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TODAY: Sunset Park Rent Strikers to hold Sleep-in and People's Inspection

Posted 12 years ago on July 18, 2012, 1:46 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

Photo of tenants of all ages on rent strike holding signs in English and Spanish that say things like Housing Is a Human Right. Photo via Sunset Parkerpix Flickr - <http://www.flickr.com/photos/fleshmanpix/7512790588/sizes/o/in/photostream>


Where: 553-46th Street Brooklyn, NY
When: Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Vigil: starting at 6 PM
Sleep-in: starting at 9 pm

On what may well be one of the hottest summer nights of 2012, on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 in front of 553-46th Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, dozens of rent strikers, their families, members of Occupy Sunset Park, and supporters will gather for a vigil at 6 pm and will then hold a sleep-in on the sidewalk starting at 9 pm in front of their sweltering, decrepit buildings to protest the inhumane, unsafe, illegal and deplorable living conditions in the three adjacent buildings owned by one of the city's worst landlords.

The following morning, tenants will conduct a people's inspection of the buildings. Tenants have been told by the the Department of Housing and Preservation (HPD) Deputy Commissioner Vito Mustaciuolo that their landlord, Orazio Petito of Petito Management, has until July 19th to commence critical electrical repairs.

For years residents at three adjacent buildings in Sunset Park, Brooklyn (545, 553, and 557 on 46th St) have been living in fear of fires and electrical blackouts. Despite numerous complaints made to city agencies and politicians’ offices, documented housing violations (including unsafe electrical wiring, a broken boiler, and disease-triggering agents like mold, cockroaches, rats, and bed bugs) continue to threaten the lives of dozens of residents.

While many of these violations have persisted for years, the situation became more dire in recent months as the buildings underwent foreclosure. The buildings’ owner, Orazio Petito, has refused to do necessary repairs and continues to insist that tenants pay their rent. In the meantime, a cheap plastic fan is being used to keep the basement’s electrical box from overheating and catching fire.

In apartments that include a pregnant woman with two children, disabled tenants, and individuals with chronic conditions, residents went without heat and hot water during the winter months. Today, they face the threat of more blackouts and fear an electrical fire if they use much-needed air conditioning. For many residents, waiting weeks for a court order poses an intolerable risk to their lives. “Do we have to wait for a tragedy before we see action?” asked tenant leader Sara Lopez.

On July 5th, the affected tenants and various community members and allies, including members of Occupy Sunset Park and Occupy Wall Street, held a rally to stress the urgency of the repairs. The rally was immediately followed by a march to Felix Ortiz’s office. Felix Ortiz, a New York State assemblyman elected by Sunset Park residents, personally promised Sara and other tenants that he would work to resolve their unsafe housing dilemma. After weeks of no action, the tenants occupied Felix Ortiz’s office and demanded this Monday’s meeting.

Tenants have made it clear that if their demands for immediate repairs are not made, they will consider taking matters into their own hands, utilizing the support from groups like Take Back the Land and Occupy Wall Street to take on the emergency repairs. Such a step would represent the first such tenant mobilization effort in Brooklyn in recent memory.

flier for the event


Introducing... Café de Cleyre: Direct Action Reading Group and Film Series!

Posted 12 years ago on July 18, 2012, 1:26 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

art showing voltarine de cleyre with quote "They have yet to learn that there is One Common Struggle against those who have appropriated the Earth, the Money, and the Machines"

Dear Direct Actionists, Anarchists, Anti-Authoritarians, Autonomists, Agitators, Instigators, Incendiaries, Troublemakers, Rabble-Rousers, Radicals, Revolutionaries, Fomenters, Firebrands, Malcontents, Mischief Makers, Miscreants, Movers and Shakers,

From the occupation of Zuccotti Park to the May Day General Strike, the Occupy movement has engaged in direct action. As a result there has been a renewed interest in the concept and its history. Let us take this opportunity to deepen our collective understanding!

Join us for our first gathering of Café de Cleyre --a direct action reading group and film series!
Tuesday, July 24
16 Beaver (4th floor)
6:00 PM

Cafés have served as an important site of social gathering and debate. In this spirit, and inspired by the writings of anarchist and feminist Voltairine de Cleyre, we seek to study direct action so as to inform our struggle against the state and capitalism.

In striving to develop consistency between our principles and interactions with one another, this group offers a horizontal approach to learning. Drawing from personal experiences as well as films and readings, Café de Cleyre is an opportunity to engage in a participatory model in which everyone has something to offer and everyone has something to learn. We place emphasis on asking questions over assuming answers.

We wish to explore questions such as:

  • What is direct action and what forms can it take?
  • What distinguishes direct action from other types of action?
  • When and where has direct action been used through history?
  • How does direct action work to dismantle all systems of oppression, such as white supremacy, patriarchy, colonialism, heterosexism, transphobia, ableism, and ageism?

In future weeks, the group will collectively decide which texts to read and which films to watch. Discussions will be guided by different facilitators each week. For the first gathering, we are asking folks to read any and all of the following suggested pieces:

Additional readings (if you have the time):

We will also be viewing Shutdown: The Rise and Fall of Direct Action Against the War (2008), a documentary reflecting on the shutdown and occupation of the Financial District in San Francisco on March 20, 2003.

Tea and coffee will be provided; feel free to bring food! For more information, please contact cafedecleyre@riseup.net.

So please join us:
Tuesday, July 24
16 Beaver (4th floor)
6:00 PM

See you at the Café!