The Artist Taxi Driver, Noam Chomsky and the Boston eviction blockades
On April 25th Occupy Radio LDN arrived in Boston Massachusetts. Activists spent a week showing a member of the Occupy Radio LDN team around the city. The bomb attack at the Boston Marathon, the subsequence city wide lock down and militarised man hunt had left the city in a state of shock and confusion. This did not slow down the grassroots activity all over the city.
Our first stop was with the local housing justice campaign City Life Vida Urbana a housing justice movement in Jamaica Plain [a suburb in the south] . The movement is made up of organisers, volunteers and tenants. They provide emotional support and solidarity for people facing foreclosure, they provide free legal support, eviction blockades and they coordinate community lead campaigns against the institutions responsible.
The movement’s mission statement reads:
“City Life Vida Urbana is a 38-year-old bilingual, community organization whose mission is to fight for racial, social and economic justice and gender equality by building working class power through direct action, coalition building, education and advocacy. In organizing poor and working class people of diverse race and nationalities, we promote individual empowerment, develop community leaders, and are building a movement to effect systemic change and transform society.”
Antonio Ennis a young rapper turned organiser for City Life recently produced an award winning Hip Hop Album entitled “Bank Attack” in support of the movement.
At a City Life meeting that week many new people facing foreclosure came. After listening to the often tragic stories a sword was placed in the hands of each new comer. The sword symbolised the struggle for housing justice. An organiser asked them if they would be willing to fight for their homes. Holding the sword in the air and sometimes a little nervous each new comer said “Yes I am”. Each time the organiser said ”Well in that case….” and the whole group said together with raised fists “We’ll fight with you!!”
Occupy Radio LDN met with veteran activist and City Life volunteer Cynthia Peters.
Later that week Occupy Radio made a stop at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the North of Boston. A brief interview had been arranged with Professor Noam Chomsky. We discussed activism, organising and thinking about a newsociety. But to kick it off we played Chomsky a video clip of The Artist Taxi Driver delivering a characteristically brutal indictment of austerity and the ruling class.
Warning the following podcast contains A LOT of swearing..