David Harvey: Reclaiming The City From Kobane To Baltimore

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One of the big difficulties, I think, is going to be facing the existing property rights to a degree that the existing population can re-establish itself. They probably want to build their property rights in the way things were before, so they will get back to old-style urbanization, and that is maybe what will happen — in which case the question will be where the resources will come from. Still I think the opportunity exists to explore anti-capitalist alternatives. Whether this opportunity has been taken, I don’t know. But to the extent that Kurdish thinking has been influenced by somebody like Murray Bookchin, I think there is a possibility for the population to explore something different. I was told there are assembly-based forms of governance in place in Rojava, but I haven’t seen anything yet. I worry a little bit, you know, the left sometime has this romanticism. The Zapatistas said “revolution” and everybody got romantic about what they were doing.

Malcolm X, Gentrification & Housing As A Human Right

A girl walks by a mural featuring Malcolm X in New York City. (Photo: Tarnie)

Every day the Metropolitan Tenants Organization works with renters who are facing the negative effects of gentrification and other economic forces that threaten their housing. Thousands of low-income renters and homeowners are displaced every year by a property law system with misplaced priorities. As a society, we all pay when people are involuntarily displaced because of increased crime, skyrocketing medical costs and a failing educational system. It is imperative that as a nation we confront this housing crisis and ensure that everyone has a home. The insights of visionary Black leader Malcolm X, who would have been 90 this year, are key to the discussion around gentrification and housing. Malcolm X championed a new vision, reframing the character of the struggle for equality from civil rights to one of human rights.

Matt Taibbi: Why Baltimore Blew Up

As a visit to post-uprising Baltimore confirms, high-profile police murders are only part of the problem. Robert Stolarik/NYTimes/Redux  Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-baltimore-blew-up-20150526#ixzz3bLzgZOui  Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

When Baltimore exploded in protests a few weeks ago following the unexplained paddy-wagon death of a young African-American man named Freddie Gray, America responded the way it usually does in a race crisis: It changed the subject. Instead of using the incident to talk about a campaign of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of illegal searches and arrests across decades of discriminatory policing policies, the debate revolved around whether or not the teenagers who set fire to two West Baltimore CVS stores after Gray’s death were “thugs,” or merely wrongheaded criminals. From Eric Garner to Michael Brown to Akai Gurley to Tamir Rice to Walter Scott and now Freddie Gray, there have now been so many police killings of African-American men and boys in the past calendar year or so that it’s been easy for both the media and the political mainstream to sell us on the idea that the killings are the whole story.

The Recipe For A Municipal Movement

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Municipal Recipes is a documentary about how we’ve gotten to this point, where citizens from new political subjectivities are experimenting with organisational models in order to manage institutions. The documentary features people linked to various social movements and the new municipal “confluence platforms” that are taking root in Spain. They include: Gala Pin, from the Mortgage Victims Platform(PAH) and the municipal candidacy Barcelona En Comú; Pablo Carmona, from the Fundación de los Comunes and Ahora Madrid; Marta Cruells, from Barcelona en Comú; Francisco Jurado, fromDemocracia 4.0 and Open Euribor; and Guillermo Zapata, from the Patio Maravillas social center and Ahora Madrid. As they share a meal together, they discuss the various questions and issues that frame the historical moment, trying to push forward a new world that is opening up.

Montreal Police Dismantle Downtown ‘Right To Housing’ Camp

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The camp had been set up in a park next to the headquarters of the Montreal police department close to Place des Arts, following a march through downtown streets. The goal of the demonstration was to alert the public to the lack of affordable housing and the plight of the homeless. FRAPRU blames the Quebec government of lowering the number of new social housing units to 1,500 from 3,000 in its latest budget. The group blames Ottawa for progressively reducing the budget geared toward social housing. Police had issued an ultimatum soon after the arrival of the protesters, asking for the removal of the tents. About 15 tents remained up and police moved in to remove them. The removal was not met by resistance but three people were arrested for obstructing police.

Foreclosure Victims Occupy Senate Stump Speech Of Kamala Harris

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Homeowners frustrated at being denied a meeting with California Attorney General Kamala Harris for over four years attended this weekend’s California Democrats State Convention at the Anaheim Convention Center. Harris, who is running for the Senate seat that will be vacated upon Barbara Boxer’s retirement at the end of 2016, was scheduled to deliver a stump speech to the LA County Young Democrats in the Grand Plaza on Saturday afternoon. Some of the foreclosure victims at Saturday’s protest were present for the much-heralded May 2011 launch of the Mortgage Fraud Strike Force. At that press conference, after identifying themselves as homeowner stakeholders, the foreclosure fighters were directed to a side room that Harris never addressed.

Homeless Jump By 44,000 In LA County In Two Years


he number of homeless people in Los Angeles County jumped 12 percent in the past two years, to more than 44,000, amid a sluggish economic recovery that has left the poorest residents of the second-largest U.S. metropolitan area falling farther behind, a study released on Monday found. Most of those counted weren’t staying in homeless shelters. The study also found that the number of tents, makeshift encampments and vehicles with people living in them jumped by 85 percent, to about 9,500. “California was one of the hardest-hit states in the country during the economic recession, suffering high unemployment and high job losses,” the housing authority said in a news release. “There is a lag in rebound, and the working poor and low-income individuals have been hit particularly hard, with the trifecta of unemployment, stagnant wages and a lack of affordable housing.”

Banks Did More Damage To Baltimore Than So-Called Rioters

A protester faces police in riot gear in Baltimore. Photograph: Shawn Carrié

The death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore is not just a story of police brutality or the lack of socioeconomic mobility for the urban poor. It’s also a story of how deregulation allowed corporate banks to strip middle-class families of their financial stability and walk away, leaving behind payday lenders and check-cashing stores to plunder low-income and minority communities. To better understand and communicate that story, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Economic Policy, and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform took their Middle Class Prosperity Project to Baltimore on Monday. It was the latest in a series of forums that started in February to focus “congressional and public attention on challenges faced by the middle class.”

43% Of Detroit Homes Could Lose Water Service


Last August, after Detroit’s mass water shutoffs had attracted international condemnation, Mayor Mike Duggan implemented a 10-point plan he said would provide significant help. “It’s taken a lot of effort to get to this point, but I truly think we’re in a situation now where if you want to pay your bill we’ve made it easier, and if you’re truly in need we’re going to get you to the right place,” Duggan said at the time. “I think for the great majority of people in this town the whole process will get a lot better.” More than nine months later, here’s what “a lot better” looks like: Of the city’s 170,493 residential customers, 73,457 were at least 60 days past due as of the end of February.

A Small Business Homeowner Fights Wells Fargo's Fraud


Los Angeles, CA – The way the mainstream media writes about foreclosure these days gives the uninformed reader the impression that the crisis is over and our country won that unfortunate uphill battle. The reality is different. Foreclosures are still happening all around the country. More importantly, a high percentage of those foreclosures are fraudulent, caused by rampant and systematic fraud on the part of banks, their industry accomplices, and those in office who are now settling with the perpetrators while treating the victims – the homeowners – as bare statistics. One of those homeowners is Lainey Hashorva, a woman who after fighting to keep her home for many years, recently received a foreclosure notice from Wells Fargo. Here is her story, similar to the stories of many who have entered this ring of fire.

Homes For All

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The time is ripe to build a mass tenants’ movement in this country. The Renter Nation includes 23 million families and households and is growing everyday. The movement is beginning in our communities and cities through fighting against displacement and high rents. Rooted in our hardest hit areas, predominantly working class and communities of color, we are organizing for just cause eviction, anti-speculation taxes and other basic renters’ rights. We are growing in power to win Renters’ Bill of Rights, rent control and a mass expansion of affordable, community controlled housing. In 2015, Right to the City’s Homes For All campaign is supporting 15 cities/regions to hold Renter Nation Assemblies to galvanize impacted residents and allies locally to win anti-displacement and affordability campaigns.

1 In 4 Renters Spend Half Their Income On Housing

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For more than one in four renters in the US, housing and utility costs take up at least half of their family’s income, according to a new analysis of Census data. That number is up 26 percent since the beginning of the Great Recession in 2007. Rising rents and stagnant wages are pushing more Americans into rental agreements, according to ananalysis by Enterprise Community Partners, an affordable housing advocate. More than 36 percent of Americans rent housing as compared to 31 percent before the recession began. The situation is nearly as dire across the nation. In Ohio, Alabama, Maine, Tennessee, Montana, and South Carolina, about 25 percent of renters dedicate half their income to rent and utilities. In fact, at least 20 percent of renters in every state, excepting Alaska, South Dakota, and Wyoming, face similar situations, according to the nonprofit’s analysis of 2013 Census figures.

Australians Protest Forced Indigenous Community Closures


Thousands of protesters rallied in Australia’s two largest cities Friday against government plans to forcefully shut down Indigenous communities. Indigenous elder and activist Jenny Munro said the rallies were a “call to arms” to all Australians. “This is about the community being made aware about the truth of what goes on in this country,” she told progressive news website New Matilda. Munro joined thousands of other protesters in Sydney who marched from Belmore Park to the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy. In a statement issued online, march organizers said they were both frustrated by plans to redevelop the Block – a chunk of the suburb of Redfern earmarked for affordable Indigenous housing. Activists say the very organization charged with providing affordable housing – the Aboriginal Housing Authority (AHC) – is now trying to gentrify the area with commercial office blocks and student accommodation at the expense of Indigenous residents.

Who Benefits From Univ.Of California’s New ‘Global Campus?’

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AFSCME rank-and-filers are campaigning, with student and community allies, for a different kind of “CBA.” At meetings on campus, in local churches, and other venues, they are pressuring the university to sign a “community benefits agreement” that would apply to the “Berkeley Global Campus at Richmond Bay” (BGC) that UC-plans to build in partnership with private developers and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories (LBNL). The new mayor Tom Butt, urged “UCB to reach a legally-binding agreement with community stakeholders” that would commit the BGC to local hiring, job training, and “living wage” standards; use of unionized construction labor; respect for collective bargaining rights of campus workers; use of local businesses as vendors; and creation of an “anti-displacement fund to subsidize the development of affordable housing units and protect low income tenants” from gentrification of adjoining neighborhoods.

The Oligarch Recovery: $100 Million Homes Being Built

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More developers and investors are racing to build increasingly lavish homes on spec. Built on prime lots with master suites larger than most homes and spas and entertainment spaces comparable with those in hotels, many of these homes are also attempting to break new price records. Real-estate agents say the surge reflects an ultraluxury housing market that is at an all-time high, fed in part by overseas buyers and house hunters looking to invest in trophy properties. “These are people who are going to buy these homes to park money,” says Jeff Hyland, of Beverly Hills-based Hilton & Hyland. Mr. Hadid declines to say what he’s spending on the home, but says the listing price will likely be in the $200 million range when the house is completed next year.