[WSMDiscuss] Fwd: In South Africa : Renters and activists call for a RENT STRIKE on the 1st of May for all those who cannot pay (Rent Strike South Africa)

Jai Sen jai.sen at cacim.net
Thu Apr 30 16:26:14 CEST 2020

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Viruses in movement…, South Africa in movement…, Dwellers in movement…

In South Africa :

Renters and activists call for a RENT STRIKE on the 1st of May for all those who cannot pay

Rent Strike South Africa

            In solidarity !



> Begin forwarded message:
> From: "Rent Strike South Africa" (via takethecommonssupporters Mailing List) <takethecommonssupporters at lists.riseup.net>
> Subject: [takethecommonssupporters] Rent Strike South Africa Press Statement
> Date: April 30, 2020 at 8:39:00 AM EDT
> To: "takethecommonssupporters at lists.riseup.net" <takethecommonssupporters at lists.riseup.net>
> Reply-To: Rent Strike South Africa <rentstrikesouthafrica at protonmail.com>

Here is the Rent Strike South Africa press statement. Please let us know if you have any further questions.

Renters and activists call for a RENT STRIKE on the 1st of May for all those who cannot pay
On 1 May, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, will not be able to pay. We must all strike together!

Government must issue a moratorium on rental and bond payments, as well as a municipal rates holiday for the duration of the crisis!
30 April 2020 - Press Statement by Rent Strike South Africa

The rent strike <http://www.rentstrikesouthafrica.org/> is an evolving conversation about how regular people can keep themselves safe, sheltered, and fed through the coming months.

The basic premise of the strike is simple: If we can’t work, we can’t pay rent. Instead of being isolated and on your own in worrying about how to pay rent and to feed yourself, regular people can collectively support each other, and can take their lives into their own hands by keeping their rent. Because even if lockdown as it is is lifted soon, we will still have significant restrictions on movement. Life is not going back to normal any time soon, and the most vulnerable people in our most unequal country will be hit the hardest. If you keep your rent today, you might be able to buy groceries tomorrow where you wouldn’t have. And that is one of the biggest things you can do to ensure that you will have some money for food going forward, if you had any money at all in the first place. Government is giving some money to people, but it is insufficient, unreliable, and maladministered, so we ask ourselves: What are some real practical ways that we can ensure that we are collectively safe together?

But rent strike is not a blanket prescription. Though we emphasise and highlight that the landlord-tenant relationship is inherently exploitative, we understand that many people have complicated lives, we understand that there are occasions where it could be safer for a person to pay rent if they can. We invite everyone worried about rent to get involved and to be able to make the best choices with the most information, because each person knows their own life the best. For rent strike, what is essential is that no-one should be evicted and no-one should starve. Beyond that, rent strike tries to plug into a broader anti-authoritarian and anti-capitalist conversation around how all of us should have our basic needs met and have good lives. So for example, we support those who occupy land, and have begun to include occupiers in our conversations. We would love to do more but of course we are limited in capacity.

Already in April 32% of SA renters were unable to pay their full rent. Possibly hundreds of thousands of people are going to be unable to pay rent in May, and many more in June and beyond. Rent strike as a group starts with the idea that if we collectively organise around that fact, we will all be safer now and in the long term. This is not about just May. May is the beginning.

Rent Strike SA is more than just the strike at this stage, it also includes efforts to petition and lobby government to call for a rent freeze and rent cancellation for the period of the pandemic. It is also a call to banks and government to freeze bonds with no interest added for the period of the pandemic, as well as a call to government to reduce rates and taxes. As such, it is a multi-pronged approach that is intended to suit all preferences for organising. It is essential that those of you who wish to pursue these routes join up and do so, because it appears that nobody else is.

We have done various things in mobilizing towards the initial call for Rent Strike South Africa <http://www.rentstrikesouthafrica.org/>, which we have learned gave people the strong impression that we have a fixed approach that does not welcome new ideas. In reality we’ve spent a lot of time reaching out to groups trying to hear their voices and their concerns around these topics. We have also built relationships with people who have started rent strikes all around the world, and are learning with them and their concerns while still working to be sensitive to the differences in context.

These are some things that we have done for the rent strike:

We have contacted different housing justice groups inviting collaboration as we believe this action will not gain momentum without the work of groups like these on the ground.
We’ve engaged social justice organisations who have offered us resources and support.
We’ve also engaged lawyers and individuals who advocate around housing to come on board the project.
We have started multiple WhatsApp working groups, a Facebook page <https://www.facebook.com/RentStrikeSouthAfrica/> and a private facebook group (where people can share their concerns and have many people try to support them), an Instagram  <https://www.instagram.com/rentstrikesouthafrica/>and Twitter <https://twitter.com/rentstrikesa> account, and we launched our basic website recently (rentstrikesouthafrica.org <https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Frentstrikesouthafrica.org%2F%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR3SAi5Oodw8ajJaY_PvLF8Xv9l6VxZ88n6ymr0iFEo2kTPRuG_5vc0wTsg&h=AT07ImH6ECKYWy2z1-W7YiMW2oCFwvbvSr-MM9lOToqWMxCHo7KSIwqJz11I4K0iE_Ncv5Biks4S5NdQP8NBRWga00JUFQRT6uFV3E3JPNWtHnGwc9x3pcKsY2R9zbP4TByk2gbIqcZvrLFYnOuRwbCSEGZEdjOKa2agGpSJew46XKTMSx-et5KaSFJtUBAij4t156KTtQ9bbSfIMaomGMzMrRxrgNfmoiUowG55GuXJZ_sz0oJOLeH8bx1xwjNWych04LizXtbbt1phoZ1o7L8mS0dEyJ3YeqPpkwTvjfM8eKz8WD9Erec9ErkGbAwvbE4prGpnRUWCmDYKAHKssI_Hnt3JShpB7mpDRazxW6jLZRWoQVoM0XJXwIZSrV3EjUU6Uf3462MKirxcWBElSXNZYUb1fKW_t4890avqeudsX7CzyMMRQ2yEai2PSqmd23l4W287ZX_-aqEh30g1obIvf3oNfclgAyFA9SXBABArJyp2bzhSs2lcFQOjyKx-vnB18cA2B2f84O_oFe97u-0vnTtgZPYXqiq50Hl8D6I0a4mILU2C2S9wQHUM1gH60i5E_0byWZ8dls9uhpCp8TDY0c-DZYAy6vgOFTulOEQgvA>).
We’ve drafted multiple calls to action, and we’re regularly posting relevant content that informs people and resources around legal and other options, for paying rent or not.
Resources for people to access:

We have made flyers <https://www.facebook.com/RentStrikeSouthAfrica/posts/120209406312226?__xts__[0]=68.ARD9JFW84x6Sjy8Sf2ljWH5NXFfDHFkALIRxTmnLNiWYFAl8QtRw_Ei02cYbKAsAeFX6-dhXqTgzemDdXA9vJOMX6tmEAbPkjoGKiDfCFdeEAlI2ZoqlVMczGv0T34_CJCwRB-xda0sJPnuIjIjheDoGWa8uuMjA5unkt8yILBTT4mILWEUYfNSJNJU7jOjtyog5682E6ndT75RIQXP9DQ2BTsj0XfQ77mudgvg9y5MAwGWrPTUYVmFwmeSC-gMuXGXatFLZfemFMxr2ozW1yIzWvhsHWvewQOygBKoKGH7ohKEm7X93Glh5TkZ31bgbXNJHPODgusTq2ClwfiT_8xo&__tn__=-R> in isiXhosa, in English and in Afrikaans
We have written sample letters for engaging with landlords
We have produced posters
We have made audio voice notes to be shared on Whatsapp
We also have a FAQ <http://www.rentstrikesouthafrica.org/faq.html> on our website
We have seen from many already that many landlords are completely uninterested in being kind or considerate of the problem. Like government, we don’t believe that vulnerable people can rely on landlords to act with humanity towards tenants. Collectively keeping rent and organising in our neighbourhoods or our buildings or our tenant unions is one way to sidestep reliance on the benevolence or the capacity of the people who stand above us.

Our working groups currently include

Community organising and outreach to NGOs and tenant unions
Maintaining our social media
Website management and coding
Radio, TV and print media engagements
Content production and design
Lobbying and petitioning
Individuals and their organisations are welcome to get on board the rent strike in whatever ways you like.

For more information, please contact us:

Email: rentstrikesouthafrica at protonmail.com <mailto:rentstrikesouthafrica at protonmail.com>
Facebook - facebook.com/RentStrikeSouthAfrica/ <http://facebook.com/RentStrikeSouthAfrica/>
Twitter - @rentstrikesa <http://twitter.com/RentStrikeSA>
Insagram - instagram.com/rentstrikesouthafrica/ <http://instagram.com/rentstrikesouthafrica/>

Sent with ProtonMail <https://protonmail.com/> Secure Email.

Jai Sen

Independent researcher, editor; Senior Fellow at the School of International Development and Globalisation Studies at the University of Ottawa

jai.sen at cacim.net <mailto:jai.sen at cacim.net>
Now based in New Delhi, India (+91-98189 11325) and in Ottawa, Canada, on unceded and unsurrendered Anishinaabe territory (+1-613-282 2900) 

CURRENT / RECENT publications :

Jai Sen, ed, 2018a – The Movements of Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking Our Dance. Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>
Jai Sen, ed, 2018b – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ? (Indian edition). New Delhi : AuthorsUpfront, in collaboration with OpenWord and PM Press.  Hard copy available at MOM1AmazonIN <https://www.amazon.in/dp/9387280101/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1522884070&sr=8-2&keywords=movements+of+movements+jai+sen>, MOM1Flipkart <https://www.flipkart.com/the-movements-of-movements/p/itmf3zg7h79ecpgj?pid=9789387280106&lid=LSTBOK9789387280106NBA1CH&marketplace=FLIPKART&srno=s_1_1&otracker=search&fm=SEARCH&iid=ff35b702-e6a8-4423-b014-16c84f6f0092.9789387280106.SEARCH&ppt=Search%20Page>, and MOM1AUpFront <http://www.authorsupfront.com/movements.htm>
Jai Sen, ed, 2017 – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ?.  New Delhi : OpenWord and Oakland, CA : PM Press.  Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>
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