Burn baby Burn

I always felt Los Angeles was a very cruel city with a Hollywood front of pleasantries and falsehoods. The “have a nice day” “I can’t help you when you’re upset” snide of disconnections and dismissals.

The cruelty of those who claim to fight for justice, the unwillingness of activists to reflect

Concrete Realities #2 Image of a concrete wall, with shadows cast on the wall, the texture of the cement and very narrow depth of field.

Photo by Emma Rosenthal

on their own behavior and ethics all the while demanding huge changes in the entire structure of society has been extremely impressive here. The expedience of power and the currency of opportunism knows no bounds, the criminalization of breath, of life, of survival, ordinances that outlaw sleeping in one’s car or provide snitch clauses and heavy fees for the decriminalization of grey market labor in a desperate economy.

I have lived and worked in this city since the early 80s, but the only time I felt at home here was when I moved to Douglas Street about 10 years ago, even before home sharing.
In home sharing, I fell in love with this city, welcoming in guests from all over the world.
Those opposed to home sharing, with all the corruption in this city, have no heart for their neighbors struggling to get by, because it’s easier to blame everything on airbnb than really fight for housing justice. It’s a feel good response: we can do something about this, without really upsetting those with any real power.
By the time I leave L.A. watching it (metaphorically) burn, through the rear view mirror, I will be ready to leave.
View of the L.A. Basin at Sunset: Day End #1 Image description: the view of the L.A. Basin and downtown Los Angeles, just before sunset, seen From Griffith Observatory. Image is distinguished by saturated colors, cloud patterns.

Photo by Emma Rosenthal

All I own is the equity in this house, which I cannot access except by selling to the highest bidder. The most gentrifying thing I could do is sell, but if I cannot afford to live here, to pay this mortgage, live with whom I chose, do the work I can, from the home I live in. I will have no choice. The “anti-gentrifiers”, those trendy, hip, slick, cool, young, pretty activists and the hobnobbers whose names open doors,  who disregard the hosts, many of whom are undesired: elders, chronically ill, DISabled, outside of the mainstream workforce. This elite has been told. They have been warned. We have tried to share the struggle with them and our stories.

They seem to think the radicals of a former age just disintegrated and that old people were always old. What city will they be leaving for their older selves? When they can no longer just couch surf, crash at their parents’ homes or sleep in a tent?
Activism for the strong, beautiful  and powerful is just supremacy and when that ordinance is passed and I’ve reduced my 30 years of life in L.A. to what can fit into a moving van, I will be ready to leave it all behind, for a life I can afford, in comfort, somewhere else, where I may have to take up lawn bowling, and Andy can go play golf, hold protests over green jello and demand local community gardens, with raised beds that those in wheelchairs can reach.  And the L.A. radicals will outgrow their false idealism and start selling condos and make lots of money and live in those high rises that displaced so many, and justify it…
Because their parents had it so rough.
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