Local chapters all across the country held presentations commemorating Friedrich Engels and the 200th anniversary of his birth (Nov. 28, 1820), one of the founders of the working-class ideology of Marxism. Activists and tenants discussed his contributions to the housing struggle, specifically reviewing his pamphlet “The Housing Question.”
Although published 149 years ago, his critique of ruling-class ideas in the housing struggle, how housing is but one of many struggles that the people face under capitalism and on the need of uniting all who can be united in the housing movement are as timely as ever as they were back in 1872.
This past week Austin, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and San Marcos all held presentations, inviting community members, some of which the chapters have been organizing in local struggles. In Austin, people gathered, reflecting on current struggles against Presidium, the Ultimate Drive-In and the general threat of displacement of poor and working-class tenants in East Austin. In Los Angeles, the chapter gathered at MacArthur Park right up the street from the Sinclair LA apartments where tenants are organizing against evictions and back rent debt. In Pittsburgh, people from across the city gathered in Wilkinsburg, sharing drinks and snacks as they discussed how to unite and fight to defend popular and working-class neighborhoods. In San Marcos, although it was a small crowd partly due to a recent eviction scare that week, facilitators, members and an audience member were able to share their thoughts and develop a sharper analysis on the housing struggle to better organize more people and fight more effectively against evictions.
Overall, chapters and community members took away a lot from the presentations in analyzing the housing question and sharing insight on how to fight alongside the people and the working class to change society and housing as a commodity, which is bought and sold (and rented), and turn it into common property. This is one of the long-term objectives of UNDM. Housing is a people’s right and should not be used for private profiteering!