USA. March 20, 2020. Across the country some have already declared that they will refuse to pay rent on April first. Here are some of their declarations.
Originally published by Rent Strike.
Station 40 (San Francisco) (Warning Instagram Link)
Dear friends of Station 40,
We decided tonight that we’re going on rent strike. The urgency of the moment demands decisive and collective action. We are doing this to protect and care for ourselves and our community. Now more than ever, we refuse debt and we refuse to be exploited. We will not shoulder this burden for the capitalists. Five years ago, we defeated our landlord’s attempt to evict us. We won because of the the solidarity of our neighbors and our friends around the world. We are once again calling on that network. Our collective feels prepared for the shelter-in-place that begins at midnight throughout the bay area. The most meaningful act of solidarity for us in this moment is for everyone to go on strike together. We will have your back, as we know you will have ours. Rest, pray, take care of each other.
Everything for everyone!
The residents of Station 40.
Fortnight Bar (Providence, RI) (Warning Instagram Link)
As everyone is surely more than aware, we are now in a moment of “self-isolation” and “social distancing” with a more formal lockdown very likely on the way. These measures, while socially necessary to prevent the spread of the disease, have devastating economic consequences which disproportionately affect low-income families, precarious workers, and other disenfranchised members of our community.
Some voices are now calling for suspension of rent and mortgage payments during this period. In the first instance we would like to add our voice to that call.
Beyond this however, we, as anarchists, believe that the first and essential tool of change is not government fiat and lobbying, but rather direct action taken by regular people to make the changes we want to see. As such we add to the call for such a suspension with a call for a rent and mortgage *strike* during the crisis. We think that the first step to changing the rules right now is collective refusal.
We are calling on everyone—individuals, business, non-profits, and any other entity that has rent or mortgage obligations—not only to withhold payments, but to publicly commit to doing so. While the world grinds to a halt, we refuse to continue to dutifully pay crippling amounts for basic needs. This is evil in the best of times; this crisis highlights its banality as well as its brutality. When it has become impossible for so many of us to work, there is no alternative except to stand together and say: Rent Strike Now! Mortgage Strike Now!
This means: do not pay your next rent or mortgage payment. Instead, send a message that you will not be paying (check back for form letters to banks and landlords). This means repost this message and image. This means sign on to the rent/mortgage strike commitment form (link in bio). It’s particularly important for people who are financially secure and able to pay their rent or mortgage to show solidarity with those who are unable to at the moment by not paying. This is how we create the pressure to make this strike effective.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, a group of Mac Properties tenants are asking for the cancellation of April rents, and they are threatening to begin a rent strike if the company does not comply.
“Many of us are students, many of us are workers, and we depend on our work to pay our rents,” one tenant and organizer of the action, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Herald. “We’re not gonna be able to (pay), so we’re trying to get Mac to cancel rent for the month of April.”
The organizer said that the demands originated from a group of Mac tenants living in a couple of different buildings, and that “several dozen” people are involved. At the moment, they are calling the Mac offices, 1364 E. 53rd St., and demanding that rents be canceled — according to the organizer, the property management company has told them that there is “not even a consideration to do so.”
“So far the response has been a refusal,” they said. “It shows a real callousness that they won’t even consider our proposal, which is only in line with what folks are literally able to pay.”
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