(Reposted)US, pamphlet from Buffalo Class Action anarchists - Tenants' Union: Fight your landlord (1 Viewer)


Jun 11, 2009
From Portland, OR to Plymouth, MA
(Reposted from another info site.)
Decent housing should be an absolute right for all people. But, we continue to live in a
world that homelessness, evictions of the poor, and degrading housing conditions are all
too common. At the same time, we see abandoned housing left to rot. This should convince
us that our housing problems come not from a lack of resources, but from a poor
distribution of those resources. As is the problem with so many facets of our lives,
housing is organized for private profit and not for people’s common needs. The only way
for us to change these problems is to organize together and demand it. But, who do we
organize and how? And, who is the enemy? ---- Who is the landlord? ---- For most working
class people, owning our home isn’t a possibility and we’re often forced into a housing
market with large landlords.

Just as often, the tenants and the landlords have conflicting sets of interests. While
we’re simply trying to hold onto a basic necessity of life, landlords hope to gain a
profit from us. Sadly, the interests of the landlords are usually dominant, thanks to a
system of legal and government support rarely enjoyed by tenants.

Supposedly, we have a choice. We can live wherever we’d like – if we can afford it. So the
“choice” offered to those of us that live in or near poverty is between a variety of bad
housing situations and homelessness. This is obviously not a choice, but a threat. Where
can you go to leave an unfair housing market? Our life experiences repeatedly tell us:
“You will take whatever horrible standards your income can afford, or you will have nothing.”

Not all working class people are renters and many in poor cities, have managed to buy
their own home. While at times, we may rent out a room or floor of our house, we generally
have more in common with tenants than the large landlords. Homeowners are very often
tenants themselves of the largest of landlords – the banks. Even if the mortgage has been
paid, working class homeowners occupy a very small and isolated part of the housing
market, where much larger landlords have real control. These homeowners may be in a more
comfortable immediate position. But, they’re also in a very precarious situation and could
easily lose their home in any number of ways.

On the other hand large landlords own apartment buildings or dozens of houses throughout
the city. They use our basic need for housing as a tool to create profits, often massive,
for themselves. Their interest is to make the greatest possible profit for themselves.
That means keeping repairs to a minimum and charging as much rent as they believe they can.

Having little power individually, renters are often on the losing end of this conflict.
Homelessness, evictions, and poor living standards are clear signs of our current weak

Tenant Power

The beauty of our situation, is that collectively we have far greater power than our
landlords. Our rent is the source of their wealth. For them to continue their life of
luxury without work they need us to continue living in their apartments, continue paying
their rent, and keep accepting the living conditions that they choose for us. Our
landlords are absolutely reliant upon us. They rely on the hope that we will never
understand our true strength.

The power of the working class has the same limits in the struggle for decent and
affordable housing as it does in the workplace – it’s collective. When we struggle alone
in isolation the landlord has nearly absolute power. Our power is only real power when we
get together with others in similar situations and organize for justice.

Tenants Union

Just as we would organize in our workplace against exploitative bosses, we propose the
organization of a Citywide Tenants’ Union to organize our power to assert that decent,
affordable housing is a right for all people. A City Wide Tenants’ Union should commit
itself to organize all tenants of the large landlords in our city to aggressively demand
our necessary rights to good quality housing. The tools of a serious Tenants’ Union are
incredibly powerful:

Public Pressure: Through rallies, media events, and public meetings we can hurt the image
of our landlords. A bad public image can hurt their ability to find new renters and force
public demand for investigations of the conditions in their properties.
Eviction Blockades: In the case that any of the members of the tenants’ union are being
unjustly evicted or evicted in retaliation for their organizing efforts, other members of
the union should organize a blockade of that member’s house or apartment. With the
tenants’ union, the normally disempowering experience of being evicted becomes a show of
the power of solidarity. The act that we usually suffer in isolation becomes a moment of
true community as serious attention is brought to the eviction.
Direct Action: In the case that our organized public pressure doesn’t solve the problems
that we are having with our landlords, we could target them more aggressively by actively
disrupting their ability to continue business. Occupation of company offices and
disrupting the visits of new tenants are a couple of possibilities that may force our
landlords to listen our demands.
Rent Strike: The greatest source of our power with landlords is actually one of the
easiest for us to use. A collective refusal to pay rent until demands are met should bring
even the most abusive landlords to the table. If an individual were to refuse to pay rent,
the landlord would have an easy time fighting back. But when all of their tenants refuse
to pay rent, they quickly find themselves outmatched.
Solidarity: An injury to one is an injury to all. When we begin to fight our landlords, we
have to know that we aren’t doing so alone, and this is the purpose of our union. Having a
Tenant Union would mean that none of us struggle in isolation. Just because one group of
tenants has won a fight against their landlord doesn’t mean that they are no longer part
of the struggle. They will provide resources, experience, and volunteers to the effort of
organizing other renters throughout the city.

Landlords Need Us, We Don’t Need Them

In the struggle against our landlords, there is one important realization. Our landlords
don’t do anything for us that we aren’t capable of doing for ourselves. We are more than
capable of organizing ourselves to make repairs and maintain the buildings where we live.
There are cooperative housing associations throughout the world that show us proof of our
ability to live without landlords. So, if we can organize ourselves to maintain our
housing needs, what do landlords do? That is exactly the point. Landlords exist purely to
take rent from us.

As we develop true power as renters, we will realize that the real battle is for a system
of housing that recognizes our right to decent, affordable place to live no matter what.
This means getting rid of a world of for-profit housing. No one should exploit a system of
vulgar inequality to create massive profits from our need to survive. We know that these
inequalities will only exist as long as we permit them. So let’s begin the struggle for
just housing today!
We sell all kinds of other stuff in our Etsy store!


Wandering But Not Lost Yet
May 25, 2008
(Reposted)US, pamphlet from Buffalo Class Action anarchists - Tenants' Union: Fight your landlor

The phrase "preaching to the choir" seems to apply here.


Jun 11, 2009
From Portland, OR to Plymouth, MA
(Reposted)US, pamphlet from Buffalo Class Action anarchists - Tenants' Union: Fight your landlor

The forum heading being "news" is exactly what I posted, NEWS... But you know maybe a good voice within the choir will help others (without preaching). Showing some sort of solidarity and compassion to others may and can go a long way. PS Its a repost.:cheers:
Always in your struggles

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