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Indybay Feature

California | San Francisco | U.S. | Health, Housing, and Public Services

Love Letter to the Movement
by Heart of the City Collective (antievictionmappingproject [at] gmail.com)
Friday Feb 14th, 2014 3:29 PM
Heart of the City Collective sends its love, respect and appreciation to all those working to preserve rights to the city, to housing, to public space and common resources. We support the actions across the Bay, in Venice Beach, Seattle and beyond.
Heart of the City Collective sends its love, respect and appreciation to all those working to preserve rights to the city, to housing, to public space and common resources. We support the actions across the Bay, in Venice Beach, Seattle and beyond. Different groups are organizing in ways that they see fit. Each one is trying to curb the throttles of gentrification and displacement precipitated by investors and speculators taking advantage of the new technocratic class subsuming our cities. While we might not be literally organizing together, we are collectively working against a common systemic behemoth, one where new and old money are merging to rid our cities of marginal and longtime communities.

Gentrification is nothing new. It is both a tool and an effect of neoliberalization. New, however, is the ruling tech class and its role in displacing our communities. Rents have dramatically increased in Los Angeles, Seattle, Austin and many other cities as well. We’ve had the “it’s a free country and folks can do as they please and live where they want” argument thrown at us. However, most people the world over don’t benefit from capitalism and have a lived experience of the “free market” as being neither free nor market, for that matter. It’s a system where those with the most capital exploit the world’s resources as well as the labor and knowledge accumulated by all of humanity to do as they please without regard to the ecosystems and communities they’re affecting.

We are not pivoting ourselves against tech workers. We implore them to organize with us. There a number of actions that they can take: become a housing rights activists, make conscious efforts to not move into units in which people have been evicted, and support local non-technocratic economies. Net neutrality, access and the commodification and surveillance of private communication are reasons we hope they get involved in an open-source revolution. In the meantime, they should lobby their employers to pay their taxes, stop privatizing public assets, and use their “innovative” skills to support affordable housing and housing policies that benefit the majority. As we have said, "Get Off the Bus, Join Us!"

We recognize the insidious nature of tech giants like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and even Twitter. Alongside their for-profit surveillance, these companies play a role in the profiling, policing, and targeting of activist. They have historically marketed themselves as benign and even democratic, even though many contribute to ALEC, the conservative, neoliberal, anti-environment, anti-immigrant, pro-privatization political action committee. We see through their masks and the ways they’re creeping into our physical lives and political systems. As actions in other cities have made evident, we are not alone. Hearts afire, the movement is building!

With love, investment in and accountability to our community and the movement,
Heart of the City Collective
by Heart of the City Collective Friday Feb 14th, 2014 3:29 PM

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Mel
Sunday Feb 16th, 2014 11:32 AM
I'd save the hugs and kisses until you've had some clear unmistakable impact on the situation. The Google bus actions are a good first step, an excellent first step in fact, interrupting the normal flow of business as they do -- but the have only been a first step, and it doesn't look like any second step is in the offing. And after that a third step, a fourth, and so on.

In particular Eviction Free San Francisco seems to be at a loss as to how to effectively tackle the question that they claim to be engaged with. Somebody did some bus stop ads for this group, with a low-intensity image of some paper doll figures standing around holding hands. In this they were an adequate expression of what this group appears to have been doing to date. At this time they do not appear to be communicating effectively with the overwhelming majority of San Francisco renters. The group was originally called "Eviction Free Summer" -- as in, last summer. Soon it will be summer again, and it doesn't look like much has happened, or is going to happen, either.

The time has come to retool and adopt more aggressive strategies. Obviously this excludes electoral politics, it excludes playing footsie with any elected officials, and has to exclude people who make a living playing footsie with elected officials.