The 2020 election cycle has finally come to an end, most notably ending in the upset win of Joe Biden over incumbent President Donald Trump. While many were quick to celebrate Biden’s win as a victory for the people, within days of his win being decided, the Biden administration has already proven whose interest it holds at heart. This begins with the announcement of a transition team that consists of over 40 lobbyists and industry executives — making it one of the most corporate transition teams we have ever seen. However, this is not unique to the pending Biden administration, but is a standard practice for presidents and politicians to compose their advisory team of lobbyists and corporate representatives.This is a blatant demonstration of who the president and all politicians serve — the ruling class.
Even the more progressive candidates and ballot measures that did pass will not truly change the housing situation in our country for the better, for the people. They will make false promises and push programs that seem promising in words, but will never serve us in practice. That is why it is on us to organize and fight, to defend our homes, our neighborhoods, and the people’s culture from the developers, the politicians, and the cops that carry out their plans for displacement, which is most clearly manifested in evictions. The need for tenants and activists to consistently call out and resist these efforts at destroying our neighborhoods is seen clearly in the ballot measures in Austin, Texas and California.
Prop A in Austin, (also known as Project Connect) shows how the ruling class tries to trick us with “progressive” sounding legislation, at the expense of the working class. The plan aims to make major changes to the transportation infrastructure in Austin. Pushed by the Austin Transportation Partnership, Prop A calls for the construction of a new railway system, and expanding the range of the bus routes. Even though accessible transportation is valued and useful for the working class, the construction of these new railways will displace working class communities directly, and then price out the rest of the communites that remain. The City has promoted the plan with progressive sounding rhetoric, framing it as more efficient and clean transportation for all, even though it will bring further displacement and gentrification to the working class of Austin.This is not the first instance of a “progressive” displacement project in Austin, and it definitely won’t be the last. These greedy developers, no matter how they phrase their words, do not have our backs. It’s up to us to rely on each other, and point out ruling class aggression!
In California, even the feeble renter protections offered by Proposition 21 failed. Prop 21 would have allowed local governments to pass rent control only on housing over 15 years old but it wouldn’t have applied to landlords who own two or less properties. The proposition not only was weak to begin with because landlords could still raise rent up to 15 percent over three years in addition to whatever increase they can get away with legally. While interest groups and individuals fight for rent control, the vast majority of working-class tenants already can’t pay rent! That’s why we can’t and shouldn’t pay rent without work, and if we cannot go back to work, then we deserve wages in order to survive in this system. Prop 21 is just a veiled attack on the militant housing struggle because if passed it would’ve caused many groups, especially politicians and nonprofits, to pacify the struggle.
This election has demonstrated yet again that the ballot box cannot be a substitute for the force of a united people that comes from organizing our neighborhoods. No election will defend our homes – it is up to us to organize and fight! Only through united neighborhoods and organizations, will we have the strength, creativity, and strategy to resist and reverse the onslaught of eviction, displacement, and gentrification.
Organizing to resist evictions – refusing to pay and fighting to stay – is how we combat displacement on the ground and defend our hoods. If we draw out our neighbors and the broader community in our cities to resist evictions through organized Anti-Eviction Squads, we stay in our homes, under the current economic crisis and after.
The United Neighborhood Defense Movement (UNDM) calls on its supporters to organize their neighbors against evictions now and in preparation for the onslaught of evictions after the CDC Moratorium expires on January 1st, and to partake in the January 1st Day of Action against evictions.
Join the Anti-Eviction Squads!
Join the UNDM Day of Action on January 1st!