The Tenants Union of Washington is calling for participation in a National Renters Day of Action “to declare a Renter State of Emergency and take to the streets to demand an end to Rising Rents, Evictions and Gentrification.”
The national action is set for Thursday, Sep. 22, but the Seattle group has plans for the previous day, as they reported on the Homes For All coordinating website:
We are holding our action on Wednesday 9/21 to align with the Seattle City Council’s Affordable Housing committee meeting. We plan to take space during the committee’s public testimony period then create a semi-permanent structure in either the lobby or outside plaza of city hall where people can attach their experiences as renters on one side and share their visions for the future on the other side.
Co-sponsoring organizations are: SAFE In Seattle, Puget Sound SAGE, and Recover The World.
We are unsure about the political positioning of the Tenants Union. The group’s Executive Director, Elizabeth Etta, testified in favor of the Mayor’s Mandatory Housing Affordability program, and in the process echoed the widespread smear of neighborhood activists as racist opponents of affordable housing. But here is Ms. Etta in the Tenant Union newsletter for June 16, expressing disdain for “urbanist” trickle-down policies:
On one hand, we have profit-driven actors using poor and defeated economic theories to promote the idea that more housing will lead to affordable housing. On the other hand, we have a tired and hopeful mass of millions of tenants and advocates who have watched the increased supply simply raise rents and displace people in the name of ‘renewal’ and ‘renovation’. Try to argue this fact to the pro-profit supply-side housing advocates, and they gaslight the conversation and continue to invoking the same tired arguments used for centuries to push poor people into tighter and unsafe spaces.
Mayor Murray’s propaganda machine has painted middle-class homeowners as the enemies of affordable housing, and by extension as the enemies of communities of color. In our view, renters and homeowners have a common enemy: huge piles of unregulated money calling all the shots in our real-estate markets. The new oligarchy of the super-rich care nothing for the viability of communities of color being pushed out of the city by rampant gentrification. Neither do they care for the destruction of livable neighborhoods by rapacious developers building grotesque high-density boxes without plan or purpose other than to maximize profits.
We look forward to further communication.