Expanding the Fight Beyond 39 Aberdeen

This article is cross-posted from: http://www.swarmatlanta.org/ 

For months now, we have worked in a broad coalition with anti-foreclosure organizations, neighbors, and friends to help Sherrye Calhoun stay in her home of 30 years. Despite resistance from the banks and their henchmen, who are trying to take it from her, renovate it, and sell it for a profit, we have been successful in turning back both eviction and the threat of arrest.

From the beginning, all of those involved came together around the idea of working towards something new–something radically different. Rather than entering the fight previous to eviction, we began when supporters helped Sherrye move back in the day of her eviction on August 3. This was no longer a case of preventing eviction, but instead one of preventing arrest, and of winning a home that was, in the law’s eyes, already lost. The course was set for a more innovative approach to eviction defense.

We want to re-envision how we are relating to the struggle against gentrification and austerity in general. Discussions about how this will look are still fresh on our tongues as we grapple daily with the possibility of falling into the same trap–fighting house by house, street by street, block by block with little or no connection to those around us. This strategy has taken us to great heights and brought us back down to the all too familiar lulls of activity.

Looking toward successful struggles, we can see the social element at play, and we realize how important it is for us to bring that into our projects. When we feel connected to one another, we can stand together against a common enemy, in this case, the violence of eviction and those who actively enforce it. With this in mind, we would like to resist evictions in a way that addresses one thing that we all see as a persistent problem, namely, our isolation from the broader communities that are effected by eviction. So we’ve decided to create an Eviction Defense Network (EDN) that will allow us to reach out of the typical milieu of activists and organizers without compromising our methods or our principles.

In doing so, we hope to shape a framework that allows for our methods to be reproduced by anyone seeking to fight alongside their friends and neighbors, proving that you don’t have to be a specialist to resist. With mixed success, various groups in our city have tried getting people to latch onto their programs and organizations, but what we hope to create is a network–not an organization–that its participants will use to defend against eviction as well as spreading the skills and culture of resistance. We will discuss the next stages for this network at an upcoming meeting on Saturday, November 17 at 4pm in the library at 980 Ponce de Leon Ave.

So, while we continue fighting for 39 Aberdeen, we know that this fight doesn’t end with a single property: this is a new beginning.  We will reach beyond ourselves, outside of the typical activist bubble, and instead reach toward those around us whose faces and voices we have yet to make familiar. Connect and resist!