A Bad Day for Property

Movies, markets and moguls go bust, to the sound of shattering plate glass

A Bad Day for Property

Yesterday, Tuesday the 26th of September, was a massive day for stories I like to write about, and so I wanted to do a quick news roundup like the kind of hack I imagine it pays really well to be.

The two you've almost certainly heard about, the victory of the WGA and the pre-trial defeat of Trump in the NY AG’s fraud lawsuit, have a sort of delicious cosmic justice to their concurrence.

If you aren't aware, reality TV is a scab genre, pointed explicitly at union writers. Reality TV came to the prominent attention of TV execs during the 1988 WGA strike, during which all production ceased…except for the show Cops. You can't make this shit up: Because Cops did not employ guild writers, it was immune to the strike. The show Cops taught the industry how to union bust. Cops.

In the years that followed,  the genre absolutely exploded, as execs figured out they could use its “unscripted” “documentary” nature as a loophole to get around unionized actors, writers, and many other craft workers. It allowed the execs to successfully fend off the more significant demands of the 2008 WGA strike, and drive casualisation and wage contraction across TV.

So it is a beautiful thing to see the man whose whole nightmarish rise to power was built on firing people on a reality TV show (his catchphrase was literally “You're fired”, a scab genre production about a piece of shit boss) lose the entire legal basis of his organization on the same day a bunch of union writers successfully defeated their shitty media mogul bosses.

Meanwhile, after breaking the railroad union and helping negotiate against the teamsters on behalf of UPS, America's most pro labor president hung out on the UAW picket like, talking through a megaphone and receiving incredibly tepid applause. It really really sucks to live through world events that make you think maybe Baudrillard was onto something.

The clock is now ticking on Trump’s self-exile. He has almost certainly already moved whatever cash the Trump Org had left to Moscow, Abu Dhabi or Singapore, and will likely “not be able” to produce the cash. Rich people can always hide funds unless the state is truly motivated, and for them, legal settlements are just suggestions: just look at Alex Jones’ financial scheming to duck his liability to Parkland victims—they are going to have to go to court continuously to try and compel the state to actually take action.

In any case, the judge stripped his operations license and put the Trump Organization into immediate receivership, which could do genuine damage. Though I'm not holding my breath, he could lose his NY golf course and even Trump Tower, which would be funny as shit.

But while everyone looked at one fraudulent clown, the whole circus was having a very bad day. The stock market had its worst single day since the SVB crisis in March, and has wiped out almost all of the gains from its summer rally. If the market really crashes 2023 will be an eerie repeat of 1929, when a brutal but short lived banking crisis in the spring was assumed to be a one-off event, until September.

Here in Philadelphia, a judge dismissed all charges against the police officer who murdered Eddie Irizarry at a traffic stop, killing him while he sat unarmed in his car. After the dismissal an emergency demonstration was called for City Hall, and while that demo dispersed after a few hours, looting broke out on Chestnut St and Aramingo Ave, central business strips that got hit during the George Floyd Rebellion, and news trickled in of liquor stores around the city getting hit.

This is a really important tactical moment, in that people are actively attacking in multiple places at once, applying the lessons of the George Floyd Rebellion but not relying on the cover provided by one massive march, and doing so even when the city is not fully engulfed in movement. Its really important that activists not resort to respectability politics here and dismiss or reject the actions. This is what organized anti-police and anti-property action looks like right now, and the dozen or so who got arrested on Chestnut probably need bail and jail support.

All of which is to say, yesterday was a very bad day for property and its goons. We haven't had a lot of days like that in the last 3 years. Here’s hoping we're in for more very soon.