Brooklyn Eviction Defense Tenant Union Pledge


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We are working-class Brooklyn tenants who are struggling against gentrification, rising rents, evictions, disrepair, and harassment at the hands of the owning-class. Landlords, developers, real-estate firms and paid-off politicians, are looting and exploiting our neighborhoods forcing working class tenants into lives of constant oppression.

Brooklyn Eviction Defense Tenant Union is a tenant-led member-driven borough-wide union. We are not a non-profit, we have no paid staff, nor a board of directors. Our priorities, which drive our actions and organizing, are dictated by the will of the tenants within the Union.

The BED Tenant Union Pledge consists of explicit commitments and privileges — with and for ourselves, our neighbors, our fellow worker-tenants, the Union — that you must agree to before joining.

All organizations or associations (referred to as Locals) who sign the pledge reserve decision making power within their Locals as long as they do not act against the accepted Points Of Unity of the Union. All Locals also have the ability, through direct democratic participation, to help steer the direction of our Union.

The pledge unifies the Locals within the BED Tenant Union. The Union broadens the power of all who join. Each local acts as a node to amplify the Union’s power — stretching beyond our individual neighborhoods into all of Brooklyn and even beyond. Together, we will overcome our immediate issues and win overdue repairs, rent reductions, and collective bargaining across Brooklyn.

The goal is not to just improve the present conditions of the tenant or the building (it is one step) but rather to build a world where those conditions are abolished – a world where the people who produce the value (worker-tenants) control how that value is distributed.

Any tenant who lives in the borough of Brooklyn can be a MEMBER of the Brooklyn Eviction Defense Tenant Union. BED-TU defines a tenant as anyone who does not have full control over their housing or control over someone 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. If you are a police officer or a landlord you cannot be a member of the BED TU.


As such,


the Provisional Points Of Unity, which frame our Union’s organizing project — that all BED Tenant Union members accept — are as follows:


Stewardship Of Working-Class Tenants

  • Landlords, who exploit housing for profit and power, have subjected tenants in Brooklyn to insecure conditions. Worker-tenants are only protected by the rich lineage of struggles by working-class NYC tenants fighting back, in the streets and hallways, to regain control of their housing. We hereby agree that worker-tenants must be the protagonists in the fight for more secure, dignified, livable housing, and ultimately, a world without rent or landlords.

A Union For One, One Union For All

  • The tenant union centralizes our struggles by bringing power, resources, and capacity from all across the borough. The Union puts the power to make change in the hands of the masses of tenants. We hereby agree that all members of the union – tenants and associations – will join the independent struggles within the Union and the collective struggle to build our Union.

Towards A World Without Punishment

  • A future without punishment, policing, jails, and so on, is possible. It may not be possible this instant but as a Union we want to create the building blocks for such a future. Most abuses and so-called “crimes” are results of, or aggravated by, poverty — a lack of a home or food — so calling the police has only ever attempted to address the symptoms and not the cause. Policing primarily exists to protect private property, not to keep us safe. We hereby agree that we are working towards a future where those violences can be mediated by the community. We must first begin to build alternatives to the insufficient modes of harm reduction like the police and prisons.

Our Solidarity Is Our Best Weapon

  • As individuals we are insecure, defenseless, and targets of oppression. This is especially true when we try to fight for our rights alone against our landlord. We understand that as tenants in solidarity with each other within our Union we defend against landlord threats. We hereby agree that the Union’s power will be used to protect our neighbors against threats from the landlord-class as we build the union.

Leadership Of The Most Impacted

  • 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. We hereby agree that we will take the lead from and prioritize the communities most impacted by the consequences of landlordism.

Our Goal Is To End Eviction

  • The Union wants people to have control of their homes. Capitalism ensures that a new reality outside of our current conditions of precarity will never come true. Because of this fact, BED Tenant Union’s goal is not to reform the relationship between landlord and worker-tenant but to abolish those distinctions altogether. We hereby agree that the horizon of the Union is a world where rents, eviction, and landlordism does not exist.

Members are expected to accept these points of unity but agreement is not mandatory. Through participatory democracy and debate we can decide as a collective to revise or add onto these points.


As such,


Brooklyn Eviction Defense Tenant Union members are entitled to the following PRIVILEGES,



The Tenant Union is a community. A community creates and maintains trust, solidarity, and an understanding of their world by sharing common space and struggle. You are the Union, a steward of what it can be. The following list of privileges for union members aims to cultivate such a community:


  • Agency to direct and lead the building of the Tenant Union’s analysis, practices, norms, and priorities through a democratic process with all other members of the Union.

  • Internal events — socials, hangouts, trainings, workshops, and assemblies.

    • BED TU members are invited to attend, propose, and plan Union social events (picnics, trips to bowling alley or beach, cookouts) to bolster solidarity and comradery/camaraderie.

    • BED TU members are invited to attend, propose, and plan trainings and workshops on topics that relate to our Union. In the past, these have included eviction defense, de-escalation and harm reduction, guerilla repairs, NYC tenant movement history, building captains leadership training, and much more.

      • These events follow a popular education model — that is a model of education that requires the participation of our Union’s tenants in its development.

  • BED Times Newsletter

    • A bi-monthly newsletter of reports, stories, incantations, observations, and dreams by and for our Union.



The Tenant Union is an ecosystem. An ecosystem holds precious and vast resources; it sustains itself by tapping into living networks, drawing upon materials to develop itself further as it evolves. The following list of privileges for union members aims to reinforce such an ecosystem:


  • Solidarity from the other tenant associations across Brooklyn, within our Union, who have committed to standing with you to gain more control over your housing and fight back against any attempt that your landlord makes to take that power away.

    • Practically, this looks like hundreds of tenants outside of your building to show up for a rally, an eviction defense, a press conference, or an action of any kind.

    • Practically, this means you’ll have access to resources and experience generated by the individuals and TA’s across our Union — including campaign strategy, collective bargaining tactics, and even the advice of members who are housing attorneys.

    • Practically, this means you will be given access to the necessary communication networks to keep in touch with your fellow Union members and associations within the union.

    • Practically, this also means if your landlord takes you to court we will have tenants from the Union there to support you and potentially help you gain legal representation — known as Court Support.

  • Access to and participation in all internal meetings between the building rank and file tenants, captains and tenant-organizers within the Union.

    • These meetings will serve to ground our collective power in our shared struggle for dignified housing. In these spaces for support, we debrief on campaigns, learn about the experiences of others across the borough, solicit feedback, plan trainings and discuss upcoming events.

    • BED is a member of several tenant-led coalitions including the Autonomous Tenant Union Network, a nation-wide collective of member-led tenants unions, Right To Counsel NYC, and the Brooklyn Rapid Action Planning group.

  • Access to our vast institutional resources, knowledge and connections that the tenant-organizers within BED have accumulated over the years.

    • Including the relationships we have built with community organizations, tenant unions, and social movements across the country and the world.

    • Including financial support and infrastructural supplies to be used in order to grow your tenant associations and/or support the tenant movement.

    • Including our power maps of our neighborhoods. This includes but is not limited to our list of allied politicians, press, and institutions — as well as an interactive map, with contact info, of all the Union’s Locals in Brooklyn.

    • Including our templates for letter writing, experience and workshops around escalation campaigns, our vast archive of previous campaign strategies/tactics that can be used as a template for future campaigns.

  • Ability to promote and celebrate all events, actions, and calls for support on BED’s social media accounts and communications networks.

    • BED has a wide reach on social media, as well as borough-wide communications channels with thousands of tenants.


As such,


a member of Brooklyn Eviction Defense Tenant Union is obligated to the following COMMITMENTS:


  • Commit to electing building or council delegates

    • These delegates are the connective tissue between the Tenant Union and tenant association.

      • This can include giving updates on the tenant association in their building, asking the Union for support, giving the tenant association updates on the Union.

    • If you are joining as an individual then you may be asked to assume the role of provisional building delegate for your building.

      • This role commits you to being conscious of your building’s conditions, your neighborhood’s conditions and so on, to report to the Union.

  • Commit to material solidarity with your neighbors in the Union and throughout Brooklyn

    • Participate in our internal mechanisms such as  meetings, general assemblies, ur email lists, and WhatsApp groups to stay abreast of our collective struggles such as:

      • Supporting rent strikes

      • Attending rallies and direct actions

      • Standing against evictions

  • Commit to sending delegates to our (how frequent tbd) Congress of Locals

    • See provisional structure for more information.

  • Commit to contributing updates, art, stories, or whatever your TA sees fit to the BED Times Newsletter

    • Contributions have no length requirement and can be from anyone in the building.

    • This is something on the horizon that will be worked out and built by the Union as we mature.


As such,


the Provisional Community Agreements which guide the Union are as follows:


  • We speak from our own experience; we do not make assumptions

    • Avoid assuming that no one in the room has a certain experience.

  • Recognize and actively work to transform systems of oppression in our space

  • No one knows everything; together we know a lot

  • Contribute by both listening and speaking

  • What goes on between us is also the work: strive to build intentional, respectful, and caring relationships with your neighbors

  • Acknowledge the difference between intent and impact (This can be as simple as apologizing.)

    • Focus on de-escalation

    • Hold shared sense of purpose, remember the Points of Unity

  • Embrace opportunities for growth


As such,


the Provisional Structure which serves as the foundation for our Union is as follows:


  • General Body:

    • This is made up of all tenants in the BED TU. Any tenant who lives in Brooklyn can join.

  • Building Delegates:

    • This role is a member or members of a building within the union that is committed to reporting back to the TU, attending some TU meetings to report back to the TA, and helping administrate functions of their TA.

  • Working Group and Stewards:

    • Working Group members are involved with a particular subsection of the Union’s work, be it outreach and propaganda, accessibility, building organizing, regional coordination or internal development. There is not a set workload or time you must commit to this role. Everyone in the Union, no matter their schedule, can be a committee member.

    • Stewards are elected to lead in the administration of the committees. They make sure the functions of these committees run on time, articulate themselves clearly to the general body, and make sure minutes are kept so that any member, even if they are not in the committee, can review the happenings of the committee.

  • General Assembly Meeting:

    • General body meets every other month to discuss union issues, campaigns, and priorities.Promotes the inner workings of the union to tenants across Brooklyn. This is where committees and members will bring proposals to vote on.

  • Congress of Locals:

    • Yearly meeting to vote on structure, priorities, and coalitions. Establishing the formal Points of Unity will be the first priority of the congress.


Be it resolved,


in order for a tenant association or an individual to become a member of  the BED Tenant Union, members must:

  • Accept the Commitments and Privileges as outlined in this document.

  • Accept the Provisional Points of Unity and Provisional Community Agreements as outlined in this document.

    • Provisional means that these are not final. We will draft our concrete Points of Unity, organizational structure (known as Bylaws) at our first congress. The ever growing Union, the whole of our membership, will decide on the final draft.

  • Accept the Provisional Structure as outlined in this document.




  • Win a simple majority vote within the association to incorporate within the tenant union

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