The University of California Is Also a Landlord
The New Republic | 12/2022

If McDonald’s is a real estate company that sells hamburgers, the U.C. system is a real estate company that sells degrees.

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The Los Angeles City Council Scandal Is Evidence of a Long War on Tenants
The New Republic | 10/2022

These council members promote policies that produce homelessness and then criminalize it, entrapping tenants, predominantly tenants of color, in a cycle of eviction and incarceration. The recipe—withdrawing protections and resources while policing the chaos withdrawal creates—reveals racism not as speech but as practice; not as prejudice but as power: It produces unequal lives and premature deaths.

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The Homeless Industrial Complex: A Syllabus for Fighting Back | 06/2022

This reader stems from a long history of struggle against the death-dealing housing system that prioritizes landlords’ profits over the human right to home. We use “industrial complex” to refer to the state capacities, resources, and ideologies that make up and keep us locked in that current system. Following the LA Tenants Union and Unhoused Tenants Against Carceral Housing, where we organize with our neighbors, we name unhoused people as tenants: political subjects in the struggle for housing liberation for all.

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Two Evils Doublespeak Dictionary | 06/2022

POLITICS is what happens when people exercise power, and electoral politics is just one—sinkholed and sagging—avenue. Why are you out there trying to be “heard”. You don’t gain power by self-expression or begging; sorry to play Foucault, but you can build it, wield it, or make it FELT. (A permitted march is not a protest; it’s a parade!) The most powerful tools we have for wielding pow- er are collective: THE RIOT AND THE STRIKE. (And the solidaritous social relationships that take slow-burn hanging out and make strategic action possible.)

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The Homeless Industrial Complex
The New Republic | 05/2022

The spectacular sweep of the park was not a failure of the city’s system to address the crisis of homelessness, but that system working precisely as designed: Promises of housing provide the legal and rhetorical cover for police to purge unhoused people from public space, while interim housing, on its surface a humanitarian project, functions as an arm of the prison system, used not to help unhoused people but to warehouse them.

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Toward 100 chapters of the Los Angeles Tenants Union
Roar Magazine | 06/2021

This is the promise of tenant power: by organizing ourselves and our neighbors to step into our collective power as tenants, we can intervene in and transform the exploitative conditions under which we live. Tenant power is the only tool available to counter the alliance between real estate and the state, which ensnares us in the capitalist housing system.

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The Enduring Fiction of Affordable Housing
The New Republic | 04/2021

The Affordable Housing paradigm is not a benign compromise between public and private interests; it is the institutionalization of racism and the red scare, a system bent into shape by the power of real estate not designed to serve tenants’ human needs.

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How to Organize Your Building
Jewish Currents | 11/2020

We often say in the L.A. Tenants Union that we make our community by defending it. The strength of your tenants association and your tenants union is manifest not only in its ability to win demands, but in its power to create local relationships of trust, mutual aid, care, and support.

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It's Time to Cancel the Rent
The Nation | 05/2020

Tenants don’t need a bailout. They need jubilee. Canceling rent is a call not for charity but for justice. As renters across the country go on both organized and de facto rent strike, they lay claim (if temporarily) to housing as a human right—to shelter, no matter their ability to pay for it. Rent strikes prefigure a system where the speculative housing market can no longer wreak havoc on people’s lives.

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Affordable Housing Is a Scam
LA Tenants Union White Paper | 01/2020

We need more affordable housing. This demand concludes every story about rising rents, gentrification, and homelessness. Increasingly clear, however, is the vast difference between truly affordable housing — housing that supports the lives of working tenants — and that housing which results from “Affordable Housing” policy. In this text, we lay out the specific history and consequences of “Affordable Housing,” in which “affordable” became the term by which city officials promise housing for the poor and working people and, by those very same housing schemes, take it away. We will tell the stories of LATU members living in “Affordable Housing” to underscore the failures of this dominant policy. Then, on the basis of both efficacy and ethics, we will argue that we must make alternative demands, not for “Affordable Housing,” but for public- and community-owned housing, re-imagining the housing system we would need to provide for the needs of all.

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Flipping the Script on Artwashing: Fighting Gentrification with Tenant Power
School of Echoes | 12/2019

The artist has a doubly-articulated role in the shift from under- to over-development. On the one hand, the role is ideological. The artist naturalizes their dependence on structural violence in order to access new territories. On the other hand, the artist’s role is material. The artist who “arrives” signals the transition from destructive disinvestment to a new cycle of “creative” investment. What is often left out of the story about the arrival of artists and art spaces are the policies and interventions that make such narratives possible.

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101 Notes on the LA Tenants Union
Commune Magazine | 07/2019

When we call this crisis a housing crisis, it benefits the people who design housing, who build housing, who profit from housing, not the people who live in it. It encourages us to think in abstractions, in numbers, in interchangeable “units,” and not about people, or about power.

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You Can't Do Politics Alone
Housing Justice in Unequal Cities, edited by Ananya Roy | 05/2019

In LATU we define a tenant as more than a renter. A tenant is anyone who doesn’t control their own housing. We frame our work around humans, not housing. Humans, unlike housing, have race, gender, families, history. Humans, unlike housing, have power.

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Excerpt from Exit to Americana
FENCE | 02/2019

It’s such a pleasure to shit in the Cheesecake Factory. Everyone knows you shit in your apartment. This is where she shits, is really the first thing people think when they walk into your home, even at the Americana at Brand in Glendale, California. But nobody knows that I save my shits for the Cheesecake Factory, just four stories and four doors down.

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Lies Your Landlord Tells You About Rent Control
LA Times | 10/2018

Besides “build, baby, build,” the real estate industry’s other refrain seems to be, “Pity the poor landlord.” How will landlords stay in business? The Supreme Court grants them a right to “reasonable returns”; Proposition 13 limits their tax increases to 2% a year — a stricter cap than any rent-control law on the books. How will landlords maintain their buildings? Every ordinance allows renovation costs to be passed on to renters. Their most compelling argument is a threat: Owners and developers will turn units into condos to avoid regulation. But no voter should take pity on price-gouging, or blame a policy for loopholes we can close.

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Repeal Costa Hawkins
LA Times | 05/2018

Real estate speculation and price-gouging are driving Californians to impossible commutes, overcrowded housing, and into the streets. According to a 2014 UCLA study, California is the least affordable state and Los Angeles is the least affordable city for renters in the nation. A third of Angelenos spend more than half their income on rent. When housing costs are factored in, one in four of us lives in poverty. By voting for the Affordable Housing Act ballot measure this November, Californians can restore the rights of cities to use a powerful tool to stop this escalating crisis: rent control.

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Rebel City | 03/2018

We already have a secret police (we call it ICE) that targets activists and immigrants. We have one that disenfranchises, incarcerates, and kills (we call it LAPD). “Housing subsidies” or “housing choice” are our “doublespeak;” they can turn a profit while claiming to help the poor. We have a city whose schemes of economic growth rely on replacing and displacing its residents (we call it gentrification). We have a real estate developer in chief.

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Transit-oriented development? More like transit rider displacement
LA Times | 02/2018

We need solutions to the housing crisis informed not by the neoliberal ideals of supply-and-demand, but by the everyday needs of real renters. Profit is not a human right. Housing is.

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Art Los Angeles Reader: "Soñadores"
Issue 4 | 10/2017

From my editor's letter: This special issue is Soñadores (Dreamers), a collaboration with Terremoto Magazine. As a performance of the mission of PST, we collide their focus on art of the Americas—a provocation to see across the continent, above borders and nations—with ours on art in Los Angeles—an invitation to use a local microscope that might reveal the globe.

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Ritual Work
Art in America | 08/2017

Not knowing how to emulate the swift athletics of other dancers, she slowly, simply crawled across the stage. No one moved. No one talked. The restrained movement captured the audience's unwavering attention: they were, as she put it, in "a trance." In the art of seduction, one application of sexuality is control. I'm reminded that the etymology of "entertainment" includes the Latin root for "to hold."

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Anti-Gentrification Syllabus
School of Echoes | 06/2017

Gentrification is Displacement and Replacement of the Poor for Profit

Syllabus by School of Echoes

This syllabus starts from the assumption that housing is a human right, that every person has the right to a safe and affordable place to live. Housing is much more than shelter: it is our connection to our communities, even our sense of self. This syllabus draws together a host of readings that explore the profound contradictions between the economic use of housing—for profit and speculation—and this social use.

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Anti-Gentrification Syllabus
School of Echoes | 06/2017

Gentrification is displacement and replacement of the poor for profit.

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Harry Dodge
Art in America | 01/2017

The android, who seems to be self-aware, explains the problem of “perverse instantiation”: artificial intelligence getting too eager about the ends and therefore too brutal with the means. AI, he tells us, may not recognize the danger in making us happy by linking our brains to a more manageable system, like a vat that would administer a kind of drug, allowing us to play a “minute-long bliss loop” until we’re dead.

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Art Los Angeles Reader: Acid Interiors
Issue 3 | 01/2017

From my editor's letter: Some of us woke up on November 9th wondering if it was the real world we had woken up in. Some of us woke up on November 9th more sure that the programs our world runs on (capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy) were working just as they had been designed. The artists, writers, and thinkers collected in this issue were animated by the theme of “acid interiors”—how spaces live, how they change us, what they say about our lives.

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Let's Take A Very Fucking Poetry Lesson: Art's Crush on Poetry
X-tra Arts Quarterly | 12/2016

On a scale of worthy to worthless, poetry stands at either pole; which is to say, poetry might demonstrate the way value is a circular concept. On the one hand, poetry is writing’s highest achievement, language exercised for its own sake, the literary corollary to Art with a capital “A.” On the other, poetry is an unpaid embarrassment, without purpose or social power. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that sublimated discussions of poetry occur when the relationship between visual art and value is at stake.

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Fifty-five Propositions for an Artwork that Has Failed in Advance of Its Ever Beginning
An Invitation of Sorts | 04/2016

So I ask you, do you think it would be a half-way decent, CV-worthy artwork to activate and then use my ex-boyfriend’s new Bank of America credit card, which just was mailed to my house by mistake?

I risk the assessment of “merely feminist,” but what woman doesn’t come to expect little more than a literal read.

I risk the assessment of “trigger warning,” but one has to leave the house.

What if I recorded the telephone call I made to activate the card, and I gave this recording to you, knowing full well you could turn around and use this recording against me.

(What if you understood that I’m protesting the status of writing as a poor medium for furnishing evidence.)

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Towards a Theory of the Dick Pic
Rhizome | 02/2016

Commissioned by Rhizome, this aesthetic inquiry into the dick pic has been translated into Spanish, German, and Estonian.

At this very moment, countless dicks compete for your attention. Some archived and waiting to be accessed through the same internet search tools you use to find new restaurants, some directed at you personally through the same applications through which you tell your family you are doing just fine. Surely, in your 5-block radius, someone is in the process of organizing his, her, or their junk for a photo, and someone has, to their disdain or delight, on a phone or computer that looks remarkably like yours, just laid their eyes on one.

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A Real Deal: LAPD at the Pasadena Armory
Art in America | 01/2016

How do you write a history of a neighborhood that has to fight to be considered a neighborhood? How do you reflect community bonds often broken by dislocation? Police often refer to Skid Row residents as “transients,” though some have lived there for over a decade. To read a timeline about the history of Skid Row installed at the front of the exhibition space, you had to find a path around a shopping cart—a gesture that mimicked how the demands of the present quite literally get in the way of understanding the past.

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Art Los Angeles Reader: Nowhere
Issue 2 | 01/2016

From my editor's letter: “LA is like nowhere,” the greasy, maudlin hero of Gregg Araki’s 1997 Nowhere rasps in the film’s opening line. Nowhere’s campy death-by-aliens, raucous kink, and wry malaise might support the character’s sentiment (his name is Dark), but its locations and totalizing chic might prove the opposite: sunny Los Angles is like nowhere, that is, like nowhere else.

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Let’s Take a Very Fucking Poetry Lesson: Art’s Crush on Poetry
X-Tra Contemporary Art Quarterly | 06/2015

Like most exoticism, art’s crush on poetry is founded on a fascination, not with an escape from but rather a return to the real.

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Pierre Huyghe
Contemporary Art Review LA | 03/2015

Human isn’t. Human, I mean. Famously, Pierre Huyghe’s Human is an Ibizan hound with a fuchsia front leg. At Huyghe’s autarchic LACMA retrospective, a fact sheet assured me that the dog was the proper weight (the breed is thin) and had proper breaks (from playing himself).

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The McDonalds on Sunset & Fountain | 02/2015
In the Studio: Stanya Kahn
Art in America | 01/2015

ROSENTHAL: I think of Beckett’s “I can’t go on, I’ll go on” as a good description of what your characters are up to. This cast of the unruly sick, just going on.

KAHN: The “unruly sick”—that’s really at the core of everything I’ve made. I think you have to be a little unruly in order to puncture what could become stasis or apathy or chronic indecision in this world, where it’s not easy to locate where we have agency. And I think that performers are sick and unruly.

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THS IS THE ENDD: performance
The New Musuem | 01/2015

This Is The ENDD is a lecture performance and a treatment for an ad campaign for the Electronic Nicotine Delivery Device, aka, the e-cigarette. This Is The ENDD offers a speculative marketing strategy: rather than the male phallus which traditional cigarettes promise, e-cigs will grant us access to technology’s cock.

Commissioned by Rhizome and performed at The New Museum.

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Alex Chaves
Art in America | 01/2015

Chaves revamps not just the anachronistic medium of oil but also melodrama, with its high-wire excesses of subversion and escapism. At stake is the pathos of interiors, both lonely and suffocating, the sublimation of feelings within things, and the drive that makes a Disneyland of every crotch.

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Asher Hartman
Art in America | 01/2015

The play’s first line is, “I’m sorry.” And perhaps Hartman should be, depositing the dead skin of revolutionary rhetoric onto another corpse—the theater—peppering good lines with terrible French accents, and smearing the rage of abolitionism into contemporary creative-class disaffection. And perhaps I should be, too, because je l’adore.

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