Last summer, tenant organizers from all over North America came together in Los Angeles for the 2022 Autonomous Tenants Union Network Conference. The conversations in this episode were recorded with permission live at the conference.
Tenants are uniquely situated between socioeconomic inequality and climate change, so a tenants union fights against a wide variety of challenges: harassment and illegal evictions, gentrification, natural disasters, displacement, racism, and more. In this episode, we’ll hear from two tenants unions who have faced unique regional challenges. We’ll see where their struggles overlap, as well as unique obstacles they face and strategies they’ve developed as a result.
West River Tenants United, based in occupied Oceti Sakowin land (aka South Dakota), are battling racism, poverty, displacement of indigenous tenants, and the challenges of organizing in a rural area. They organize in tricky situations like trailer parks, homeless encampments, and a hostile political environment. You can find their website here.
The Houston Tenants Union operates in an area especially prone to disasters caused by climate change. They help keep each other safe and rebuild in the aftermath of disaster, offer services that landlords and the city refuse to provide, and organize buildings against negligent management. You can find their website here.
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