On Sunday, January 30th, a beautiful rally was held. Flocks of neighbors emerged from bodegas, restaurants, apartments — descended were the community! The demands were simple: CARL BULLEN stop harassing our neighbor Fidele.
After the rally, Fidele — who has been fighting tooth and nail against domestic abuse and landlord negligence — invited community members, as well as tenants from Brooklyn Eviction Defense, Flatbush Tenant Coalition, the Crown Heights Tenant Union, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and the Democratic Socialists of America into her apartment.
Following her lead, dozens of us marched up the stairs into a tight corridor. Once there, Fidele tried to enter her home with her invited guests. Carl denied her entry — an ILLEGAL LOCKOUT. This is an abusive and dispossessing tactic Carl has employed routinely. We informed Carl that what he was doing was illegal even as he called the police. We did not want Carl to be arrested because we know the Unjustice System does not solve our problems. But Carl did not listen.
A brief standoff with the police ensued. We presented our case somewhat civilly, some of us cussing that THIS WAS NOT RIGHT that Fidele was now being denied entry to her home by an illegitimate slumlord and two bravado-ed pigs standing in her doorway.
Eventually, the people’s will prevailed and we entered her apartment. Inside we served illegitimate, wannabe slumlord CARL BULLEN a cease and desist order (pictured below) directing him to leave our neighbor and comrade Fidele alone. We then turned the electricity on and posted the notices.
A precedent was set with the pigs, with the illegitimate slumlord Carl, and the neighborhood that this shit will not go unnoticed. The intervention and/or punishment will be decided by the people, not by the pigs or the illegitimate housing and civil courts that often lets these landlords off with a slap on the wrist or a measly fine.
Since yesterday, Carl has continued his bullshit. He flipped off the breaker again. He then called the cops, like a dumbass, and they told him to turn it back on. This morning, he locked Fidele out again, but we had members there in a blink to back Fidele up. Carl called the cops yet again, and threatened Fidele with another illegal lockout! Fidele continues to endure the episodic anxiety of relentless police interaction, not knowing, as a black woman, how these interactions will go.
The uncertainty of the courts and their laws, the continued precarity, and the dangers of her living situation with this domestic abuser and leaseholder, are all inherent and unable to be resolved under the regime of private property. Without leaders like Fidele in the tenants’ movement, these acts of violence would go unseen and unchallenged.
Fidele has been living without electricity since June of last year. Carl Bullen has not only harassed and abused Fidele but has kept her electricity off for almost a whole fucking year. As of now, Fidele’s electricity is on, it’s been on for the longest it has been in over a year, which is a huge victory.
In spite of that fact, the fight does not stop here. Carl will continue his power-trip misogynoir. The pig will keep doing nothing of use. That is why we need to create localized defense networks to be on the ground with Fidele and other tenants facing harassment at a moment’s notice.
We need to fight the system that forces us into substandard living conditions and gives authority over our tenancy to literal abusers. We need to continue to build power and be vigilant both externally and internally with regard to how we combat all forms of oppression. We must fight for a future free of rent, landlords, private property, and all forms of exploitation. Fidele’s fight is just one instance on a continuum of instances that grow our movement. Leaders like Fidele are our north stars, leading us to our destination: liberation for all.