This article is excerpted from a 12 page brochure produced by the Land and Housing Action Group of the US Human Rights Network, based in Atlanta, Georgia.
The following report on ABC World News describes the reversal of an eviction in Miami, Florida by the Take Back the Land Movement. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skZgEEY1UWE&feature=player_embedded#!
The Housing Crisis
On the heels of a multi-billion dollar public bailout of the financial sector, major banks and financial institutions are enjoying near record profits, with executives taking home multi-million dollar bonuses.
At the same time, those very same banks continue to foreclose on and evict tens of thousands of families from their homes, families without access to federal bailouts and taxpayer subsidized bonuses. Families and, indeed, entire communities, are devastated by the deepening economic crisis and the impact of that crisis on housing security. Low income communities of color, particularly women in those communities, are disproportionately impacted. The financial industry, and the government which supports that industry, will not solve this crisis.
May 2010 Month of Action
To address the land and housing crisis, as well as the enormous transfer of wealth from the public to private financial institutions through the government bailout, the Take Back the Land Movement is calling for a May 2010 national month of action.
The objectives of the month of action are to:
• house people;
• stop evictions; and
• build momentum for the long term struggle to elevate housing to the level of a human right.
The actions will focus on foreclosure related evictions; income related public housing evictions; vacant foreclosed homes; vacant government owned and public housing; vacant government owned and foreclosed buildings; vacant government owned and foreclosed land; and the right to return.
Inspired by the sit-ins of the civil rights era, in May 2010, Local Action Groups throughout the country are organizing a locally led decentralized series of “live-ins.” Live-in actions provide families with housing by moving them into vacant government or foreclosed homes or defending families from foreclosure or public housing related evictions.
The May 2010 Live-ins affirm the human right to housing by directly challenging the unjust policies and laws which allow banks to be bailed out for their foreclosed homes, while, simultaneously, allowing those same banks to evict families- the same people who financed the bank bailout in the first place. We challenge the reality that the government guarantees financial institution profits, but does not guarantee human beings housing.
The reality is that the banks do not need hundreds of thousands of vacant homes to survive, but human beings do. Therefore, in May 2010, organizations across the US will assert the human right to housing by directly challenging the laws and practices that protect taxpayer subsidized bank properties at the expense of families, by organizing campaigns of housing “liberation” and home defense.
Take Back the Land asserts that it is immoral to allow- even financially reward- banks to maintain hundreds of thousands of vacant homes while human beings sleep on the street. While campaigns of openly breaking laws in order to challenge their legitimacy are historically called “civil disobedience,” this Movement is not merely challenging immoral policies, but actively enforcing moral ones, by housing human beings. Therefore, the May 2010 Month of Action is not one of civil disobedience, but of “moral obedience.”
The May 2010 Month of Action will make effective use of social networking and mass media to highlight participating actions and frame the concept of housing as a human right. Stories of sympathetic families will be brought into the homes of millions through these actions and the media coverage they generate.
The Month of Action will be followed by the US Social Forum in Detroit, Michigan, and an anticipated expansion of the Local Action Groups in the Take Back the Land network. May 2010 is not the totality or end of the movement- it is only the beginning.
The Take Back the Land Movement
Housing is a fundamental human right protected by Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), and Article 5 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), amongst others. This right in theory, however, has not been translated to practice. In order to realize housing as a human right, we must build a movement to take back the land.
The Take Back the Land Movement, is not one single centrally controlled national campaign, but, rather, one thousand decentralized independent, but interconnected, local campaigns directed towards the common objectives of community control over land and elevating housing to the level of a human right.
The Take Back the Land Movement is a trans-local Network of organizations engaged in land and housing campaigns in their local communities. Members of the network are known as Local Action Groups. The network of facilitated by the Land & Housing Action Group of the US Human Rights Network.
Organizations interested in joining the Take Back the Land Movement should contact the Land & Housing Action Group at USHRNetwork.org
c/o US Human Rights Network · 250 Georgia Avenue SW · suite 330 · Atlanta, GA 30312
Telephone: 404-588-9761 · Fax: 404-588-9763