Why is there a Wealth Difference?
Why is Ypsi poor while Ann Arbor is rich? Why can you only afford to get a job in Ann Arbor but not live there? Why do you have to spend so much time in traffic to work countless hours a day for little pay? This is because of gentrification—rich people moving into and taking over poor neighborhoods and displacing the residents through rent hikes. It’s no coincidence that Ann Arbor has all the money while Ypsi is drained—in fact, Ypsi is broke because Ann Arbor is rich! As the rich kids move in with their coffee shops and cupcake stores, rent in the area increases, and you have to pay the consequences. Gentrification is modern-day settler-colonialism: white people and their corporations move in, take the land of poor Black and Latinx people, and make money on the backs of the oppressed. Gentrification means you have to go work for rich white kids in their city and go back to your apartments under the constant threat of eviction due to rising rent prices. Gentrification is a disease, and unless the disease is wiped out, it will wipe us out.
Where Does Gentrification Come From?
Gentrification is caused by the capitalist profit-drive. Since rent is relatively cheaper in impoverished areas, businesses move there in order to make the highest amount of profit. Real estate companies also have a lot to gain from buying out the places where poor people live and selling them for higher prices. This shit has become so ingrained in our culture they even make TV shows about it and glorify it! If only they would show the other side—the evictions, losing jobs, being forced away from family and friends. But of course not—the ruling parasites will never show the suffering they’ve caused us.
But why are these places poor to begin with? Racism, colonialism, and imperialism—in a word, because of the capitalist drive for profit and the resulting exploitation of the masses. There’s a reason why Black and Brown people in amerikkka have a high rate of poverty. Their homes are taken from them at gunpoint and they’re forced into ghettos and slums. When they fight back, they’re thrown into jail for not complying with the terms of their oppression. And after all of this, pigs and politicians will say that we chose to be poor!
What about imperialism, how does that relate to gentrification? When businesses are large enough, they shut down their factories here and ship them overseas for the cheaper labor of Black and Brown workers in the Global South. So, when factories are moved overseas, people here in the cities become unemployed and fall into poverty. We get things like the Rust Belt, where the entire landscape of places like Detroit are filled with abandoned factories and, as a result, broken homes. This is the stem of our social problems.
How Do We Stop Gentrification?
For every social disease, there is a social cure. If gentrification is caused by capitalism, then capitalism must be crushed and replaced with a new system that serves the people. Of course, we can’t overthrow capitalism overnight: to fight gentrification, we must first see it as it is—we must see it as the natural product of capitalism, and we must connect up our struggles together—we must see that the exploitation by our slumlords is not very different from the exploitation by our employers or the oppression by the pigs. We must see capitalism as the disease it is, and we must recognize the parasites that cause it. When we realize this, we will also realize our own place in society as the oppressed class.
But more importantly, by seeing our place in society, we will realize that we are the ones who keep society running; the slumlords, employers, and pigs rely on the workers for their living, but the workers don’t need those parasites for shit! By understanding this, we understand that we are the makers of history, and as the makers of history, we are the ones who can change history—we are the ones who can wage revolution and end our exploitation. These struggles have already been taken up across the nation in places like Boyle Heights in LA and Austin, Texas. Through revolution we can smash racism, colonialism, and imperialism. We can destroy capitalism—the underlying cause of our misery—and replace it with a system that is run by the people and that serves the people. From the ashes of capitalism we can establish socialism!
Where Do We Come In?
Our organization—the Revolutionary Youth Alliance—is a mass organization based in Ann Arbor and Ypsi. Our goal is to work alongside the workers in the struggles they’re facing to help them resolve their problems. What kind of problems can we work with? Almost anything—whether it be your employer, your landlord, pigs, abusers, etc., our goal is to serve the people and help them in their day-to-day struggles. We adopt your problems as our own, and we do whatever is in our power—and whatever you’re down with—to resolve the problems. Why do we do this? Because we also realize the dangers of capitalism—frankly, if the system doesn’t change soon, none of us really have a future given the rate of global wars, environmental destruction, and climate change. We realize that the workers are the one who must change the system, and so that’s who we center in our actions. We by no means place ourselves above the workers or assume that we know more—quite the opposite, we are often ignorant while the workers are knowledgeable!
Just to be clear, we are not activists and we do not associate ourselves with the student/activist culture on campus that reeks of the predatory behavior reproduced through capitalism. We don’t organize to put shit on our resumes—frankly, what we’re down to do wouldn’t help us get a job anyway. When we say we want to serve the people we mean it, and if you think we aren’t, we want to hear your criticisms of us so we can improve.
Email us at email@example.com or message us on Facebook @revyoutha2ypsi to give us criticisms or let us know of any problems you’re having & we’ll do our best to resolve our problems.
“The people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history”