[permaculture] Take back the Land communique, permaculture, & forclosures

Patrick forgeadams at yahoo.com
Mon Dec 7 02:59:57 EST 2009

What would permaculture strategies for occupying foreclosed homes be? We need to be creating tactics for housing folks if we hope to remain relevant. Anyone addressed this scenario yet?   

Take Back the Land totally pleases my inner Gerrard Wintstanley.
Patrick O'Connor
Oakland, CA


Take Back the Land Campaign:  Call to ActionThe USHRN Land and Housing Action
Group is calling for a month of direct actions throughout the country,
commencing on May Day 2010 (May 1st, 2010) to reclaim our homes and
communities from the banks, speculators, and gentrifiers. Join us by
organizing actions in your city and region, designed to meet your own
local conditions and needs. We also ask everyone who supports this
initiative to spread the word and help the campaign reach the critical
mass necessary to effect change.
Building a Movement
 A severe housing crisis exists in the United States. All across the
country, despite courageous struggles against divestment, land
speculation and gentrification, public housing communities are being
permanently displaced as developments are razed to the ground. Millions
of families have been dispossessed of their homes, wrongly evicted and
displaced from their communities by the escalating foreclosure crisis.
Homelessness is escalating to levels unseen since the 1930’s as a
direct result of the various forces of displacement stated above and
economic dislocation from increased automation, deindustrialization,
and the globalization of production.
Historically oppressed peoples and women are bearing the brunt of
the housing crisis. Working class African Americans in particular are
being devastated by the destruction of public housing, evictions from
foreclosures, the record loss of home equity, and spiraling
The government’s promotion of discriminatory politics and policies
lies at the heart of the housing crisis. It’s support of redlining,
predatory lending, gentrification, hyper-inflated speculation and a
near exclusive system of private homeownership and land tenure
privileges wealthy elites and exploits the working class and the poor.
The government’s unwillingness to change these discriminatory policies
and practices constitutes a gross violation of its obligation to
respect, protect, and fulfill the right to adequate housing for the
individuals and peoples under its jurisdiction.
 The Human Right to Housing

Housing is a fundamental human right protected by Article 25
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 11 of the
International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights
(CESCR), and Article 5 of the International Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), amongst
To realize the right to housing, and solve the housing crisis, we
need a national “Take Back the Land” movement. To build this movement
the Land and Housing Action Group of the US Human Rights Network
(USHRN) – composed of the Coalition to Defend Public Housing, Picture
the Homeless, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Survivors Village, and Take Back the Land – is launching a national “Take Back the Land” campaign.


The Take Back the Land campaign is rooted in the following principles:

1.  Housing as a Human Right. Land and
adequate housing should not be commodities to enrich the elite but
instead, like air, should be protected as a common good.

2.  Local Community Control over Housing.

3. Leadership by Impacted Communities, particularly low-income Black women.

4. Direct Action.
Call to Action

The campaign will focus on the following:

Foreclosure Related Evictions.● In the
context of the millions of families across the country homeless and
under-housed, continued foreclosure and demolition related evictions,
of owners or renters in houses, apartments or public housing, is
counter productive. We must put an end to foreclosure related evictions
through campaigns of community and home defenses.

Foreclosed Homes● . After a vicious cycle of
gentrification, which escalated housing prices and forced the removal
of entire historical communities in the name of development, the
foreclosure crisis has reached epidemic proportions. Perfectly good
homes sit vacant, for years on end, the property of banks that already
have been paid for them by the federal bailout. These homes must be
filled with families in need of housing.

Vacant Buildings● . As the homeless sleep in
the streets, cars and parks, vacant buildings, owned by banks and local
governments, dot the urban skyline and shock the moral conscience.
These structures must be put to use for the benefit of people in need
of housing.

Vacant Land● . During the housing “boom,”
local governments made publicly owned land available to politically
connected developers at fire sale prices. Now that boom times are over,
vacant land must now be returned to use for public housing and other
public goods.

Public Housing● . Even as the housing crisis
intensifies, municipalities across the country are shedding public
housing units through demolition, deliberate vacancy and privatization.
In this time of great need, we cannot afford to loose one inch
low-income housing. Public housing must be put to its intended use and
controlled by residents and local communities.

Right to Return● . Whether through
gentrification, public housing demolition or the combination of natural
disasters and government actions, large numbers of people have been
forced to leave their long time communities in order to make room for
wealthier, often whiter, people. We must have the right to return to
our historic communities and rebuild them for the benefit of all.

Take Back the Land is a comprehensive campaign
initiative, which includes a direct action campaign and the grassroots
initiative to build alternative institutions, such as land trusts,
co-operatives, and other collective ownership and management vehicles
to exercise direct community control over land and housing. Take Back
the Land’s objective is to realize the human right to housing by
opening vacant housing and transforming land use for the benefit of
oppressed and low-income communities. We are calling on all those who
have been displaced, dispossessed and discarded from their homes and
communities, and all those believe in human rights, to join us in this


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