Reflections on the rent strike from Vancouver
The so-called Vancouver has been in recent years a place of relative social peace – anarchist intervention in local politics has been pushed into the shadows. After decades of turmoil and insurrectional action , things turned off – some people left, suffered repression, struggled with the daily onslaught of capitalism, or stepped back for their own reasons. Even in the shadows is where we flourish, and more recently anarchist action and analysis has been taking place in a semi-public phase in the so-called Vancouver.
One such initiative is the Vancouver Rentals Strike (rentstrikevan.ca), a decentralized effort to provide
interested in resources to strike while stirring the fires of class war. It arises as a result of COVID-19, a symptom of the intersecting and inseparable crises of capitalism, civilization, and colonialism.
Waving for the rent strike is an escalation of tension. The strength of the rent strike comes from its number as well as the organization and radicality of its strikers – as much as an accessible message is necessary to build massive participation, while a radical message is necessary to cultivate and inspire action.
Remembering the need for a diversity of tactics and voices leads to Establishment of Vancouver Rentals Strike, which stands in contrast to Vancouver Tenants’ Union’s more reformist efforts.
Despite this understanding, we are still walking a fine line, and struggling to decide whether we should participate in the policy of producing respectable discourse. Recognizing our local context, and the lack of a visible anarchist movement, we have jumped into the pool and have decided to participate, cautiously. Participating in activism gives us the impression that we are forcing ourselves to overshadow our most insurgent dreams and it is exhausting. However, we find ourselves unable to pay our rents, or we want to experience not pay them as long as participation is necessary. Capitalism not only forces us to go to work, but it seems to be infinitely capable of constraining our desires.
Another tension arises around the idea of risk and identity.
Rent strikes, by their nature, confront capital and the colonial project – thus posing a significant risk to their participants. Simultaneously, risky policies have led many to discredit them. Many activists demand a strike that does not put anyone at risk, particularly the most vulnerable. While we agree that it is a noble intention, our lives are always at risk – avoiding it is impossible and would contain many wishes for an offensive fight. Different people, of course, have very legitimate reasons for having different risk acceptance thresholds. So we want to be explicit when we say that we cannot guarantee the safety of anyone and anyone else who promises it lies. With this in mind, those who feel angry or “safe” enough should join us and suspend their rent on April 1.
Through the strike we hope to further update the shared wishes in the ear among colleagues, the screams splashed on the city walls and the hatred towards this system imprinted on our hearts. Solidarity with all rent strikers. Solidarity with all the blows of the strike against the crisis of capitalism, colonialism and civilization.
Solidarity with those who live on the street who cannot suspend their rents, even resisting with every breath.
For a growing revolt and fulfillment of our desires.
Extracted and translated from: https://plagueandfire.noblogs.org/