Category Archives: Pamphlets

Evict This! A History of Housing in West Oakland and Tools to Resist Displacement

Everyone on the left recognizes gentrification is happening. Its political, economic and social implications are far-reaching, with the state aiding and abetting the process. Neighborhoods in L.A., San Francisco and Oakland look completely different now than even ten years ago. In a gentrifying neighborhood residents feel the effects with ‘in-your-face’ style evictions and/or foreclosure notices. These have become an almost daily occurrence for struggling families. Many are forced to find ways to cope or resist the shifting nature of their neighborhoods; while those conscious of it, and even active in confronting the major players driving it (banks, real estate companies and big developers), recognize they also play a role in it. Considering this, how does the left get a full understanding of how and why gentrification happens? And then, how do organizers bring up conversations with our neighbors that will lead to constructive dialogue and a collective fighting strategy?

The East Bay Solidarity Network, based in West Oakland, focuses primarily on direct-action eviction defense. As a group of radicals, they seek to develop a deeper understanding of the history, process and results of gentrification before embarking on an eviction defense project. They’ve spent months base-building in West Oakland by: hosting monthly tenants’ rights meetings, door knocking to neighbors, flyering around liquor stores, laundromats and dollar stores, in addition to organizing neighborhood BBQ’s.

Acknowledging that there is more to learn — they wrote a small pamphlet, passed it out to neighbors, and sought to gather as much feedback as possible.  The pamphlet, or zine, was a compilation of knowledge about gentrification learned through research, conversations, outreach and organizing; and an attempt to answer questions about the foreclosure crisis that re-ignited the gentrification in West Oakland. It explains how a national wave of foreclosures specifically affected this neighborhood, then goes on to highlight a history of West Oakland residents fighting back against federal, state and city policies. Policies which have resulted in the targeted displacement of Black residents since they arrived in the post-WWI boom years. It emphasizes that losing a house is not the fault of the individual, but instead a systematic approach by banks and big real estate companies to kick out long-term residents and drive up property values.

This is one strategy the East Bay Solidarity Network utilized to answer some of the most important questions to better understand gentrification; and was the medium used to talk to neighbors about how to fight back against a capitalist system that would rather — see their family-home empty with a ‘For Sale’ sign in the front — than with current and past generations living inside.

Advance the Struggle hopes to write a longer, more researched piece on gentrification in the upcoming months but would first like to showcase some of the work organizers have been doing. Here is the East Bay Solidarity Network’s zine:

Pages from Evict This

Click for full PDF version.

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Turning the Tide: 1st Issue of Bay Area Port Workers’ Newsletter

Cover of Port Workers Newsletter

Click on this image to view or download the newsletter.

We published Occupy, ILWU EGT and the Coming Class Battles to point out the limits of a militant alliance between Occupy and ILWU rank-and-file.  As the former came into being as a radical force with its own wild contradictions, and the militancy of the latter carried a tradition of struggle from 1934  to the present, there still needs to be a framework for port class struggle.

Occupy, ILWU EGT and the Coming Class Battles offers a critique of 1) social movement unionism, 2) surplus population insurgency, and proposes to form class-wide committees, which we also call multi-sector committees.  A rank-and-file newsletter that contains articles written by port workers is a first step towards bridging the craft divides in the port. It breaks jurisdictional logic ingrained by existing unionism, orienting towards the whole space of the port. The idea is to lay the basis for a multi-sector unity that offers serious leverage against the employers and a potential model for workers in struggle throughout the US.

This newsletter is a product of combined work between different tendencies of revolutionaries, the Occupy Oakland Labor Solidarity Committee, and workers from different parts of the port.

Enjoy, and bring it down to the docks in your city!

Occupy, ILWU, EGT and the Coming Class Battles

What follows is a controversial contribution to the discourse around the past year of struggle that Occupy forces have been involved in regarding the various port shutdowns on the West Coast, the relationship to the ILWU, and the challenge to capital’s attack on the proletariat – waged, unwaged, unionized, non-unionized, identifying as workers and not identifying with work.  There are many discussions and debates which the content of this intervention has already started – in person, behind closed doors, on list-serves, and at national conferences.  Our expectation is that publishing it here will allow for these debates to become more accessible to all revolutionaries, activists, members of organizations, and independent radicals.  Please add your thoughts in the comments section. All criticism, disagreement, appreciation and further lines of questioning are welcomed – we only ask that you do so in principled ways that avoid strawmanning the arguments presented here, as well as the arguments put forward by new writings and comments which will be forthcoming.  Enjoy.

Occupy, ILWU, EGT and the Coming Class Battles.

Union agrees to support the Employer in maintaining operations, including: promptly advising the Employer that any Work Stoppage is unauthorized; declaring publicly that such action is unauthorized, if questioned; and promptly ordering its members to return to work notwithstanding the existence of any wildcat picket line.

                                                                                 -EGT & ILWU local 21 contract

Capital itself is the moving contradiction, [in] that it presses to reduce labour time to a minimum, while it posits labour time, on the other side, as sole measure and source of wealth.

                                                                                                -Karl Marx

I. Introduction

II. The Fight for ILWU Jurisdiction

III. ILWU Class Struggle History

IV. Occupy, Surplus Populations and the Spectacle of Blockades.

V. Social Movement Unionism

VI. Automation, Accumulation and the State

VII. Rank-File, Union Leaders and Capital

VIII. Contract Time

IX. Labor White, Black and Brown, Shut the Ports Down!

X. The December 12th, 2011 experience

XI. Classwide Organizing

XII. Our Future

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Pamphlet Release – Crisis and Consciousness: Education Struggle in CA

It’s been a while since we put up something of our own on the blog here, so we’d like to start another round of AS work on the blog with a compilation of our best work on one subject: the budget cuts struggle in California.

November 19th, 2009: UCLA students block the UC head administrators’ exit from a meeting where they voted to increase fees throughout the UC

Around the world for the last few years, working class people have been fighting back on a massive scale against “austerity measures”, new rounds of “structural adjustment” where state services are harshly cut back.  In times of high unemployment and economic slowdown, the lives and training of the working class aren’t profitable and get cut.  Students across California, just like students across the world, started to fight back against the cuts through protests, occupations, even riots….signs that folks are learning an important lesson: we can’t trust the Democrats to fight for our interests when the chips are down.

And like all mass movements, the student movement in California experimented and self-criticized as it struggled.  Democracy was debated, communization attempted, capitalism questioned, race and gender often ignored but then brought back with a smash on white male movement dominance.  Debates erupted about whether the “work within the system” folks are the only heirs to the history of ethnic studies struggle; occupations were announced, denounced, celebrated and apologized for.  Amongst all this, revolutionaries like us were wrestling with questions:

When do reforms push struggle forward, and when do they slow it down?

Should the militant minority with “advanced consciousness” act independently of the more conservative mainstream?

Is Left unity important, or just pointless bickering on the margins?

Will the “governator” joke ever end?

And centrally for us:

How does class consciousness develop?  (Pamphlet below the fold!)

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