Our Together Against Displacement and Dispossession summit packed three major accomplishments into one weekend, which together will strengthen the struggles of homeless and evicted people.
First, it brought together homeless and evicted leaders from a half-dozen communities who had not previously had direct contact with each other. The time spent together overcame geographic divisions between different “local” struggles and upset the idea that has crept into our movements that each location is totally distinct. Through this contact we understood how much we have in common and how much we need each other to fight back. This gathering asserted what AAD organizer Herb Varley called an economy of reciprocity, which felt more interdependent and vital than solidarity.
Secondly, we strengthened our vocabulary about what causes our community suffering and pain. A bigger vocabulary is not just good for showing off. We need words to name the systems that hurt us, words to understand what others need, and languages to strategize and coordinate a fightback.
Thirdly and most importantly, we left the summit with three pledges about how we will work together. Out of similar but isolated struggles in different communities, the following unifying pledges have laid the foundation for a new social movement of the displaced.
Mobilize, Converge, Reinforce Our Struggles
We commit to traveling to different communities when support is needed. We also commit to supporting each other from afar. We will work on developing ways to communicate together and move towards building an organizational structure. We look forward to coming together in future gatherings, meetings, and summits.
Tent Cities Are Survival & Resistance
Tent cities are led by their residents. Tent city residents will create their own leadership councils and “how to” charters tailored to their local conditions. Part of this charter will focus on the necessary leadership of women in camps to stop violence and lead conflict resolution processes. Non-residents can provide logistical, legal, and political support to tent cities.
All Aboard the Displaced Caravan!
Before our next summit we pledge to unite our communities by crossing BC in a displaced caravan. We will organize speakers to travel from one town to another for town hall discussions that draw from our three unifying ideas: Homes for All, We Are All People and We Belong, and Liberation & Decolonization. Our displaced caravan will reach out from the places we are already organizing to draw in those who need support and to be shaken up. Our caravan will snowball, picking up participants as we roll through towns, to end with a major event that brings all our communities together. To get involved or book a stop in your town, get in touch with The Volcano. Today we organize, tomorrow we fight back!