Saturday, November 21, 2015

Once in a lifetime opportunity - STEAL from New Orleans Airbnb's!

On Thursday, November 19, a posting on New Orleans Craigslist quickly went viral and just as quickly was deleted. As a service to the public, we are re-printing it here. We do not know who the writer is, and we claim no ownership of its contents or views.

Are you tired of Airbnb rental prices driving up rent in your neighborhood? Is the lip service your city pays to reigning in short-term rentals leaving a bad taste in your mouth (or on your lips)? If so, become part of the NEW OFFENSIVE and pledge to STEAL INDISCRIMINATELY from New Orleans Airbnbs. 

Look at this graphic posted by 200 Airbnb listings in the Bywater/Marigny. There are barely 200 residential housing units in the Bywater/Marigny. There are barely 3 people I personally like living in the Bywater/Marigny. Maybe we should just burn the Bywater/Marigny. Let's save that for another post! No fire yet! Just theft. 

We cannot afford to wait for the city of New Orleans to fix this. THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS DOES NOT WANT TO FIX THIS. ALL THEY WANT IS A CUT OF THE MONEY. MEANWHILE THEY WANT TO CALL MEETINGS AND MAKE PIE CHARTS AND RECEIVE CREDIT FOR TRYING. We must steal whatever is not nailed down from New Orleans short-term rental units NOW. 

"WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO MONETIZE MY LIVING ROOM," said no one, ever. The only way to beat back the incessant privatization of everything is to make it unprofitable. The only way to make Airbnb unprofitable is to remove as much value from the rental property as you can until individual mini-landlords can no longer assume the risk of accepting a stranger into their home. The easiest way to remove value from Airbnb is to steal things. 

"BUT RENTAL PROPERTY TECHNOLOGY IS THE TECHNOLOGY OF THE FUTURE," you reply. What about your "progressive" friends who are currently glad-handing each other for "disrupting" mega-hotel chains like Hilton and Motel 6! Their hands are cold and clammy, because they are dead inside, specifically in the brain area. 

Hilton can take the hit. Motel 6 pisses away perfectly good electricity leaving the light on for you every night. Know who can't take the hit? The service industry people who will see their hours cut when hotel business across the board is affected. Does your Airbnb-fiefdom offer health insurance? Of course not. It buys you a vacation. When your business model is based on labor precarity there is no room for humanity. Next time you head to P-Cola to chill out and get some culture while someone pays you for the privilege of ignoring your neighbors, think about your blistering Facebook post about health insurance a few years back. I remember how adamant you were that people make individual sacrifices for the greater good. Now that you have the opportunity to actually affect people's livelihoods with your economic decisions, what will you actually do? 

"WELL IF U WANT TO MAKE A OMELETTE THEN U GOTTA BREAK EGGS," is a garbage metaphor. Let's pretend for a sentence or two that it's not sick and cynical to compare the human effects of housing privatization to the loss of one unit of the productive output of millions of enslaved birds who never see the sun and poop on each other as a matter of course because we decided that even when chickens poop on each other the eggs come out just fine (the eggshell protects the egg from the poop!). Good fucking morning, how about YOU be the egg today? 

Let's not dance around the topic of which eggs are being broken here, either (hint: it's the brown eggs). I would bet dollars to donuts (which contain egg!) that an overwhelming majority of Airbnb landlords renting one of the 50-99 rental units in "Historic Treme" are white-operated. I wish someone would take me up on that bet. They'd have to burn down the donut factories for insurance money to pay me out, like so many Hubig's Pies buildings. Donuts for everyone! Or, donuts for no one, because we just burnt down all the factories. Burnt donuts. 

"BUT ALL EGGS ARE THE SAME ON THE INSIDE," you say. Yes, #alleggsmatter. But we're done with the egg metaphor. We're on donuts now. Airbnb proponents are like the fake scrambled eggs that come from a carton. And the hole in the donut is where their empathy used to be. 

"BUT IM AN ARTIST AND THIS IS HOW I GET THE SPACE I NEED TO DO MY CREATIVE" is another thing some dull person is probably saying right now, whilst painting a jazz guy with wavy music-lines coming out of his music-horn (the wavy lines mean it's jazz!). Do you know who used to live in the side of the half-shotgun that you live in (you rented out the other side)? THREE ARTISTS. And their art was just fine. The extra space has not made your art better. New Orleans art has not improved since the imposition of Airbnb. Your art compares unfavorably to George W. Bush's paintings of his dogs. 

"BUT ITS RAISING PROPERTY VALUES DURRRRRRRR." Once upon a time a house was something you made into a home. Just so you know. The idea of your house as a money-generator is relatively new, and only exists because we're running out of things to monetize. 
(Also, if you are not aware that property values have long been manipulated as a means to wrest property from "undesirables" during gentrification, beautification, re-settlement, or whatever you want to call it, you are either stupid or willfully ignorant. And if you ARE aware of this but choose to cast your lot with Airbnb, you are the worst kind of cynic.)

"IT'S A QUALITY OF LIFE THING, I LIKE MY SPACE" is another grammatically questionable thing that is probably coming out of a mouth right now, which is stressing out the owner of the mouth because he/she prefers to breathe through it. It should be noted that it's also a "quality of life issue" for the people who have been forced out of their homes and neighborhoods due to rising rents (which - shut up for a second - are ABSOLUTELY affected by the short-term rental market). You just don't see them anymore because they live somewhere else and can't afford your rental unit. 

AIRBNB "ENTREPRENEURS" ARE NOTHING MORE THAN ASPIRING LANDLORDS. Once people get a taste of making money for doing nothing, it's hard to get them back to work. However, if you can't make rent, you'll be sure to hear from them about your "work ethic." Landlords are sick fucks. Donald Trump made most of his money as a landlord. The fact that some landlords are planning on voting for Bernie Sanders doesn't make them better people; rather, it makes Bernie's campaign less trustworthy by several orders of magnitude, because if you want to see a socialist in office, you should at the very least be willing to attempt solidarity with your neighbors. 

Some of us choose to live within our means and establish human relationships with the other humans who have chosen to live out their lives in proximity. Others choose to annex more property than they need so they can parcel it out to vacation-bros from Ohio State who attack people on Gay Bourbon because they wandered there by mistake and got a boner. Choose your path.


Again, the only way to get rid of Airbnb is to make it unprofitable. Because Airbnb is an invisible middleman, we have no choice but to attack its physical expression within our city. A diffuse and decentralized campaign of petty theft is the best course of action. The recommendations below are to be understood as recommendations only; each participant in this action of economic warfare will exercise his or her creativity differently. 

CULTIVATE YOUR PROFILE. Don't start stealing right away. Build a trustworthy Airbnb profile. Enjoy yourself! Comment on the quirky art on the walls, and be sure to heed your landlord's recommendation re: the best brunch spots! Airbnb is truly a revolution in travel. 

STEAL EXPENSIVE THINGS AND THROW THEM IN THE RIVER. Most Airbnb furniture items make great habitat for endemic species. Make sure to check with the manufacturers of your stolen items before throwing them in the river; some items, like flat-screen Tvs, may need to be stripped of certain metals before they are placed in the Mississippi.

STEAL IRONIC THINGS. Who steals only the cables and wires from a home entertainment system? Who steals the rings that hold the curtains up and replaces them with zipties? You do. 

STEAL PERSONAL ITEMS. As it stands, when a landlord reports theft or damage to their Airbnb "property," Airbnb pays out generously. It's just good PR. That's why you will steal things that elude value: bronzed baby shoes, those prayer cards they make for funerals, wedding photos, etc. 

STEAL FROM ADJACENT PROPERTIES. Nothing like a little peer pressure from the neighbors, who never signed up to live next to your stupid faux-tel. 


MAIL STOLEN ITEMS TO AIRBNB. The address is 888 Brannan Street, Floor 4, San Francisco CA 94117. Have you been to San Francisco lately? It's godawful. It's as if Skynet got bored with world domination and got an online design degree instead. No appraisal of Airbnb's value is complete until it takes into account that they chose to locate themselves here. New Orleans is great! San Francisco should slide into the ocean. 


We speak our future into reality. If we refuse to speak, we tacitly support the dominant vision. I am but one voice. I am but one pair of untrustworthy hands. Only a multiplicity of voices and stealing-hands will rid our fair city of the scourge of garbage people who seek to monetize your every interaction. Only by depriving Airbnb of "value" can we recapture what we actually value: our homes, our neighborhoods, and our city. 

In conclusion, fuck Airbnb.