Political Lines

Eugene Housing and Neighborhood Defense’s Points of Unity:

1. We are committed to the masses of working class people and defending working class neighborhoods and housing in Eugene.

We are committed to working class people because we know that the working class is exploited and repressed by the capitalist class. The working class are the people whose labor builds the economic and material foundation of all society. The capitalist class are those who profit from exploiting the working class in their labor power and their rent, and have the courts, the police, and all legal mechanisms of the capitalist state to do so.

We are focused on tenant issues partly because working class tenants share a common class enemy, landlords, and have the ability and the duty to dismantle the power of the landlord class. Primarily, we are committed to working class housing and neighborhoods because housing is a major site of struggle for working class people. Most workers budget the cost of housing as an expense of the highest priority, before paying for any other living expenses. The essential need for housing often becomes a central site of struggle in the broader framework of mass exploitation, and the staging ground for many forms of oppression. In this way, capital leverages the need for housing and the system of private property into a weapon against the masses- a weapon which it can and will use to ultimately unhouse workers. We are not currently organizing with homeless people, but we recognize the inherent connection between the stripping of shelter and the tenant’s struggle, and we stand in solidarity with the housing struggle for people currently living without shelter.

Our methods for reaching the masses of working class people is going to their site of struggle- their homes- and listening to their complaints and experiences. From these conversations we then strategize solutions and actions that we can bring back to the people, earn their trust, and bring more organizers and leaders into the movement. Our internal structure prioritizes the masses and places high value on receiving criticism, holding ourselves accountable, and constantly improving based on feedback from the masses and within our organization.

We are ultimately working to overthrow capitalism and the commodification of housing. We want collective management of housing for the benefit of everyone, unmediated by a parasitic landlord class. The problem is capitalism, the profit-motive, and commodification of housing, and we seek the end to, and replacement of, these exploitative systems through revolution.

2. We are uniting the working class through collective action.

Tenants are displaced from their housing through evictions or are forced to leave due to constant harassment, lack of maintenance or rent hikes. We aim to defend working class tenants from such displacements with tactics such as eviction defense, organizing rallies to gather public support or doing targeted actions towards landlords and property management companies. Ultimately, a collective rent strike is our greatest leverage against the landlord class. We recognize that our rent is the landlord’s income. Therefore they need us; we do not need them. When we withold our rent they lose money and this allows us to determine the course of our struggle.

We know that the current capitalist justice and law enforcing systems are not intended to protect us, but to repress us. Courts do not serve justice to the masses, instead they exist to protect the private property of the rich and powerful. Policing and neighborhood surveillance are tools and tactics employed to repress dissent, create divisions in the neighborhoods and enact violence upon people. We cannot individually fight these systems of power. Our strength lies in our numbers, so we must come together and act.

3. Our primary task is to raise class conciousness and bring working class people into revolutionary organizing.

Our strategies of bringing working class people together, building combative tenant networks, taking collective action, and organizing amongst the masses is ultimately to bring the masses into revolutionary organizing. When we say “class consciousness,” we are referring to developing and raising the awareness that we as the working class are being exploited by the capitalist class, and that we must unite against class enemies, capitalists and the state and police that serve them, to overthrow the system that keeps us from our basic needs, exploits us, and represses us. 

4. We understand that the housing struggle is one facet of the global working class struggle against Imperialism.

We have neighbors all across the world, from the favelas in Brazil to the slums in Mumbai. The fight for livable housing in Eugene is part of a larger fight against capitalism, which makes housing a luxury. Gentrification is the process where developers, landlords, banks, and the state displace poor and working class residents in favor of ventures that provide greater profit, such as coffee shops or luxury condos.​​Gentrification is occurring locally, and on a global scale, driving people off their ancestral lands and pushing them into concentrated living situations, where lack of infrastructure leads to unsanitary conditions allowing illnesses to spread faster. 

Our solidarity transgresses borders and we support worker struggles nationally and internationally. We unite with the workers of the world to fight the chains of Imperialism and understand the ways our situations are intertwined.

5. We oppose compromise, collaboration, and capitulation.

Our interests as the working class are ultimately irreconcilable with the interests of landlords, developers, and bankers. We want housing and they want money. We must recognize that our struggle is not over until housing is no longer a commodity wielded by the capitalist class against the working class. If we do negotiate with representatives of the capitalist class, we must do so in a principled manner, and bear in mind that no concession on their part means that the struggle is concluded. This requires keeping our principles and political lines at the forefront of our engagement, keeping our revolutionary aims primary to economic gains, and never capitulating capitalists’ interests against our own.  We will not collaborate with the state or the capitalists by endorsing any politician, ballot initiative, or electoral campaign, or partaking in any form of legislative organizing. Therefore we do not sign onto demands or actions that are against these principles, even if we support the organizations or people making the demands. The power to choose who betrays us is no power at all, but the power of collective action is one of the strongest weapons we have to unite the working class against our enemies.

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