We want to recognize that this strike is taking place in what has come to be known as the Greater Vancouver Area, a place that has since time immemorial been the territories of the Coast Salish peoples. This territory is unceded, and the colonial project of private property continues to perpetuate violence against marginalized communities such as the region’s Indigenous peoples first and foremost.
Participating in a rent strike is one of the many ways to extend solidarity with Nations whose land is being occupied. Commodifying housing is a continuation of the colonial project through which this land was stolen in the first place. The marginalization Indigenous renters face also makes them particularly vulnerable to the risks associated with precarious housing during COVID-19. Knowing the risks and withholding rent out of need or in solidarity can support all tenants by demanding that renters who do not pay do not face consequences. Additionally, by withholding rent we are left with more resources which we can put into mutual aid efforts to support vulnerable peoples, Indigenous or otherwise.
We encourage you to reflect on the differences between solidarity and charity. Rent Strike Vancouver is a decentralized collective seeking to provide information and resources as we believe people are best equipped to make decision for themselves. This is a form of solidarity work, which seeks to empower people, make people aware of risks not impose or assume what others need or are capable of. Solidarity work must always start with listening and supporting.