Our collection starts by introducing you to the movements that inspired this project, and to some of the conversations we had with one another in the fall of 2017. In this module you will notice that the impacts of capitalist regimes are widespread and felt. From Illinois to Palestine, San Francisco to Cape Town, the devastating effects of capitalist systems are not only evidence of pain and suffering, but indexes of organizing and resistance. The purpose of this collection is to explore the possibilities for trans-local and transnational networks of solidarity that strive toward a radically different world. Below you will find more information about the movements that participated in this panel. We start from here hoping their words and struggles set the tone for questions in the following modules.
Housing Assembly, South Africa
We are a social movement of people representing over 20 different communities in the Western Cape, South Africa. We formed in 2009 to address housing inequality across South Africa. Our slogan is “Decent Housing for All.” We work together with our communities who live in different types of bad housing (informal settlements, backyards, temporary relocation areas, rental stock, and badly built RDP housing). We also mobilize around housing and human rights related issues like access to water. Housing Assembly’s vision is an equal society, free of oppression and exploitation, in which all shall live in decent housing!
Pathways to Free Education, Cape Town, South Africa
We are a popular education collective which coordinates, produces, and facilitates popular education content and learning spaces on radical perspectives on education and its role in emancipatory politics. Our work is centered on the Western Cape and is not intended to speak to every context, but instead to be a community engagement resource for activists and ordinary people looking to engage with the Free Education debate. Our internationalist perspective draws inspiration from decolonization movements of the past and present.
Autonomous Tenants Union, Chicago, IL
We are an all-volunteer anti-capitalist organization committed to organizing for housing justice from below and to the left. As an independent collective based in Chicago, we strategize together to defend and enforce our right to dignified housing. We believe that housing is a human right, not a commodity! We fight for an end to all evictions, and for community control of housing through the building of popular power.
Black Youth Project 100, Chicago, IL
We are an activist member-based organization of Black 18-35 year olds, dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people. We do this through building a collective focused on transformative leadership development, direct action organizing, advocacy, and education using a Black queer feminist lens.
Students for Justice in Palestine, Champaign, IL
We are group of student activists who advocate for the liberation and self-determination of the Palestinian people and all oppressed and marginalized peoples. National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP) was established in 2010 when an informal network of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) activists from across the country began organizing around a growing need to coordinate campus efforts and host a central gathering event for our young, intersectional social justice movement. As of late 2017, we have roughly 200 chapters nationwide!
FirstFollowers, Champaign, IL
We are a grassroots non-profit reentry program based in Champaign. Founded in 2015, FirstFollowers provides direct services and support to individuals returning home from prison and their families, and to all those with felony convictions. FirstFollowers is based on a peer mentoring model, meaning that the people who lead and run the organization have been through the criminal justice system themselves. FirstFollowers’ peer mentors do advocacy work educating the public and officials about the need to eliminate obstacles for people with a criminal background in fields of employment, education, and participation in community activities.
The Pilsen Alliance
We are a social justice organization committed to developing grassroots leadership in Pilsen and neighboring working class, immigrant communities in Chicago’s Lower West Side. We work for quality public education, affordable housing, government accountability, and healthy communities. Our goals include using innovative community education tools and programs, direct action organizing campaigns, and advocacy initiatives reflecting the popular education philosophy of building social consciousness for personal and social collective transformation. Our primary focuses are education, environment, economic equity, transportation, government accountability and transparency, and coalition building.
Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO)
Our organization has been an instrument for grassroots democracy in the North Kenwood and Oakland communities for nearly forty years. Founded by religious and community leaders in the 1960s, KOCO facilitated organizing campaigns that increased the resources and services available to families and residents. Today, we continue our work as a vehicle and voice of low-income and working families. We develop new generations of African American leadership that will build stable, viable, and just communities where opportunity is not denied based on race or economic status. Our focus is on housing, youth development, emergency food assistance, anti-hunger, and work with the United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations.
Northside Action for Justice (NA4J)
We are a grassroots, member-controlled organization that focuses on building power for low- and moderate-income people in order to advance the cause of economic and social justice on the north side of Chicago and across the globe. Our primary sites of struggle are access to education, housing, and preventing the privatization of public services.
Get to know more about the Movements via the following modules!