By Ramah Kudaimi for End The Occupation – Did you hear all the buzz around Airbnb, the online accommodation service, listing homes in illegal Israeli settlements for people to rent? There are 13,000 Airbnb listings in Israel, though investigations have revealed that many of the properties are actually located in settlements built on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank. By allowing users to list and rent these properties and taking 9-15% from hosts and guests, Airbnb is making money off of Israel’s continued military occupation of Palestinian land and helping facilitate settlement activity.
By Amanda Froelich for True Activist – There are many problems on this planet in need of remedy, two of which are plastic pollution and extreme poverty. Every year, enough plastic is thrown away to circle the globe four times. Much of this makes its way into the oceans (an estimated 10-20 tons) from landfills and continues to swirl in garbage patches, leaking toxins into the oceans and killing off wildlife that consumes it unsuspectingly. In addition, roughly 1.2 billion people now live in extreme poverty worldwide or subsist on less than $1.25 per day.
By David J. Bailey for The Conversation – The year 2011 is widely viewed as the peak of protest and dissent in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and the austerity agenda that followed it. It was the year of the Arab Spring, Occupy, UK Uncut, indignados, urban riots and anti-austerity and tuition fee protests – and in which Time magazine famously named “The Protester” as its person of the year. Yet in the UK, protests continue to occur at a rate rarely seen prior to the global economic crisis in 2008. Indeed, 2015 seems to have confirmed the suggestion, made at the beginning of the year, that 2011 was “really only just the beginning”.
By Staff of Yes Magazine – This short film directed by Flora Lichtman and Katherine Wells for the podcast The Adaptors takes you inside the Earthships of Taos, New Mexico—a community of off-grid homes made from trash. After studying architecture, Earthships creator Michael Reynolds decided he wanted to experiment with different materials. “We build out of trees, but we don’t want to get rid of them,” says Reynolds, explaining how the project began 30 years ago. “We want to get rid of garbage, so why don’t we try to build out of garbage? It started as kind of a contrived effort to recycle, and has ended up the best way I know of to build, regardless of recycling.”
By David Dayen for The Intercept – A Texas jury’s recent decision to award over $5 million in damages and fees for the fraudulent foreclosure of a single home suggests that the big banks could have been on the hook for as much as $32 trillion — before the Justice Department and state attorneys general settled for $25 billion, or less than one-tenth of a penny on the dollar. In the trial in Harris County district court, the jury awarded Houston foreclosure victim. Mary Ellen and David Wolf $5.38 million on November 6, on the grounds that Wells Fargo Bank and Carrington Mortgage Services knowingly submitted false documents to kick them out of their home.
By Peter Cole for Jstor Daily – In the 1960s, battles over racial equality and “urban renewal” ripped San Francisco apart. Beginning the decade prior, residents of the Fillmore, the only black-majority part of the city, suffered from a “slum clearance” program, labeled “Negro removal” by the legendary writer and activist James Baldwin. In response, a small but powerful labor union—the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union, or ILWU— attacked the city’s lack of affordable housing and pervasive residential segregation. In the heart of San Francisco, this union financed an integrated housing development for working-class people.
By Lexi Finnigan for The Telegraph – A group of 20 anti-capitalist squatters have taken over the former Royal Mint Building in protest over Britain’s homelessness problem. The squatters, wearing V for Vendetta masks and hanging out of windows, have set up camp in the grade II-listed Johnson Smirke building, in the City of London, and are refusing to leave. They claim they will only be removed when the owners of the building arrive with a High Court order. Some of the protesters have taken to the roof of the building while others have hung banners with messages such as ‘anticapitalista’, as well as adorning the walls with ‘End World Debt’ posters.
By Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. Baltimore, MD – Every year in Baltimore City, 6,000 to 7,000 renter households are judicially evicted for not paying the rent. These evictions result from a court system – known colloquially as “the Rent Court” – that is overwhelmed by landlord litigation, to the tune of 150,000 rent cases annually. The scale of this enduring crisis sets Baltimore apart from most rental housing markets in the nation. In fact, among metro areas studied in the 2013 American Housing Survey, Baltimore ranked second only to Detroit, Michigan, in the percentage of renters experiencing the threat of rent eviction.1 Many of these struggling renters feel that the public has tuned out their stories or flipped those stories against them.
By Anne Meador of DC Media Group. Washington, DC – Just as a cold front blew into town, a tent encampment was razed on Friday in a multi-agency effort to clear out the homeless from many areas around the District. Many people without other shelter have long occupied the space among the chaotic roadways and overpasses between Rock Creek Parkway, the Whitehurst Freeway, and K Street. A few days ago, the occupants were given notice to vacate the area, but few have anywhere to go. Many of the tents were disassembled without protest, while some camp residents vowed to defend their makeshift homes. A few advocates for the homeless arrived to witness the camp’s destruction, but they did not interfere.
By Ishmael N. Daro for BuzzFeed News, A co-founder of Idle No More, the grassroots indigenous rights movement, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to build homes in First Nations communities. Sylvia McAdam told CBC News she decided to act after seeing how dire the housing situation was in Big River First Nation in Saskatchewan, where she was born and raised. “You don’t realize what is in your own backyard until you go door-to-door and actually go visit the people in their own homes,” McAdam said. The campaign is called One House, Many Nations. Organizers are looking to raise $15,000 to build a log cabin on a Saskatchewan First Nation, with more campaigns planned to build more homes later.
By Staff of CBS News – Members of the advocacy group known as Idle No More have launched an initiative aimed at improving housing on First Nations reserves. The campaign — called One House, Many Nations — was announced Wednesday. It aims to provide assistance to people living in desperate housing conditions. “I was horrified to see the condition of many of the houses.”- Sylvia McAdam. Sylvia McAdam, one of the co-founders of Idle No More, said she was moved to address the issue after seeing some of the housing on her home community, the Big River First Nation, which about 120 kilometres northwest of Prince Albert.
By Staff for the Manchester Evening News – Homeless activists have promised to set up a ‘community hub’ for rough sleepers after occupying an empty building in Manchester city centre. The homeless rights campaigners have vowed to remain in the vacant office block on Charlotte Street for ‘months’ after taking it over last night. They say they are occupying the building to set up a hub where homeless people can go to get food, shelter and help to find accommodation and work. Claiming the legal right to occupy the building under squatter’s rights, they say they have been forced to act as the council are not doing enough for the city’s homeless. They also claim that members of the fire service have been to the building to assess that it is safe for them to stay in.
By Staff of Idle No More, “The story of Neeve Nutarariaq is heartwrenching. We cannot stand idly by – we have to take action on the issue of housing.” – Anna Lee-Popham, Idle No More organizer. Housing is a basic human right, one that should be readily available in a wealthy country such as Canada. However due to a series of past and present governmental policy decisions to move toward austerity rather than addressing the impacts of an ongoing housing crisis, federal and provincial governments have cut back on housing support, women’s shelters and other social programs that support families. As a result, Canada is experiencing a growing housing crisis that encompasses all people; it’s particularly affecting Indigenous women, two-spirit people and their families.
By Ashoka Jegroo for Waging Nonviolence – Hundreds of protesters in New York City took to the streets on September 17 in a variety of actions against racism, gentrification and police brutality. The day marked the fourth anniversary of Occupy Wall Street with actions taking place in at least three boroughs. “We had a day of action that was around racism, police brutality and anti-gentrification specifically because we needed to have a way to be very intersectional about all of what’s happening in our communities,” said Imani Henry, an organizer with Equality For Flatbush. “Gentrification is about landlords, corporations, the de Blasio administration, [Brooklyn Borough President] Eric Adams, and every borough president who is allowing developers into our neighborhood. It’s about community boards, re-zoning issues and struggles that we never ask for. And it’s also about the cops occupying our neighborhoods.”