Call to Action: No Evictions! Housing Now!

Isaac Levine
Call to Action: No Evictions! Housing Now!

In response to the end of the Michigan Eviction Moratorium, the Washtenaw County General Defense Committee has organized an action taking place to resist the coming wave of evictions locally.

“On Wednesday, August 19th, at 12:30 pm, the Washtenaw General Defense Committee (GDC), in collaboration with a number of local and regional organizations, will picket the 14B District Court in opposition to the eviction hearings that have begun taking place following the end of Michigan’s eviction moratorium. We expect at least 50-100 community members to join us in solidarity. “

GDC’s flyer for Wednesday’s action

The GDC’s press release states: “The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been devastating for countless communities throughout the United States, especially for those who were already vulnerable. Having reached the end of Governor Whitmer’s eviction moratorium, the state of Michigan is now facing a dire crisis.  With COVID-19 cases still rising daily and unemployment rates at a historic high—greater than during The Great Depression—the threat of mass evictions during COVID-19 is truly a matter of life and death. Turning thousands of people out of their homes for their inability to pay rent increases human movement and stress, further limits families’ resources, and is incompatible with slowing the spread of the virus for all of us. Housing advocates must now fight as hard as they can to stop evictions, slow down those that cannot be stopped, and reduce the harms to those who are evicted. A moratorium blocking evictions en masse is necessary to halt a rise in homelessness and increase in poverty. ”

I asked GDC organizer Max Benson a few questions about the intentions of the event and that conversation is below.

What’s Left: What would your ideal outcome for this march be?

Max Benson: So it’s not a march, more so a picket. For me the ideal outcome of the picket of the court… we hope to get the attention of judges in the county enough for them to set a precedent and refuse to move forward with evictions during a pandemic.

WL: Who are you trying to reach with your messaging about the housing crisis?

MB: … The most vulnerable of our communities. Ypsilanti is way bigger than we realize, so way more folks are facing eviction. Organizers need to build relationships farther out in Ypsi to help create solidarity and let our neighbors know they are not alone. So far we have been able to establish connections with people in neighborhoods from our flyering efforts. It’s a slow process, but there’s definitely relationships forming which is awesome to see.

WL: Do you think those in power in Washtenaw County are too rich to want to pay attention to the evictions?

MB: I don’t think those in power care at all about the evictions. Especially those who have political and/or financial power. If they own a house and aren’t worried about their mortgage, they clearly have no motivation to help put a halt to these evictions. When we organize, we want to be tuned into working class communities who are dealing with poverty due to the racial capitalistic society we live in. We can’t expect the rich people to do anything for us.

So in the name of solidarity with working class renters, please come out to the picket if you are able on Wednesday! Fascism has been thriving during this pandemic. Show up and help resist it. Check out the full press release from the GDC for relevant information, and pass it on to others.