The right to a home is as basic as the right to live. Even the birds of the air have a home -- except for a few cuckoos. Humans should fare as well.
Every day there are more homeless, and the landlord system is getting worse and worse. It's time for massive worldwide action to see that everyone has the basic right to ownership of a home -- or at the very least enough of his or her share of the earth on which to build one.
HOMES FOR ALL is now organizing in several nations to end the slavery of the landlord system and provide homes for all. We invite you to join us in this growing movement which is gaining momentum every day. If enough people participate we'll succeed; there aren't enough police or courts to evict everyone. Many employees of government are tenants too, and already some of these people have joined our struggle.
HOMES FOR ALL does not wish to discourage individual actions by tenants or homeless groups, but if all will also take action at the same time -- next May 1st -- their efforts will be enormously more effective.
How local groups or individuals prepare for next May's action is up to local initiative and imagination. One preliminary awareness-raising tactic that has produced amazing results in some areas is the posting of hundreds of RENT IS THEFT flyers and posters. One HOMES FOR ALL staff member, Richard, has offered $500 to move after he taped up several such flyers in his run-down rooming house. To show the fear such flyers strike into the hearts (if any) of the landlords, Richard's landlord ordered a flunkie to follow him around the neighborhood tearing down the flyers as soon as he put them up. But Richard's stamina prove superior to that of the saboteur, and he posted hundreds more of the feared flyers after the latter had given up. These flyers are designed to call people's attention to the fact that the land, like the air, is a natural resource that morally belongs to all people for the purpose of a home -- and that they don't have to submit to ruinous rents or eviction.
A suggested second step for individuals or groups is the gathering of information regarding tenant's rights and eviction laws in their area. In some areas, with a few legal steps, eviction can be postponed up to two or three months. This means that tenants can take part in next May's action without fear of immediate eviction, and if they wish can pay their rent at the last minute, thus avoiding the possibility of being thrown out on the street. If large numbers of people withhold rent for even a few days, this threat my bring large scale concessions from landlords, such as lower rent, rent with an option to buy, and better maintenance of dwellings. People everywhere should begin inquiring where free or low-cost legal help can be obtained, and make this information available on leaflets and on other printed matter -- posters, newsletters, on bulletin boards, etc. Also, many libraries have books or pamphlets available on tenant-landlord law.
In preparation for squatting, individuals should seek out squatters groups to join, or form their own groups, and begin research into the best sites for squats, not only for themselves, but for striking tenants who may be evicted because of choosing to withhold rent to the bitter end. In the U.S., you can find out who owns a building or lot at the county hall of records. Sometimes owners have stopped baying taxes on properties and/or disappeared; these often are the best places to have a squat. Often the sympathy of neighbors or public officials can be gained if squatters are prepared to rehabilitate properties, connect plumbing or have portable toilets, etc.
Participants and organizers should begin preparing and stockpiling literature for the big push just before next May 1st. One suggested flyer or poster to be used as that date draws near is:
Through your research -- sounding out local people, etc. -- zero in on areas where rent strikes and squats seem most apt to be successful. A good general rule is not to strike a building or area unless at least one-third of the tenants commit themselves to participate. (Many may wish to remain anonymous.) Once an area is selected, blanket the area with flyers and other literature.
Next, begin going from unit to unit talking to tenants and asking them to commit themselves to the rent strike, and asking for volunteers to help distribute literature and/or to help organize. If tenants are absent, leave literature, with an address or phone number where you can be contacted. If it seems desireable, arrange for a meeting to discuss tactics and possibilities for alternative housing for those who may wish to hold out to the end and face possible eviction. Stress that participants may remain anonymous (except to their landlords after May 1st). If it seems desireable and workable, try to get tenants and totally homeless people together to plan joint strategy. Tenants can help the totally homeless, and teh totally homeless can help tenants, especially in cases of eviction and organizing squats.
It is important to spread the message of they May 1st rent strike and squat as widely as possible. RENT IS THEFT, HOMES FOR ALL and other slogans can be put on bumper stickers, decals, posters, spraypainted, etc. (Inexpensive bumper sticker material can be purchased at many art stores.) Theater groups can put on skits or plays about homelessness and tenant problems. Speakers can discuss the strike and squat at meeting or on radio or TV. The more widely the message is spread, the greater chance of victory!
One idea to build the strike is to print and distribute small decals or placards which some tenants may wish to display in their windows -- something like:
INTERNATIONAL RENT STRIKE
Together we can do it!
Just say "NO" to the landlord!
End the slavery of the landlord system!
SPREAD THE WORD