NO TRESPASSING!by Anders Corr
C H A P T E R 6
Tactics and Mobilization
The Primacy of PowerThe risk of violence and eviction looms for anyone that occupies land, squats a house, or goes on rent strike. But communities worldwide continually take these risks to create affordable housing or to survive in the face of widespread hunger and unemployment. They risk so much in the hope that persistence, mass organizing, and creativity will give them a fighting chance to win. "Initially, most tenant groups fear their own power or are not really convinced that they can actually beat their landlord," wrote activists from the East Orange Tenants Association and the New Jersey Tenants Organization in 1976. "Most of us suffer from the `you can't beat City Hall' syndrome. This feeling of powerlessness must be overcome."1
This chapter explores a few of the many successful land and housing direct actions and campaigns that faced their fears and proved they could beat City Hall. Gene Sharp's thesis, that nonviolent political movements have tremendous power to change structural injustice and improve social conditions,2 is supported by the campaigns explored here. In the only study of its kind on land and housing movements, research conducted during the 1980s by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization found that squatter families in Brazil had much higher levels of education and life expectancy and almost double the income of other small rural producers.3 The campaigns studied here illustrate and specify exactly how participants gain these higher standards of living compared to their unorganized counterparts.
Beyond showing that organization creates success, this chapter delineates the specific tactics that made those struggles successful. While repression and chance make the outcome of direct action unpredictable, careful consideration of past tactics and their outcomes increases the possibility of success.
Mass Organization, Individual Power, and ReoccupationOf all social movement tactics, the most successful and powerful is mass organization. Not only does mass organization improve the chances for success, it multiplies success by the number of participants. Large movements grow most easily where large sectors of the population feel an identical, pressing need. In 1989, Brazil carried a housing deficit of 10 million homes. Brazil has between 5 and 8 million landless people and 80 million hectares of vacant agricultural land (not including the Amazon region). The Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST) in Brazil is the largest and most successful land occupation movement in the world; it also claims the most participants of any social movement within Latin America.4 Between 1990 and 1996, the MST organized a total of 518 land occupations, and it is still going strong. In 1997, 25,000 people affiliated with the MST marched in the capital, and 42,000 MST families camped in plastic tents waiting for the right moment to invade vacant estates.5
In addition to instigating almost daily broadcasts regarding the MST in the Brazilian media, the size and success of the MST has allowed the organization to operate 30 radio stations and a monthly newspaper with national distribution. The MST has hosted an "Agrarian Reform Olympics" since 1995 that has included 1,500 athletes from 23 squatted settlements.6 The squatter Olympics build culture and pride within the movement and present a positive and humanizing image, readily accessible to the mass media. The MST's size has also facilitated a diverse array of services and industry to benefit members. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "the MST has offices in 22 of 26 states, operates ... three banks, ... a school for leadership training, and 47 cooperatives - including a blue jeans factory, two meat-storage plants, a milk-packing facility, and a coffee-roasting company." The MST is currently exploring the possibility of starting a publishing company. The organization gets 80% of its funding in small amounts from each member cooperative, 15% from progressive organizations and trade unions within Brazil, and only 5% from international agencies.7 The MST's success and broad base of support within Brazil have won it several international awards, including a UNICEF prize. According to Maria Luisa Mendonca of Global Exchange, "polls show the group to be more popular than President Fernando Henrique Cardoso."8
Through this strategy of mass organizing and popularization of its program, the MST has won land for some 150,000 families between 1984, when it began, and 1997. The government, fearing the MST's intense popularity and growth, has initiated massive concessions. Between 1994 and 1998, the Cardoso government provided land to 60,000 families through land reform, more than any previous Brazilian government, and opened a $150 million credit line for infrastructure and the purchase of land for settlements in the northeast.9
The MST illustrates how numbers command public attention, provide security for individual members, and threaten unrest if government fails to wrangle concessions from landowner interests. Previous chapters have already examined the successes of other mass movements, like the New York City rent strike of 1963-64, the Co-op City rent strike of 1976, squatting in Berlin in the '80s, and squatting in London and Amsterdam from the '70s to the present. In all these cases, mass organization was the key to success.
For smaller campaigns, as well, organization is important. In the winter of 1976, tenants of Mission Plaza Apartments in Los Angeles could no longer endure corroded pipes, seven days of freezing weather without heat or hot water, fly infestation due to inadequate screening, sewage overflows, and broken balcony railings. One three-year-old child fell from the second story and spent three days in the hospital. Outraged, a few tenants organized 700 tenants to create a rent strike. Though the strike was puny compared to Brazil's landless movement, California media, government, and real estate interests considered its size threatening. After four months, the rent strikers won repairs, one month's free rent, no rent increases for one year, and recognition of the tenant association as a bargaining agent. "We learned that united, we can win," said tenant committee member Theodora Roulette. "Many told us that we couldn't fight four millionaires, but we did it."10
Although mass organization is best for pressuring governments and landlords, in a pinch just one or two activists can make a world of difference. In 1969, public housing officials in England refused to rehouse Maggie O'Shannon from her basement apartment, even though a sewage pipe had been leaking into her kitchen for the last five years. With people from her entire neighborhood in similar predicaments, she organized delegations to elected officials and polite news conferences to draw attention to the horrible conditions. The tenants had asked earlier for rehousing, but these lobbying tactics came to nothing. In disgust, O'Shannon and another woman, Bridie Matthews, decided to squat a vacant, publicly owned house across the street. It was in far better condition than their own public housing. After squatting for several months and engaging in civil disobedience at City Hall, the council members reversed their decision; after a year, the entire neighborhood received new housing.11
In this case, two individuals spear-headed change, but even then a mass movement applied the necessary pressure. In Boston, an elderly Puerto Rican woman named Doha Julia Diaz also spear-headed change with the support of her community. She used the tactic of reoccupation to snatch success from the jaws of defeat. Originally she had struck in June 1975 to demand repairs and the extermination of rats in her Boston apartment. The court ordered her eviction, and 50 neighbors defended the apartment with a blockade the next day. Six days later, eight squad cars and a busload of tactical police staged "an incredible dawn raid," according to Shelterforce.12 In addition to evicting Diaz, the police arrested five supporters. But the house remained vacant for only a few hours. That evening, 100 people moved Diaz's furniture back into the apartment and guarded the place for five days, until they considered it safe.13
Reoccupation is especially effective when additional evictions require timeconsuming legal action. Chicago tenant groups in the early '70s routinely moved evicted families back into their homes after police evictions. This forced a renewal of litigation, and each reoccupation lasted many months before coming to trial. The lengthy waiting and repeated legal expenses made many exasperated landlords drop their cases.14
Homes Not Jails and Religious Witness in San Francisco also have used reoccupation to great effect. As the housing market has tightened in recent years, reoccupation usually has been the only route through which covert squatters have succeeded. The two homeless advocacy groups have reoccupied the vacant housing at the Presidio Army base half a dozen times to press for its use as affordable housing, and have succeeded in saving nearly all the housing from demolition.
Reoccupation has worked at other military bases, as well. On March 8, 1970, a group of Native Americans scaled the chain-link fence surrounding Fort Lawson, an abandoned military installation in Seattle. The police removed them, but the occupiers returned with other activists, including some from the Alcatraz occupation in San Francisco. Police evicted them again, but the Native occupiers returned to carry out a third, three-month occupation. This persistence finally convinced the authorities to negotiate a 99-year lease of 8 hectares. The occupiers founded a successful cultural center, which remains active to this day.15
Peasant squatters have also used reoccupation to good effect, although they face more severe consequences and play a higher-stakes game than the average tenant or homeless person in the United States. Given that few other opportunities exist, reoccupation of farmland becomes a nutritional necessity, and the test of wills between landowner and squatters becomes the deciding factor of success. One especially grueling reoccupation was that by 15 families just south of Santo Antonio in Brazil. After occupying some unused land for between 10 and 15 years, the community was threatened with eviction by the owners of a nearby cattle ranch. The ranchers offered gunmen half the land if they evicted the squatters. Eighteen gunmen arrived at the community in August 1981, tied everyone up, burned their huts, destroyed stocks of food and crops, sent possessions that could not be burned floating down the river, and dropped off the peasants at a distant stretch of highway. The peasants returned to their land, rebuilt their huts to the extent possible, and salvaged their crops. When the gunmen returned, the peasants drove them off with gunfire. At this point, the land reform agency in Brazil began offering deals to the peasants, all of which they refused. Finally, in October 1983, the agency expropriated the land and gave title to the community.16
In the case of Santo Antonio, reoccupation worked because the hired gunmen lacked resolve in the face of determined farmer resistance and because this resistance caught the attention of the land reform agency. In this case, the goal of land reform was to avoid revolution by oiling those parts of the agrarian machine that chafed, sparked, and threatened to explode into broader violence. When government forces have only a meager grip on social order or when direct action entails a large proportion of the population, the tactic of reoccupation has a broader level of success.
During the Barcelona rent strike of June 1931, the scale of reoccupation in response to eviction left landlords and governments relatively powerless to repress the movement. In a city of just over 1 million people, the strike grew from 45,000 in July to 100,000 in August. Women, organized in a city-wide rent strike commission, carried out most of the reoccupations. According to Nick Rider,
The Commission had local committees in many districts, and it was made known that one could go to the local union halls and libertarian clubs to find people to help in resisting evictions. Often, though, this was not really necessary: "When something was going to happen we knew by word of mouth .... All the kids used to go," one woman remembers. The resistance was based in a strong sense of community solidarity. The Commission recommended that people should insult and remonstrate the workers who carried out evictions, and on 26 August a crowd nearly lynched two men who had obeyed the orders of a judge to help in clearing a house in Hospitalet .... [E]ven when evictions were carried out without problems the authorities did not have sufficient forces to mount a permanent guard on each vacant house, so there was nothing to prevent tenants being reinstalled at a later time.17
Despite intense solidarity and tight organization among rent strikers, the Barcelona government and local landlord organization eventually broke what might be called a "general rent strike" by increasing the frequency of evictions, destroying personal belongings of strikers, and jailing organizers. But, as one organizer pointed out, strikers succeeded in saving themselves four months' rent, a city-wide total of 12 million pesetas.
Timing, Surprise, and AffinityAnother effective method in land and housing struggles is the tactic of surprise. Devaki Jain's essay "India: A Condition Across Caste and Class" describes the story of how unexpected action by women saved their squatter community in Kumarikatta, India, from eviction. The authorities brought a herd of elephants to trample the huts, but while social workers and the rest of the village waited helplessly for the destruction to begin, the women surprised everyone:
Suddenly, with no discussion and without the advice of any so-called organizers, village women rushed out of the crowd and started to embrace the elephants' trunks and legs, chanting the prayers that they usually sang on a particular pooja [sacred] day. This pooja was devoted to the elephant god and it was customary for these women to stroke the elephants and rub sandal paste, kumkum, and flowers on them with devotion and love. These women started to imitate the same ritual, with full devotion. The elephants responded in turn by accepting this with their conventional grace. They refused to move further. No one - the authorities, the social workers, or even the men squatters - could do anything. The elephants fumed back and the women, men, and children returned to their huts.18
As in Kumarikatta, the goal of almost every land and housing direct action is to avoid eviction. Activists can improve their chances against eviction by acting on the fact that governments find eviction extremely embarrassing. Timing an occupation to coincide with holidays, for instance, can make the official sense of embarrassment great enough to at least forestall eviction. San Francisco Homes Not Jails occupied a warehouse on Christmas Day 1995. The next day, police decided against an immediate eviction. Sgt. Steve Howard of the California Highway Patrol told the San Francisco Examiner, "We didn't want to walk in there the day after Christmas and look like the Grinch." The police did eventually evict the squatters, but their holiday tactic bought some time.19
Widely publicized international events also provide the perfect audience to deter embarrassing evictions, especially when the events relate to social welfare. On April 29, 1971, 4,000 homeless families (all refugees from an earthquake) took advantage of an international development conference hosted by Peru to occupy public land. Fearing adverse coverage at the moment when the international media was focused on Peru and its development, the government left the squatters in peace for the time being. In less than two weeks, the occupation grew to 9,000 families and spread to neighboring private property.
Squatters' successful resistance to a later attempt at eviction by police convinced the government to bargain. Instead of staying at the original site, squatters were given an alternative site suitable for 40,000 families.20 In 1989, the new settlement, called Villa El Salvador, had a population of 300,000 and boasted title as the largest continuously squatted area in the world. The community has street lighting; children's playgrounds; a network of libraries, health clinics, and community centers; and 34 educational facilities. Brick construction provides solid shelter for most, and nearly 80% of houses have running water, sewer connections, and electricity. Paved streets and sidewalks allow easy access, and 500,000 trees have transformed a former desert into a pleasant neighborhood. Residents even began construction of an industrial park in 1988 with a $3 million grant from the United Nations. A municipal exhibition center opened in 1989.2
The timing of the Villa El Salvador occupation to coincide with an internationally publicized event determined its success. But the choice of location, Peruvian government property, also helped. Carefully picking a landowner less likely to evict improves the chances of squatting immensely. On March 19, 1987, in Brazil, 1,000 families organized by the MST squatted an empty wasteland called Jardim Sao Carlos. All night families measured plots of 125 square meters and erected tents, shanties, and even light wooden buildings.22 Private landowners can usually get a quicker eviction order than the government, so, by choosing public land, the MST occupiers gained crucial time. They used this time to construct a headquarters to distribute food, water, and medical assistance. Over the next few months, they made dwellings more permanent, built latrines, installed water systems, established a broom-making factory, and formed church groups. Rather than evicting just another new occupation, the government would have had to uproot a fully functioning neighborhood. Instead, within one year, the squatters had convinced the government to begin building permanent homes on the site; by 1989, 1,341 had been completed.23
Choosing a particular landlord against whom to take direct action can help to organize direct action against the same landlord by others. This applies to squatting, but rent strikes have found focused campaigns against individual landlords especially useful. Organizing tenants against a common landlord heightens solidarity among tenants and increases income loss for the landlord. Landlords have less money with which to cushion deficits from rent strikers, and the common adversary can facilitate collective bargaining and mutual aid in case of eviction. Targeting particular landlords, rather than landlords in general, utilizes the divide-and-conquer technique in favor of the tenant. Non-target landlords will have less immediate incentive to help the targeted landlord when they think the rent strike campaign will have no effect on their own assets.
In larger rent strikes that encompass more than one landlord, basing "affinity groups" on a common landlord makes for a practical decision-making structure. Affinity groups are collections of people having some similarity to each other that make collective decisions and engage in mutual support during a direct action. Landlords act differently from each other and require flexible responses by tenants. In Ann Arbor, Michigan, a primarily student-based rent strike between 1969 and 1971 organized tenants according to their landlords. The Ann Arbor Tenants Union targeted the town's 16 largest landlords, who owned from 50 to 450 units apiece. With almost 2,000 rent strike pledges on February 15, 1969, representatives voted to commence the action. Six weeks later, at the end of April, the escrow account held over $150,000, and organizers calculated participation at 1,200 people. After a long struggle and numerous legal battles (including conspiracy charges against 91 activists), nearly all the tenants won rent reductions in court, and, according to the Sun, "landlords all over town were scared into making needed repairs."24
Mobilizing Support and the Ripple EffectSquatting and rent strikes may seem self-interested on the surface: participants seek lower rents, better living conditions, or free land for themselves and their families. But these forms of direct action have major benefits for communities and society as a whole. They create a history from which future movements can learn, they act as a constant check on society's increasingly skewed distribution of wealth, and they demonstrate the power of united action. When successful, they inspire new movements and encourage landlords and governments into earlier or even preemptive concessions.
Even when they fail, land and housing movements can have a positive effect on their surrounding community by decreasing the profits associated with land speculation and rack-renting (raising rents to the highest possible market value with little regard to the rate of tenant turnover). In the Ann Arbor campaign mentioned above, landlords other than those confronted with rent strikes improved conditions for their tenants. Just as violent resistance has a deterrent effect on repression, rent strikes and squatting deter irresponsible landlords. In addition to the Ann Arbor example, a rent strike in Vancouver, British Columbia, illustrates this ripple effect, or expanding concession principle. Direct action tends to spread. The more a landowner thinks direct action by tenants is imminent, the more likely he or she is to make preemptive concessions.
The Vancouver rent strike failed for strikers but yielded a success for many other tenants. It targeted buildings managed by Wall and Redekop for five months and began with a high degree of participation. After Wall and Redekop announced 9 to 10% rental increases for all units inhabited for over a year, 195 tenants collectively deposited their rents into a Vancouver Tenants Council (VTC) escrow account on April 1, 1971. By August of the same year, only 18 tenants remained on strike, against all of whom the court ordered eviction. Tenants failed to achieve the main VTC goal, a legal right to collective bargaining where voted for by a majority of tenants. In an illustration of the ripple effect, however, the strike did yield victories for other tenants in Vancouver.
According to the VTC, "Scores of individual tenants had their increases `voluntarily' reduced by Wall and Redekop in an attempt to dissuade them from joining the strike .... [N]o tenant who was legally `eligible' for a rent increase commencing on May 1 st has subsequently received a notice of an increase from Wall and Redekop."
Even tenants in Vancouver not under management by Wall and Redekop benefited by the strike. "Corporate landlords in the city," states the VTC, "did not raise rent arbitrarily during the course of the strike." In an atmosphere charged with the idea of rent strike, almost all landlords perceived the danger of providing provocation for further strikes. Even those considering the purchase of rental property in Vancouver may have paused for a short period before buying. In this way, the strike's atmosphere of tenant resistance slowed the rate of rent increases for the average Vancouver tenant.25
The ripple effect creates positive spillover benefits for the non-striker from the work and risks of the striker, but strikers can use the effect to their advantage. By showing how the rent strike benefits non-strikers, they win non-striker support. Supporters see the success of squatting and rent strikes as movement toward a solution to their own housing problems.
The housing collective of the West Side Women's Liberation Center spoke Of its support for housing struggles in New York City in 1970 as an improvement of all women's housing, not as a form of philanthropy. "We must understand our support for the squatting movement in terms of our own very real and immediate housing needs, not as a gesture of sympathy towards others we consider more oppressed than ourselves."26
Squatting and rent strikes benefit society as a whole, but they also depend upon society for success. From the very beginning of a land and housing movement to its growth into a mass phenomenon, it utilizes an existing matrix of social connections. Organizing within one's own community at the beginning works because it mobilizes already existing networks of people connected by word of mouth. They know each other from current or past neighborhoods, workplaces, social connections, and cultural or political organizations. This style of community organizing uses to best advantage the trust already existing from long-time membership in an organization or group of friends.27
Before an occupation in Lima, Peru, on July 27, 1954, a restaurant worker invited several of the waiters to take part. In turn, one of the waiters recruited a neighbor and a family from his provincial club, the Sons of Paucartambo. The club was a group of recent rural-to-urban immigrants from the province of Paucar tambo. These provincial clubs are common organizers of urban squatting in the Third World. Because each new member of the squatter organization had additional contacts in other communities, the group could expand its action to include many different supporter communities at once.28
The stronger and more diverse the social movements from which a squatting or rent strike campaign emerges, the more likely it is to succeed. At its height, on January 1, 1964, the New York City rent strike of 1963-64 claimed participation by 525 buildings and 50,000 inhabitants, making it the second largest rent strike in U.S. history. The New York University Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) chapter and a small organization called the Northern Students Movement began this massive struggle by organizing six buildings on the Lower East Side to withhold rent.29
What began on this small level grew at an extremely rapid pace because it used already existing organizations to multiply the number of activists and participants. The strike drew on the momentum generated by the burgeoning Civil Rights movement after the March on Washington in the summer of 1963. According to Ronald Lawson, the Civil Rights movement "not only allowed Jesse Gray to find response to his organizing among Harlem's tenants (he worked with them with little success for ten years prior to that), but it also prepared third parties to enter as `conscience constituents`."30 Fifteen Harlem organizations joined a coordinating committee initiated by the Community Council on Housing in early December, and many others aided in an unofficial capacity. They included block associations, church groups, Democratic Party clubs, the local NAACP, local CORE chapters, and a labor union (Local 1199 of the Drug and Hospital Workers), all of which publicized the movement in their communities. The Harlem, Downtown, Columbia, Bronx, and East River CORE chapters went further and "dropped their reformist approach" to become involved in the actual organization of rent strikes in their districts.31
At a meeting in January 1964, a broad and cross-cultural coalition calling itself the Lower East Side Rent Strike formed to help spread and provide support for the movement.32 The height of excitement occurred at a January 11 mass meeting attended by 800 people and composed of Harlem tenants and representatives of almost every Civil Rights group and tenants' organization in the city. Prominent speakers included James Baldwin, William Fitts Ryan, and John Lewis. The rent strike first found its support in the Civil Rights movement and then in housing clinics, which had previously concentrated on isolated buildings.33 Mark Nalson identified several factors that led to success in New York City during 1963-64:
There were three main qualities of the rent strike that contributed to its political effectiveness. First, its size. The larger the rent strike grew, the more politicians perceived in it a threat to the public order, or the danger of a broadly based radical movement arising to undermine established political relationships. Second, militancy. The more the rent strike broke laws, or massed large numbers of people together in volatile situations, the more politicians felt the danger of a contagion of civil disorder to other groups and other issues - a breakdown of the peaceful "rules of the game" in which they were used to operating. Third, rapport between leaders and followers. The more stable the movement's organization was, and the more closely its participants were linked to its leaders, the more politicians grew afraid that agitation would be lengthy and would spread to other issues when the rent strike ended.34
Size is the first important aspect of successful movements mentioned by Naison; it plays a role in the other factors mentioned, militancy and rapport between leaders and followers. The addition of new elements from different communities provides the critical mass needed for success. During the St. Louis public housing rent strike of 1969, community support for tenants tipped the balance in their favor and helped win the strike. On February 1, 1969, with 700 rent strike pledges out of 1,300 tenants, the strike against rent increases began in only one housing project. Seven other projects rapidly joined; at the peak, 35 to 40% of St. Louis' 8,000 public housing tenants participated.
Meanwhile, tenants held demonstrations, gained allies, and sent delegations to government authorities. Like the New York City strike of 1963-64, the tenants used their strong ties to the local Black community to gain massive support. Many organizations and individuals lent a hand, including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Black Coalition, CORE, Action, the Zulu 1200s, the Black Liberators, and African American politicians, churches, fraternities, and sororities. Primarily white groups also supported the strike, including church groups, politicians, the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the National Tenants Organization, and the New Democratic Party.
When the 58,000-member Joint Council 13 of the Teamsters union met with the strikers in October, endorsed their demands, and organized the Civil Alliance for Housing with 70 members from the ranks of religious, labor, civic, tenant, and business groups, the strike reached critical mass. The alliance supplied the necessary political weight in a meeting with the mayor and other city officials to gain concessions. Three weeks after the discussions on October 29, officials signed an agreement that conceded most tenant demands, including rent reductions for all (to as low as 25% of income for welfare recipients), a new five-member housing authority (two of them tenants, the other three sympathetic to the strike), a program to advance tenants into project management, and a Tenant Affairs Board with one elected representative from each project to hear grievances and set policy.
Two months later, Congress passed the Brooke amendment to the 1969 Housing Act. It provided federal subsidies to reduce rents for public housing tenants across the nation. In addition to Black ghetto riots and the massive Civil Rights, anti-war, and countercultural movements, the St. Louis strike pushed Congress to pass the Brooke amendment.35
Many of the most famous land occupations had only a few hundred visible participants but, in fact, utilized massive support structures. Without these structures, most large land occupations would find it difficult to maintain themselves against repressive forces. At Wounded Knee in 1973, the American Indian Movement (AIM) received a steady flow of material goods, people, and written support from groups across the United States. According to the police historian of the occupation, Ronald Dewing, "Demonstrations, speeches, telegrams, letters, editorials, and the like urging the government to use restraint blossomed forth from an imposing number of sources in North America and even Western Europe."36 These sources included 21 different socialist, prisoner aid, African American, peace, and Asian American groups across the United States.37 On just one day, the FBI recorded the following numbers of people at demonstrations: Cleveland, 25; Tulsa, 150; Los Angeles, 300-500; Buffalo, 125-150; Milwaukee, 150; Eugene, 25; Salt Lake City, 120; Seattle, 200; Las Vegas, 30; Shawnee, 23; Sioux City, 3540; and San Antonio, 150.38 When Dennis Banks and Russell Means went to trial after the occupation in 1974, supporters held further rallies across the nation, including one in Philadelphia that featured speakers from the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and the United Farm Workers.39
Organizations that actually helped occupy Wounded Knee included members from 64 different Native American tribes;40 the Black Panthers; the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (Angela Davis and Stokely Carmichael visited the area); Vietnam Veterans Against the War; and Venceremos, a Cuban support group. The Asian Movement for Military Outreach (AMMO), a Japanese-American antiVietnam War group, delivered 5,000 rounds of assorted ammunition.41
It is chilling that the FBI should have assembled such an exhaustive list of organizations that supported the occupiers at Wounded Knee, but it shows how diverse movements can identify their interests with an occupation by a relatively small number of people. Chicanas and Chicanos devoted themselves with particular ardor at the Wounded Knee occupation. The Alianza Federal de Mercedes from New Mexico and the newspaper El Grito del None both sent representatives. An article in La Raza Magazine stated that "Chicanos all over the Southwest who have a knowledge of their own history and their cultural ties with Indians (not to mention their identity with the oppression suffered by these class allies) have manifested support for the Indians at Wounded Knee." A Chicano named Gra ciano Jauregui was killed by police on his way to the occupation, and the Chicano medic Rocky Madrid was grazed by a federal bullet at the site.42
People from a wide variety of backgrounds supported Wounded Knee because they saw their own oppression addressed by the struggle. An Asian American group called the Manzanar Committee compared the repression of the occupation to the relocation of Japanese-Americans during World War II. It noted that the struggles surrounding Manzanar and Wounded Knee symbolized the many oppressions of Native Americans, Asian Americans, African Americans, Chicanos, Latinos, women, and "other oppressed people here and around the world." Comparing the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II with the methods of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Manzanar Committee noticed that the federal policies and even the federal personnel were sometimes the same.
Today, the person in charge of the BIA is the same person who was in charge of the "relocation centers" for Japanese during World War II. He must know, as we do, that it doesn't matter whether you call it a reservation or a "relocation center," it is in reality, a concentration camp. And today, we must realize that Manzanar is, right this minute, our Wounded Knee. If we support one, we must support the other. It is the SAME STRUGGLE WITH MANY FRONTS.43
Leaders of the Wounded Knee occupation, in an organization called the Independent Oglala Nation, encouraged cross-cultural coalition by including Native Americans of other tribes, Chicanos, African Americans, Asians, and whites as citizens. They granted three different kinds of citizenship to all Wounded Knee occupiers: Oglala citizenship, dual citizenship for Indians of other tribes (including Chicanos), and naturalization for non-Indians.44 Had the occupation succeeded in resisting eviction, a multi-ethnic institution might have emerged. Coalition molds the settlement reached and conditions the new type of social organization that it creates. When multicultural coalition succeeds, it can create multicultural solutions.
At another occupation, a multi-ethnic community did emerge. In 1968, the U.S. Army abandoned a communications center in Davis, California. About 75 Chicanos and Native Americans (many of whom had come from Alcatraz) occupied the building on November 3, 1970. After several rounds of eviction and reoccupation, the government legalized the occupation, and it became known as the Deganawidah-Quetzal (D-Q) University, especially oriented toward both Indian and Chicano studies.45
Those who occupy land, such as the D-Q University or Wounded Knee, receive broad community support because, by risking imprisonment or even their lives, they demonstrate commitment to something bigger than themselves. Several years before Wounded Knee, at the Pit River Tribe's occupation of Lassen National Forest in 1970, tribal vice-chair Ross Montgomery explained the altruism of direct action: "Our fight is not just for the Pit River people, but for all people. What we're fighting for here is the life of the little people."46 Much of the best direct action is based on such broad altruistic sentiments, inspiring others to lend support, identify with movement goals, and join the campaign.
In large coalitions, this concept of a fight for all can help overcome the differences between component movements. Each sees its own goal woven into one direct action. In the early 1980s, an expanding military base threatened farmers in Larzac, France, with eviction from 5,600 hectares of land. The army had begun eminent domain proceedings to remove this entire farming community. To resist, the farmers organized demonstrations of up to 100,000 people. Activists in attendance represented an unpredictable mixture of peace, environmental, left-wing, worker, religious, political, Breton, Basque, and even conservative forces.47 Farmer Léon Maille said in an interview:
All types of struggle meet together on the Larzac. There are the ecologists who see the Larzac as a land which is rather clean, unpolluted, and which has an original character, rather beautiful. This is why there are ecologists who are not at all anti-militarist but who defend the Larzac nevertheless. There are many people who do not agree with each other ... but who are in agreement over the Larzac because each recognizes the Larzac struggle as representing in part their own ideas .... This is why on demonstrations you are likely to find Religious Sisters, for example, side by side with leftwingers, communists.48
The normally parochial Larzac farmers even got international support. In many instances, land and housing struggles have crossed borders to form international alliances. Activists in the Sanrizuka farmer struggle against the building of the Tokyo International Airport, which began during the Vietnam War, envisioned themselves in a common fight against "the same octopus" with anti-imperialist movements that addressed land issues, such as the Vietnamese guerrillas, the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Black Panthers, and land movements against military bases in Okinawa.49 In 1981, a member of Sanrizuka visited the Larzac farmers' movement in France, which in turn sent a contingent to Sanrizuka in 1982.50
The Larzac struggle, Wounded Knee occupation, and St. Louis rent strike of 1969 show how successful activists garner support from many sources to strengthen their movements. Movements grow the largest and win the biggest concessions when they form coalitions with the broadest interests possible. Activists must constantly look in not only the most likely communities of support, but also the most unlikely. Between riots at People's Park in 1969, demonstrators distributed leaflets addressed directly to the National Guard. "We really can't offer you an easy way out, you have families and jobs to protect. But when you go home think what it means, as those of us who were in 'Nam or some other place wondered why we had to burn that village down, or shoot that peasant woman in the back. Think about it."51
Former military personnel active in the fight for People's Park counseled demonstrators that many in the National Guard felt sympathetic to movement goals. "When a man in the National Guard wishes you `good luck,"' wrote one person in the People's Park Outcry, "when he flashes you the `V,' and especially when he raises his fist, he means it. He means it because he is in a regimented situation not of his own choosing." The writer instructed demonstrators to offer discussion to small groups of soldiers with no superior officers around or in recreation areas the National Guard frequented. The writer pointed out that the individuality of demonstrators contradicted the stereotypes erected by the media and officers to condition the troops, and should be used to clear avenues of communication.52
These tactics seemed to have some success, for the National Guard command felt the need to counter these philosophical assaults by periodically shifting Guard units. The leadership hoped to counterbalance the growing inclination to disobey orders, which actually took place on several occasions. One off-duty guardsman was shot while demonstrating, the same day his unit called him to duty, and, on May 18, an entire unit of Guardsmen refused an order to put on their gas-masks.53
An even more unlikely coalition formed in the spring of 1986, when a small-town Georgia bank and rural sheriff attempted to evict Oscar Lorick, an African American farmer. Because he was unable to repay his mortgage, like so many other American farmers in the mid-'80s, the bank had begun foreclosure on Lorick's land near Cochran, Georgia. "They didn't want a colored man to have anything," said Lorick.54 The case garnered national media attention, with a full article in People magazine. What made this episode so different from other Black farm foreclosures was that a group of Posse Comitatus/Christian Identity-style racists offered to defend the property and held several meetings with Lorick. According to James Coates, a historian of right-wing militants, "Other than the fact that he was a Black man, Lorick was in a fix identical to that of so many heartlanders who have adopted the Posse Comitatus/Christian Identity solution to their woes." Larry Humphreys, who was running for Congress on a "Republican/Populist" platform at the time and who had called on banks to declare a "land Sabbath," gathered 50 of his Posse Comitatus/Christian Identity followers. Wearing camouflage clothing and outfitted with semiautomatic weapons, the small militia staked themselves out at the farm, which they covered with anti-Semitic posters denouncing the "Zionist Occupation Government."
When the sheriff arrived with a badly outnumbered contingent of deputies, Humphreys' group began firing their semiautomatics into Lorick's haystack to dramatize their firepower. One of the shooters declared, "We won't fire until fired upon, but if we are fired upon, heaven help the men on the other side." The sheriff and his deputies left the farm without serving papers, and that evening the lawman held a press conference to announce that a deal had been made between Lorick and the bank to allow the embattled farmer more time to raise money to pay off the loan.55
It may be that Humphreys used the plight of Lorick to pursue his own antiSemitic agenda and garner positive media attention. According to Dave Ostendorf, who was the executive director during the '80s of PrairieFire (sic) Rural Action, a nonviolent direct action group dedicated to defending family farmers from eviction, the Posse Comitatus in this case used Lorick to "foment their peculiar antiSemitic and anti-government views." The Posse Comitatus was much more active in these radical right issues than in farm issues, though the desperation of the farm crisis strengthened its organization.56
Despite their politics, Lorick remained grateful and retained a good opinion of the group that defended his farm. "They came and helped me to keep my farm, and I appreciated it. I asked them for help, because when you are just one person, whether you are right or wrong, there is nothing you can do .... They were up for the right thing. They said I was being mistreated." This unlikely coalition illustrates the benefits of seeking support wherever available. Lorick remains on his farm to this day.
The left in the United States needs to think deeply about ways to eradicate the racism of right-wing militants, but it must also provide an alternative. Rightwing militancy often springs from real grievances understandable to progressives. For several months in 1996, the "Freemen" standoff in Montana dominated the news. The media focused on the group's racist, anti-government, Biblically based philosophies, but rarely covered the bank foreclosure that started the actual conflict. Ralph Clark, the leader of the Freemen, lived on his ranch for 20 years, a ranch that his family had owned since 1913. But hard times hit the homestead several years in a row. In 1979, interest rates had risen to 21%, a drought struck in 1980, hail flattened Clark's wheat and barley crops in 1981, and in 1982, when Clark was unable to continue making payments on his mortgage, the Farmers Home Administration recalled his entire debt of $825,000. Over the next ten years, Clark labored to keep the farm through litigation and federal subsidies, but it was sold for $50,000 in 1994 to an out-of-state bank, which re-sold the property the very next year for $493,000. In 1996, Clark refused to leave the farm, and an 81 day armed stand-off with the FBI began.57
However racist they may be, many radical right movements in rural areas of the United States have similar reasonable grievances and similarly provide militant support for farmers who have exhausted legal channels to save their farms. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, more than 800 militant racist groups operate in all 50 states. To keep these groups from embedding their racism even deeper into rural America, progressive urban groups need to understand, support, and form coalitions with progressive rural groups such as PrairieFire.
Like Lorick, every member of a farmer, tenant, or landless group will have several connections to the community around them. By approaching these groups, they expand the action and increase participation. The rest of this chapter details some of the more progressive sources of support for land and housing movements.
Labor unions have for a long time had symbiotic relations with tenant and landless groups. In Mexico, according to Saiz Ramirez' El Movimiento Urbano Popular en Mexico, the neighborhood organizations "accompany almost systematically in the city the independent workers', peasants', and teachers' marches, making class consciousness grow in the process."58 The fact that most low-paid workers also rent - and that most renters get low wages - places renters and low-paid workers in coalition simply because the two groups are largely one and the same.
The direct action tactics of the two movements - the labor strike and squatting or rent strikes - complement their common goal to improve members' living standards. The Cambridge Tenants Organizing Committee published the following in 1972 during their rent strike:
We see our stand as part of a fundamental struggle among classes in our society, not as an isolated fight .... The housing problem can never be solved by itself; in the final analysis it depends on the distribution of wealth in society.59
With a higher standard of living as the goal, rent strikers can see their adversary as the same one that labor unions fight. At a rally during the massive 1975-76 Co-op City rent strike in the Bronx, spokesperson Charles Rosen read a message of solidarity from the United Farm Workers in California. He then declared, "Everything is related .... It's the same struggle, the same fight, against the same people."60
A conceptual relation of land, housing, and labor struggles has provided the atmosphere in which many labor and rent strike movements give tactical support to each other. British rent strikes enjoy a history of successful coalition with trade unions, which often stage sympathy strikes in their work-places. During World War 1, crucial munitions workers in Glasgow walked off the job in support of a massive 1915 rent strike against rent increases. This formidable coalition forced the government, which worried about a possible shortage of ammunition and internal unrest during the war, to pass the first Rent Restriction Act, making the 1915 Glasgow rent strike the most famous in Great Britain's history.61
Holding sympathy strikes poses a large risk for unions. But when bosses have fired sympathy strikers, rent strikers can come to their aid. In October 1972, 24 workers from the Birds Eye frozen food factory in Kirkby, England, held a one-day strike to attend a demonstration against the Housing Finance Act rent increases. When they returned to work, management locked them out and suspended their contracts. Upon learning of this, rent-striking Kirkby children and mothers with baby carriages mounted a massive picket of the main gate, stopping production. Adverse media coverage and the prospect of a larger labor strike convinced the Birds Eye chairman to reinstate the workers.62
Activists can also marshal radical academics and intellectuals, an important source of support. The public expression of sympathy for squatters and rent strikers by academics serves to legitimize the struggle for the mainstream press and public and to provide a theoretical basis and tactical gameplan for further action.
Classical Marxists denigrated squatting and tenant drives for owner-occupation as a historical regression to individualized production. They favored labor strikes and the capture of state power, which they saw as promoting a communitarian ideal.63 But recent developments in academia show support for more diverse types of class action. In the last 20 years, many intellectuals have become more willing and even excited about supporting land and housing struggles. The Soviet, postcolonial nationalist, and SocialDemocratic nations have disillusioned many with the state as sole tool for the radical redistribution of property. In Africa, the Lancaster House Agreement that preceded Zimbabwe's independence in 1980 forced the nationalists to abandon plans for land redistribution. Margaret Dongo, a former guerrilla and the only independent member of Zimbabwe's parliament, said in May 1996, "We didn't fight to remove white skin. We fought discrimination against Blacks in land distribution, education, employment. If we are being exploited again by our Black leaders, then what did we fight for?"64 In postapartheid South Africa, as well, amid growing African National Congress support for business interests and the consequent rallying of the South African stock market, radical economists doubt the likelihood of anything but surface change in owner ship patterns.65 Third World revolutions in other countries face similar problems. "Illusions about the state as the tribune of the people have faded," writes Muto Ichiyo of the Pacific-Asia Resource Center in Tokyo. "Almost all Third World states - including China - have made a definite shift to the position of promoter of the logic of multinational capital and mediator of capital globalization within their own territories."66
The rejection of the state as a tool of social change by many academics has precipitated a rediscovery of social movements such as squatting and rent strikes. `The forms of organization built on the dominant `traditional' conception of power (powerstate) are doomed to lose a good part of their legitimacy as the peoples come to appreciate the nature of the conservative state," writes Samir Amin in his essay "Social Movements in the Periphery: An End to National Liberation?" He continues, "Conversely, the forms of organizations that stress the many-sided social content of the power that has to be developed should experience growing successes."67 In other words, social movements (like rent strikes and land occupations) that stress the many-sidedness of power are likely to establish justice where the conservative state cannot. Amin and his co-authors write in the introduction to Transforming the Revolution: Social Movements and the World System, "we have written this book today on the antisystemic, social, popular movements because we believe that today these movements represent the key lever, and even the key locus, of social transformation."68
No longer do radical academics uncategorically condemn landless peasant agitation for land ownership or workers' movements for housing rights as a distraction from the "primary struggle," as did Friedrich Engels and Karl Kautsky. Rather, the academic quest for new sources of social agitation, according to Frans Schuurman in his and Ton van Naerssen's book on squatting in the Third World, "has resulted in (re)discovering the new social movements, whereby the urban social movements in developed and underdeveloped countries alike are considered of prime interest."69 Activists can turn this interest into concrete support by building alliances that tap the substantial respect accorded to academics by other power elites and by utilizing the resources of the academy to educate people about the work of land and housing struggle.
The tremendous political power of religious ideology and organization has been used to persuade the media to publicize - and mobilize large numbers of people to lend support to - land and housing campaigns. Activists have used Hindu, Animist, Buddhist, Islamic, Christian, and Judaic theology as powerful additions to their other philosophical and tactical tools. Vinoba Bhave cited Hindu scripture to advance his Bodhgaya land movement; the Palestinians used Islamic fatwas in their resistance to dispossession; the Sanrizuka farmers in Japan formed coalitions with traditional Buddhist monks; and the Land and Freedom Army in Kenya made Animist oaths and gained the support of medicine men during the Mau Mau war.
In the Americas, progressive Christian organizations have formed the base from which many radical land and housing movements have grown. In Brazil, the Christian Base Communities formed by the Catholic Church during the '60s became one of the most radical segments of the country. They united poor people previously atomized from each other, enabling easier collective action. As soon as the poor formed organizations, they began taking militant action in their own interests.
Elvia Alvarado in Honduras described her Christian-inspired radicalization in Don't Be Afraid Gringo. The Catholic church organized programs for women in different communities, which the women themselves led. The church wanted them to distribute food and medicine to malnourished children, but the women began questioning the reasons children had no food in the first place. Alvarado and her campesina friends came to the conclusion that landowners, factory owners, and politicians exploited women and therefore caused children's malnutrition. When they began organizing on these issues, the church stopped funding the women's group. Participants then changed the group's name to the Federation of Campesina Women, or FEHMUC.
I worked many years with FEHMUC, setting up cooperatives, trying to raise women's income. But I still kept coming up against what I thought was our biggest obstacle: the fact that we campesinos didn't have any land; some families had small plots but not big enough to feed themselves. I felt that without land we'd never get out of our poverty. I also knew some of the other campesino organizations, the ones the men were in, were trying to regain land for the poor. I decided to join the UNC [the National Campesino Union] and later the CNTC [National Congress of Rural Workers] so I could participate in the struggle for land.70
In Nicaragua, a similar process of radicalization developed in 1968. The bishops of Nicaragua started the Educational Center for Agrarian Advancement (CEPA), envisioned as an organization for preachers and lay volunteers to teach farming skills to campesinos. Limited to disbursing technical expertise, the organization had no political agenda. But faced with maldistribution of land and the exploitation of laborers, many CEPA workers began teaching that poor people have a right to the land and organized land occupations. Some even became guerrillas in the Sandinista army.
Eventually, the Catholic hierarchy tried to restrict the activities of CEPA, which in the late 1970s ended its official affiliation with the church to become an independent Christian organization closely allied with the Sandinistas.71
From this mass radicalization in Latin America has grown liberation theology. Increasingly, churches are portraying the skewed distribution of land, once considered divinely ordained, as an injustice that the poor can alter through collective action.72 Elda Broilo has found the Bible an important tool in her organizing with the MST in Brazil:
There is a profound belief that the struggle is a divine project, that God intends that the land be taken from the landowners who hold it unjustly, and that it be returned to the people who work it so that it can give food, life, and dignity .... In Exodus, chapter 3, verses 7-10, God makes very clear that He has made a choice. "I have seen the oppression of the people, I have heard their cries, I know their suffering, and I have come down to liberate them, and to lead them to a fertile, and spacious land. Go! It is I who send you."73
Christian support does not come easily, as a strong trend in Christianity has supported landlords against tenants for hundreds of years. At least from Pius IX to Pius XII, papal social teaching laid a principal emphasis on the sanctity of private property and condemned expropriation without compensation. Radical Christian peasants refute this interpretation. Rigoberta Menchú, a former Guatemalan squatter and the winner of a Nobel Peace Prize, explains that, when she first joined the church, she believed the landlord interpretation of Christianity:
I thought God was up there and that he had a kingdom for the poor. But we realized that it is not God's will that we should live in suffering, that God did not give us that destiny, but that men on earth have imposed this suffering, poverty, misery and discrimination on us.74
Passages throughout the Bible support the argument against landlords, probably because of the oppressive agricultural practices used against the ancient Israelites. All land in theory belonged equally to all non-slave families of Israel, but in reality some families gained the upper hand. According to economic historians Herman Daly and John Cobb,
The maintenance of this widely distributed system of land rights proved extremely difficult, for some extended their holdings by buying up the neighbors' "inheritance," especially in times of crisis. Climaxing in the eighth century B.C.E., the urban elite turned agriculture from village subsistence to mono-cropping for export, forcing peasants to become day laborers on large estates instead of independent farmers. Much of the prophetic denunciation is directed against this violation of the covenant.75
During this period of what amounts to Biblical agribusiness in 730 B.C.E., Micah sets the tone with a critical verse against violent dispossession: "And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage" (Micah 2: 2). Amos must have spoken about similar landlords in 787 B.C.E., "that pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor" (Amos 2: 7). Biblical scholars have interpreted this statement to mean that landlords are not satisfied with their own land, but "desire even the dust which rests on the poor man's head."76
Ezekiel, likewise, in 587 B.C.E., praises security of tenure:
They shall be secure in their land; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bars of their yoke, and have delivered them out of the hand of those that made bondmen of them. And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the earth devour them; but they shall dwell securely and none shall make them afraid. (Ezekiel 34: 2728)
Isaiah concurs: "And my people shall abide in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places" (Isaiah 32: 18).
Several hundred years earlier, in 1490 B.C.E., Leviticus put form to these sentiments by providing for a periodic redistribution of all land and slaves in the Hebrew law. Every 50 years in the jubilee year, "Ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family" (Leviticus 25: 10). John Eagleson and Philip Scharper analyze the jubilee in The Radical Bible:
Behind the law concerning the jubilee year lies the conviction that God has bestowed the land and its riches on all the people. Each family had received a just portion in the partitioning of the land. But the original equality did not prevent in time the rise of inequality due to debt or reverses. The jubilee year was meant to re-establish equality of opportunity and to make a new beginning possible for all.77
Taking their cue from the Bible, many of the early Christian Fathers in Rome, including Clement of Alexandria, Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, and Saint Augustine, interpreted its meaning to be a denunciation of concentration of land ownership. In the context of severe absentee ownership by town-dwelling Roman landlords, Ambrose of Milan quotes Isaiah 5: 8 in this denunciation of eviction and call for common property: "How far, O ye rich, do you push your mad desires? `Shall ye alone dwell upon the earth?' Why do you cast out the fellow sharers of nature, and claim it all for yourselves? The earth was made in common for all .... Why do you arrogate to yourselves, ye rich, exclusive right to the soil?"78
One could even interpret writings by the Vatican Council II as advocating squatting: "God intended the earth and all that it contains for the use of every human being and people .... The right to have a share of earthly goods sufficient for oneself and one's family belongs to everyone .... If a person is in extreme necessity, he has the right to take from the riches of others what he himself needs."79
While the writings of some Christian authorities may justify squatting, very few have sanctioned the violent resistance that squatting often entails. After landowners destroyed Menchti's indigenous squatter community and tortured her father, along with others, she sought guidance from the Christian priests and nuns whom she respected.
Their religion told us it was a sin to kill while we were being killed .... I tried to get rid of my doubts by asking the nuns: "What would happen if we rose up against the rich?" The nuns tried to avoid the question. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but in any case no-one answered the question.80
Menchu's community answered the question themselves after studying the Bible. They found that the stories of Moses, Judith (who beheaded Holofernes), and David (the boy who defeated King Goliath) provided role models for everyone in the community to fight the landowners. "This gave us a vision, a stronger idea of how we Christians must defend ourselves. It made us think that a people could not be victorious without a just war."81
Pacifists and Anti-Nuclear Activists
In addition to Christians, pacifists and anti-militarists often support land and housing movements, especially those that are nonviolent. While promoting a decrease in the military budget, most pacifists also promote an increase in government spending on social services, such as housing. Pacifists and anti-militarists especially supported housing movements during the 1990s in the United States, when the fear of nuclear war had receded somewhat due to improved relations with Russia following the changes introduced by President Mikhail Gorbachev. In order to stage a demonstration of sufficient size, pacifists often had to think about how their agitation against nuclear weapons related to other social movements with strong membership bases. A similar diversification of issues followed the general decline of the movement for nuclear disarmament in England after the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963. According to nonviolence theorist April Carter, the Committee of 100 (the primary organizers of antinuclear civil disobedience in England in the early '60s)
began consciously to broaden its objectives to include action for radical social change at many levels - it undertook, for example, an early demonstration about the problem of homeless families .... In fact, some of the most active members of the Committee of 100 moved on to become prominent in the squatters' campaigns and in community organizing.82
The English squatting movement grew exponentially and achieved several successes in the late '60s and early '70s that formed the base of the massive London squatting movement of the '80s and '90s.83
Following the same trend in the United States, in June 1993, I marched in an action co-organized by Dignity Housing West, a homeless squatting organization, and the Livermore Conversion Project, an anti-nuclear weapons group. From the start the main slogan, "rake Action for Housing, Jobs, and a Nuclear-Free Future," broadcast the connection of nuclear weapons to affordable housing. The first day, demonstrators cut the locks from two vacant buildings in Oakland and housed homeless people. The next day, demonstrators blockaded the road to Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, one of the top designers of nuclear weaponry. By taking action, people wanted to redirect spending from nuclear weapons to human needs such as housing. Demands included a 50% cut in the military budget and "$50 billion to add 8 million units of permanent, affordable, nonprofit housing to the nation's housing stock."
By combining the aggressive and concerted direct action of housing activists with the public relations savvy and independent media sources of pacifists, both groups multiplied the possibility of success. In 1982, the Southeast Project on Human Needs and Peace, a coalition of the War Resisters League, the Southern Organizing Committee for Economic and Social Justice, and the Institute for Southern Studies, supported a rent strike over utility increases and maintenance problems by 450 families in a New Orleans public housing complex. By providing the strike with technical help, leadership training, and information that facilitated organizing, the coalition met their goal of linking peace and economic justice movements. After six months of rent strike, tenants won the right to negotiate with the landlord over utility costs and had maintenance work done on their apartments.84
Native American land struggles and anti-nuclear groups have particularly compelling reasons to coalesce, as Winona LaDuke and Ward Churchill have argued. Churchill writes in Struggle for the Land:
The key to a strategic vision for anti-nuclear activism is and has always been in finding ways to sever nuclear weapons and reactors from their roots. This means ... focusing everyone's primary energy and attention not on places like Seabrook and Diablo Canyon, inhabited though they may be by "important" population sectors (i.e., Euroamericans), but upon places peopled by "mere Indians": Key Lake and Cigar Lake in Canada, for example, or Navajo, Laguna, and a number of other reservations in the United States.85
Following the strategy of coalition between Native and anti-nuclear campaigns, Clergy and Laity Concerned wrote in 1985 of their intention to draw on the anti-nuclear movement to resist eviction of Native Americans from Big Mountain: "We expect to tap into the loose federation of nonviolent activists who have committed themselves to ending the proliferation of nuclear technology, which begins with uranium mining, and to opposing U.S. [military] intervention."86 Bringing their political weight to bear on new issues by concentrating on how peace and justice movements overlap, Clergy and Laity Concerned strengthened not only other movements, but the long-term viability of their own.
Nevada has seen the growth of another strong coalition between native and antinuclear interests. As opposition to the Cold War became less overt in the beginning of the '90s, activists who had focused on ending nuclear testing in Nevada 'increasingly entered into coalition with the Shoshone nation of Newe Segobia, other Native nations, and environmentalists in a bid for the return of land rights to the Shoshone. Shoshone direct action has focused on support of Carrie and Mary Dann, who since 1974 have fought against the Bureau of Land Management's attempt to start extracting grazing fees for land the Dann family has used for dozens of years. Because they refuse to pay fees, the Bureau has confiscated the Dann's livestock; in response, the Dann family and other nonviolent activists have disabled federal vehicles and nonviolently blocked cattle trucks. In one emergency action to keep police from driving away with 40 confiscated horses, Clifford Dann Soaked himself with gasoline, stood on his pick-up truck in the middle of the road, and threatened selfimmolation. To arrest him, federal police sprayed fire extinguishers on him before he could ignite the lighter. If the Shoshone can reassert land rights secured by the Treaty of Ruby Valley, they pledge to evict the U.S. Department of Energy, which tests nuclear weapons on the vast area of traditional land making up most of Nevada. Working together, both native land activists and anti-nuclear activists may achieve their separate, but interconnected, policy goals.
As the coalitions above suggest, native land activism, squatting, rent strikes, and anti-militarism are interconnected on multiple levels. Land ownership historically grew from violence, conquest, and militarism. If pacifists hope to combat militarism, they must also combat the glaring inequities that militarism is designed to perpetuate. To achieve pacifist goals, activists of all stripes will have to simultaneously work against militarism and for a fair international distribution of economic resources, including land and housing.
The concept of the nation, that modern motor of militarism, comes from a territorial consolidation of war. While land clearance depended on genocide and military force, Europeans organized this violence within the ideology of ownership. The expanding use of cartographic representation (the drawing of maps to represent land) subjected the world to European lines of property and nationhood. Maps are the technology necessary to expand the ideology of property from a small farm to the drawing of international boundaries, from the micro level of land ownership to the macro level of nationhood.
In its grossest forms, this expansion of inequitable property manifested itself when the Pope divided the world and continents between Portugal and Spain as spheres of influence, much like when the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 claimed Central and South America for the United States. In the case of Africa, extensive military invasion occurred only after the laying of a possessional gridwork embodied by the Berlin Conference (188485) and subsequent European treaties.87 Militarism created the conditions for this unequal territorial dominance of the world. To eradicate militarism and war, one must also eradicate its indispensable condition, the right to claim inequitable property by force both on an individual and a national level. Without the prospect of booty embodied by inequitable property, war is unworthy of the expense.
Other Land and Housing Campaigns
Perhaps the population that will ultimately provide the most solid support to any particular housing or land campaign is that of other similar campaigns. These campaigns will have the greatest commitment to the success of their neighbors, for when the government evicts one group or individual, it paves the way for the eviction of others. Likewise, when one campaign wins a victory, it provides a model and a precedent for the success of future struggles.
Along these lines, squatters have organized broad federations that encompass many different squatter settlements. Widespread squatting in Latin America began after postWorld War II industrialization and rural-to-urban migration. For decades, squatter movements remained largely isolated from each other, their struggles exclusively local. But from the late '60s in Puerto Rico, regional organizations such as the Committee for the Rescue of Land, the Movement of Rescatadores of the Western Zone, the Federation of Land Rescatadores, the Committee for Property Titles, and the Communal Union, Inc., formed spaces in which a fragmented squatter movement communicated, took collective measures for mutual defense, put pressure on municipalities for land titles and services, gave legal assistance, and promoted squatter participation in national electoral politics. The Communal Union organized a 66-day Washington, D.C., picket and overnight occupation beginning on May 14, 1975. The Communal Union condemned discrimination against the homeless and demanded that the governor of Puerto Rico drop eviction orders.88
Throughout Latin America, squatters became more militant, sophisticated, and effective when the depression of the '80s weakened the governments' capacity to repress. This allowed already existing local struggles to form powerful national and city-wide grass-roots coalitions. Squatter federations demonstrated in capitals, demanded the impeachment of presidents, and planned joint actions with national trade unions. Governments and political parties could no longer evict squatters without considering the political consequences and generalized unrest, and so began negotiated concessions in the form of land titles and public services.89
In Peru, broad squatter coalitions have had a particularly strong effect on national policy. Peru contains one of the most active squatter movements in the world, including 30% of the capital's 2 million inhabitants.90 In 1979, squatters tested their strength when conservative President Francisco Morales Bermudez abolished the independent juridical status of all settlements and rescinded recognition of their popularly elected governing organizations. Over popular disapproval, Bermudez replaced these with government appointees.
Squatter organizations from throughout the metropolitan area of Lima-Callao responded by forming the Federation of Young Towns and People's Settlements and the General Confederation of City-Dwellers of Peru. These organizations allowed squatters to lend strong support to the United Left political party and take a hand in national politics.91
Even in the Northern, rich nations, whose police have forced squatting underground and splintered it into fragments, squatting has become a mass movement that practices mutual aid and can have a powerful voice in local and national politics. Homeless, anarchist, and autonomia conferences frequently hold squatting workshops, and radical newspapers print articles on both the theory and practice of squatting. Several small magazines and newspapers specifically target ' squatters as an audience, including Philadelphia's Squat Beautiful, London's Squall, and New York City's Squatter Comics, The Shadow, and Piss Bucket. Squatter organizations, such as London's Advisory Service for Squatters and San Francisco's Homes Not Jails, provide legal, technical, and material support for squatters and the homeless generally. European squatters have often held a conference in Hamburg on New Year's Eve. The squatters of France are so organized that every major political party in the 1997 national elections had a plank in its platform addressing the issue.
Some squatter movements have affiliated with international organizations. The Movement of Landless Rural Workers in Brazil is a member of the Latin America Coordinating Group of Rural Organizations, as well as Via Campesina, a worldwide network of small farmers.92 These international groups play a supportive role for squatters and offer an already existing structure within which squatters organize pan-national movements.
Children in the Struggle
Chroniclers of struggle usually overlook the large population of young activists within land and housing campaigns. There is almost no mention of the role children play in land and housing struggle, but children's participation adds an entirely different dimension of dedication and passion to any movement.
In the Sanrizuka struggle against airport expansion onto farmer land in Tokyo, children played a crucial role. Along with the Dare to Die Brigade (composed of senior citizens), teenage boys and girls formed the Young Peasant Defense Committee, and grade-schoolers organized the Children's Unit. Young people took part in almost all the movement's activities, including underground tunnel occupations, battles with the riot police, and acts of chaining themselves to homes in the face of bulldozers. Outsiders criticized the Sanrizuka community for their "cruelty" in using children for political ends, but the children organized rebuttals in internationally publicized exchanges with their teachers and principals.93
The inclusion of young people in direct action dramatizes the most important reason that a community undertakes a struggle - to ensure a good life for future generations. Young people link the future to the present, and their participation in activism exemplifies the future struggling for its own liberation. Between 1977 and 1978, several hundred Maoris refused to vacate Bastion Point, a piece of land within the metropolitan area of Auckland, New Zealand. The land was declared inalienable and native-owned in 1869, but was subdivided by the government for sale in 1977. Along with other children, a 14-year-old Maori girl named Sharon participated in the occupation. She moved onto the land in her own cabin and changed schools to take a larger role in the struggle. Sharon told an interviewer several years later, "towards the end of the occupation, my uncle Alex encouraged a lot of the younger nieces, nephews, and cousins to become involved in the meetings. One night he coaxed me and another cousin to co-chair a meeting." Sharon also took part in the land marches and risked arrest. On the final eviction day, in 1978, she defied her mother and joined 222 other protestors who refused to leave and were forcefully evicted. "It was their land," said the mother, "and they felt strongly about it, too."94
Young people also squat on their own. The Homes Not Jails takeover of a federal building in San Francisco with homeless street teens was already discussed in chapter one. That occupation reflected the fact that a significant portion of squatters in the West are in their late teens, and many are runaways. Young people have very little economic or political power and, like others in a similar predica went, attempt to increase their power through direct action. In supporting these young people in their attempts to provide shelter for themselves, older activists offer support to one of the primary dispossessed classes of modern liberal democracies.
Double-Edged Swords: Using Mainstream Media
Land and housing struggles that succeed are those that persist in the face of repression, think creatively, take advantage of the media, choose vulnerable landowners, make their decisions democratically, mobilize the support of many different communities, and know the time to fight and the time to compromise. The more tactics and angles a movement tries and the more it struggles, the more likely is victory.
But even if they fail to gain their housing goals, direct action movements win other rewards. As with most activism, land and housing movements generate multiple benefits in addition to their primary goals, benefits that are sometimes more important than any single battle. Land and housing activists educate society, erode their own subservient attitudes; expand land and housing movements to other communities, and even give birth to completely new social movements that are not focused on land and housing.
Most land and housing movements want to educate society. News of squatting and rent strikes reach a general audience that may have formerly felt indifference or antipathy about the underlying issues of inequality. Most activists cannot use normal channels of publicity. Just as the relative poverty of most activists often precludes their use of electoral or judicial channels of social change, their inability to pay for advertisements, extensive mailings, sophisticated printing, or movie and video production often precludes their conventional exploitation of mass communications. In addition to acquiring land and housing, then, direct action usually aims at dramatizing the negative aspects of the current land distribution to such an extent that at least one form of cultural production, the news media, will disseminate activist viewpoints to the world.
The occupation of San Francisco's Alcatraz Island by Sioux Indians in 1964 included dissemination of information as an important goal. For four hours, the Sioux Indians occupied the island. They staked claims in accord with their 1868 treaty, a dramatization that they hoped would publicize the more than 600 other treaties with Native Americans broken by the United States and call attention to the excessively low U.S. offer of 47 cents an acre for lands stolen from Native Americans in California since the Gold Rush. The action garnered positive media coverage; as a result, according to Adam Fortunate Eagle, the interests of "Indian people in the Bay Area got much more public attention than they could have garnered with yet another protest meeting."95
Media coverage generally leads to the growth of direct action. Banner headlines and a high level of television reporting helped create the tremendous level of excitement necessary for the growth of the 1963-64 New York City rent strike. According to Jesse Gray, spokesperson for the Community Council on Housing, the number of rent-strike buildings rose from three in the beginning of November 1963 to 50 in December and 167 by the last day of the year. The number of buildings skyrocketed the next month to 300 buildings (with 30,000 inhabitants) on January 26, 1964, and 525 buildings on January 31, the peak of participation. With failure in the courts, however, media coverage turned against the strike and relegated it to the back pages. The New York Times printed no further articles on the front page after February 11. On February 26, Jesse Gray announced that only 519 buildings, six less than the month before, remained on strike, after which the figure continued to fall.96 The fall in rent strike activity was probably due primarily to courtroom failure, but can also be linked to the declining media coverage. While the media focuses on an issue, the issue seems to the public to be growing. That perception can, in turn, set the stage for actual growth.
Because all types of media have such a strong capacity to mobilize protest, activists have paid careful attention to the dynamics of media reporting. Certain types of land and housing direct action tend to gain more media attention than others. In a society obsessed with violence, the more physical conflict involved in an action, the more media coverage it is likely to attain. Jeffery Paige, who studied media reports of land occupations and other agrarian forms of resistance in Peru, Angola, and Vietnam between 1955 and 1970, said that newspapers do not report many events "unless there are substantial numbers of deaths, substantial property damage, or large numbers of participants."97 Before photographing the Homes Not Jails occupation of the Presidio I made advance offers to several media outlets, including the local San Francisco office of United Press International. I told the news editor who answered the phone about the nonviolent action, and he declined to see the photos. "If they aren't going to blow something up, we're not interested," he told me.
Things that blow up sell papers. When governments attempt to evict an occupation, the threat or show of force by activists creates a media spectacle. Because of the defensive nature of land and housing occupations, even when they use violent resistance, media attention usually brings political pressure against government repression. Often threats of resistance do not work, however, and the government actually arrives to execute its commands, punish dissenters, and evict the occupants. In these cases, the casualties can be quite severe.
Nevertheless, the issues activists wish to air get more coverage than they ever would if they submitted peacefully. The 1973 Wounded Knee occupation by AIM activists is the most widely known land occupation to take place in recent U.S. history. Participants demanded the ouster of assimilationist tribal chair Dick Wilson, sovereignty for the occupation, land rights, and adherence by the U.S. government to treaty obligations.
For 71 days, over 100 AIM activists defended themselves with gunfire from an exponentially larger force of U.S. marshals that literally surrounded Wounded Knee. This resulted in several injuries and the death of one occupier and one federal marshal. Over time, the extensive media coverage of the occupation, much of it positive, garnered the occupiers a good deal of support. A mid-March Harris Poll indicated that 93% of the U.S. population had heard of Wounded Knee, 51% sympathized with the ongoing takeover, 28% were undecided, and only 21% sympathized with the federal government.98
Mainstream media coverage poses problems, however, in that it tends to distort the demands and methods of the direct action. By concentrating on the violent nature of the conflict, the media plays on prejudices against the disenfranchised and hides the causes that brought the activists to confrontation in the first place. The details of weaponry and casualties rivet public attention to the detriment of almost every other issue. In Berlin, a squatter movement of the early '80s had established 180 houses by its peak in 1982. Over the next few years, squatters resisted repeated eviction attempts with street barricades, Molotov cocktails, and slingshots. According to Werner Sewing, an academic peripherally involved in the movement, "When there is a demonstration a policeman will start chasing some people and then the whole thing erupts. Housing politics are then immediately shifted by the press into the issue of street violence."99
Mainstream media coverage also creates a problem in that it tends to portray the struggle with prefabricated ideas. When women lead, the media and scholars depict the movement as led by men. When nobody leads, the media gropes for spokespeople whom they can claim are leaders. News reporters elide instances of female leadership, using nongendered language that allows readers to assume activists are male, or concentrate on male spokespersons as leaders when women make the actual decisions behind the scenes. This was the case in the 1963-64 New York City rent strike, which the New York Times, Lipsky, and Naison portray as led by the spokesperson, Jesse Gray. "Though still known as the `Jesse Gray rent strike,' after the man who acted as spokesperson, it was actually run by two women," wrote Lawson and Barton. "Women also predominated on the citywide Strike Coordinating Committee."100
When the media has misrepresented land and housing direct action, activists have countered this bias by compensating accordingly. In 1992, when the Santa Cruz Union of the Homeless occupied land in California, we encouraged the more highprofile people to redirect reporters to quieter occupiers. In other struggles, when the media focused on the violence of an action to the detriment of issues, activists have downplayed tactical details and stressed the ideas and goals of the organization. By recognizing the media's bias and responding accordingly, activists have successfully publicized the real issues that fuel their movement. To avoid being swallowed by a sea of reporters who concentrate only on the spectacle of violence, for example, movements have concentrated on emphasizing their commitment to nonviolence.101
Erosion of Subservience
Important pyschological benefits of direct action are conscientización (becoming conscious), empowerment, and the erosion of subservience. Whenever a person breaks away from accepted structures of dominance, whenever she defies orders, her attitude and fundamental relationship with the world shifts. She peels away her own subservience and replaces it with self-reliance, pride, and a sense of agency. Even a thwarted campaign can have positive psychological and educational benefits. If participants lose hope for a particular tactic, at least they have become more realistic and may think of new, creative methods for social change.
Understanding themselves as holding power changes the way in which activists act toward the people they thought held power and the way in which they think about the concept of property. When squatters or rent strikers take action and defy orders, conventional attitudes of deference and submission to landowners and government officials wane. A Co-op City rent strike leader told the Village Voice of discussion dynamics at negotiating meetings with state officials and management:
That we have dared to sit across the table from them and dictate our terms to them as they have dictated to us, for that they'd like to cut out our hearts and eat them. They have uniformly ignored every proposal we have made. They treat us like garbage. Rabble. You should see them at those uptown meetings, you wouldn't believe the way they talk to us! But me, I don't take that shit from anyone, that's why the people here love me. I leaned across that negotiating table and I said, "My mother raised me to believe I was a prince of Israel. Who the fuck do you think you're talking to?"102
This cracking of the subservient veneer, an outward appearance that may have enveloped a person for years, can have an exhilarating effect. It gives demonstrators the psychological edge needed to win. Political scientist James Scott has called this process of breaking from the "hidden transcript" an important form of authentication through defiance.103 One person involved in a public housing rent mike in Newark during the early '70s attributed his dedication to an inner revolt against decades of discrimination. His statement shows direct action as a transformation of fearinduced passivity into liberatory agency:
I remember when I was a young man in the South. We couldn't talk to Mr. Charlie, much less protest against him or hold his money. So today, I'm trying to do all I couldn't do to him down South. I've waited 40 years for this day.104
Direct action breaks the bonds that bind people to legality and, on a broader level, causes a more general transformation in the community. It creates a reference point for people who identify with the activists, but have not yet taken the step of direct action themselves. It emboldens the general public by showing that at least some people refuse to cooperate with an exploitative system. Ward Churchill maintains that occupations on the Pine Ridge Reservation formed a "tremendously important point of departure for the general rebirth of American Indian pride, and an increasing Indian willingness to stand and attempt to (re)assert their broader rights to genuine self-determination."105 Thus not only does direct action attain land and housing, it also reinvigorates a sense of self and community. This inner strengthening provides a priceless psychological asset that paves the way for future direct action.
Encouraging Further Direct Action
The Chilean word for squatter settlement, callampas, means "fungus" in Spanish. Like fungus, squatters are certainly anathema to landlords and city planners who would make city living the sole prerogative of the rich. Callampas also conveys the image of uncontrolled growth and expansion. Direct action encourages direct action in a neverending and mutually reinforcing double helix that reaches toward the idea of a better society. Whether or not it applies to foreign affairs, the "domino effect" first invoked in 1954 by Eisenhower to warn against the spread of communism makes a good point about direct action.
When the media broadcasts successful land and housing direct action to a large audience, others are inspired to take action themselves. As in the formation of the Peruvian squatter settlement noted earlier, personal connections provide an important pool of individuals particularly amenable to suggestion from friends and family. Squatter settlements and rent strikes spread like wildfire when they succeed in their objectives. This expansion strengthens the particular land or housing movement because it provides a larger surface of resisters to diffuse the burden of repression. While a government can easily evict an individual squat or small settlement, it is more difficult to evict a national squatter movement composed of a dozen settlements that practice mutual aid.
The benefits of mutual aid make concerted efforts to expand the movement a worthwhile tactical goal. "We hoped that our action would spark off a squatting campaign on a mass scale," Ron Bailey wrote of the goals that motivated his London squatter group in 1968, "and that homeless people and slum dwellers would be inspired to squat in large numbers by small but successful actions."106
Beyond displaying their action as a good example for emulation, many land and housing activists transform their squatted houses or fields into a tangible source of support for others' struggles. While the obstruction of urban renewal formed the primary goal of the first squatters in West Germany during the early '70s, the squatted houses also "served as organizational bases for further squats" and rent strikes, according to Margit Mayer.107 In Brazil, during the early '90s, successful squatters tithed 8% of their production to support further land occupations. In addition to financial contributions, according to MST organizer Elda Broilo, "From each collective, someone is designated to do training on how to do land occupation resistance and technical training on up-to-date farming methods."108 Mutual aid makes sense for movements that want to win and ensure their gains for the future.
Whether or not a direct action community dedicates resources to the growth of other movements, the goal of expansion almost always succeeds when the general public can see an improvement in the living standards of activists. Here movements can use the self-interest of the public to everyone's advantage. In 1975, an extremely tight rental market plagued Ann Arbor, Michigan. Compared to a national average of 22%, tenants paid as much as 33% of their income as rent. With a vacancy rate of 0.46% (the U.S. President's Committee on Urban Housing in 1967 called anything below 3.5% unhealthy), landlords held near-monopoly power over tenants, depriving them of alternative housing choices and keeping rents extraordinarily high.109
On December 1, tenants struck back, targeting one of Ann Arbor's largest landlords, R. Dewey Black of Trony-Sunrise Associates. By the end of the four month strike, tenants in over half of Black's 120 units had joined the strike and withheld a total of $40,000. They won a one-month rent abatement for all Ann Arbor Tenants Union members, no rent increase for those whore-rented, an 8% maximum rent increase for new tenants in 1977, maintenance repairs, rights to use rent money to contract for future repairs when managers were negligent, and a collective bargaining agreement with the Ann Arbor Tenant Union as the sole agent for all tenants. News of the Trony-Sunrise success spread quickly, encouraging about 50 other tenants in Ann Arbor to strike as well.110
On the same date that the Ann Arbor strike began (December 1, 1975), nine families ignited a huge public housing strike about 20 miles away in Detroit. Within ten months, it had spread to every one of the seven Detroit housing projects, growing at a rate of 30 to 40 apartments per day. Tenants complained of broken windows, leaky siding, flooding, bad plumbing, mildew, cockroaches, rats, and rent increases. Tenants quickly squelched the housing authority's recourse to eviction by organizing physical resistance to four or five attempts. Shortly thereafter, court rulings won rent reductions of 25 to 35%.111
The principle of rent strike expansion closely minors that of squatter expansion. When squatter settlements succeed, they encourage rapid growth through the addition of new squatter families. A settlement called George Compound in Lusaka, Zambia, began in 1957 after an owner of an eight-hectare plot allowed migrant families to build dwellings for a small payment of rent. Through invasions of surrounding private land, the settlement grew to an area of 250 hectares, with a population of 56,000, by 1976. Likewise, in Bogotá, Colombia, a group of families affiliated with a leftist political party invaded a public park to create Las Colinas in 1976. After successfully squatting their land, the population doubled in ten years.
Successful squatter settlements also encourage the creation of completely new settlements. The government of Sumatra conferred legal status on all squatters already occupying land in 1954. The section that called for the removal of those who took land after the law went into effect had little impact, so a wave of new squatters took over estates in 1956. Within just a few years, in the late '50s, the government had lost control of the squatter movement to such a degree that even the most powerful property owners' organizations held little sway. Changing agricultural techniques on squatted estates revealed the success of the movement. Permanent irrigation systems were installed on formerly dry farms.112
In Yugoslavia, squatters' successful evasion of repression in the early '70s encouraged the movement to balloon. Repressive legislation went largely unenforced, and the government instead undertook social welfare measures. Faced with political difficulties and a lack of alternative housing, the government could not implement its plans for massive demolition except for road construction and in some of the poorest shantytowns. Even so, evictions engendered strong organization and militant tactics by squatters, friends, neighbors, and sometimes even the demolition workers. Widespread public support for squatters substantially frustrated government goals. While the government targeted a total of 39% of illegally constructed dwellings for demolition in 1972, it actually demolished only 3%.113
Even when governments have successfully completed evictions, land and housing movements cause an increase of militant consciousness and thus in direct action. The 1964 occupation of Alcatraz served as the seed of inspiration for the influential "Indians of All Tribes" occupation in 1969. In turn, the second occupation inspired further movement. While U.S. government marshals eventually evicted Native Americans from Alcatraz in 1971, the Bay Area Native American Council and Richard Oakes, an Indians of All Tribes leader, maintain that the occupation gave Indians a public voice and formed a catalyst for other takeovers.114 Kirke Kickingbird and Karen Ducheneaux write of the 1969 Alcatraz occupation,
Its primary significance lay in awakening the Indian people, particularly the urban Indians, to what was happening on the national scene .... It gave birth to numerous other invasions of federal property in areas in which there was a desperate need by the local Indian people for services and programs. Most of all, Alcatraz gave birth to the idea among Indian people that no more Indian lands should be surrendered to the federal government. In this sense, Alcatraz became the most important event in the twentieth century for American Indian people.115
Even with the mellowing of history, the influence of Alcatraz continues to be felt. "We educated an entire country about Indian life," Fortunate Eagle wrote in 1993 at the end of his book on Alcatraz, "and the experience of the occupation educated many Indians who went on to become leaders and spokespeople in the Indian movement. The spirit and the lessons of Alcatraz became part of history and can never be lost."116
Diversification of Issues
Successful land and housing action expands not only land and housing movements, but social movements generally. Just as Christian organization of poor people for band-aid goals in Latin America quickly led to self-organization for more fundamental change, activists who struggle for egalitarian solutions on one level quickly see the power that organizing and resistance can have on other levels. This leads to new forms of resistance and the organization of new constituencies. Expansion of issues strengthens the support base for the original movement and also conditions the ultimate settlement.
The process of expansion into multiple issues begins with education. In interviews with several tenants who became active in the Co-op City rent strike in New York (1975-77), Marc Weiss found that the public's view of strikers as "radicals" and recurring contact of strikers with leftist organizers affected the politics of participants. "Ten years ago, I was a real flag-waver," said one resident. But as a result of strike participation, "[I] had discussions with people I never would have talked to otherwise. Before, whatever the government said was OK with me. Now I can understand the views of people who oppose it."117
As land and housing activists gain confidence in their ability to resist, they bring that confidence into other aspects of their lives. During rent strikes against the 1972 Housing Finance Act in England, women did the primary organizing after male politicians abandoned the cause; their new political voice strengthened their personal politics within the family. "Whatever the action women get inlved in, it always modifies, sometimes transforms, personal relationships at me," Cynthia Cockburn writes of the strike. "When they feel that they are in a struggle they share with other women, and that it is not just for themselves, they prepared to `take on' their husbands or menfolk in a way they would not otherwise do."118 According to one woman Cockburn interviewed, involvement in the tenants' association expanded her familial independence and assertiveness: "When Y.: you start getting involved, you find you're not a cabbage any more," Jan Kirk said: "You've got a mind and can do things. I don't think men like that idea."
The new-found political agency of individuals manifests itself in collective movements. Land struggles of peasants in Maharashtra, India, during the early '70s created the environment within which women organized on issues of drunk;, enness, wife-beating, and women's self-defense. Mira Savara and Sujatha Gothoskar write of women's changing response to the "first night" tradition, which allows a man of high status to demand sex from a betrothed woman before the consummation of her marriage.
In Piplod village, for example, the rich peasants had the right of the "first night." After the women began participating in the [land] struggle, they refused to be so used. Rape and sexual harassment of women by rich peasants and landlords had been regular occurrences. Now, the rapists were given an organized beating up, as in Kurangi village in 1973. The incidence of rape consequently declined.119
The birth of new movements actually strengthens land and housing struggle. ,Their diversification and the cross-networking of the organized population make it tremendously difficult to carry out repression with any lasting effect. Even when :"the government or landlords decimate a squatter movement, the other movements that squatters set in motion form the basis from which squatting can reappear. "By "the mid1970s in most German cities," Margit Mayer writes, squatting produced "a new political actor - a self-confident urban counterculture with its own infrastructure of newspapers, self-managed collectives and housing cooperatives, femiatist groups, and so on, which was prepared to intervene in local and broader politics." This new counterculture outlasted the West German squats of 1973'74 that had given birth to it. After the squats were evicted, the counterculture provided "an organizational basis for another massive [squatter] mobilization during the early 1980s."120
In addition to providing the impetus for resurrection, spin-off movements have an egalitarian effect on the land and housing struggle itself, which, like the rest of society, has its own internal hierarchies. The Bodhgaya land struggle in India began with a focus on land but started a separate women's movement that forced the land struggle to call for land redistribution in women's names.
From the beginning, discrimination against Bodhgaya women incited them to seek a separate forum for expression. Though women took a leading role in actions, walking in front at volatile demonstrations and doing the dangerous work of reaping crops against the commands of armed police, men often ignored issues of particular importance to women. In a founding conference attended by 48 men and only two women, the strategy and focus decided upon foreshadowed future gender conflicts. One active participant named Manimala says the meeting
concluded that it was enough to begin with a broad consensus that the focus of our organization would be the landless poor and their struggle for their rights over the land. The issue of women's exploitation was passed over. Since, in creating the organization and deciding on the main issues, we overlooked the specific nature of the exploitation of women, it was inevitable that both the organization and the struggle came to be dominated by men.121
Though the male-dominated conference recognized the need to lend women support in "their" struggle, the conference prioritized the issue of land. Other issues, the men said, would ultimately be linked to land, leading to a "movement for total change." Because the movement did not clearly and systematically analyze women's specific needs from the beginning, however, the land struggle became the struggle, with very little action on gender inequality and violence against women.122
In response to this stonewalling of their issues, women in the Bodhgaya land campaign organized themselves and began agitating against wife-beating, alcoholism, rape, wife-abandonment, and arranged marriages. Women activists showed the connections between these problems and the land concerns of the men. Drunkenness made land struggle meetings impossible to conduct when men arrived inebriated and talked nonsense. "If they free themselves from this cruelty and addiction to liquor and establish in their homes relationships based on justice and equality," wrote Manimala, "will this not strengthen them in their struggle against the Math [landowner]?"123
This solidarity of women on issues other than the land struggle provided the basis from which to demand the allocation of land to women. Though, at first, women's activism led some to think that it detracted from the land movement, in fact, it only broadened the land movement from one that demanded equality of land distribution among men to one that demanded equal distribution to women, as well. Thus thorough and consistent activists have viewed campaigns that branch off from land or housing movements not as adversarial, but as beneficial, especially to aims of an egalitarian distribution of land and housing.
As with the Bodhgaya struggle, land and housing campaigns have unintended benefits that equal, if not exceed, the stated goals. Campaigns educate society about hidden inequalities and the ways in which they can be overcome. Campaigns erode the culture of subservience that afflicts society as a whole. Campaigns encourage people, both on a societal and individual level, to free themselves of what are ultimately self-imposed psychological strictures. Campaigns, especially when they win concessions for participants, encourage other social movements to grow and expand movement goals beyond land and housing issues. Finally, when well-organized and intelligently orchestrated, campaigns prove that regular folks can join together and beat City Hall.
|Introduction | Homes Not Jails | Battling the Banana Baron | Philosophy to Squat By | Tell It to the Judge | Violence and Cycles of Reform | Tactics and Mobilization | Conclusion|
Chapter 6: Tactics and Mobilization
1. Tasker, Mary, and Woody Widrow. "Rent Strikers Withholding $25 Million:" Shelterforce, Mar. 1976, p. 1.
2. Sharp, Gene. Politics of Nonviolent Action. Boston: Porter Sargent, 1973.
3. Tautz, Carlos. "Republic of the Landless." New Internationalist, no. 285, Nov. 1996, pp. 12-13.
4. Tautz, pp. 12-13.
5. Epstein, Jack. "Land Grabbers Under Fire in Brazil." San Francisco Chronicle, 6/28/97, p. A12.
6. NACLA Report on the Americas, vol. 30, no. 3, Nov./Dec. 1996, p. 1.
7. Tautz, pp. 12-13.
8. Epstein, Jack, p. A10. Mendonqa, Maria Luisa. Interview with the author. San Francisco. 4/3/99. Mendonqa heads the Brazil Program at Global Exchange. She has worked with the MST since 1994 and is their primary United States contact.
9. Epstein, Jack, pp. A10, A12.
Keta, Miranda. "Rent Strike Battles Slumlords." People's World,
3/27/76, p. 4.
11. O'Malley, Jan. "The Housing Struggles of Two Women." In Women in the Community. Marjorie Mayo, ed. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977, pp. 52-60.
12. Cited in Tasker and Widrow, p. 1.
13. For a moving fictional account of reoccupation, see Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man (New York: Vintage, 1980), written in 1946. Chapter 13 portrays the eviction of an elderly African American grandmother, a former slave, from her Harlem apartment. Her neighbors spontaneously overcome the single policeman sent to evict her and return the elderly woman's belongings to the apartment. Also see chapter 25, in which several tenants torch their own tenement building during a riot because of the rotten conditions. "It's the only way to git [sic] rid of it, man ...." Ellison's brief accounts of tenant struggles in Harlem portray the emotional aspects of struggle more accurately than most nonfiction can approximate.
14. National Tenants Organization. "Rent Strikes." In Tenants and the Urban Housing Crisis. Stephan Burghardt, ed. Dexter, Michigan: New Press, 1972, p. 175.
15. Kickingbird, Kirke, and Karen Ducheneaux. One Hundred Million Acres. New York: Macmillan, 1973, pp. 216-218; Fortunate Eagle, Adam. Alcatraz' Alcatraz! The Indian Occupation of 1969-1971. Berkeley: Heyday Books, 1992, p. 147.
16. Branford, Sue, and Oriel Glock. The Last Frontier: Fighting Over Land in the Amazon. London: Zed, 1985, pp. 129-131.
17. Rider, Nick. "The Practice of Direct Action: The Barcelona Rent Strike of 1931. " In For Anarchism. David Goodway, ed. London: Roufledge, 1989, p. 95. Reoccupations also took place in the United States during the depression years of the '30s. Jeremy Brecher depicts one such reoccupation in the book Strike!, Revised and Updated Edition, Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1997, pp. 159-160.
18. Jain, Devaki. "India: A Condition Across Caste and Class." In Sisterhood Is Global: The International Women's Movement Anthology. Robin Morgan, ed. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press, 1984, p. 309.
19. Raine, George. "Protest Goes on Without Eviction." San Francisco Examiner, 12/27/95, p. A4.
20. New Internationalist, Nov. 1987
21. Carlessi, pp. 14-21.
22. Rocha, Jan. "Sao Paulo: Acting on Faith." NACLA Report on the Americas, Nov. 1989, pp. 36-37.
23. Rocha, p. 37.
24. Demon, Peter, and Nancy Holstrom. "Ann Arbor Rent Strike." International Socialist, Oct. 1969, p. 20; Vocations for Change, Mar. 1972; Neff, Kathie, and Maureen McDonald. "Rent Strike in Ann Arbor: How to Create a Housing Crisis." Detroit Sun, 12/3/75, pp. 6-7.
25. Tongue, Mousey. "Redekop Drops by Flop." Georgia Straight, 4/30/71, p. 2; Tugwell, Tony. "Rent Strike Helps Everybody." Georgia Straight, 6J11/71, p. 9; Tugwell, Tony."Wall Redekop Rent Strike." Georgia Straight, 6/18/71, p. 2; Tongue, Mousey. "22,000 Withheld: Rent Strike." Georgia Straight, 3/31/71, p. 3; Balaclava, Nigel. "Wall and Redekop is No Two-Bit Operation." Georgia Straight, 7/30/71, p. 2; Tenants Council. "Tenants Council Statement Re: Wall & Redekop." Georgia Straight, 8/20/71, p. 10.
26. "Housing Crimes Trial." Rat, 12/17/70, pp. 10-11.
27. For further discussion of the way in which campaign participants succeed through gaining allies from established sectors of their community, see Doug McAdam's discussion of "indigenous movement resources" in the context of African American organizing. McAdam, Doug, John D. McCarthy, and Mayer N. Zald, eds. Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements: Political Opportunities, Mobilizing Structures, and Cultural Framings. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
28. Mangin, William. "The Barriaca: A Case History from Peru." Anarchy, vol. 4, no. 1, Jan. 1964, p. 20.
29. Naison, Mark D. "The Rent Strikes in New York." In Tenants and the Urban Housing Crisis. Stephan Burghardt, ed. Dexter, Michigan: New Press, 1972, p. 19.
30. Lawson, Ronald, and Stephen E. Barton. "Sex Roles in Social Movements: A Case Study of the Tenant Movement in New York City." In Women and Social Protest. Gwida West and Rhoda Lois Blumberg, eds. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 383
31. Naison, pp. 21-22.
32. A diverse group of housing organizations attended the meeting, including the University Settlement Housing Clinic (housing clinics are tenant legal aid organizations), the East Side Tenants Council, the Educational Alliance Housing Clinic, the Presbyterian Church of the Crossroads Housing Clinic, the Downtown CORE Housing Committee, the Integrated Workers Housing Clinic, the Housing Clinic of the Council of Puerto Rican Organizations, the Stanton Housing Clinic, the Community House Tenants Association Housing Clinic, and the Negro Action Group. Lipsky, Michael. Protest in City Politics: Rent Strikes, Housing and the Power of the Poor. Chicago: Rand McNally & Company, 1970, p. 34, n. 8.
3. Naison, p. 23.
34. Naison, p. 33.
35. Thomas, Mary. "Unity Made the Point in St. Louis." People's World, 4/11/70, p. Ml 1.
36. Dewing, Rolland. Wounded Knee: The Meaning and Significance of the Second Incident. New York: Irvington Publishers, 1985, p. 145.
37. The demonstrating groups included Students for a Democratic Society, Socialist Workers Party, Workers World Party, Youth Against War and Fascism, Young Socialist Alliance, Progressive Labor Party, Republic of New Africa, National Committee for Defense of Political Prisoners, U.S. Committee to Aid the National Liberation Front, Medical Aid for Indochina, the Red Collective, the Black Workers Medical Committee for Human Rights, Pittsburgh Peace and Freedom Center, Kiva Club, Concerned Physicians for Wounded Knee, Committee for Asian American Action, and some prisoners at Attica.
38. Cited in Dewing.
39. Cook, John. "Nationwide Rallies Hit Wounded Knee Trial." Guardian, 3/13/74, p. 4.
40. Zimmerman, Bill. "Life in the Occupied Zone:" Akwesasne Notes, Spring 1977, pp. 11-14; Lyman, Stanley David. Wounded Knee 1973: A Personal Account. Floyd A. O'Neil, June K. Lyman, and Susan McKay, eds. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1993, p. 133.
41. Dewing, pp. 129, 167.
42. "American Indians Struggle to Survive." La Raza Magazine, vol. 1, no. 11, May (circa 1973), pp. 14-19.
34. La Raza Magazine, Jul. 1973.
44. El Grito del Norte, Apr. 1973.
45. Fortunate Eagle, p. 148.
46. Hurst, John. "The Pit River Story: A Century of Genocide." Akwesasne Notes, Mar. 1971, p. 44.
47. "Larzac: Bringing It All Back Home." Peace News, 1/19/73, p. 1.
48. "Small Farmers Against the Army." North Country Anvil, Jul. 1975, p. 46.
49. Rose, Jeanne. "How Peasants Rose up in Japan." El Grito del Norte, 12/7/70, pp. 19-20. The land movement in Okinawa, where U.S. military bases in Japan are concentrated, recently won a victory. After the rape of a sixth-grade girl by three U.S. servicemen caused huge protests and the refusal of small landowners to renew their leases to the United States, the United States agreed on April 12, 1996, to relinquish control of up to one-third of its land on the island. This small concession does little to change the U.S. military presence in Japan, however. The U.S. government will most likely redistribute its evicted military activity onto other Japanese bases (Kristof, Nicholas. "U.S. Will Return Base in Okinawa." New York Times, 4/13/96, p. Al).
50. Apter, David E., and Nagaya Sawa. Against the State: Politics and Social Protest in Japan. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984.
51. "Forgive Them, They Know Not What They Guard." Indianapolis Free Press, 5/30/69, p. 5.
52. "Forgive Them, They Know Not What They Guard."
53. "Forgive Them, They Know Not What They Guard."
54. All quotes from Oscar Lorick in this chapter are from a telephone interview conducted by the author on 4/6/98. Another radical right group of about a dozen people attempted to prevent a foreclosure of one of their farms in 1996. Led by Tom Prahl of Yellville, Arkansas, the group subscribes to Christian Identity views, as did the group that defended Lorick's farm. (Janofsky, Michael. "Home-Grown Courts Spring up as Judicial Arm of the Far Right." New York Times, 4/17/96, pp. A1, A14).
55. Coates, James. Armed and Dangerous: The Rise of the Survivalist Right. New York: Noonday Press, 1988, p. 155.
56. Ostendorf, Dave. Telephone interview with the author. 4/1/99.
57. Brooke, James. "Freeman Depended on Subsidies." New York Times, 4/30/96, p. A8.
58. Quoted in Camacho, Daniel. "Latin America: A Society in Motion." In New Social Movements in the South: Empowering People. Ponna Wignaraja, ed. London: Zed Books, 1993, p. 47.
59. Cambridge Tenants Organizing Committee. "Where We Stand." Vocations for Social Change, Mar. 1972, p. 26.
60. "New York City Tenants Rally in Support of Co-op City Strikers." Win, 3/4/76, p. 17.
61. Sklair, Leslie. "The Struggle Against the Housing Finance Act." Socialist Register 1975, p. 266.
62. "Kirby [sic] Rent Strikers Jailed for `Contempt."' Peace News, 12/14/73, p. 7. Sklair, p. 273
63. Engels, Frederick. The Housing Question. In Karl Marx and Frederick Engels: Collected Works, vol. 23. London: Lawrence and Wishart, pp. 317-391; Kautsky, Karl. The Agrarian Question. Pete Burgess, traps. London: Zwan Publications, 1988.
64. McNeil Jr., Donald G. "Zimbabwe Opposition: A One-Woman Tempest." New York Times, 5/13/96, p. A4.
65. Grovogui, Siba N'Zatioula. "The New World Order and Postcolonialism in Africa." In Global Visions: Beyond the New World Order. Jeremy Brecher, John Brown Childs, and Jill Cutler, eds. Boston: South End Press, 1993, p. 96; Seidman, Gay W. "Facing the New International Context of Development." In Brecher, et al., p. 181.
66. Ichiyo, Muto. "For an Alliance of Hope." In Brecher, et al., p. 157.
67. Arvin, Samir. "Social Movements in the Periphery: and End to National Liberation?" In Transforming the Revolution: Social Movements and the World System. Samir Arvin, et al, eds. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1990, p. 125.
68. Arvin, et al., p. 11.
69. Schuurman, Frans J., and Ton van Naerssen, eds. Urban Social Movements and the Third World. London: Routledge, 1989, p. 11. See also Burbach, Roger, Orlando Nunez, and Boris Kagarlitsky's Globalization and Its Discontents: The Rise of Postmodern Socialisms. London: Pluto Press, 1997.
70. Alvarado, Elvia. Don't Be Afraid Gringo: A Honduran Woman Speaks from the Heart. Medea Benjamin, traps. and ed. New York: Harper and Row, 1989, p. 17.
71. Collins, Joseph. Nicaragua: What Difference Could a Revolution Make? Food and Farming in the New Nicaragua. New York: Grove Press, 1986, p. 23-25.
72. Levine, Daniel H., and Scott Mainwaring. "Religion and Popular Protest in Latin America: Contrasting Experiences:" pp. 203-216. In Eckstein, Susan, ed. Power and Popular Protest: Latin American Social Movements. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989; Banck, Geert A., and Ana Maria Doimo. "Between Utopia and Strategy: A Case Study of a Brazilian Urban Social Movement" In Schuurman and van Naerssen, p. 131.
73. Broilo, Elda. Interview with the author. Santa Cruz, CA, 5/1/91.
74. Menchu, Rigoberta.1. Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala. New York: Verso, 1992, p. 132.
75. Daly, Herman, and John B. Cobb, Jr. For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy Toward the Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future. Boston: Beacon Press, 1989, pp. 102-103. For more information on the Bible and land, Daly and Cobb cite Martin L. Chaney's "Systematic Study of the Israelite Monarchy." In Social Scientific Criticism of the Hebrew Bible and Social World, Gottwald, N.K., ed., Semeia, vol. 37, pp. 53-76; See also, Walter Brueggemann, The Land. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977; Archer Torrey, The Land and Biblical Economics. New York: Henry George Institute, 1985.
76. Horton, cited in Verinder, Frederick. My Neighbor's Landmark. Cincinnati, OH: Joseph Fels Fund, 1917.
77. Eagleson, John, and Philip Scharper. The Radical Bible. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1972, pp. 17-18.
78. Ambrose of Milan, De Nabuthe Jezraelita (386 A.D.), cited in Charles Avila, Ownership: Early Christian Teaching. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1983.
79. The Church in the Modern World, no. 59. Cited in Eagleson and Scharper, p. 3.
80. Menchu, p. 121.
81. Menchu, p. 132. For further Christian arguments against land concentration, see Isaiah 62: 8-9, Isaiah 65: 21-22 Leviticus 25: 23, Psalms 115: 16; and Verinder. Also see quote by Saint John Chrysostom in Ramsay MacMullen's Corruption and the Decline of Rome (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988), p. 85. For interesting landlord arguments against squatters that draw from Christianity, see Juliao, Francisco. Cambdo: The Yoke. John Butt, trans. Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1972, p. 105.
82. Carter, April. Direct Action and Liberal Democracy. New York: Harper and Row, 1974, p. 66.
83. Bailey, Ron. The Squatters. Middlesex: Penguin, 1973, pp. 118-120, 154, 186.
84. "Rent Strike Backed by Peace and Civil Rights Coalition." Shelterforce, Feb. 1983, p. 4.
85. Churchill, Ward. Struggle for the Land: Indigenous Resistance to Genocide, Ecocide arid Expropriation in Contemporary North America. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1993, pp. 306-307. See also Churchill and LaDuke. "Native North America: The Political Economy of Radioactive Colonialism." In The State of Native America. M. Annette Jaimes, ed. (Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1992; Winona LaDuke. All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life (Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1999); Al Gedicks. New Resource Wars: Native and Environmental Struggles Against Multinational Corporations. (Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1993).
86. Clergy and Laity Concerned. "Big Mountain: We Shall Not Be Moved." Akwesasne Notes, Winter 1985, p. 7.
87. Boahen, A. Adu. African Perspectives on Colonialism. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1992, p. 33.
88. Cotto, Liliana. "The Rescate Movement: An Alternative Way of Doing Politics." In Colonial Dilemma: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Puerto Rico. Edwin Melendez and Edgardo Melendez, eds. Boston: South End Press, 1993.
89. Fox, Geoffrey. "The Homeless Organize." NACLA Report on the Americas, vol. 23, no. 4, Nov. 1989, p. 13.
90. Carlessi, p. 14.
91. Carlessi, p; i6.
92. Tautz, pp. 12-13.
93. Inglis, Jean. "Japanese Farmers Dig in under Proposed Airport." Liberated Guardian, 3/31/71, p. 24; "How Peasants Rose Up In Japan." El Grito del None, 12J7/70, pp. 19-20.; In 1966, the Japanese government attempted to use eminent domain against the Sanrizuka community of 1,500 farming families who lived 60 miles outside of Tokyo to build a new international airport. Farmers and tens of thousands of supporters waged militant demonstrations from 1966 until the late '70s, when most of the families were forcibly evicted or sold their farms under pressure. Construction of the Narita International Airport began, and one runway at the airport became operational in 1979. By 1997, it was the world's sixth-largest airport in terms of passenger traffic. During the '80s, militant demonstrations of up to 6,500 people stopped a second runway from being built on land owned by a handful of farmers who continued to resist. The government finally abandoned attempts to exercise eminent domain and has bought off many of the remaining farmers one by one with large cash settlements. Led by 75-year-old Koji Kitahara, a small group of steadfast farmers has refused to sell, and the second runway remains unbuilt (WuDunn, Sheryl. "Airfield Swallowing Potato Field, In Tiny Bites." New York Times, 8/26/97, p. A4).
94. Halkyard, Hilda. "Reclaiming Maori Land." Spare Rib, Feb. 1983, p. 8.
95. Fortunate Eagle, p. 16.
96. Lipsky, p. 74; Naison, p. 25. Lipsky refutes Gray's figures of rent strike participation on the basis of court records and interviews with reporters and "individuals with close connections to rent strike operations," implying that actual participation was one-third to one-fifth of that claimed in 1964. While Lipsky may or may not be correct, caution should be taken with the figures given by Gray. As Lipsky points out, inflated reports of rent strike participation is a strategy which, when taken as truth by the public, landlords, and city government, doubtless results in greater rent strike participation (Lipsky, pp. 73-80).
97. Paige, Jeffery M. Agrarian Revolution: Social Movements and Export Agriculture in the Underdeveloped World. New York: Free Press, 1975, pp. 88-89.
98. Dewing, P. 200.
99. Interviewed by John Ely. "Alternative Politics in West Germany." Our Generation, vol. 16, no. 2, Mar. 1984, p. 50.
100. Lawson, Ronald, and Stephen E. Barton. "Sex Roles in Social Movements: A Case Study of the Tenant Movement in New York City." In Women and Social Protest. Gwida West and Rhoda Lois Blumberg, eds. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 43.
101. For more on activism and the media, see Ryan, Charlotte. Prime Time Activism: Media Strategies for Grassroots Organizing. (Boston: South End Press, 1991).
102. Cited in Tasker and Widrow, p. 1.
103. Scott, James. Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990, p. 208.
104. Anonymous statement to the Liberation News Service, cited in City Star, 8/1/73.
105. Churchill, p. 388.
106. Bailey, p. 34.
107. Mayer, Margit. "The Career of Urban Social Movements in West Germany." In Mobilizing the Community. Local Politics in the Era of the Global City. Robert Fisher and Joseph Kung, eds. Urban Affairs Annual Review, vol. 41. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1993, p. 154.
108. Broilo, Elda. Interview with the author. Santa Cruz, CA, 5/1/91.
109. President's Committee on Urban Housing. United States Housing Needs 1968-1978. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1967, p. 24. Since the general fall in real incomes beginning in the early '70s, U.S. tenants have paid a much larger percentage of their incomes, on average, than did Ann Arbor tenants in 1975.
110. Neff, Kathie, and Maureen McDonald. "Rent Strike in Ann Arbor: How to Create a Housing Crisis." Sun, 12/3/75, pp. 6-7; Porter, Martin. "Rent Strike Spreads in Ann Arbor." Sun, 2/5/76, pp. 4-5; Porter, Martin. "Historic Settlement in A2 Rent Strike." Sun, 5/6/76, p. 3.
112. Stolen Laura Ann. Capitalism and Confrontation in Sumatra's Plantation Belt, 18701979. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985, p. 156.
113. Pleskovic, Boris. "Squatter Housing in Yugoslavia." In Spontaneous Shelter: International Perspectives and Prospects. Carl V. Patton, ed. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988, p. 285.
114. "Seize Land: Red Power on the Warpath." Ann Arbor Argus, 7/8/70, pp. 8-9; Dumas, Eleanor. "Richard Oakes Renews Cause in East; Saved by Medicine Men." Akwesasne Notes, vol. 2, no. 7, Nov. 1970, p. 18.
115. Kickingbird and Ducheneaux, p. 215.
116. Fortunate Eagle, p.151.
117. Weiss, Marc. "Co-op City Strike: People Changed." New Harbinger, vol. 4, no. 4, Winter 1978, p. 18.
118. Cockburn, Cynthia. "When Women Get Involved in Community Action." In Women in the Community. Marjorie Mayo, ed. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977, p. 64.
119. Savara, Mira, and Sujatha Gothoskar. "An Assertion of Womanpower: Organizing Landless Women in Maharashtra." In In Search of Answers: Indian Women's Voices from Manushi. Madhu Kishwar and Ruth Vanita, eds. London: Zed, 1985, pp. 134148. The "first night" was also practiced in some areas of feudal Europe, where lords demanded the jus primae noctis (right of the first night).
120. Mayer, pp. 154-155.
121. Manimala. "Zameen Kenkar? Jote Onkar! The Story of Women's Participation in the Bodhgaya Struggle:" In Kishwar and Vanita, pp. 149-176.
122. Manimala, p. 3.
123. Manimala, pp. 8, 10. For another example of land actions leading to women's growing political power, see Kumud Sharma's "Women in Struggle: A Case Study of the Chipko Movement" Samya Shako: A Journal of Women's Studies, vol. 1, no. 2, 1984, p. 61.