On Friday, June 28th, the most reactionary and right wing Supreme Court in modern history rolled back civil rights protections for hundreds of thousands of unhoused people nationwide by overturning a key decision in Grants Pass v. Johnson. This ruling, supported and celebrated by London Breed and every other single major candidate running for the San Francisco mayorship, empowers cities to criminalize sleeping in public — whether or not appropriate accommodations are available.

A city-sanctioned war against unhoused San Franciscans is nothing new, but this ruling greenlights an escalation in cruelty. In the court’s decision, Justice Neal Gorsuch referenced an amicus brief, written by San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu and backed by London Breed, no less than 8 times. When asked about post-Grants Pass sweeps targeting encampments, London Breed has publicly refused to rule out arrests as an official ‘solution’ to our City’s housing unaffordability crisis. DSA SF rejects this wholeheartedly. 

London Breed, as well as the broader coalition of “moderates,” represent a failure of leadership. Our City’s politicians have rallied around the notion that “compassion is killing people.” Yet, they have grossly mismanaged solutions and ignored the long term work needed to create systemic fixes for our linked crises of housing, homelessness, and public health.1 Including, but not at all limited to, Breed’s refusal to release the money from Prop I meant for public social housing. 

Research and anecdotal evidence alike confirm that sweeps literally kill people.2 In supporting the Grants Pass decision, our City’s leadership demonstrates their allegiance to protecting the needs of capital and the private real estate market at the expense of human lives. DSA SF rejects, in totality, the criminalization and ongoing dehumanization of poor, disabled, and working class people who have been forced into homelessness by the capitalist economic system. 

As Socialists, we assert that everyone has a right to live in our city, not just the wealthy and their acolytes. Breed and Co. want to ignore the path to real change: practical solutions that will get our people off the street and into the care and adequate housing they need to thrive. Violent crackdowns only worsen the crisis, and empower our government to ignore the root causes of poverty, as well as hide their own complicity. 

A better world, and a better San Francisco, are possible. We must continue to fight for safe and accessible housing for all working class, poor, and disabled people. DSA SF calls on all San Franciscans to defend and to practice solidarity with our neighbors who have been forced into homelessness by our rotten economic system.

  1.  Ronen, Hillary. “Grandstanding Politician Fuels Drug Overdose Crisis”. (August 7th, 2023). Press Release.
  2. Barocas, Nall, and Axelrath. “Population-Level Health Effects of Involuntary Displacement of People Experiencing Unsheltered Homelessness Who Inject Drugs in US Cities” (April 23rd, 2023). JAMA.