Class War on the Lobby Floor: How Tenants Won a Rent Strike


In this episode, we talk to an organizer with Parkdale Organize, an autonomous and grassroots working-class organization in so-called Toronto, Canada, which has worked to build the power of collective action among various apartment buildings, neighborhoods, and workplaces.

In this discussion, we talk about gentrification in Toronto, but moreover about how the group went about building the organization Parkdale Organize, which grew out of meetings and discussions about how to deal with problems tenants faced. With the group in place, we then discuss how the tenants, in a lobby of an apartment building, voted to hold mass meetings and push for a May 1st rent strike that would go on to involve more and more tenants in other buildings and including the broader community.

In the course of the discussion, we talk about how organizers within the group dealt with reformist and electorist attempts to deal with the problems faced by tenants and how the struggle was able to grow into a mass, autonomous working-class organization that was able to engage in a variety of collective actions, that in the end, was successful in winning the rent strike.

Lastly, we talk about how the group was able to deal with recuperative elements from the reformist and Leninist left, as well as how anarchists and autonomists need to abandon subcultures and involve themselves in autonomous working-class organizations which fight to begin taking control over all aspects of our daily lives. Our guest argues a great place to start doing that is right in our neighborhoods.

More Info: Parkdale Organize on Facebook, Parkdale Organize homepage, and Sub.Media documentary here.

Music: Looptroop Rockers

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