As the Greater Boston Tenants Union, we organize to build the power of working class people to confront the landlord and developer class, and to take control of our own homes and cities. Global real estate is valued at $217 trillion – more than 60% of the world’s capital – 75% of which is in housing. In our current historical moment, as commodity production is curtailed by dwindling exploitable natural resources, the ruling class has re-oriented towards rentier capitalism. In this context, tenant struggle is uniquely positioned to strike at that system’s heart.
Our struggle in Boston is deeply intertwined with the Palestinian liberation struggle. When considering the ties between tenant struggle and the struggle of Palestinian people, we must not forget the blood money flowing from our cities. Boston-area organizers have mapped out a network of profitable relationships linking tech companies, military and paramilitary institutions, and universities to their counterparts in so-called Israel. As just one example, Harvard University owns almost 10% of the land in Cambridge, and roughly one-third of Allston including hundreds of residential units. The rent money this land accrues enables Harvard to directly subsidize the Zionist project – for example, through its investments in Booking Holdings, a commercial landlord in Israel’s illegal Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. More broadly, this web enables the Israeli Occupation Force to murder Palestinians with American weapons, training, and ideological backing. Because of this umbilical relationship, as organized tenants in Boston, we are in a position to intervene to stop the flow of capital from commodified housing, of weapons and military aid to Israel, and the functioning of the US war machine. Stopping this flow requires US cities and land to be used for people, not profit, which can only be won by a militant, independent tenant movement.
There can be no liberation for tenants and workers without Palestinian liberation. The capitalist and landowning classes built their war machine to protect their interests at home and abroad. It is this machine that steps in to crush resistance wherever people reach toward liberation. Ever since the US began supplying weapons to Israel in 1962 as part of the Cold War, Israel has been critical for its interests in the region. President ‘Genocide Joe’ Biden has repeatedly said “If there were not an Israel, we’d have to invent one.” The US directs more funds to its military than any other nation, because its military force upholds its imperial supremacy. This machine also manifests in the domestic military force of police, who protect property over human life, who carry out evictions, and who murder to uphold white supremacist order. To redirect those funds to our communities for better lives, and for a better world, we must abolish the military machine. For 75 years, Palestinians have shown us the way to fight back.
We must intervene in support of Palestinian liberation for their sake and for the sake of winning our own fight. Our struggles are connected, even if they are far apart and take different forms. Solidarity stretches beyond the reaches of our own neighborhoods. It stretches from the river to the sea, until all of the people of Palestine are free.