This weekend, the Right to the City (http://www.righttothecity.org/) is having their annual conference in Boston, being hosted by MassUniting (http://massuniting.org/) and City Life/Vida Urbana (http://clvu.org/). You can read about it at http://thephoenix.com/boston/news/127535-bostons-housing-crisis-spawns-a-grassroots-revolu/
Right to the City (RTTC) emerged in 2007 as a unified response to gentrification and a call to halt the displacement of low-income people, LGBTQ, and youths of color from their historic urban neighborhoods. We are a national alliance of racial, economic and environmental justice organizations.
The Boston area seems to be one of the few in the country where homeowners have been (somewhat) successfully fighting back against the banks’ foreclosures and evictions. They have been successful because they have organized and stood up for their rights together.
My visits to the Occupy Boston site have confirmed that connections have been made between Right to the City, MassUniting, and City Life/Vida Urbana. I expect some of the occupiers downtown will be participating in eviction blockades out in the neighborhoods. I also expect that organizers from across the country will be taking back effective tactics and strategies to save peoples’ homes from the chicanery of such banks as Bank of America.
We need more organized solidarity like this to expand the effects of each of our separate groups.
Why are Massachusetts’ working families still losing out in this economy? We bailed out the big banks and corporations when they were struggling. But now corporate CEOs are making out with multimillion-dollar profits and paying low taxes, if any at all.
It’s time for corporate CEOs and the rich to give back to the rest of us.
There’s more than enough money in Massachusetts for everyone to have a good job, decent wages and the public services they need—as long as corporate CEOs and the rich do their part.
Big businesses and the rich need to pay their fair share of taxes, so we can maintain our health care, education, and other vital services and guarantee our children a better future.
MASSUNITING is a coalition of neighbors, community groups, faith organizations and labor united in the fight for good jobs, corporate accountability, and stronger communities.
City Life/Vida Urbana is a 38-year-old bilingual, community organization whose mission is to fight for racial, social and economic justice and gender equality by building working class power through direct action, coalition building, education and advocacy. In organizing poor and working class people of diverse race and nationalities, we promote individual empowerment, develop community leaders, and are building a movement to effect systemic change and transform society. Our roots are in promoting tenant rights and preventing housing displacement. In response to the devastating impact of the foreclosure crisis on communities in Boston, we launched a major campaign in 2007, the Post-Foreclosure Eviction Defense campaign to help keep people facing foreclosure in their homes. Victories won by hundreds of organized families have created public and political pressure which is driving legislative reform and has inspired the emergence of similar campaigns across the region.
Since January of 2011, people in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Libya have gone to the streets to overthrow dictatorial governments. In Spain, they went to the street because their parliamentary democracy has broken down. In Macedonia and Brazil, they went to the streets to protest police brutality and injustice. In Mexico, they went to the streets to protest drug violence and gangs.
This is a world-wide movement and very few commentators have recognized the depth and extent of this movement yet.
Now the Spanish demonstrators are marching across Europe on three different routes to take their grievances and lessons to Brussels and the EU. One group passed through Paris this week for a march with police violence and arrests (http://globalvoicesonline.org/2011/09/27/spain-police-welcomes-15m-protesters-in-paris/).
This is not going to stop and we should realize that the whole world doesn’t have to watch. If we want real change, we must make it ourselves and start marching and talking and demonstrating and building the reality we want.
I would also like the encampments become demonstration models of a new economy, a green economy, as well. Imagine that the occupiers generated their own energy and recycled their own wastes. Imagine combining the Solar Decathlon’s demonstration houses with the #occupy tent cities. I’ve suggested this before to other occupiers (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/11/10/802786/-Climate-Encampment-on-the-Boston-Common) in other circumstances. Would be good to see it happen now.