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A rent strike in Harlem, New York City, September 1919. Credited to the International Film Service, published by the New York Times. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Description

The re-emergence of housing movements in recent years has seen the resurgence of the rent strike—the mass, coordinated withholding of rent from landlords—as a powerful tactic wielded by organized tenants to stop unfair evictions and rent increases. As housing inequality deepens globally, this renewed militancy will no longer be an exceptional response to exceptional circumstance, but an urgent form of popular defiance and survival in an increasingly catastrophic present.

In cooperation with the Vancouver Tenants Union (VTU), 221A is initiating an open-ended study group on the history, theory, and practice of tenant organizing. Texts studied will range across critical work on rent and private property, historical accounts of housing activism, and practical guides on organizing tactics—up to and including the rent strike. As an experiment in social movement education, the study’s syllabus and form will respond strategically to the shifting dynamics of Vancouver’s housing politics.

Join 221A and the VTU at Pollyanna 圖書館 Library on Thursday, January 17 at 6pm for the opening session of the Rent Strike! Study Group. To register and receive access to the reading materials, please complete this online form. All sessions of the study group are open to all and free to attend.

Acknowledgements

  • British Columbia Arts Council
  • Canada Council for the Arts
  • City of Vancouver
  • Province of British Columbia

Territory Acknowledgement

221A acknowledges that the area called Vancouver is within the unceded Indigenous territories belonging to the Musqueam, Skxwú7mesh-ulh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and Tsleil-Watututh peoples. 221A recognizes that the colony of British Columbia was created through organized dispossession and colonial violence. 221A seeks to shift its organizational practices to work together with Indigenous people to end ongoing violence, disposession and displacement.

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