Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds /Milk Tea Alliance

Next System Project: Combatting Gentrification

Friends: I am working on a local project in the North End of Halifax to stop the gentrification of the traditionally Black and Indigenous North Central neighbourhood, also home to thousands of poor, disabled and working people who could be displaced by the a proposed rezoning plan.

“That is how we understand gentrification.”

Dear Friend,

We are writing to tell you about a few exciting new developments: a recent conversation we had with Tony Romano of Right to the City on the dynamics of gentrification and strategies to fight displacement; an insightful article by Ruken Isik, a scholar of Kurdish women’s movements, that explores gender equity from the struggles of women in the autonomous cantons of Rojava in Northern Syria; and to invite you to host a “viewing party” of our upcoming Next System gathering at the University of California, Santa Barbara. (See below for more details.)

In Solidarity,
The Next System Project

We spoke with Tony Romano, organizing director of the Right to the City Alliance, to better understand how grassroots organizing around urban space and housing justice connects with the need to be build towards a next system that democratizes wealth and restores community control over land and housing.

Our conversation explored the dynamics of gentrification, the role of globalized finance capital and international resistance, and the ways systemic alternatives – like community land trusts – fit into broader strategies to fight displacement.

“For a long time, our groups were talking about gentrification and no one even understood the word. Now everyone is talking about it, which is a step forward, but it does not mean we all have the same understanding.”

Romano explains that for them, “fundamentally, gentrification is about capitalist profit-driven processes that dictate land use and development. White supremacy is deeply woven into that process, meaning that it is no accident that communities of color are targeted and hardest hit.”

To Romano, “gentrification is also about taking advantage of the absence of community control and further removing community control allowing corporations, private equity firms, hedge funds and other speculators seeking to maximize profit to come in and guide the process. Thus, human needs and community interests are not on the table except where the community fights like hell and forces speculators and gentrifiers to address it in order to gain concessions. That is how we understand gentrification.”

Also on TheNextSystem.org, Ruken Isik, a scholar of Kurdish women’s movements, explores what we can learn about ensuring gender equity in the next system from the struggles of women in the autonomous cantons of Rojava in Northern Syria to build a new society that challenges and undoes the norms of patriarchy while simultaneously fighting against ISIS for the survival of their communities.

Isik’s article — which is accompanied by two exclusive interviews with commanders in the YPJ (Women’s Protection Units) — goes beyond the superficial imagine of women armed in self-defense that most Western media coverage has focused on to explore a broader notion of “protection” that encompasses new systemic designs for political representation, community justice, and economic democracy.


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This entry was posted on 2016/04/08 by and tagged .

Inspired by the NYC and Madison inaugural teach-ins? Want to be a part of the next wave? It’s EASY!

Sign up today to organize a viewing of the livestream from the UC Santa Barbara teach-in and help your local community figure out #WhatsNext.

Tuesday, April 26
12:15PM PST – System Change is Coming
1PM – 2PM PDT- Today’s Crises and their Systemic Roots
Wednesday, April 27
12PM – 2PM PDT – Debate on the Next System
2:30PM – 4PM PDT- Strategies for System Change
Click here to sign up as a local host. We’ll provide the technical specs, suggested discussion questions for you and your community and more details soon!
* please note that all times listed are Pacific Standard Time as the live event will be taking place in Santa Barbara, CA.
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