Prepare for Struggle: 28th Street Barrio Committee

 As long as the capitalist mode of production continues to exist, it is folly to hope for an isolated solution of the housing question or of any other social question affecting the fate of the workers. The solution lies in the abolition of the capitalist mode of production and the appropriation of all the means of life and labor by the working class itself.

Frederick Engels, “The Housing Question”

We were made aware of the conditions of the apartments from a tenant who had called our number, having heard of the work that we have done before. From an initial investigation of 845 and 812 buildings on East 28th Street, that are owned by slumlord, Charles Quarles, tenants were adamant that something must be done. When a representative of STPLA first showed up to meet with tenants at 812, tenants understood the few options they had; somehow pay $2,300, leave, or stay and fight. All of the tenants in the committee are committed to staying and fighting. The representative then encouraged tenants to canvass the other building and in that instance tenants walked across the street to canvass and speak to other tenants at 845. Well over than fifty percent of the tenants of 845 and 812 were present for the meeting.

With that enthusiasm and will to struggle; the struggle began. The following meetings would be for information gathering as well as making banners and posters. Our members would meet all the tenants, listen, and see all of the things wrong within their apartments. Many had said that these issues have even continued for years! Some of these tenants that have been living in these apartments for decades are now worrying about having a roof over their heads. This is not without cause, in South Central, , fancy hotels and entertainment like the construction of the Bank of America Stadium add to the luxurious development projects that are approved with little hesitancy by council members. With that there’s a cascading effect on surrounding working class renters. Landlords anticipate increases in market price on their properties for increasingly shitty conditions within scarce housing market. These development projects therefore trigger drastic rent increases, to levels that are detrimental to working class tenants.

Tenants told us that they have experienced mold within their apartments, broken garbage disposals that had led to flies coming out the sink, rats and cockroaches, power outages that leave the refrigerators off for enough time to spoil groceries and the complaints go on. But what is the main focus is the rent increase. Charles Quarles is expecting that starting May 1st, tenants start paying $2,300, when their current rent is approximately $800.00-$1,100. During the meeting, posters were made with slogans such as: “Unidos Los Inquilinos Son Fuertes!,” (United Renters are Strong!,) and “Our Community Supports Us!” that later adorned the gates of the apartments. Tenants took initiative on from art making to canvassing, as we watched and learned from them. Tenants explained that the property manager, Corbin Pitts, who is related to Charles, only comes when it is time to collect rent.  After hearing from the tenants we compiled their demands into a letter that was given to the property manager along with their rent, with the order to deliver to Charles. IncendiaryNews covered that meeting of the manager and more on Charles.

To no surprise, the posters that tenants had created were taken down and ripped in half(while many of the tenants were at work) the day after the property manager came. That same day, the manager brought with him perspective buyers of the apartments, a few members and tenants spoke to the buyers about the issues within the apartments and they were met with arrogance and indifference. The tenants, nonetheless, remained vigilant of the buyers and manager that day, fixing signs that were thrown into the trash by manager and putting them back up, even hanging more posters on supportive neighbors’ homes.

 

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Charles attempting to set the location and time of the meeting, turned into a discussion and Q&A.

 

Charles replied to tenants via his mouthpiece Corbin, saying he’ll meet with them. But this meeting he proposed was set up on his terms ignoring the criteria that was specified by the tenants of the 28th St. Barrio Committee. Within our letter it was specified that the meeting with the landlord take place on Friday, April 12 2019 at 7pm in the courtyard of the 812 E 28th Street. Yet, having received our letter Charles was under the impression that he could change the time and location that suited him and to make the meeting into a sort of discussion or Q&A. Everyone in the committee saw through what he tried to do. We followed up to clear things up for him.

The day after we reiterated our demands, tenants received a letter saying that Charles will not meet with the tenants that he is ripping off, because according to manager Corbin, “meeting was too late at night” 7pm is too late at night.

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The response we received after emailing Charles.

 

Charles has put himself into this situation, either come meet with the tenants on Friday or expect a much more blunt greeting to the 28th Street Barrio Committee.

Charles is only one manifestation that is an outcome of capitalism. A landlord class that seeks to make the most profit from their property. While trying to cut corners and provide as little maintenance as possible. After all, he cannot interrupt his profit hungry, mulit-million dollar real estate development firm with such with costly repairs. With gentrification affecting working class neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles, landlords attempt to take advantage of the change of the class character of neighborhoods experiencing gentrification. Landlords either attempt to sale off properties to the highest bidder or pricing out current tenants. Because of capitalism, tenants have to live at the dictates of a capitalist, landlord class. The solution to end this contradiction must be understood, the end of the capitalist mode of production. Charles, as with all other reactionaries, will not fall if we do not hit him. We encourage our supporters and those dedicated to anti-gentrification to call Charles and demand him to meet with the tenants and to stop the rent increase!

Prepare for Struggle!

Comply with the demands! 

 

 

 

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Libertad para Gladis! Fuego Contra ICE!

“Sin lucha, no hay victoria!”

Únete a nosotros a medida que creamos más apoyo comunitario para Gladis Hernandez, la madre de cuatro hijos y vendedora ambulante, que fue brutalmente tomada por Inmigracion/ICE.

También haremos alcance con los vendedores ambulantes locales para que sepamos cómo prepararnos y defendernos contra ICE por cualquier medio necesario

Domingo, 19 de agosto a las 6 p.m., en frente del LA Memorial Coliseum donde Gladis fue tomada por ICE.

“Sin lucha, no hay victoria!”

www.servethepeopleLA.org
servethepeopleLA@protonmail.com


Join us as we build more community support for Gladis Hernandez, the mother of four and street vendor, who was viciously taken by ICE recently.

Serve the People – Los Angeles will be outreaching to local street vendors as well so that we know how to prepare and defend ourselves by any means necessary against ICE.

Sunday, August 19, in front of the LA Memorial Coliseum where Gladis was taken on Figueroa Street and Martin Luther King Jr Blvd at 6 p.m.

“Without struggle, there is no victory!”

www.servethepeopleLA.org
servethepeopleLA@protonmail.com

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Free Gladis: Build the People’s Revolutionary Defense Units!

People say California is supposed to be a “Sanctuary State,” or Los Angeles is supposed to be a “Sanctuary City.” The contradiction is stark and offensive. There is no sanctuary! There is no peace! There is no justice for undocumented working-class immigrants in this country. There is only struggle. Without struggle, there is no victory.

Gladis Areli Hernandes Amaya was stopped by law enforcement or private security in front of the LA Memorial Coliseum as she was selling hot dogs with her family. Law enforcement, then, handed her over to ICE. She is currently being detained in the private ICE Adelanto Detention Center.

Her family is struggling to get by without their mother. Her husband, Ernesto, is also a street vendor but understandably doesn’t sell in Los Angeles anymore due to the fear of being torn away from their four children.

This is the continued war against undocumented working-class immigrants by ICE and the U.S. Government. It is a federal war but it is also a local war- with City and police against street vendors.

People say California is supposed to be a “Sanctuary State,” or Los Angeles is supposed to be a “Sanctuary City.” The contradiction is stark and offensive. There is no sanctuary! There is no peace! There is no justice for undocumented working-class immigrants in this country. There is only struggle. Without struggle, there is no victory.

Serve the People – Los Angeles is working on organizing People’s Revolutionary Defense Units to fight against ICE raids and kidnappings by any means necessary. There is nothing else to do but help and defend each other while we organize in confronting the enemy of the people.

Please spread the word! There will be upcoming actions and more fundraising efforts. We need help in raising legal fees as well as bail, a total of approximately $10,000, as soon as possible.

GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/free-gladis-from-ice-detention

Gladis Areli Hernandes Amaya fue detenida por la policia en frente del LA Memorial Coliseum mientras vendía hot dogs con su familia. La policia o seguridad privada, entonces, la entregó a ICE. Actualmente está detenida en el centro privado de detención en Adelanto.

Su familia está luchando para mantener sin su madre. Su esposo, Ernesto, también es vendedor ambulante, pero dejó de vender en Los Ángeles debido al temor de ser arrancado de sus cuatro hijos.

Esta es la guerra continua contra los inmigrantes indocumentados de la clase trabajadora por ICE y el gobierno de los Estados Unidos. Es una guerra federal, pero también es una guerra local, con la Ciudad y la policía contra los vendedores ambulantes.

La gente dice que California supuestamente es un “Estado Santuario”, o que Los Ángeles supuestamente es “Ciudad Santuario”. La contradicción es dura y ofensiva. ¡No hay santuario! ¡No hay paz! No hay justicia para los inmigrantes indocumentados de la clase trabajadora en este país. Solo hay lucha. Sin lucha, no hay victoria.

Servir al Pueblo – Los Angeles está organizando las Unidades de Defensa Populares Revolucionarias para luchar contra las redadas y secuestros de ICE por cualquier medio necesario. No hay nada más que hacer que ayudar y defendernos mientras nos organizamos para enfrentar al enemigo del pueblo.

¡Pasa la voz! Habrá próximas acciones y más esfuerzos de recaudación de fondos. Necesitamos ayuda para aumentar los costos legales y la fianza, un total de aproximadamente $10,000, tan pronto como sea posible.

GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/free-gladis-from-ice-detention

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Against Phony Socialism

As an anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist and anti-gentrification organization, Serve the People-Los Angeles (STP-LA) always places our politics in command. This means that, regardless of the tactics used, our goal to destroy capitalism will always guide our struggles. This applies to all organizations we do not work with or do work with. We will not work with organizations, regardless of their tactics, if their politics are inherently antagonistic to our principles. Principally, in the context of this paper, this means that STP-LA will not work with political parties and/or political organizations whose primary reason for existing and primary goals are to reform the state. We may work with community organizations that push reformists tactics in their larger, principal goal of standing in solidarity with the community, but we will not work with organizations that use community organizing as a tactic for their larger, principal goal of reforming the United States as the answer to capitalism.

 

We are writing this piece because despite having a struggle session with the Democratic Socialists of America – Los Angeles’ “Food for Solidarity” committee and telling them to stay away from Boyle Heights for their shitty politics, it has come to our attention that DSA-LA plans to initiate a food distribution in communities in NELA . We refuse to accept this and will do everything that we can to stop these “Food 4 Solidarity” programs, if DSA votes to implement them. We will not bite back our tongues for the sake of “unity”.

 

We want to be clear here – we do not reject principled unity with DSA. We will unite with them against common enemies, such as fascists or slumlords. We will even applaud them when they fight these enemies of the people with militancy.

 

But there is a difference between principled unity and unprincipled unity. Unprincipled unity would be allowing them to organize not only in Boyle Heights but in any of the oppressed communities surrounding it. In fact, unprincipled unity would be allowing them to spread any of their reformist bullshit to any of the oppressed communities of LA.

 

Before we speak on why we do not want DSA organizing in our community or any community like ours, we need to put them in the context of contemporary US politics. We want to emphasize the difference between DSA distributing free food and a community organization, like a church or a school, distributing free food.

 

We would be lying to the community if we ever stated that even focusing on the smallest reforms (lobbying, registering people to vote, canvassing for “progressive” candidates, etc) is a step in the right direction to challenging capitalism. All reforms attack only minor aspects of a larger problem. They are band-aid solutions; they do not treat the wound, only cover it for the time being. Ultimately, they preserve the institution of capitalism which oppresses us with every breath we take.

 

Reformism: Opium of the People

 

When organizations like DSA-LA push reformist goals and focus principally on reforming the United States, they are serving the interests of the ruling class, whether or not they know it. If DSA-LA was insular, working only in activist circles and staying out of working-class communities, then we would see them as a less antagonistic threat. But it is primarily because they come into working-class communities and lie to the people living there (and, perhaps, lie even to themselves) that we see them as an antagonistic force and, in fact, possibly even class enemies.
When we say they are class enemies, we mean that their organization serves the ruling, bourgeoise class of this country, as opposed to the working class and its communities.

 

Nothing short of revolution will bring about socialism, which DSA-LA claims that it seeks to establish. However, regardless of their intentions, this organization’s shitty reformist political line will ultimately set the community back by leading them to capitulate to capitalism. In essence, regardless of what they say or call themselves, we see what they want to do as no different than the Democratic Party coming into any working-class community. Ultimately, they are tricking people for votes and calling themselves a solution to injustice when, in reality, they preserve the cause of injustice, capitalism. In the end, they will harm the communities they peddle their “Food4Solidarity” programs to.

 

 

We know that this is the case because that is what social democracy is. We know this is the case because the organization’s politics in command means working with the police and even having pigs in national leadership roles. We know that this is the case because we have seen the national organization gladly work with the Democrats since, when it comes to their politics and our livelihoods, they compromise and push quantity over quality. We know that this is the case because we have spoken to DSA-LA members and found that their big-tent organizing tactics include working with open Zionists. We know that this is the case because DSA is not an organization that is principally for the masses. There are times where they can almost read as a commercial. (Petty-bourgeois activists, call now and for the low, low price of $750, get a lifetime membership in DSA!!) DSA as an organization is spineless and their politics are empty. They cannot save or liberate anyone.

 

 

This is not to say that all members of DSA-LA are spineless or have empty politics. We know that this absolutely is not true. There are many members who are new to the organization that might be unaware of other community organizations that they can turn to. There are many members who might have misguided politics but truly wish for liberation – they simply don’t know how to get there. To these folks, to people who truly care about serving the people and liberating the masses, we encourage you to question the politics of your organization. Why does DSA simultaneously criticize Democrats and run candidates as Democrats? Why do they work with pigs and pig unions? How is DSA revolutionary? How can its social-democratic politics change the system of inequality and oppression in the long-term? That DSA can not answer these questions is a reflection on both the local chapter of DSA-LA and of DSA nationally. It is a reflection of other revisionist organizations and parties that state they are building socialism when in fact they will happily work with enemies of the people (like pigs and politicians), push reforms and even run as Democrats. DSA may quote revolutionaries but these quotes only mask their hollow, liberal politics.

 

Therefore, this organization, as opposed to other community organizations we do work with, stands on the side of the oppressor. They will beg for scraps and call it revolutionary. They will work within the limits of the law, even when they know full well that the laws of a bourgeois society are laws for the bourgeoise, established by capitalists and their servants to maintain their hegemonic control over the masses. These bourgeois laws will always be on the side of the oppressor. This has been true since day one and it will not change because some fools will campaign for Bernie Sanders and call themselves socialists.

 
An organization like this stands in opposition to community organizers precisely because of these politics, because they are social-democrats. As opposed to DSA-LA and other revisionists organizations, community organizations, made up of the community, organize because they stand in solidarity with their neighbors. Community organizers organize because they understand the precarious conditions their neighbors in Boyle Heights and Los Angeles live under. To them, it is a necessity to organize and act in solidarity with other community organizations. Although they may push reformists tactics in campaigns, they principally organize to act in solidarity with their neighbors. STP-LA has been honest with all the organizations that we work with; we tell them directly that we know voting will never accomplish anything. But because we both have the primary goal of acting in solidarity with the community, we are able to work with these organizations non-antagonistically. In fact, in some cases, these organizations even applaud our militancy. This is because their only goal is to truly help the people and they know that militancy gets things done. This is opposed to DSA which will always bow down to to its long-term goal of pushing reforms and electing “progressive” candidates. While the community organizers we work with prioritize the community and use reforms as a (incorrect) tactic to help them, DSA prioritizes reform and uses the community as a tactic to pass these reforms.

 

Fauilure of Red Charity
We have discussed our own experience with food distributions in previous summations. We know now that food distributions are economist programs which act as a band-aid to cover larger wounds in the community. STP-LA is an organization that wishes to end the principal injustice of capitalism by creating an army in the community that will defend itself against all oppressors. Food distributions can not get us to this point. We know this from our experience of distributing free food in Boyle Heights for over 2 years. Of course food scarcity is a real problem, especially in oppressed communities. However, we have seen that most folks in the community see these programs as types of charities and, therefore, treat them as one. Although charities provide necessary materials in the community, they also hinder revolutionary organizing and therefore, should be avoided.

 

Organizations that are truly seeking to build socialism should avoid economistic mistakes. We know that the masses make history and we also know that they must be organized and mobilized against their class enemies. Handing out free food does not organize or mobilize anybody. It did not do anything progressive in our case, despite our revolutionary politics and militancy. It will not do anything progressive in DSA’s case and, in many cases, will deter the community because of their reformist tactics and faith in the electoral system.

 

We criticize food distributions because we know that charity ultimately work against community interests. If hundreds of people are starving in our communities and an organization provides basic resources to a handful of them, it is likely that these people will not organize. So, ultimately, this will hurt their interests and the interests of the community at large. Like we have said, this is a decaying band-aid on a bullet wound. It will never cure the underlying problem of capitalism.

 

We will not lie to community organizers we have worked with in our community about food distributions. We will tell them to their face – food distributions will not and cannot address the root of the problem. They are decaying band-aids on a bullet wound. But we do not blame these community organizations because we know that their primary reason for existing is to feed and help people in the community. Again, they share our goal of helping the masses. They might be unfamiliar with why hunger exists or how to ultimately combat injustices in Boyle Heights. But we will still work with them because they are a part of the community and they share our goal of empowering the community. As we have said before, they have no ulterior motives of reform.

 

As much as we criticize food distributions, we are not saying that food distributions should never be organized. We are not against food distributions in and of themselves.  We can see how they have been utilized by organizations such as the Black Panthers in the past to gain community support. Even we ourselves will provide whatever possible resources that we can to fulfill the community’s immediate needs. However, this is primarily as a last resort and not because it is a solution to anything. For example, we have fixed broken doors, pipes, and leaky roofs for tenants we work with because certain repairs are very urgent and landlords will wait months to fix them. However, this is a short-term solution because ultimately, it is on the landlord to fix it. And seeing as the majority of the community we work with have these issues as tenants, we know that we cannot fix all of their problems over and over again. STP-LA nor any other organization can be anyone’s savior. The people must learn to fight for themselves. It is on them to take back what is rightfully theirs and demand landlords fix whatever is broken. Our role as organizers is principally that – to organize them, to work with them, to stand side by side with them. Organizing them is only the first step forward and it must serve the long-term goal of destroying capitalism, not of electing a “leftist” candidate. Any organization that puts elections first is betraying the people.

 

Conclusion

 

If it isn’t obvious already, we do not uphold the incorrect and treacherous line of left unity, i.e. unprincipled unity. We do not seek unity with the left – we seek unity with the masses. And, although this message is directed towards DSA, we are addressing all red capitalist organizations here. We will not allow these groups to betray the masses and sell them false liberation. In the final analysis, all those who are against the masses are our enemies. We advise the conscientious members of DSA to abandon and denounce their reformist leadership and join the ranks of the revolutionary masses. If they refuse to do so, no one can say we did not warn them. Collateral damage is an inevitable part of war.
We want to state that we will not recognize DSA-LA’s politics. Ultimately, we see them as a threat to the working-class communities of Los Angeles. We will not allow them to lie to the people and promise them false messiahs in liberal politicians. If DSA-LA refuses to listen to us, we will continue to win over the community they pretend to serve and show who they are at face-value. We will shed no tears for their organization being run out of the hood.

 

As we said, we have previously struggled with DSA-LA on this very topic. We thought we made our message clear but apparently we didn’t. For that, we self-criticize and we will boldly restate our position. As DSA-LA cowardly whispers criticisms of neoliberalism, STP-LA will shout to the sky our hatred of capitalism and our love of the masses. We proclaim that all attempts to trick the masses into reform will end in one result; a traitor’s conviction. We will let DSA-LA decipher the verdict.

 

STP-LA has been organizing in Boyle Heights for three years and we can proudly say that, in this time, we have established a mass base. The masses trust us and we trust them. They have united with our line to join our ranks. However, the first two years of our organizing were marked by the economist practice of food distributions. We can say with confidence that DSA-LA, with their “Food 4 solidarity” initiative, will resurrect failure and death.

 

DSA states that Food 4 Solidarity will “strengthen the organization and move us closer to building socialism from the ground up”. In reality, they want to generate good traction to push them on the ballot and push the nation closer to welfare capitalism. DSA simply wants capitalism with a better healthcare package. That they call themselves “socialist” is a spit in the face of every revolutionary socialist who has given their life to serve the people. They do not grasp that, at its very core, socialism can only be built through the violent confrontation between the working class and its exploiters. All organizing efforts must aim to bring forward this confrontation and end exploitation once and for all. DSA’s planned economism seeks to liquidate class antagonisms, hide contradictions, and call small concessions victories. At their core, food distributions aim to make capitalism more bearable for the exploited – thus, they give another leg for capitalism to stand up on. Food distributions trick the masses into becoming dependent on small guarantees. This is a lesson we have learned in the last two years. Food distributions are a dead end – they mechanically distribute food week after week, empowering no one. They cannot fulfill the primary goal of any revolutionary organization, which is to transform the masses into militants who are ready to wage war. We declare that the seizure of political power is the principle objective for organizing.  As the masses have stated,”tenemos nada y queremos todo.”. We know that they will seize todo by force, whether it be against a pig or a capitalist with a red rose banner.

An end to the ceasefire with Roger Lee: all-out war against slumlords

Call, mail or better yet visit the offices of Roger Lee: 17700 Castleton St, Industry, CA 91748-1705. Third floor, Suite 358. Office phone number: (626) 964-0999, ask for Roger Lee.

Copy and paste, share far and wide. The more people hear about this injustice, the more pressure he will be to sit down and hear the grievances of his tenants!

Yesterday Roger Lee’s lawyer, Rose, told Serve the People – Los Angeles’ People’s Committees that Roger does not have time to meet with the tenants and that he will not be waiving the rent hikes, not now, not ever.

And, so, with grave concern we told his lawyer that we will be calling an end to the ceasefire and resuming actions against Roger Lee. Come what may.

To the people of Boyle Heights: what have we learned from the battle and rent strike at 1815 E. 2nd Street against landlord Frank “BJ” Turner? What do we know already about the laws of physics – that every action has an opposite and equal re-action.

Welp. Here we are.

To the militant masses of Boyle Heights and all of Los Angeles: resume the campaign to pressure Roger Lee to sit down with us and his tenants, to stop raising the rent, to repair their homes! Call, mail and visit his office! Strike with chaos! Make slumlords tremble!

To Roger Lee: not wanting to meet with your very own tenants is an act of cowardice and arrogance. It’s unforgivable. As we have said previously: “It must be understood that we are not a force that can be tamed. A fury of centuries lives in our veins, explodes in our hearts. A fury that eagerly yearns to be strategically released as if it had a life of its own. Any tactic to destroy us will only aid us in our construction.”

Call, mail or better yet visit the offices of Roger Lee: 17700 Castleton St, Industry, CA 91748-1705. Third floor, Suite 358. Office phone number: (626) 964-0999, ask for Roger Lee.

Copy and paste, share far and wide. The more people hear about this injustice, the more pressure he will be to sit down and hear the grievances of his tenants!

Long live the united and militant people!

Ayer, el abogado de Roger Lee, Rose, le dijo a El Comité Popular de Servir al Pueblo – Los Angeles que Roger no tiene tiempo para reunirse con los inquilinos y que no renunciará al aumento de la renta, ni ahora, ni nunca.

Y, entonces, con grave preocupación, le dijimos a su abogado que pondría fin al alto el fuego y reanudaríamos las acciones contra Roger Lee. Pase lo que pase.

Para el pueblo de Boyle Heights: ¿qué hemos aprendido de la batalla y huelga de renta en 1815 E. 2nd Street contra el propietario Frank “BJ” Turner? ¿Qué sabemos ya sobre las leyes de la física? Que cada acción tiene una reacción opuesta e igual.

Entonces. Aquí estamos.

 

A las masas militantes de Boyle Heights y todos Los Angeles: reanudar la campaña para presionar a Roger Lee a sentarse con nosotros y sus inquilinos, para dejar de aumentar la renta y reparar sus apartamentos. ¡Llama, envía por correo y visita su oficina! ¡Huelga con caos! ¡Haz temblar a los dueños desgraciados!

Para Roger Lee: no querer encontrarse con sus propios inquilinos es un acto de cobardía y arrogancia. Es imperdonable. Como dijimos anteriormente: “Se debe entender que no somos una fuerza que pueda ser domesticada. Una furia de siglos vive en nuestras venas, explota en nuestros corazones. Una furia que anhela ser lanzada estratégicamente como si tuviera un vida propia. Cualquier táctica para destruirnos solo nos ayudará en nuestra construcción “.

Llama, envía por correo o visita la oficina de Roger Lee: 17700 Castleton St, Industry, CA 91748-1705. Tercer piso, Suite 358. El número de teléfono de la oficina: (626) 964-0999, pregunte por Roger Lee.

Copie y pegue, comparta por todas partes. ¡Cuanta más gente escuche sobre esta injusticia, más presión tendrá para sentarse y escuchar las quejas de sus inquilinos!

¡Viva el pueblo militante e unido!

 

 

Slumlord Roger stealing from the neighborhood

This slumlord was gracious enough to give us an analysis on gentrification that confirms what we been saying, and what Defend Boyle Heights has been saying. Property value is raising as speculative capital is sought out by real estate vultures. Rents all across Boyle Heights have been rising because the ever-increasing appetite of gentrifier-capitalists. We maintain that parasitic slumlords like Chi “Roger” Wei Lee will continue to increase rent for working people unless they are met with the force and fury of the united working class who has decided to take matters into their own hands. Slumlords like Roger won’t stop attacking our people and the working class unless they are terrified of the repercussions.

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Slumlord, Chi Wei Lee (AKA “Roger”) of 1350/1330 Pleasant Ave, Los Angeles, CA, 90033, who can’t manage to fix leaky roofs, pest infestations and fix the simplest of issues – however – was able to raise the rent for tenants, as he does every year. This time from $140 and up, all the while believing that this increase is fair! Why? Well, Roger said that he’s actually doing the tenants a favor because the market value in Boyle Heights, specifically around Mariachi Plaza, is much higher.

How generous! How saint-like! How charitable of this parasite!

A slumlord that residents say they’ve hardly ever seen, as he doesn’t come around to see the decrepit state of his buildings, but we’re sure he’s available when it’s time to collect rent no doubt.

Chi “Roger” Wei Lee has acted more swiftly in sending a three-day notice to tenants on a rent strike than he has acted on making repairs that tenants have been demanding for months, even years!

This slumlord was gracious enough to give us an analysis on gentrification that confirms what we been saying, and what Defend Boyle Heights has been saying. Property value is raising as speculative capital is sought out by real estate vultures. Rents all across Boyle Heights have been rising because the ever-increasing appetite of gentrifier-capitalists. We maintain that parasitic slumlords like Chi “Roger” Wei Lee will continue to increase rent for working people unless they are met with the force and fury of the united working class who has decided to take matters into their own hands. Slumlords like Roger won’t stop attacking our people and the working class unless they are terrified of the repercussions.

Call and demand the following:

1. waive the rent increases,
2 meet with the tenants and
3. stop harassing tenants with 3 day notices.
.
Chi Wei Lee is co-owner of the Ritz Group II, LLC. His business phone number is 626.964.0999. Be sure to ask for “Roger.” His business address is 17700 CASTLETON ST. STE 358. CITY OF INDUSTRY, CA 91748.

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The people want revolutionary justice: a brief report back on building our People’s Committees in Boyle Heights

While STPLA as an organization and Boyle Heights as a community are not at this level of militancy just yet, we’re getting there. In the near-future the line that separates our organization with these militant revolutionaries will become blurred and will eventually be erased. This is our main task. This is what gives us life, what motivates each and every one of us in STPLA, what gets us up in the morning and what gives us dreams when we go to bed at night.

The people want revolutionary justice: a brief report back on building our People’s Committees in Boyle Heights

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Boyle Heights is transforming in two ways – mass displacement caused by gentrification and the growing militancy. The two are obviously related to each other. Gentrification causes militancy when there are die-hard motherfuckers leading the way. But this militancy does not cause gentrification. It actually curbs it and, in certain scenarios, stops it.  

At the same time there are those like us – the die-hard motherfuckers – who seek not only to challenge the transformation of our community, the gentrification, but to destroy it along with those who enable it. We know the culprits of gentrification, like the high-end art galleries at the west side of Boyle Heights and their vendido political supporters like Jose Huizar, AKA Sleazy Huizy. But one gentrifying group deserving of our attention are the slumlords.

As mentioned in our previous summation, we are in the middle of developing our People’s Committees, which will mobilize tenants inside their buildings to stop rent hikes, do repairs that slumlords neglect – because slumlords want poor working-class tenants gone and rich yuppy ones in substitution who can pay more rent – and the committees will make sure that slumlords don’t harass or take advantage of their tenants.

But isn’t this dangerous? Doesn’t this put families at risk? What will happen to the tenants?

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The DHKP/C – The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front/Party – is a Turkish group that militantly fights gentrification and builds community dual power in Istanbul.

The Turkish organization, the DHKP/C – The Revolutionary People’s’ Liberation Front/Party – has been a source of inspiration for us ever since we began approximately three years ago. While Boyle Heights is not Istanbul, both communities are part of larger capitalist countries. Capitalism means exploitation and oppression. Wherever it exists, there is also resistance. Istanbul is probably one of the most militant anti-gentrification communities in the world right now.

We’re crazy enough to say that we want to be right up there with them. Our fight against rent hikes and slumlords is a part of that.

We should understand that actually rent increases alone put families at risk of being homeless or having to search for a new place to live in a growing unaffordable city. Slumlords who don’t resolve rodent and pest infestations, or leaks or window and door repairs, because they want to save a buck, put families at risk of disease and an unsafe environment. And like we mentioned earlier, it’s also a tactic to push tenants out to make room for the yuppy gentrifier-hipsters. We won’t force anyone to go on rent strike, but if the masses themselves are already reaching out to us telling us we have to do something, then we will and must support them in any way possible. Like Malcolm X said, “By any means necessary.”

The reason we bring this up is because one of our struggles in mobilizing tenants has been this fear of retaliation from the slumlord. They think the slumlord will immediately evict them or sic ICE on them – we have heard stories of this already happening. So some say they will continue to pay even past the point where they can no longer afford it. It’s survival. They need to survive. In the beginning, the tenants don’t see how building these People’s Committees and waging rent strikes is a necessary part of survival too.

So we respond to this in three key ways:

  1. While there are serious risks in going on rent strike, the fact is that displacement is an inevitability, especially under the conditions of gentrification in Boyle Heights.

    We have a saying at our meetings and distributions:

    “There is never a victory without a fight. But when you don’t fight, defeat is guaranteed. Fighting increases the chances of victory.”

    Not fighting essentially delays your turn at getting displaced. Tenants are getting kicked out little by little, all the while they could have fought together and had the chance of winning. While some tenants may be fearful, there is a necessity of taking these risks to fight. 
  2. Since one of the risks involves the landlord calling ICE, we assure them that the community and militant revolutionaries will back them up. By any means necessary.

    While we commend organizations who provide workshops on knowing your rights and knowing lawyers who defend people kidnapped by ICE, we want to reach a point where ICE fears for their very wellbeing when they have the arrogance to step into our communities. We want to reach the point where we no longer have “Know Your Rights” workshops (rights or not, it is legal to detain and deport – we don’t give a fuck about laws, we care about our people), but instead have ICE vans set ablaze, destroyed by rocks, glass bottles, pipes, bats, and anything else these militant revolutionaries can get their hands on.

    We tell the cautious and fearful masses: There’s something happening in our community, in Boyle Heights, that is really quite special. Organizations are building an army, but not an army of paid soldiers of the state, not an army of gangsters. A People’s Army. One that is dedicated to fighting, defending and if need be giving their lives for the people. We let tenants know that we work closely with these militant revolutionaries. It’s our secret weapon (not anymore!).

    While STPLA as an organization and Boyle Heights as a community are not at this level of militancy just yet, we’re getting there. In the near-future the line that separates our organization with these militant revolutionaries will become blurred and will eventually be erased. This is our main task. This is what gives us life, what motivates each and every one of us in STPLA, what gets us up in the morning and what gives us dreams when we go to bed at night.

    One of the organizations in Boyle Heights, and all of Los Angeles, leading the movement in building the People’s Army are our comrades in Red Guards – Los Angeles. To them, we are indebted and our work will be how we will show our appreciation. 
  3. We know that doing criticism/self-criticism (CSC) helps us and the masses keep sharp and effective. CSC, not only for ourselves but for the masses, is what we mean by arming the masses – only in part – and getting them ready for the coming war and for building the new world to replace this old, unfair and greedy one.
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The DHKP/C – The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front/Party – is a Turkish group that militantly fights gentrification and builds community dual power in Istanbul.

A change to our Sunday distribution, putting politics in command, not food

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Since the beginning of the year, our Sunday distributions have been going through some positive and negative changes. Some are listed in our recent summation, but something new and not mentioned is that the organization and the masses have decided to only distribute food and clothing every other week and not every week. The Sundays we don’t give anything out, we hold political development meetings and presentations – currently, our main focus is on the tenants in two buildings we are organizing under our People’s Committees (more will be announced in the coming weeks).  

Why did we change our weekly food-and-clothing distribution?

This past Sunday, dedicated to the tenants we’re working with, a Sunday without the distribution, we were disappointed with the lack of presence of our regular volunteers and even many mass members. The tenants who showed up needed the support of our volunteers and mass members. Many said they would be there even if there was no food to not only stand in solidarity with the tenants, but to also dedicate time to their own political development.

We make it a point to constantly say that we are not a church or a nonprofit (which uphold charity and reformism) and that anyone can provide free food as they do on skid row. So we decided with those who attended this Sunday’s food-and-clothing distribution that if they didn’t show up to support their fellow community members, the tenants, the following week (no distribution), we will stop the food-and-clothing distributions indefinitely.

Politicization is primary. We need the masses to be supportive of each other and not only of their individual needs. Not because it will make them, or us even, feel good. But because gentrification’s displacement affects all working-class people! It’s only a question of time, of when, your turn comes.

Furthermore, if the volunteers and mass members show up we of course will continue with the food, but we will also implement a new method of making bags (the current method is also mentioned in the summation). Since the current process tends to result in individualism, specifically the masses filling their bags with food they personally want, ignoring or speaking over our members who lead discussions, and then guarding their own bags, rather than making all the bags equally and then putting back what they don’t need, we will require regular volunteers and mass members to be stationed at different sections of the food tables to only give out a certain portion of that food. The goal is a more collective understanding of helping one another and thinking about belonging to a community above just being an individual. The objective is for all the bags to be equal.

Eventually, newer volunteers will replace the role of previous regular volunteers and mass members, becoming new mass members themselves and deepening their political outlook.  

If we are successful, leaders will emerge from the masses. If we as selfless and guiding die-hard motherfuckers lead in an effective way, revolutionaries will emerge from the masses!

“Why don’t you struggle for the people, why don’t you die for the people”

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Fred Hampton on the right-hand side

As comrade Fred Hampton of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense once said, “If you dare to struggle, you dare to win. If you dare not struggle then god damn-it you don’t deserve to win.” If we truly want to stop evictions, gentrification, and deportations (and eventually get rid of capitalism) we have to push militancy. The masses aren’t opposed to revolutionary violence. Reformism has been pushed onto them left and right and as we have seen, it has not gotten us closer to revolution. Mere survival and existence will not destroy the system that thrives off of our blood, sweat and tears. We reject the idea of “upholding,” AKA diluting, revolutionaries such as Assata Shakur, Fred Hampton and other Black Panthers while pushing a reformist lines – all in their name! The arrogance, the offensiveness! These were revolutionaries, most, who gave their lives to the people! They belong to us, not the state – no matter how progressive your nonprofit or classroom is!

To serve the people does not mean to use them for careerist aims, but to carry the torch forward and give our lives to the masses in a way that will bring about revolutionary transformation. To say otherwise is to mock their struggles and ignore their history of militancy.

Fred Hampton once said, “Why don’t you struggle for the people, why don’t you die for the people.”

We’re here, willing, able, and getting ready.