that we can’t do better. And that this business owner is free to commit vigilante assaults on vulnerable people to protect the interests of his business. As if people on the street are responsible for the failing economy when it’s the exact opposite. Homelessness as well as addiction are merely symptoms and evidence of a failing economic system and society as a whole. We can change it.

The Airbnb industry in San Francisco and the Bay Area as a whole is like the Diamond industry, continuously mining diamonds and hoarding them in vaults to keep the price of these, beautiful indeed, but not so rare, not so precious stones blown out of proportion. And that’s not taking into account the cost on humanity of the mining process itself. Diamond miners don’t mine them for the love of their beauty, they are mined for survival under capitalism, in unsafe and inhumane working conditions. Just like the conditions created by gentrification casting vulnerable people into unsafe and inhumane living conditions.

The Airbnb industry keeps tens-of-thousands of dwellings vacant for possible temporary rental use, while victims of eviction and economic inequality live in the street in unsafe and inhumane conditions created by an unbalanced system. Whether intentional or not, the Airbnb industry keeping dwellings empty and inaccessible for permanent housing and keeping the demand for available spaces blown out of proportion, just like the hoarding in the Diamond industry. It’s a systemic problem down to its root, which is the profit motive of production.

It’s a form of austerity but instead of at the hands of the government, which is happening too, it’s directly at the hands of the capitalist class itself. Today’s pay rate is relatively lower than it was in the ’60s, today’s quality of products is relatively lower than it was in the ’60s, but it seems like we have more choices, so we think we have it better than we did then.

Social services and public education are dwindling. Meanwhile Amazon is monopolizing and homogenizing what we knew of as capitalism. We have more options of designed obsolescence. The very thing that people feared communism for is happening under the capitalist monopoly—putting small businesses out of business thereby losing the culture that comes along with those businesses. The hoarding of wealth, at the end of the business day, amounts to a decimal point in a computer. It’s not tangible material, but a representation of authority by way of controlled information and violence.

Socialism doesn’t take rights and freedoms away from the people, socialism provides more rights, freedom, and power to the people. Socialism is a system geared in the interest of the common welfare of people and the environment at the same time. Socialism brings justice to the front side of how decisions are made instead of the backside of poverty which is a direct result of the capitalist profit motive of production.

Our common welfare as people on this planet is the main objective of the revolutionary spirit, which at its core is a foundation of love for humanity and life on earth.

—Johnny Gould

1 “Business Owner Douses Unhoused Woman with Water”

By Maanvi Singh, January 11, 2022