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San Francisco’s housing crunch is being exacerbated by the allocation of thousands of resident housing units into short-term rental (STR) space for tourists. STRs are defined by law as less than 30-day rentals, ostensibly to distinguish them from long-term residential housing.

Yet, the city found that about 15% of vacant residential units are off the long-term rental market, now being used by Airbnb, a vacation rental listing website valued at $25 billion with 1.5 million national listings and growing. (more…)


Being numerically insignificant, a ruling class can only maintain its dominion if it has the support of a larger group, obtained by combining mercenary and ideological means. This intermediary group transmits orders and supervises their execution, a thankless task that is compensated by above median incomes and the impression of moving up socially. The Middle Class learns to mimic the Upper Class on a modest scale, and dreams of fame and fortune. The Working Class, those who actually do things, is also fed the dream and aspires to a higher social standing. As an alternative to brute force and heredity, a social pyramid tries to be an aspiration. (more…)


In the early 1950s, I published a story by my friend, Miko Almaz. At the time, the new State of Israel was in dire straits, its leaders did not know how to pay for next month’s food.

Someone remembered that in a remote part of Africa there was a small community of Jews, who owned all the diamond mines and were immensely rich. The government chose their most effective money-raiser and sent him there. (more…)

clr james

During the exhilarating and dangerous late 1960s and early 1970s, no world historical figure of older generations had a more militant defense of Black Power than CLR James. But it was always a vision within a context, and after all these years have passed (along with James himself, who died in 1989), the context remains crucial.

He told a British audience in 1970, wondering about Stokely Carmichael, the voice of Black Power, “WHAT HE DO, HE WELL DO!” thus adopting the Caribbean patois. He rarely failed to mention that Stokely had been, in his younger years, also a Trinidadian, and that he remained always a son of the Afro-Caribbean people. (more…)


I was curious about the big show of humanity Donald Trump assembled in the old Dixie stronghold of Mobile, Alabama, supported by nativist Senator Jeff Sessions, so I watched the entire Trump Alabama rally, and some others of his too. Trump was surprisingly entertaining, for the limited range of ideas he possesses, and at this point I find it hard to pull away from any of his antics. (more…)


A political earthquake just hit San Francisco when, amid much controversy, plans for construction of 331 high-end rentals and deluxe condos in the heart of San Francisco’s working-class Mission District collapsed.

Designed for the busy neighborhood transportation hub of 16th and Mission streets, the ten-story housing complex by Maximus Real Estate Partners, would have been the largest ever built in the history of the neighborhood. Yet, it all came down before it ever went up. (more…)


Earlier this year, one article peaked my interest. It was an article by Darnell L. Moore, senior editor of MicNews and co-managing editor of The Feminist Wire, which focused on unarmed black women murdered by police. Moore argued that people might know the names of unarmed black men but not names of black women and made a powerful point: that for years, including during the black freedom movement and Black Lives Matter, “racial justice has often been imagined as liberation specifically for black (heterosexual) men… despite the presence and leadership of many black women in both movements.” (more…)


The egalitarian dream of hairy youths fifty years ago can be blamed on the rainbow colours that had lit up the post-war greyness, on electric guitars and psychedelic drugs, but it was also nourished by the ageless speculation on the virtues of isonomy. Though it may have happened elsewhere, the first occurrence that left any trace was in the Greek Peloponnese when the Dorian invaders discovered the remains of Mycenaean kingdoms with their vast palaces at the heart of the urban architecture. The absolute monarchs and the heroes of Achaean times went to war in chariots and were prone to individual feats and deaths. The Dorian soldiers fought on foot in a phalanx of hoplites armed with long lances. Their efficacy came from training and unity of purpose. The phalanx was the union of free and equal members who practised the martial arts. This originated in the family bonds that tie together clans and tribes in pre-urban societies. The problem was how to maintain their homogeneity in a wealthy metropolis. (more…)


Paragliders are flying over the stunning emerald sea. Summer hordes are descending on the Greek island of Kos from all corners of the increasingly aggressive European Union. On the faces of visitors, there seems to be no regret, no shame, that Europe just raped and humiliated Greece, forcing its government to cancel democracy, instead succumbing to the dictates of the mighty Germany and other dictatorial powers.

Tourists are busy frying themselves, stuffing their stomachs with seafood and boozing it up in countless cafes, bars and restaurants of the old city. Hotels and eateries are packed. It is yet another hot and sunny day. Crisis? What crisis? Yes, it is somewhere… there, maybe in Athens, or maybe just outside the city center. (more…)


(An excerpt follows from the keynote speech at the kickoff rally for Bernie Sanders on July 29 at the Grange in small town Sebastopol, attended by 180 people. Half a dozen other house gatherings occurred elsewhere in Sonoma County, Northern California, with the one in Graton village drawing 55 people. Over 3,000 such gatherings for Bernie happened that night, drawing over 100,000 people.)

In 1961 Republican President and General Dwight D. Eisenhower warned in his historic Farewell Address against the rise of what he described as the “military-industrial complex.” At that time I was a high school student born into the Southern fighting family that gave its name to Ft. Bliss, Texas. I was later commissioned an officer in the U.S. Army. My father was Air Force, my brother Marine, and my sister married Coast Guard. (more…)