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You can start a tenants union!
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Tenants unions (TU) are an incredibly strong defense against abusive landlords and evictions. TUs are started by normal people who live anywhere in a city. You dont need the same landlord. Lawyer support is great but not required 1/?
TUs can be started with a free google voice number and an email address. Make a tumblr page with a writeup of what the tenants union is and does. A rapid response eviction defense group can be started with a signal chat and a group of politically minded friends. 2/?
Rapid response eviction defense is as simple as coordinating with tenants and standing in their yards when the police come to evict them or shut off their utilities. The image attached shows the ring of defenders and the volunteers outside talking to cops and landlords. 3/?
If you disperse when police ask you have little legal exposure. This kind of action is very useful because police dont want to cause problems in a neighborhood for many selfish reasons, and theyre under no obligation to perform evictions. If its illegal, quote law to them. 4/?
Tenants unions also often provide things like supervision of landlords during final walkthroughs and have papers to print for tenants to put on their door informing abusive landlords they have joined a union and are recording anyone knocking on their door. 5/?
Landlords are cowards at heart relying on the cops to do dirty work. Cops and landlords usually dont even know the law. If you can get a lawyer to volunteer a couple hours for a zoom call a week to answer tenant questions its powerful and they can get new clients that way 6/?
Even without a lawyer, a couple of your TU members can and should study local ordinances in a few days and get enough knowledge to tell cops why they should leave. Its not practicing law without a license to simply quote the law. 7/?
When new people ask for help, assign them a “solidarity case worker,” someone in the TU to listen to them and figure out the details of their case. Being a solidarity case worker is a great way to get new people active and helping and committed to the TU. 8/?
TUs cant help everyone but they can block major abuses. Landlords calm down and get less abusive when theyve been given a letter showing someone is in a TU, and cops will leave if it looks like theyre going to get a hassle. 9/?
How do you grow your TU? Go talk at your local DSA or BLM organizing meeting. BIPOC tenants are the most likely to get evicted in this racist system, and TUs directly serve marginalized people. Offer to give a 30 minute presentation on forming their own rapid response team. 10/?
Tenants unions are often loosely related to lots of other political and interest groups in the area, so dont get hung up on doing it “right” or setting up a bureaucracy. As long as you have a tenants permission to be there and arent practicing law youre doing well. 11/?
Since this thread has gained some traction can my larger account mutuals consider retweeting to get the message out? Tenants unions are the most direct form of mutual aid we have!
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