Sunday December 6th
“Stand with Johnathan! No evictions! No slumlords!” Picket outside a landlord’s house
When the Eviction Defence Network beat a landlord’s attempted eviction of a low-income Indigenous tenant named Johnathan, the Residential Tenancy Branch arbitrator ordered the landlord to also repair longstanding problems in Johnathan’s suite. But the landlord refused and, instead, gave Johnathan another eviction notice. We took the fight to the landlord’s door, delivered him (and his neighbours) a shaming letter demanding that he repair Johnathan’s suite, and stop with the persistent eviction notices. While the landlord was defiant on the spot, he backed down and has since begun repairs, fixing Johnathan’s shower, and said he’ll drop the eviction. See the leaflet we delivered to the landlord and his neighbours here. See photos from the small picket here. And read an article about Johnathan’s struggle and minor victory here.
Nanaimo Street Community meeting
On Thursday December 3rd a fire broke out on the Wesley Strip encampment in Nanaimo. The City and police seized the opportunity of the fire to displace the 80 or so people for who that street was their only home. Red Braid members organized a meeting of that displaced street community in order to plan a fightback.
Whalley Street Council meeting
Weekly meeting of the Surrey Street Council; this week we finalized the plans for the opening of the Whalley People’s Resource Centre, scheduled to have its first night open at the end of the week!
Red Braid membership meeting
Regular bi-weekly meeting of Red Braid members. Because of the pandemic we’re still meeting in small regional groups and calling-in together. This meeting focused on the struggle in Nanaimo, offering strategy and political support to the upcoming actions there.
Monday December 7th
No War on China picket
For the second week in a row, and this time outside of the extradition hearing of Meng Wanzhou, Red Braid rallied against the escalating war tensions between the US and Canada, and China. Download and read the pamphlet distributed at the picket here.
Weekly Red Braid committee meeting planning the group’s internal and public education work. This week we rehearsed presentations for our class on gender politics in the revolution in China, and planned the following class on the Cuban revolution.
Tuesday December 8th
Emergency march against Nanaimo’s attack on the Wesley Strip encampment
Following the decision made at the Nanaimo Street Community meeting on Sunday, a group calling themselves the “Wesley Warriors” held a march and rally against Nanaimo’s police attack on the Wesley Strip encampment. Read a report on the demonstration here.
Maple Ridge Resistance meeting
Weekly meeting of the street community group Maple Ridge Resistance. At the meeting, we decided to go ahead with a demonstration the following Monday to call for the BC government to abolish its supportive housing program altogether, and buy and build good homes for all. The group ended up cancelling the demonstration at the last minute because police stepped up enforcement of the pandemic health order against demonstrations. After the meeting, the group distributed the week’s “Anita News” newsletter. Download the newsletter here.
COS Education Class: Gender power and socialist revolution
Weekly internal education class. This week was class 5 in our series on gender power and socialist revolution, “Maoism and the Social Transformation of Patriarchy in China.”
Wednesday December 9th
Eviction Defence Network meeting
Weekly meeting of the Eviction Defence Network, reviewing and planning defence actions for tenants facing eviction.
Thursday December 10th
Support for the Holmes Creek Camp against Trans Mountain Pipeline
The Extinction Rebellion organized tree sit in the path of the Trans Mountain Pipeline came under attack from the RCMP, and they called for solidarity support. Red Braid members attended the support action along with many others who rallied in defence of the tree sit. For a report, read this article by Billie Pierre published on the Media Coop.
Bread Roses and Hormones meeting
Weekly meeting of BRH, planning research and discussion work with trans and non-binary community members, particularly in tent cities.
Friday December 11th
Queer Youth Defence Network meeting
A small group of high school students joined Red Braid since the summer and had been going by the ad hoc name of the “youth strand” of Red Braid. At this meeting they decided to adopt the name, “Queer Youth Defence Network,” and to focus their work on organizing and defending queer high school students in the suburbs.
Whalley People’s Resource Centre opens!
The first night of the Whalley People’s Resource Centre was a big success. About two dozen people came through and used the space that first night between 11pm and 7am, which was run principally by two women from the Whalley Street Council. Since then, Red Braid has made the Whalley Centre public and started a fundraising campaign to make sure the space can be around for the long haul. Read a description of the importance of the Whalley Centre here. Watch a short video about it here. And, most importantly, find, donate to, and share the Whalley Centre fundraiser – which has a baseline (but ambitious) target of raising $12,000 by December 31st.
Saturday December 12th
Autonomous Tenants Union Townhall: Reflections on the movement in 2020
We have applied for membership in the Autonomous Tenants Union, a network of tenant and anti-eviction organizations located mostly in the US. Members of the Eviction Defence Network and Red Braid attended the Autonomous Tenants Union townhall. Some tenants unions have seen a mass increase of evictions due to COVID while others, similar to us, have seen a smaller but steady uptick in evictions. Like us, lots of groups have found it really hard to organize during the pandemic due to not being able to door knock or meet in person. One thing many groups noted was a changing class character as a result: on the one hand they have seen increased interest in anti-eviction organizing by activist-y types and less involvement by their working-class base.
Red Braid Supporting Member Meeting
Monthly supporting member meeting, titled, “The great moving right show: Unpacking the meanings of the 2020 elections in British Columbia and the US.” On the face of it, these two elections had progressive outcomes. But, we argue, the programme and politics of the Horgan NDP and the Biden Democrats represent instead a continued, hegemonic swing to the Right in the seat of the old Anglo-American empire. Red Braid supporting members meetings are open to our supporting members, who support Red Braid’s basis of unity and organizing work, and who pay monthly supporting members’ dues. To become a supporting member or to apply to become a full member, see our “get involved” tab on our website: https://www.redbraid.org/get-involved/
Publishing done in this period
Besides the various leaflets and local newsletters published over these two weeks, we also started publishing the Volcano online again after a too-long hiatus.
The Volcano, Publishing as a Weapon
Cecile Revaux, A Surrey tenant’s fight against a slumlord