Filed under: Announcement, Capitalism, Community Organizing, Housing, Northeast
A Victory for Eileene
Eileene contacted the Brooklyn Solidarity Network after receiving a horrendous injustice by her property management company. Norwax Associates forged her signature on a lease renewal application stating she didn’t wish to renew the lease.
In the increasingly cutthroat real estate market of Crown Heights, it would be inconceivable for her not too renew her lease. Eileene is fortunate enough to pay a reasonable rate for the apartment she has lived in since 1987.
The Brooklyn Solidarity Network launched a campaign against Norwax, visiting their Yonkers office and demanding Norwax provide her with the appropriate two year lease. Norwax conceded immediately but sent back a lease with a forged date and signature. Eileene, with the fighting spirit that kept this campaign moving, demanded they return the lease with her actual signature.
After a second visit, a barrage of emails, and a timely phone call, Norwax finally caved in, giving Eileene her proper lease. Although this company has already driven out so many other tenants from this building using familiar tactics, we are happy to announce that Eileene and her son will not be leaving.
Brooklyn Solidarity Network will continue to stand with Eileene to make sure Norwax won’t try this again.
Brooklyn Solidarity Network stands with all tenants until the ludricrous practice of rent collection is a distant memory.
About Brooklyn Solidarity Network
“We exist to demonstrate working anarchism in Brooklyn, and we will not stop organizing until we have achieved a Brooklyn in which every resident is liberated from state and private ownership of their lives.”
The Brooklyn Solidarity Network is a revolutionary organization dedicated to the destruction of private property relations. The organization, in its current capacity, focuses almost exclusively on the tenant/landlord struggle, primarily because this is one of the greatest political, economic and ethical issues in NYC today. We advocate the formation of neighborhood and tenants councils in the wake of our organizing. We are currently at the forefront of fighting against gentrification in Brooklyn, and we believe the political alternative we are offering will prove viable particularly in comparison to the wave of displacement and the war on the poor currently being unleashed at our doorsteps.
Many of the people we meet have been betrayed by the court system, which is of course structured to favor landlords and businesses. At the point in time that we find each other, they are open to finding ways outside of state systems to solve their problems. With apartment buildings in New York often housing up to forty households, the amount of people with similar interests comprises a substantial force against one landlord or management company. These are the conditions that help our short term goals: 1) to demonstrate the efficacy of mutual aid and 2) to build up a culture of group resistance.
The idea is that as we struggle with each tenant or worker, we reinforce the practice of taking it to the landlord or boss as a group. Rather than expanding Brooklyn Solidarity Network to become a larger organization, we would prefer to leave in our wake either a tenants council or other solidarity group, which could allow people to start making more demands on the those that stifle their livelihoods.
The greatest achievement for this project would look like a vast federation of solidarity groups, councils and communes, which could call on each other for large-scale demands, such as rent decreases, eviction defense, and building takeovers or business communalizations.
In the political and economic climate in New York, these demands may seem utopian. However, we have met tenants who once had de facto management of their buildings due to errant landlords. These periods help make the case that ownership and rent extraction are arbitrary and reprehensible. To many of these tenants, the prospect of rent hikes and bullying eviction tactics seem all the more obscene when put in contrast with their previous living arrangements.
As we work with people, we learn from their experiences and more specifically how anarchism can be a pragmatic possibility in the lives of our neighbors. We are in the process of building a foundation directly out of the successes and trials we face through active struggle. As we immerse ourselves deeper into individudal struggles, the practical steps of this process may change.
Like so many, we look forward to a day when wage labor and rent are obsolete. With the small victories we celebrate through this project, we believe that the Brooklyn Solidarity Network is laying down the stones of this path, even if for now the city we envision is only a glimpse on the horizon.