29 March 2024 299 hits

LENNOX, CA, March 9—Tenants here, organized by the Lennox/Inglewood Tenants’ Union (LITU), are on the move! Progressive Labor Party (PLP) members active in LITU have recently pushed the organization to make its focus on bringing more rank-and-file tenants into action and leadership. At one apartment complex in Lennox, several immigrant women tenants are showing solidarity with their fellow working-class tenants who are under attack, and giving leadership to the class struggle against evictions and lousy living conditions.
PLP fights for a world without borders and nation-states. Capitalism pushes nationalist ideas to mobilize workers to be loyal to, and fight on the side of, whichever group of bosses runs the nation-state workers happen to live in. Unlike capitalist ideas like nationalism, communist ideas promote working-class solidarity and internationalism.

When workers are convinced that “an attack on one worker is an attack on all workers” class-loyalty emerges. When class consciousness extends to masses of workers all over the world, regardless of where they happen to live, the bosses' days will be numbered!

Tenants fight back together against landlord’s abuses

Nic Murillo, the owner of the apartment complex, is notorious for his in-your-face refusal to spend any money on basic maintenance for the mainly immigrant tenants. When this sleazy slumlord brought court eviction actions against two of the tenant families, LITU sprang into action. LITU organizers canvassed the complex calling for a tenants’ meeting. There, a discussion took place about why “an attack on one is an attack on all” and why all tenants needed to show solidarity and support by going to court with the tenants facing eviction.

As a result, several tenants, together with LITU and other supporters, joined the two tenants. LITU led a rally outside the court, with photos on signs exposing the rotten conditions in tenants’ apartments and calling for unity of all working-class tenants to fight back. The photos pictured bed bug bites on the young daughter of one tenant, and damage to her bedroom floor caused by a leaky roof. That tenant was forced to spend thousands of dollars of her own money to repair the floor when profit-hungry Murillo refused to do so.

Tenants sat together as a group inside the courtroom and rose together when their fellow tenant’s case was called by the court. The lawyer for one of the tenants took a strong stand, telling the judge that she was ready to proceed with a trial that she said would last at least a week and that she intended to call seven witnesses to testify about the unlivable conditions in that tenant’s apartment. She also told Murillo’s attorney that she was ready to demand that the court greatly reduce the rent owed because of the slum conditions.

When Murillo’s attorney saw the supporters in the courtroom, he knew the tenant’s attorney was not bluffing. Shook by this display of class solidarity, Murillo decided to postpone the case for a month. We later found out that one of the eviction cases they brought was dismissed. 
This past Saturday, LITU held a general meeting in the courtyard of the tenants’ apartment complex. Nineteen tenants attended, including seven from the complex. The two tenants facing eviction reported to the group. They described in detail what happened, and emphasized the key role that the support of tenants from that building and others had played.

Tenants endorse international solidarity

At the suggestion of a PLP member, the LITU leadership group agreed that a resolution in solidarity with, and condemning the genocide of, Palestinians in Gaza should be presented to the general meeting. The resolution denounced the Israeli apartheid policy in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as the October 7th murderous Hamas assault on Israeli civilians. The resolution connected the history of mass evictions in the West Bank by the brutal Zionist regime in Israel to gentrification and evictions in the Los Angeles area by landlords looking to get around rent control. The resolution called for a ban on U.S. military assistance to Israel, an immediate ceasefire, the withdrawal of all Israeli settlers from the West Bank, and the prosecution of the fascist, Zionist government of Israel for war crimes.

During the discussion of the resolution, a PLP member pointed out that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have a long history of “anti-terrorism” training of police and sheriffs from large U.S. cities and counties. These are the same racist sheriffs and cops who carry out court-ordered evictions and protect the landlords’ properties in LA County. Another LITU member drew the connection between solidarity on a local level and the international solidarity of working-class tenants across all bosses’ borders. The tenants who attended the meeting voted unanimously to support the resolution.

On to May Day

Several tenants asked what they could do to show support for the anti-war resolution. LITU leaders proposed we go as a group to a local demonstration protesting the genocide in Gaza. PLP’s next steps will be to bring a contingent of tenants to an anti-war action in our area and invite them to our May Day activities.