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!

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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!

 

 

Help Luis Enrique Estrada Perez fight his deportation!

That is why our organization, Serve the People – Los Angeles’, reaffirms that ICE is a total and vicious enemy of the people, specifically working-class undocumented immigrants! Undocumented immigrants are under attack by the federal government – we must fight back!  We must move away from defensive strategies into offensive, preventative strategies beyond the endless Know-Your-Rights workshops, to fight ICE. To be clear: we need defense units to prevent ICE from taking our people.

This past Tuesday, 4-17-18, Luis Enrique Estrada Perez was taken by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in front of his house in the private housing projects of the Wyvernwood Garden Apartments. He is being held in the Adelanto Detention Facility, a private federal prison, in San Bernardino County. Although he most likely will be transferred to other detention facilities.

Luis is the latest casualty in the federal government’s war against undocumented working-class immigrants! More than 100 immigrants have been taken by ICE, according to the LA Times. Just in Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles there has been approximately 10-to-12 people already detained, with some having been deported! All, without exception, were hard-working providers for their families. This is not coincidence. Our communities are been targeted most likely because of the high-level of militancy and revolutionary organizing.

Undocumented immigrants are held to high, moralistic standards. They can’t make mistakes. They must be ethical Americans. Whereas citizens can go to jail, accumulate tickets, sin, and then be forgiven, undocumented immigrants are chewed up, sucked dry of their labor and spat out!

But we are not deterred. His girlfriend of 18 years and mother of his children, Petra, is diligently working with lawyers to represent him in court and demand his release. But the family needs help with the legal fees. It is approximately $8,000-to-$10,000! But we are initially starting off with $1,000.

That is why our organization, Serve the People – Los Angeles’, reaffirms that ICE is a total and vicious enemy of the people, specifically working-class undocumented immigrants! Undocumented immigrants are under attack by the federal government – we must fight back!  We must move away from defensive strategies into offensive, preventative strategies beyond the endless Know-Your-Rights workshops, to fight ICE. To be clear: we need defense units to prevent ICE from taking our people.

We urge our supporters and all supporters of undocumented working-class immigrants to call Adelanto Detention Facility and/or visit and demand the immediate release of Luis! Here is his family’s YouCaring fundraiser page! Please donate and share!

Call them! (760) 561-6100 or (760) 530-9300

Visit them! 9483 Commerce Way, Adelanto, CA 92301

Luis Enrique Estrada Perez. Date of birth: 02/27/1979. File no: 213 019 980. Subject ID: 361124569. Warrant issuing officer: Ryan Hicks.

SAPLA

Cease fire – for now: Roger Lee to meet with tenants

But check it out: the people of Boyle Heights aren’t fucking around anymore. Once a call is issued for revolutionary support in working-class struggles, especially the working-class tenant struggle, the militant masses unleash their fury. And nothing short of victory will quench that fury. 

We have just received word that Roger Lee is going to meet with Serve the People – Los Angeles’ People’s Committee tenants of 1330/1350 Pleasant Ave.

Earlier today Roger Lee’s lawyer Rose informed us that he has been receiving threatening phone calls, menacing mail and even visits to his private home – holy crap! Obviously, all this must be troubling for him. He is worried about his well being. (But what about the well being of the tenants who would be displaced from his constant rent increases?!) They wish for it to stop. When a capitalist-slumlord gets just a small taste of the violence their class inflicts upon working-class tenants, they want the world to stop.

But check it out: the people of Boyle Heights aren’t fucking around anymore. Once a call is issued for revolutionary support in working-class struggles, especially the working-class tenant struggle, the militant masses unleash their fury. And nothing short of victory will quench that fury. 

We agreed to temporarily take down his phone number and the propaganda naming him, as well as encourage the anonymous mass militants who have been taking matter into their own hands to cease all attacks for now.

While there is no set date for the meeting with Roger Lee, we were assured it will happen as soon as possible. If we do not receive confirmation of a date for the agreed meeting – like what initially happened with Frank BJ Turner of 1815 E. 2nd St with the rent-strikers – then oh man oh man oh man; we will have no choice but to resume the strategic offensive of the campaign.

Long live the People’s Committees!

Victory to the working class of Boyle Heights!

Dare to struggle, dare to win!

 

Seizing the moment: Building the People’s Committees as fighting working-class organizations

On April 3 we received a call from slumlord Lee’s lawyer who spoke in a frightened and hurried voice asking us if we were planning on vandalizing the apartment buildings because a sergeant from the LAPD had called her and said STPLA’s People’s Committee was planning to do just that! What deh ferk. Who do they think they’re kidding? What do we have to gain from that? Why would we vandalize the very homes of the tenant-members of our own People’s Committees? We’re crazy, not dumb. (We are los pocos pero locos) C’mon people!

The following is a brief update on Serve the People – Los Angeles’ (STPLA) new project of building People’s Committees from the tenant struggle against slumlords, gentrification and ultimately capitalism.

The tenant struggle most be transformed into the workers struggle. Instead of exclusively focusing on winning victories over slumlords or greedy landlords, we should be transforming those tenants into soldiers for the people and bringing them to the forefront of all anti-gentrification and anti-capitalist fronts.

We aim to do just that. We aim to move from building to building in all of Boyle Heights, and then eventually beyond. Leaving a trail of slumlords and property managers.

  1. Update on the People’s Committees

On March 19, STPLA’s People’s Committees led an action in front of slumlord Chih Wei “Roger” Lee’s offices in City of Industry. In this action, with the militant participation of Defend Boyle Heights, particularly members of the O.V.A.S. and Union de Vecinos, alongside the Los Angeles Tenants Union and the tenants of the run-down 1330 and 1350 Pleasant Avenue buildings demanded an end to their squalor living conditions and an end to the constant rent increases.

The action was lively, energetic, and successful! It reaffirmed several things, one of them being the necessity of militancy in our movement. Tenants are angry. Let’s not stamp out the fire of their anger. Let’s fan the flames!

This universal truth was expressed through the tenant’s courageous and creative demonstration that day. Tenants led shouting matches against antagonistic security guards that acted like a self-appointed guardians of capital and slumlords. They led groups in chanting, speaking on the issues and why this was necessary, and even defended comrades that were assaulted by a security guard.

In one instance a security guard charged community members and allies with vandalism, stating that we had been the ones who wrote “Roger Lee 187” (he showed us a picture) and other art produced by anonymous supporters. We told him that the protest had been a public event and that people throughout the community of Boyle Heights have finally had enough and will do whatever necessary to defend their neighbors. Security continued rambling on how the action was illegal and that we were trespassing, but the community let him know that we clearly did not give a fuck, that we only care about what is right!

The same guard kept attempting to obstruct the protest, to disallow tenants and allies from going up to Roger Lee’s office on the third floor. He even turned off the elevator when we stormed it. But then other supporters ran to the stairway and quickly attempted to enter but the guard was faster than he looked. This is where it perhaps got the most confrontational. A few more security guards put their bodies in front of the stairway door, but supporters did not give up. The most antagonistic guard began physically shoving one of our members and then our supporters began defending her. Eventually the guards relented and a few of us made it up the stairs. In an act of capitulation and desperation, one member was even escorted up to Roger Lee’s office by the guard and was even allowed inside to verify that he wasn’t hiding under his desk. As we were rallying and protesting, property managers and security guards called the County Sheriffs on us. Approximately six cruisers waited outside.

We were happy yet disappointment to report to the protesters in the first floor lobby that Roger Lee was not there. Happy he was too scared to show up. Disappointment that we couldn’t show him just how upset his tenants were. Nonetheless, we were behind enemy lines. That is one advantage the enemy, currently, does not have over us.

This courageous yet small action proved to be effective. Slumlord Lee quickly began fixing the apartments of Pleasant Avenue, almost immediately afterward. Additionally, he had his lawyer call us by phone and offered a decrease in the rent hike from $140 to $70, and has even offered a 1 year contract to all tenants promising not to raise rent more than $30-$50 dollars (however, to date, no tenant has received that promise in writing)!

This all happened within a handful days of the action. We remind you, months and years had passed without the slumlord even attempting to fix anything. Many tenants had car stereos, tools, cars and motorcycles, and other property stolen. They have caught people using drugs and drinking in the dark corners of the apartment parking garages. Tenants had even gone to the hospital due to gas leaks, and much more! Nothing had happened until now!

This strategic retreat by the slumlord, which is objectively a small win for all the tenants, whether through cowardice or through strategic planning, has won over a few tenants and made them feel at ease for the time being; this feeling is especially true among tenants who were unsure of whether or not they were going to participate.

But others continue to know that the struggle is not even close to being over. They continue to demand that they deserve everything from this slumlord, starting with a zero rent increase, and no more rent increases indefinitely, all in writing! They know that this action was just a small beginning. They know that so much has been won with just a tiny action that only gave a small taste of what is to come – if we should continue the struggle. They know that a landlord that is willing to lose roughly $36,120 a year (due to waving the $70 off the rent increase for approximately 43 units) without shedding a tear, can and will lose much more if the struggle continues.

  1. With struggle comes fear – without struggle there is only failure

The People’s Committee struggle has also, apparently, caught the attention of the Los Angeles Pig Department. Not only have they been recording us at public gatherings like Defend Boyle Heights meetings, alongside our comrades, they are also apparently spreading rumors to the slumlord himself! They see a small flex of force on our part that is apparently capable of moving mountains. Imagine our full creative potential?

On April 3 we received a call from slumlord Lee’s lawyer who spoke in a frightened and hurried voice asking us if we were planning on vandalizing the apartment buildings because a sergeant from the LAPD had called her and said STPLA’s People’s Committee was planning to do just that! What deh ferk. Who do they think they’re kidding? What do we have to gain from that? Why would we vandalize the very homes of the tenant-members of our own People’s Committees? We’re crazy, not dumb. (We are los pocos pero locos) C’mon people!

But think about that. Why would LAPD start this rumor? What do they have to gain from that?

It’s outrageous! If true, this was a clear pig tactic to implement confusion and paint our organization as anti-people and hazardous. Regardless if it was true or not that the cops called Roger Lee’s lawyer, we must take note of these (potential?) tactics as a clear escalation of opposition from the pigs against the struggling tenants and our organization. It’s evident we scare them, from the manager to the landlord – and it’s (allegedly?) causing concern to the local pigs as well. But we won’t be fooled by their tricks! Shit’s crystal clear. We expect LAPD to wage, or begin waging, more tactics against the struggling people. Pig is a pig and will oink like a pig. With struggle comes fear and it is evident we are not the ones who are afraid. We don’t fear, we dare. But without struggle there is only failure.

  1. On to the next: Onward with the Peoples Committees!

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. These tactics allegedly by the LAPD, whether purposely or incidentally, continue to give us a very clear example of who are our enemies.

They are targeting us, tenants themselves and those who are struggling alongside them! Tenants who have suffered for years under a slumlord that has only heeded their calls after they became organized. What role do the pigs play in this? Whether they consider themselves good or bad people, even if they love their families, take their dogs on walks, smile at immigrant vendors and tell their parents they love them? What role are they plaing in this situation? They are in every instance the enemy! They are the enemy when fighting for basic needs that tenants have been demanded for years. They will be the enemy as this struggle continues to intensify – even if it comes to an end at 1330 and 1350 Pleasant Ave; their masters will tell them to jump and their pig brains will make them spring up enthusiastically like a pig hearing their feed hit the trough. They have nothing else to live for because they are already dead inside.

The lines between the masses and the militants are becoming blurred: the former self-destructing to construct the latter.

So what now? Largely, the answer depends on what the tenants of the People’s Committee decide and what is strategic for us. We can push ahead but absolutely not without their support. That would be bad leadership. We must develop the tenants to see the gains that have been made, the errors that have been committed, the world that belongs to us, and the world that we deserve. Tenants must see that the class struggles is in all things, including the tenant-landlord struggle. The tenants deserve more than just a measly $70 reduction in a rent hike! Tenants deserve more than repairs only after years of dangerous and squalor living conditions. We must seize this victory, this moment.

We have nothing. During a phone call Roger Lee’s lawyer asks, what do we want?

Let a resounding “Everything!” make the slumlords and capitalist-gentrifiers tremble with fear. Slumlords, we are coming for you.

Seize the Moment!

Blur the lines between the masses and the militants!

Long Live the People’s Committees!

Protest slumlord Chi Wei “Roger” Lee at his office Monday!

This fight is not about one building, one neighborhood or even one city. It is part of a national, even international, war against gentrification and displacement. And we will not go quietly. Since it is a war, we must transform ourselves to reflect that. Through the tenant struggle people’s soldiers will emerge!

WHO: Serve the People – Los Angeles’ People’s Committees with the tenants of 1330 and 1350 Pleasant Avenue.

WHAT: Protest in front of landlord Roger Lee’s office.

WHY: So that the landlord Roger Lee can begin fixing basic repairs and stop increasing the rent.

WHERE: In front of the offices of the owner Roger Lee at 17700 Castleton St, Industry, CA 91748-1705.

WHEN: This Monday, 3-19-18, 9 am – 12 pm.

This Monday morning – yes, this Monday! – come out and join Serve the People – Los Angeles’ People’s Committees with the tenants of 1330 and 1350 Pleasant Avenue as we protest in front of the offices of their slumlord Chi Wei “Roger” Lee.

We are demanding that Roger Lee immediately begin repairing the parking garage gates for both buildings. They are left wide open, and cars, motorcycles, stereos, tools and other property have been stolen from tenants!

One renter commented how people who don’t even live in the apartments go into the parking lot and drink and do drugs comfortably in the dimly-lit parking garage!

The buildings are in dire need of basic maintenance. The roof leaks in both darken hallways (most light fixtures have no lights), creating dangerous puddles.

And Roger Lee still has the nerve, the arrogance!, to raise rent every single year?! Tenants are being forced to pay $140, which started this month.

We look to the historic victory of the tenants and mariachis at 1815 E. 2nd Street who defeated their greedy capitalist-landlord, Frank “BJ Turner,” even though the building was not under rent control.

If they can do it, so can we. If we can do it, so can you.

This fight is not about one building, one neighborhood or even one city. It is part of a national, even international, war against gentrification and displacement. And we will not go quietly. Since it is a war, we must transform ourselves to reflect that. Through the tenant struggle people’s soldiers will emerge!

QUIEN: Los Comités del Pueblo de Servir al Pueblo – Los Angeles con los inquilinos de 1330 y 1350 Pleasant Avenue

QUE: A protestar en frente de las oficinas del dueño Roger Lee.

DONDE: En frente de la oficina del dueño, Roger Lee, 17700 Castleton St, Industry, CA 91748-1705.

CUANDO: Este lunes, 3-19-18, 9 am – 12 pm.

POR QUÉ: Para que el dueño, Roger Lee, pueda arreglar las reparaciones y dejar de aumentar la renta.

Este lunes por la mañana – sí, ¡este lunes! – venga y únase a los Comités del Pueblo de Servir al Pueblo – Los Angeles con los inquilinos de 1330 y 1350 Pleasant Avenue mientras protestamos frente a las oficinas del dueño Chi Wei “Roger” Lee.

Estamos exigiendo que Roger Lee comience inmediatamente a reparar las puertas del estacionamiento para ambos edificios, y otros asuntos también. ¡Se dejan abiertos, y los carros, motocicletas, estéreos, herramientas y otra propriedad han sido robados de los inquilinos!

Un inquilino comentó cómo las personas que ni viven en los apartamentos van al estacionamiento con poca luz y y se
emborrachan y drogan ahí con calma.

Los edificios necesitan urgentemente mantenimiento básico. El techo gotea en ambos pasillos oscurecidos (la mayoría de las lámparas no tienen luces), creando charcos peligrosos.

¡Y Roger Lee todavía tiene el valor, la arrogancia!, para aumentar la renta cada año! Empezando este mes de marzo, los inquilinos empezaron a pagar $140 de aumento de renta.

Miramos hacia la victoria histórica de los inquilinos y mariachis en 1815 E. 2nd Street que derrotó a su dueño-capitalista, Frank “BJ Turner”, y el edificio no estaba bajo control de renta.

Si ellos pueden hacerlo, nosotros tambien. Si podemos hacerlo, tú también puedes hacerlo.

Esta pelea no se trata de un edificio, un barrio o incluso una ciudad. Es parte de una guerra nacional, incluso internacional, contra la gentrificación y el desplazamiento. Y no vamos a ir en silencio. Como es una guerra, debemos transformarnos para reflejar eso. ¡A través de la lucha del inquilino, surgirán los soldados del pueblo!

 

roger lee shit

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.
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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.