San Francisco: On rent strike against gentrification and the pandemic

An Interview with Residents of Station 40 in San Francisco

In the Mission District of San Francisco, Station 40 has served the Bay Area community as an anti-authoritarian collective living and organizing space for nearly two decades. Five years ago, their landlord attempted to evict them, only to be forced to back down by a powerful coordinated solidarity campaign. Now, Station 40 has taken the initiative to respond to the crisis currently playing out across the world, unilaterally declaring a rent strike in response to the economic precarity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We interviewed residents of Station 40 about the history of their project and the context and objective of their bold refusal.

What is Station 40?

Station 40 is a 17-year-old collective living space that has seen hundreds of residents and thousands of guests and many iterations over the years. This space has hosted numerous and diverse events, housed countless people, served food to the masses, beat the odds on everything from infestations to evictions. We’ve been a hub for organizing Mutual Aid workshops, healing pop-ups, memorials for fallen anarchists, revels, book releases, report-backs from comrades all over the world, prisoner support projects, reading groups, benefits for more projects than we can count. Food Not Bombs cooked here weekly for the better part of 15 years. Communication infrastructure like Indymedia and Signal have their roots here. [Read More]

USA: Rent strike declarations

Across the country some have already declared that they will refuse to pay rent on April first. Here are some of their declarations.

Station 40 (San Francisco)

Dear friends of Station 40,
We decided tonight that we’re going on rent strike. The urgency of the moment demands decisive and collective action. We are doing this to protect and care for ourselves and our community. Now more than ever, we refuse debt and we refuse to be exploited. We will not shoulder this burden for the capitalists. Five years ago, we defeated our landlord’s attempt to evict us. We won because of the the solidarity of our neighbors and our friends around the world. We are once again calling on that network. Our collective feels prepared for the shelter-in-place that begins at midnight throughout the bay area. The most meaningful act of solidarity for us in this moment is for everyone to go on strike together. We will have your back, as we know you will have ours. Rest, pray, take care of each other.

Everything for everyone! [Read More]

Los Angeles: A dozen vacant homes reclaimed by unhoused tenants as calls for rent strike grow across US

On Saturday, March 14th, a group of supporters mobilized to defend several families, who launched an occupation of a two-bedroom bungalow in the El Sereno neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Calling themselves “Reclaimers,” these new residents are demanding that housing owned by the California Department of Transportation or Caltrans, which for decades has laid vacant, be used to house the houseless in the face of the growing COVID-19 outbreak and continuing housing crisis. The group is inspired in part by Moms 4 Housing in Oakland, California, who led a successful housing occupation in January. [Read More]

Saving Midtown: San Francisco Renters on Strike

This is the story of the Midtown rent strike, the largest rent strike in San Francisco since 1978.
by Global Uprisings

Condos Attacked in San Francisco

From Indybay

This is an escalation from a sentiment of resistance to gentrification to a direct attack against it. We join the vandals of fastagent signs, Google Bus blockades, the Midtown Apartments rent strike, and other clandestine offensives with a window smashing attack on condos in the Mission. as we expected, SF’s election season was a charade of democracy. It only showed that while the developer/colonizers feast on our City, not even the crumbs could be saved through legal means. We fight because the issue of our homes and survival is not up to a vote by anyone. survival and resistance are only there for the taking. All that is necessary is the will and the act.

[Read More]

San Francisco (USA): Police clear 16 squatters from building

People that had squatted a house that was allegedly worth $2,610,000 were evicted on September 27th. The house was located near the corner of Fulton St and Masonic Ave, close to Golden Gate Park. Here is a report from the mainstream media:

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San Francisco (California): Three Arrested as SFPD Raid Squat “The Crows’ Nest”

Sunday August 4, 2013; morning
426 Capitol Avenue, San Francisco, CA

Three politically active people were arrested this morning at a squatted home in the Ocean View district of San Francisco at 426 Capitol Avenue. The house had been squatted for three months as a home for activists and people in need of housing.

This raid and arrest happens during the so called Eviction Free Summer, a campaign of actions to keep people in their homes in response to the foreclosure crisis. The foreclosure crisis is being perpetuated by some of the biggest banks in the United States, who have been accused of predatory lending practices and other illegal actions against homeowners. Since 2007, the foreclosure crisis has displaced at least 10 million people from more than four million homes across the country. [Read More]

San Francisco Tenants protest at Rick Holman’s Home as part of ‘Eviction Free Summer’

Tenants facing eviction from the historic 17 Reasons building by developer and landlord Rick Holman protested outside of his home in South Park in San Francisco this Tuesday. Since the start of the eviction process, Holman has used a variety of tactics such as illegal lockouts of tenants, harassment from security guards, as well as a web of surveillance systems against those paying rent at the building that he wants gone. During a recent block party against gentrification in the Mission District, Holman also worked closely with the police to ensure that the building would not be “occupied” by protestors, and also issued an ‘unlawful detainer’ to residents inside on the day of the event. How many times have we all had landlords come to our homes, walk around, issue demands, and threaten us? Landlords hold great power over our lives and also take massive amounts of money out of our hands that we make by our labors and put it into their pockets. Thus, it’s great to see people taking the fight to their doorsteps and raising a ruckus in their bourgie neighborhoods. Often, most people are too afraid to stand up to the cops, the landlords, and the developers, but we need only keep in mind that are all united in our experiences and our desire to live freely. Hopefully, this is just the start!

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ACT UP/San Francisco Protests Evictions: Housing=Healthcare And Eviction=Death

In celebration of their one year anniversary, the direct action group ACT UP/San Francisco staged a lively, 50 person demonstration last Saturday, April 20th. The event was aimed at drawing attention to the impact of increasing evictions and rental price increases in San Francisco on people living with HIV/AIDS. The group, and a coalition of supporting LGBT and housing rights organizations, began at 16th and Mission Street and worked their way up to Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro. The marchers, who took to the streets chanting ‘Housing is a right, housing is a right, ACT UP!’ and ‘Housing equals healthcare and eviction equals death!’, made multiple stops along the way. Though perhaps small in size, the demonstration made a strong and colorful stand, one that hammered in the point that the increasing rents and waves of evictions hitting San Francisco hurt people living with HIV/AIDS and their supporters. Despite the inclusion of lavish street theater and brightly painted signs, the protest was not all noise. Imbedded in their style, ACT UP offered a pointed critique of San Francisco’s City government, especially District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, a gay man who the group feels has turned a blind eye to evictions in his neighborhood.

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San Francisco: World Homeless Day

On Wednesday October 10, 2012 people who are “homeless, have recently been evicted, and foreclosed-on, the dispossessed, and their allies took to the streets in San Francisco protesting and marching to express their frustration with the current homeless situation and numbers both here in San Francisco and in the whole United States. Here in San Francisco it is believed that at least 10,000 people are homeless, and there are at least 35,000 vacant “housing units,” city wide. It is also believed that there at least “3.5 million homeless people in the United States, and that at least 1 million are children, but only 112,000 nationwide are chronically homeless.”
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San Francisco: Homes Not Jails Occupies 600-Unit Vacant Building

On World Homeless Action Day Squatters Collective Takes Over Unoccupied & Furnished Hotel

San Francisco, October 10-Today is World Homeless Action Day.

In the spirit of the day, the squatter’s collective Homes Not Jails, along with other community activists and members of Occupy SF, took to the streets and took over a mammoth 600 unit building in San Francisco.

Today’s action began with a 5 p.m. rally in the city’s Civic Center. After a quartet of horn players from the Brass Liberation Orchestra warmed up the rained-on crowd, one speaker from Homes Not Jails reported that the 2010 Census found over 32,000 vacant housing units in San Francisco, whose homeless population is said to be about 10,000.

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San Francisco: Squatters Demand Government Focus on Housing, not War

Leary of the chaos that consumed Market Street and much of downtown last year, at the dawn of Gulf War II, swarms of police wearing riot helmets and wielding billy clubs were prepared to contain Direct Action to Stop the War’s 7 a.m. gathering at Justin Herman Plaza and subsequent Bechtel Headquarters protest. But when a sub-group that had continued marching up Market turned onto Page Street, the police where caught off-guard. Occupied by keeping people on the sidewalks, distracted police were unable to prevent a group of about 25 squatters’ rights activists from storming through the entrance of an unoccupied building at 47 Page Street. The Autonomous Collective, a local anti-capitalist group, orchestrated the morning-long stand-off in order to draw attention to the affordable housing shortage and rampant homelessness that continue to plague San Francisco.

“Last night was the first time I slept in a bed in a month,” said Purple, a homeless youth, from inside the cavernous squat. “It’s really encouraging to see people unite to demand shelter, because this place is a lot better than Golden Gate Park. That crazy place is full of junkies who want to fight all the time. It’s not safe, plus if I can’t afford a place to sleep, how am I supposed to afford a ticket for sleeping outside?”

[Read More]