Brooklyn Eviction Defense is an autonomous borough-wide tenant union. We are made up of tenant associations & organized-tenants, across Brooklyn, fighting landlord harassment, disrepair, rising rent & threats of eviction. BED wins those fights by building working-class tenant power. We are not a non-profit. We do not wish to reform the landlord-tenant relationship; we seek to abolish it.
Below is our organizational Points Of Unity, drafted and formalized Spring 2022.
Our Points of Unity are a concise expression of our politics and our program. We struggled over them for a few months and in many meetings, democratically and collectively. They represent the parameters of our work and allow us to navigate terrains and conflicts with principle. We use these Points of Unity as a reference for critique (internal, intra-organizational and inter-organizational); they allow us, through critique, to sharpen our analysis and our interventions. They make up a living document, subject to the democratic will of the organization’s membership.
I. Brooklyn Eviction Defense is a revolutionary organization whose horizon is the abolition of evictions, rent, and private property. This horizon requires the abolition of prisons and police. The world in which these conditions are possible is classless and free of oppression — communism.
II. Our definition of tenant is anyone who does not control their, or anyone else’s, housing. This includes our unhoused neighbors, our neighbors on leases and subleases, incarcerated people, and our neighbors (who aren’t landlords) paying rent to the banks in the form of a mortgage.
III. We understand working class tenants to be our historical protagonists, meaning it is the working class tenants who can and will end the landlord system.
IV. We fight towards working class community control over how and where we live.
V. Our project is that of building tenant power and centering tenant agency.
VI. Our most practical line of work is stopping evictions. This begins with a material analysis of our conditions, which produces a necessary diversity of tactics. These include strategic struggle within the “normal” arenas people are expected to fight for their housing, such as within the courts and the bureaucratic mazes. That said, we know that the best form of eviction defense is a well organized community.
VII. The work that we do and the struggle we engage in are our politics in practice.
VIII. BED practices solidarity, not service nor charity. We are autonomous and revolutionary — this means we are not a non-profit, we have no funding, no board, and none of our organizers are staff. We are here doing this, we are part of this, because our politics and worldview compel it. We are all working-class tenants.
IX. We practice consensus and collective decision-making as our main navigating frameworks. We are collectively empowered to make decisions, determine structures, and assert stewardship over the work. This is BED’s working definition of democracy.
X. We fight for and with and always on the side of the oppressed: that means fighting with and for black and brown folks, queer and trans folks; this includes too our disabled comrades, our elders, our unhoused neighbors, and anyone whose full humanity is suppressed by the weight and violence of capital.
XI. In this organization, we are generating relationships based on anti-repression and non-disposability. We are affirmatively building this culture in our relationships with each other. This informs a responsibility placed onto our veteran organizers: that of continually reproducing a reciprocal ecosystem of revolutionary discipline, leadership, care and accountability through the practices with which we welcome new members into our organization.
The above Points of Unity provide the organization a functional basis for principled critique both within the organization and externally — as well as a guideline for receiving critique. Through critique and democracy we put our Points of Unity — our program and our principles — into practice. Members are expected to accept these points of unity but agreement is not mandatory. Members should not work against the guiding principles of our POU. Instead, through participatory democracy and debate we can decide as a collective to revise or add to these points.