Invitation to Second Encuentro

The rebels search each other out. They walk towards one another, breaking down fences, they find each other. The rebels begin to recognize themselves, to know themselves to be equal and different. They continue walking as it is now necessary to walk, that is to say, resisting....--words of the Zapatistas at the First Intercontinental Encuentro for Humanity and Against Neoliberalism

An invitation to: Members and families of organizations fighting against displacement in their communities across NYC

From: Movement for Justice in El Barrio

Second NYC Encuentro for Dignity and Against Displacement

An Encuentro is a space for people to come together, it is a gathering. An Encuentro is not a meeting, a panel or a conference, it is a way of sharing developed by the Zapatistas as another form of doing politics: from below and to the left. It is a place where we can all speak, we will all listen, and we can all learn. It is a place where we can share the many different struggles that make us one.


SUNDAY, JUNE 7th, 4:30 PM

On Sunday, June 7th, Movement for Justice in El Barrio invites members and families of organizations fighting against neoliberal displacement for an evening of sharing, dialogue and food to learn from one another’s resistance throughout the city.

In our first Encuentro, the voices of groups resisting neoliberal displacement across the city echoed together as we learned from each other’s rage and each other’s dreams.

In this Encuentro, we would like to hear once again from people impacted by the devastating effects of displacement who are fighting back in their own communities, people who will not be bought by and are not dependent on politicians, political parties, or government agencies but look to the power of the people for strength to resist.

We are Movement for Justice in El Barrio. We are a group of humble and simple people who fight for justice and for humanity. Movement for Justice in El Barrio is fighting against gentrification in El Barrio, a process that is better understood by we who are affected by it as the displacement of families from their homes for being poor, immigrants and people of color. We are part of the Zapatista initiated transnational movement called “The Other Campaign.”

For Movement for Justice in El Barrio, the struggle for justice means fighting for the liberation of women, immigrants, lesbians, people of color, gays and the transgender community. We all share a common enemy and its called neoliberalism. Neoliberalism wishes to divide us and keep us from combining our forces. We will defeat this by continuing to unite all of our communities until we achieve true liberation for all.

Movement for Justice in El Barrio fights against capitalists and against bad governments and their neoliberal agendas. The landlords and the government belong to a culture of capitalism that uses the power of money to take control of that which belongs to the community. They want to displace poor families to renovate their buildings and rent the apartments to rich people, to white people with money. With the excuse of “developing the community,” they want to change the look of our neighborhood.

They want to remove from the street the street vendors, who earn an honorable and dignified living, the families that have their small restaurants, small clothing stores, and the small bodegas on the corners in our neighborhood. They want to displace us to bring in their luxury restaurants, their large expensive clothing stores, their supermarket chains. They want to change our neighborhood. They want to change our culture. They want to change that which makes us Latin@, African-American, Asian or Indigenous. They want to change everything that makes us El Barrio.

Together, we make our dignity resistance and we fight back against the actions of capitalist landlords and multinational corporations who are displacing poor families from El Barrio. We fight back locally and across borders. We fight back against the government institutions that help the landlords fulfill their goals. We fight back against Mayor Bloomberg and a city council that is pushing a neoliberal agenda across our neighborhoods and our city. We know that this is happening all over the city and around the world and that we do not stand alone in our resistance.

Here in Harlem, the three council members that represent East, Central and West Harlem, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Inez Dickens and Robert Jackson have time and again joined billionaire Mayor Bloomberg to plan, promote, and approve plans that displace our communities. We, as the community in El Barrio, and our sisters and brothers in West and Central Harlem have had the experience of seeing the members of the city council come to agreements amongst themselves to approve their neoliberal gentrification projects that betray the communities that they claim they represent. We have stood together to reject these plans and will continue to fight back and demand respect for our long histories and rich cultures

From Chinatown to Chiapas, from Sunset Park to South Africa to Salford, from Harlem to Morocco to San Salvador Atenco and in all of the places in between, we know that there are humble and simple people like ourselves rising up in dignified rage and fighting back against neoliberal displacement to keep their homes and save their communities.

As we struggle here we do not forget our brothers and sisters resisting in the far corners of the world. Nor do we forget where we come from and that many of us have already experienced displacement from our homelands. We join the humble and simple people across the world in their resistance as we stand up and join the fight against a global capitalist system that has pushed us to this dignified rage.

We fight so that:

The oceans and mountains will belong to those that live in and take care of them.

The rivers and deserts will belong to those that live in and take care of them.

The valleys and ravines will belong to those that live in and take care of them.

Homes and cities will belong to those who live in and take care of them.

No one will own more land than they can cultivate.

No one will own more homes than they can live in.

We hope people will share their struggle in whatever form of expression they choose, whether it be verbally, through song, poetry or rhyme, through a video, through artwork or however people can best express their struggle.

P.S. Children are especially invited to come break open the “Neoliberal” Piñata!

We will provide dinner, childcare and Spanish/English translation.