Austin organizers from Defend Our Hoodz and Popular Women’s Movement show solidarity with tenants movements in California and Florida.
By Thomas Lambert
On Saturday, revolutionary organizations Popular Women’s Movement – Movimiento Femenino Popular (PWM-MFP) and Defend Our Hoodz (DOH) rallied to raise funds and show support for organized tenants around the country who have recently been evicted by militarized police actions.
In January, Moms 4 Housing in Oakland, California and the Palm Beach County Tenants Union in Florida were evicted from their homes for their tenant organizing. In both cases, the police were exceptionally violent in response to the organized nature of the tenants’ fights. Standing at a busy corner in the East Riverside area, activists showed their support for these tenants’ resistance with a banner that read ‘Austin Stands with #Moms4Housing and Palm Beach – Fight Back Against Evictions!”
In Austin, revolutionary anti-gentrification organization DOH has been leading the fight against the Domain on Riverside project. Similar to the cases of state repression in California and Florida, tenants and organizers with DOH have been targeted by the state for organizing confrontational actions against the politicians and developers who want to displace them.
The solidarity action took place at the Valero gas station in Montopolis, the site of a memorial for murdered working mother Veneranda Martinez built by PWM and community members.
Approaching cars and pedestrians, activists collected over $140 in donations from the community and gave speeches expressing solidarity with tenant organizers around the country.
Members of PWM highlighted that Moms 4 Housing and Palm Beach Tenants Union were both led by working class Black women. The ruling class stratifies and divides the working class with racism and sexism, and as a consequence working class Black women face some of the harshest oppression under capitalism and have no choice but to fight against it.
As police cars drove by the rally, speakers pointed to the high saturation of police in the working class neighborhood of Montopolis, which also has high populations of Chicanos, immigrants, and Black people, and how this exemplified the role of the police as enforcers of ruling class oppression and racism.
Many community members in the Montopolis area honked and came up to speak with the activists, saying that they supported tenants’ struggles against their landlords. Several people shared their stories of police violence, homelessness, and poor housing conditions forced by their landlords.
One community member from a nearby apartment complex joined the activists and held a sign to show her support. She told Incendiary that she could see gentrification happening in her neighborhood with family homes being torn down and replaced with expensive duplexes, and said that, “living shouldn’t cost over $1000, or anything really,” showing an understanding that capitalism fails to provide for basic needs in a way that serves the working class.
It is important to tie together tenant struggles around the country in order to unite and advance the class struggle as a whole. The people can become stronger by forging bonds with each other, as well as learn how to fight and unite working people everywhere in a revolutionary struggle against their class enemies.