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RTHA at Left Forum 2013

Want to talk about building social movements with transformative demands? Want to talk about how to do this around the issue of housing? Join Right to Housing Alliance for a panel on that very topic at this year’s Left Forum! 

Right to Housing Alliance is honored to be invited to help kick off Left Forum 2013 in June! Organizer Jessica Lewis will be on a panel titled “Social Movements and Left Transformative Organizing” at this year’s conference.

Take Back the Land will be making an important announcement regarding the housing movement, and organizers and activists from all over the country will be invited to participate in a roundtable to discuss how to build a movement that truly challenges the commodification of housing and shifts the power from profit to people, thinking beyond saving individual houses, to unite homeowners with tenants, homeless, and all who have been struggling with lack of affordable housing and substandard conditions since long before the foreclosure crisis hit. 

In order to build a movement from the ground up, tenants, homeowners and homeless need to have a seat at the table. We are hoping to bring several RTHA tenant members along with us to Left Forum so they can have an opportunity to participate in this important conversation. In order to do so, we need your help! Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to our WePay account. We can’t get the residents at the table if we can’t get them through the door first.

We welcome all who are interested in furthering the discussion of building a truly transformative housing movement to join us to share, and learn from each other. We’re hoping to pack the room to start off the Left Forum weekend right!

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Click here for panel information.

Panelist Bios:

Jessica Lewis is an organizer with the Right to Housing Alliance in Baltimore, working with residents facing foreclosure, eviction, and displacement. 

Chandra Bhatnagar is a Senior Staff Attorney with the Human Rights Program of the ACLU. His practice centers on the intersection of racial justice and immigration, with specific focus on the rights of low-wage workers.  Bhatnagar is counsel in David, et al. v. Signal International, LLC, et al., and EEOC v. Signal International, LLC, lawsuits on behalf of over 500 Indian men trafficked into the U.S. as guestworkers and subjected to abuse, involuntary servitude, and racial discrimination; Awad v. Ziriax, et al. a legal challenge to Oklahomas proposed constitutional amendment prohibiting Oklahoma judges from considering international law or Sharia law; and a petition filed in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on behalf of undocumented workers whose rights were violated in the wake of the Supreme Court decision in Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB. Columbia Law School.

Eric Mann, a veteran of the Congress of Racial Equality, Students for a Democratic Society, and the United Auto Workers, is the director of the Labor/Community Strategy Center in Los Angeles. He is the host of KPFK’s Voices from the Frontlines (Pacifica, Los Angeles) and the author of Playbook for Progressives: 16 Qualities of the Successful Organizer.

Max Rameau is a Haitian-born Pan-African theorist and organizer, living in Washington, DC. Max has organized in Miami, FL and DC around a range of issues, including immigrant rights, especially for Haitian immigrants, LGBTQ rights and police brutality, among others. Max helped found the land-based Take Back the Land in 2006, and in October of that year, the organization seized control of a vacant lot in the Liberty City section of Miami, and built the Umoja Village, a full urban shantytown. Since 2007, the group has been physically defending families from eviction and moving families into vacant foreclosed and government owned homes. In 2008, Max authored the book Take Back the Land, recounting the experiences and political theory behind the Umoja Village. The Take Back the Land- Movement currently includes affiliated organizations in a dozen US cities and has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, CNN, ABC World News Tonight, Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story and elsewhere.

Rob Robinson is a member of the Human Right to Housing Program at the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative. He co-founder of the Take Back the Land National Movement and a member of the US Human Rights Network. Rob spent two and a half years, homeless in Miami and ten months in a New York City homeless shelter. He eventually escaped his cycle of homelessness and has been in the housing movement in New York City since 2007. In the fall of 2009, Rob was New York Citye chairperson for the first ever official mission of a UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing. He was a member of an advance team coordinated by the US Human Rights Network in Geneva Switzerland to prepare for the United States initial appearance in the Universal Periodic Review, November 2010. Rob has worked with homeless populations in Budapest Hungary and Berlin Germany and is connected with housing movements in South Africa and Brazil. He also works with European Squatters Collective the International Alliance of Inhabitants and is on the Steering Committee of the USA Canada Alliance of Inhabitants. Rob is a member of the Board of Directors of Left Forum.

Click here for full conference schedule.

Click here to register for Left Forum.

 

More about Left Forum and this year’s conference theme:

Left Forum is the largest annual conference of the broad Left in the United States. Each spring thousands of conference participants come together to discuss pressing local, national and global issues; to better understand commonalities and differences, and alternatives to current predicaments; or to share ideas to help build social movements to transform the world.

This year’s conference theme is “Mobilizing for Ecological/Economic Transformation.”

We need to mobilize now! The planet and humankind are in peril. The climate is warming, glaciers are melting, seas are rising, droughts are spreading and species are going extinct, all caused by unsustainable development and overconsumption of every resource on the planet. Meanwhile the ongoing economic crisis the worst since the Great Depression has devastated working people around the world with astronomical rates of unemployment, falling incomes and  brutal austerity measures. Everywhere, the people least responsible for these interrelated crises are bearing their brunt, in particular people in developing countries, women who are the bulk of ecological refugees, and people of color. Bangladesh with its floods and factory fires is a tragic case in point. These twin crises reveal the destructive – indeed eco-suicidal – nature of capitalism’s inherent drive to growth, where everything in nature has a price, and nothing has a value, including human life.

At the same time, new forms of anti-capitalist and horizontal democratic resistance are emerging everywhere. There is reason to hope, as the basic question of who should own the Earth is coming to the fore. Come to this year’s Left Forum to explore the environmental and movement-building imperatives that make another world not only possible but necessary.

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