Update from the Other Campaign in New York (Oct '08)
To our compañeros and compañeras in The Other Campaign,
To our compañeros and compañeras in the Zezta Internazional,
To the adherents to the International Declaration in Defense of El Barrio,
To our allies all over the world:
From "The Other New York," in East Harlem (El Barrio), Movement for Justice in El Barrio celebrates a second great victory in the struggle against neoliberal displacement and reaffirms that "El Barrio is not for sale".
On Sunday, August 24th, 2008, in a March for Dignity and Against Displacement, members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio celebrated our victory over the most powerful landlord in East Harlem: the London-based multi-national corporation, Dawnay Day Group. Dawnay, Day has fallen prey to its own greed and, last month announced that it is now selling its properties to cover its debts. This celebration was made possible thanks to the unity of those of us who fought and continue to fight against transnational plans to gentrify East Harlem; to fill our community with hotels, banks, and housing that are only accessible to the wealthy and to push out all poor families from our Barrio.
Dawnay, Day Group is the second landlord that has failed in its attempts to impose its plans to crush the spirit of El Barrio, and instead, was forced to a leave El Barrio and to sell its property. In our struggle against the greed of large transnational corporations, we are counting not only on local solidarity but also on the solidarity and support of our allies worldwide. Thanks to those who have supported us on an international level who's resistance has resounded across Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom, where Dawnay Day has its base.
This long struggle now claims two defeated landlords and many politicians exposed. These corporations try to push us out, they try to push out poor people, immigrant tenants, African-Americans, Latin Americans, Asians, and small-business owners. But the corporations are not alone in their attempts to displace us, they count on the support of the federal government (Republican controlled) and local governing bodies (Democrat controlled) as they seek to defeat us. We've had to put up with attempts at bribery by the local Democrat controlled government: our members have received offers for well-paying jobs that came with the condition that they leave our movement. When these tactics did not have their intended divide and conquer effect, local representatives resorted to other corrupt strategies: slander, the spreading of unfounded rumors, the formation of divisive groups friendly to the local government that seek to divide rather than unite the community. However, despite the abuse from this transnational corporation (which we granted the prize of "Worst Landlord" in one of our community marches) or the attacks from our local government (spearheaded by the Council Member Melissa Mark Viverito) we have not been held back. This is a struggle for a world where those who are excluded fit in; where Mexican and Dominicans immigrants in East Harlem alike, alongside the marginalized Puerto Ricans, African Americans, and Asians, will resist in order to fight back against attempts to push us from El Barrio for being different and for being poor.
Our march was a confirmation of our unity in our struggle against capitalism. We marched from 116th street, stopping at the luxurious home of Council Member Melissa Mark Viverito, to remind her that "El Barrio Will Not Sell Out Like She Did." One of our members, whom the council member tried to buy off by offering him a job, spoke. Our brother stood in front of her house and denounced "the actions of the Council Member Melissa Mark Viverito, who is supposed to support the community in El Barrio, and who, it is plain to see, is actually supporting the displacement of the poor…as you can all see, she is rich. Look at where she lives. She does not know what it is to live without hot water, without heat during hard winters. She doesn't know what it is to live with bedbugs, rats, sunken roofs, cockroaches and lead poisoning, which are the conditions poor people like us experience thanks to politicians like her, who, alongside the representatives of West Harlem and Central Harlem, voted for the expansion of Columbia University and the rezoning plans on 125th street, which will effect thousands of marginalized, low-income people."
From Viverito's home we marched towards the offices of transnational corporation Dawnay Day Group in order to remind them that we will resist all attempts, theirs and others, at pushing out the immigrant, African-American, Latin American and Asian women and men who have built El Barrio. We will resist alongside small business owners, street vendors, and everyone who is poor and opposes the plans devised by multinational corporations and capitalist politicians.
Lastly, brothers and sisters of The Other Campaign and the Zezta Internazional, we received with great sadness and pain the news of the criminal, vengeful, arbitrary, and repressive sentences against the political prisoners being held captive in Altiplano Prison and in the Molino de las Flores Prison. These prisoners are victims of the massacre that took place in Atenco due to resistance against attempts to create luxurious airports throughout Mexico as part of policies promoting neoliberal urban displacement. Our heart is with the brothers being held captive, our struggles are the same and we will not rest until all of those who struggled for justice in Atenco and were unjustly arrested have been released. At the moment we are developing a plan to build awareness and spread the word on a local level, which will include public workshops exposing what has happened to our brothers and sisters in Atenco.
In sister and brotherhood,
Movement for Justice in El Barrio
From the Other New York
El Barrio, NY
Here and There, in El Barrio, in Chiapas and in Atenco, the struggle will go on!
Here and there, The Other Campaign goes on!