NY Gentrification Watch
So, for the past few months now, I’ve been struggling to figure out how to broach the subject of how anti-landlord populism is actually just another cynical psychological warfare tactic being exploited by Big Development. It was in anticipation of talking about this topic that prompted me to write Gentrification & Psychological Warfare: The Culture War.
In spite of having written what I thought was a fairly decent write up about how culture wars are often exploited by Big Development, I still struggled to complete an entry on how it was now using the one between landlords and tenants for its own gain. The reason why I had such a hard time is that so-called “tenant advocacy” groups have been doing such a bang up job hijacking and destroying any nuanced discussion about rising rents and gentrification that it’s practically impossible to try to explain the situation from the landlord’s perspective without being immediately seen as The Enemy.
But then again, that’s how a culture war works. You make it so that a very complex issue is boiled down to either/or, black or white. There are no shades of grey, no balance. In the case of gentrification, everyone must completely demonize and scapegoat all landlords for rising rents and displacement; if you color just a hair outside the “all landlords are the devil” line, you’re an evil supporter of gentrification.
Because the culture war between landlords and tenants has been so successfully hijacked by fringe tenants rights groups–I struggled to figure out how to write about this topic without stepping on everyone’s toes. I was worried of what people would think, afraid that they might think I had gone turncoat or have been insincere this entire time about my fight against gentrification. But then came the #cancelrent movement, a completely ridiculous, counter-productive slacktivist campaign that seemed to come out of nowhere and has all the earmarks of a carefully coordinated troll farm campaign by fringe elements on the internet.