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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Register Now!
Right to the City Congress and
Direct Action in Boston
September 29th - October 1st, 2011  

*Registration is due August 24th, 2011 at 5PM EST.
Click to Register Now.
"The right to the city is not merely a right of access to what already exists, but a right to change it after our heart's desire. We need to be sure we can live with our own creations (a problem for every planner, architect and utopian thinker). But the right to remake ourselves by creating a qualitatively different kind of urban sociality is one of the most precious of all human rights."
-David Harvey 
Calling all Right to the City
Members, Supporters and Allies:
Throw Down Big Time for Boston!

Get ready to throw down big time for a large scale direct action in Boston that will make bank bosses lose some sleep and get people back in their homes!

RTTC members will help to build the Boston Right to the City region and support the work that is already happening on the ground.

Click to Register Now.
Right to the City Congress 2011

Come together to:   
  • Share new models of building 21st Century Cities that are democratic, just, and sustainable.
  • Participate in political education sessions, workshops, and trainings. 
Don't miss out on the action, the conversation, the friendships and the fun!  We are inviting Right to the City supporters and allies to attend.

Click to  Register Now.  
Right to the City anchors
Details and Online Registration

September 29th - October 1st.
There will be three full days:

Day 1 - September 29th - Right to the City Member Congress (RTTC members only)

Day 2 - September 30th - Open to ALL - All day.

Day 3 - October 1st - Open to ALL - All day.

Days 2 and 3 will include direct, fun actions on banks and getting people back in their homes along with political trainings and model sharing.

Fill out the  online registration here.
Registration is due August 24th, 2011 at 5:00PM EST.

For more information on these events contact

Click to Register Now.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Greed Gone Wild--A Remedy is At Hand

Mr. City Hall married Ms. Filthy B. Rich Corporations at San Francisco City Hall on tax day, April 18, 2011. This marriage was opposed by RTTC Bay Area.  Wedding attendants performed the Tax the Rich shuffle led by Causa Justa Just Cause and People Organized to Win Employment Rights.

by Bill Fletcher, Jr and Alicia Garza

An epidemic of corporate greed is spreading uncontrollably across the United States, wreaking havoc on millions of working families, eliminating jobs and taking homes.  The only cure is for local, state and federal governments to deliver the antidote, commonly known as "Pay Your Fair Share."

Corporations are not paying their fair share in taxes, while millions of working families fall farther down the prosperity ladder.  Local, state, and federal governments slash services and eliminate jobs, and at the same time, are giving tax breaks and other subsidies to Big Business.  Taxing corporations will generate the revenue we need to stop the cuts and create living wage jobs with benefits for millions of unemployed workers.  That is why hundreds of people across the country did the Tax the Rich shuffle on April 18 to demonstrate that taxing those who make the most ensures that everyone has the right to thrive.

RTTC Tax the Rich Shuffle Video in Seven Cities

General Electric, the nation's largest corporation, despite billions in profits did not pay taxes.  Carnival Cruise Lines is another corporation that does not pay its fair share.  They raked in over $11.2 billion in profits since 2006, yet paid only 1.1% in taxes.  Carnival’s low-wage workers pay a higher tax rate than this, as do most people in this country.  Meanwhile, Carnival's CEO Mickey Arison is doing quite well with his net worth of $6.1 billion, making him one of the wealthiest individuals in the world.

RTTC member groups, PowerU and Miami Worker Center doing the tax the rich shuffle in front of Carnival Cruises.

After we bailed out Bank of America to the tune of $100 billion, they made over $4 billion in profit in 2010, and even received a $1.9 billion tax refund.   Two-thirds of all US corporations and 68% of foreign businesses do not pay ANY federal income taxes.  At the same time, corporate profits reached an all-time high in 2010 with an annualized $1.68 trillion in pre-tax operating profits.

Right to the City DC Metro Area member group, Tenants and Workers United in front of Bank of America in Arlington, VA.

The Right to the City Alliance (RTTC), a national alliance of grassroots organizations based in low income communities has the antidote.  The wisdom of our tens of thousands of unemployed and underemployed members has led to a simple yet ingenious solution to stop the spread of corporate greed:  Make wealthy corporations and individuals pay their fair share!

Three simple taxes will create $778.50 billion dollars annually which will stop budget cuts and put millions of people to work by creating millions of living wage jobs that will strengthen our schools and communities.  First, close all corporate tax loopholes so Carnival Cruise Lines, Bank of America, and other major corporations pay their fair share, generating more than $400 billion over the next 10 years. Second, place a very small tax on the trading of financial products (0.25% or $1 on every $400 dollars of trading) – stocks, bonds, currencies and derivatives based on these products – that would raise at least $500 billion annually.  Finally, generate another $338.5 billion each year through a 1% wealth tax on the top five percent of households in the United States.  With this revenue, we can hire teachers, caregivers for our seniors, childcare workers, firefighters and others so desperately needed in our communities.

Right to the City LA member groups led by Strategic Actions for a Just Economy  and Union de Vecinos in front of Citigroup in Downtown LA.

Actually, NOT increasing taxes on wealthy corporations will cost us jobs.  While avoiding paying taxes, most major corporations are laying off workers and making existing workers work longer and harder for the same pay, increasing their profits and stock value.  They are sitting on about $1.9 trillion in cash reserves which they are not using to hire more workers.  We do not need to worry that they will pack up and leave because they make their money off of our communities.

Right to the City NYC, led by member groups Community Voices Heard and Mothers On the Move in front of the NYC main post office.

The antidote is at hand.  Now it is up to the government to stop protecting Big Business and start looking out for everyday people like us.  RTTC’s three simple taxes will allow the government to balance the budget and create millions of living wage jobs with benefits each year.  This will put people back to work and strengthen our schools and communities.  Big Business, it's time you pay your fair share.

Bill Fletcher, Jr, Editorial Board and Visiting Scholar with CUNY Graduate Center

Alicia Garza, Chairperson of the Right to the City National Alliance (RTTC) Steering Committee.  RTTC is a national alliance of 40 grassroots community groups working for human rights and democracy.,

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Major Protest At Capitol - Grassroots Groups Demand Cuomo Reject Tax Cuts for Millionaires

Photo credit: Paul Buckowski / Times Union

March 2, 2011

Grassroots community leaders from Right to the City, including CAAAV, Community Voices Heard, FUREE, Picture the Homeless, Queers for Economic Justice, and VOCAL-NY held a major protest at the state capitol yesterday. The protest further defined the choice facing Governor Cuomo between tax cuts for millionaires and investing in healthcare, education, safety net programs and other public services ordinary New Yorkers rely on.  About 150 low-income New Yorkers from the five boroughs, Westchester, Newburgh, Poughkieepsie, and Albany rallied while 17 were arrested for blocking entrances on the south side the capitol. Protesters held banners saying "Gov. Cuomo:  People Before Wall Street, No Tax Breaks for Millionaires" and "Cuomo Inc: Fighting for Wall Street Bankers & Landlords."

AP excerpt: "Protest organizer Wanda Hernandez, a board member from the activist group VOCAL New York, said the group opposes cutting social programs and closing hospitals and schools while letting an income tax surcharge on the wealthiest New Yorkers expire after this year. Gloria Wilson, a demonstrator from Community Voices Heard, said protesters want Cuomo to stand strong and resist special interests."

Videos from the action online at

The protest was widely covered in the media, including links below. (The NY1 and Fox23 segments under TV/Video are among the better pieces.)

Albany Times Union (w/ photo slideshow):
Buffalo News:
AP/Wall Street Journal:
AP Photo:

TV / Video:
WNYT 12:

NPR: --
North Country Radio:

Daily News / Daily Politis:
Politics on the Hudson:
Capitol Confidential: and
WNYC/The Empire:
Gotham Gazette/The Wonkster:

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Right To The City Alliance: Year 2010 at a Glance

By Anita Sinha
2010 was a year that reinforced the need for powerful collective action. The jobs and housing crises carried over and continued to pulse through low-income communities across the country.  The world started the year with the devastating earthquake in Haiti, and a few months later the Gulf Coast was dealt another challenge of immeasurable proportions with the BP oil rig explosion.  That same month, in April, Arizona detonated an explosion of a different kind. The Arizona legislature’s enactment of SB 1070instigated fierce pro-immigrant organizing, lawsuits that stalled the application of the Arizona law, and copycat legislation for consideration in at least a dozen states.

The U.S. Social Forum in June provided a dynamic space for social justice activists to convene, while the Tea Party gained momentum by launching its own mobilizations and, ultimately, electoral candidates.  A string of queer youth suicides sparked the moving It Gets Better project.  Mid-term elections flipped the House and many state legislatures and governorships to Republicans, and days later, people took to the streets after the stunning verdict in the Oscar Grant shooting.  The prospect of progressive climate change legislation waned, while advocates from around the world convened in Cancun to demand and develop real solutions to the climate crisis.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Development’s (HUD) proposal to dismantle the public housing system became a bill, and a poised housing justice community began mobilizing to respond.

Closing out the year, the lame duck Congress failed to pass the Dream Act, renewed the Bush tax cuts, and sent to the President’s desk the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The release of data from the 2010 Census unveiled major ramifications for states and political parties, while Wikileaks published secret and classified information that stunned the world and sparked a debate about transparency and democracy.

Throughout this year, the Right to the City Alliance mobilized for both proactive and responsive action.

Housing and Jobs
RTTC member groups joined forces knowing that the majority of the damage done by the jobs and housing crises is falling on the backs of their low-income, predominately of color, communities. The Housing and Urban Development Workgroup met several times with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and held a Congressional briefing on its groundbreaking report, We Call These Projects Home, detailing the impact of public housing policies on low-income residents and communities.

The New York City region released a powerful report, People Without Homes & Homes Without People, which calls for the conversion of vacant condos into affordable low-income housing, and held a walking tour of vacant condos.  Los Angeles issued a sharp report card urging the enactment of stricter policies and community-based solutions to improve the housing and living conditions for over 1 million tenants in the city.

RTTC launched a Ready to Work jobs campaign to demand targeted hiring and training for hardest-hit communities, engaging over 800 unemployed workers in 2010. The Alliance also joined forces with Jobs With Justice’s national day of action to declare a jobs emergency.

Civic Engagement
The Civic Engagement Workgroup is an example of how RTTC seized the opportunities of 2010.  RTTC members of the Civic Engagement Workgroup launched a nationally coordinated Yes We Count Census outreach project.  The outreach work of RTTC community-based groups had a significant impact on increasing the participation of traditionally “hard to count” groups in the Census. The project led to new relationships between community members and organizations, strengthened alliances and, in some cases, led to new participation on critical local issues such as foreclosures and jobs.

Next year, the Workgroup will launch the Engaged Voter Organizing (EVO) Training for Trainers, with the goal of training more than 500 leaders. The EVO trainings are created with the acknowledgement that U.S. cities are becoming majority people of color, majority women, and are the locations where new immigrants and LGBTQ people are concentrated.  The EVO training will equip member-leaders and organizers with historic, strategic, and practical information to run a field outreach campaign,  Trainings also will  build a new layer of leadership to create  power and a voice for our communities to determine how our cities are run.  Additionally, in key geographic areas,  Civic Engagement Workgroup members  will educate and advocate for fair and equitable representation in the 2011 redistricting process.

Supporting Arizona & Opposing the Criminalization of Immigrants

Through its support of the grassroots movement in Arizona, RTTC also showed its commitment to backing on-the-ground mobilization in the face of a social and racial justice emergency. The Alliance supported the Alto Arizona campaign by sending a grassroots delegation of more than 80 people to participate in a national mobilization after the passage of SB 1070.  RTTC also dispatched experienced staff to provide on-the-ground organizing, strategy, and fundraising support.

In the fall, RTTC members participated in a Turning the Tide on Immigration summit in New Orleans to address the increased criminalization of immigrants. At this summit, RTTC hosted a strategy session on multi-racial unity, and created a concept paper on how to support a broader campaign that builds connections and coordination between the immigrant rights community and the racial and criminal justice communities.

Ecological Justice
The Ecological Justice Workgroup kicked off ecological justice trainings, called “Eco-Schools” in New York City and Virginia, as the first phase of our ongoing political education series of RTTC mobile schools.  The Eco-schools represent mini-versions of the Movement Generation trainings, Freedom Fighting While Defending the Earth, that advance the development of a deeper ecological justice lens in racial justice organizations.

RTTC members joined a delegation, headed by Grassroots Global Justice, to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Cancun. Inside the convention, several accords were passed that fell woefully short of addressing long-term climate change needs.  However, outside the convention, a movement for real change to address the climate crisis assembled in strong form. Vibrant marches of thousands of small farmers, indigenous peoples, and community activists from around the world streamed through Cancun’s streets, while about 30 demonstrations showed their solidarity across the U.S. and Canada.

Getting Stronger from the Inside

Amidst RTTC’s great external work, the Alliance also was committed to strengthening its structure and internal operations.  RTTC completed an organizational development process, identifying priorities and creating an alliance-wide, national campaign.  RTTC gave thanks and appreciation to the hard work of outgoing Steering Committee members: Denise Perry, Dawn Phillips, and Rickke Mananzala.  At the U.S. Social Forum, the membership elected a new Steering Committee, consisting of: Anita Sinha, Advancement Project; Jon Liss, Tenants and Workers United/Virginia New Majority; Kalila Barnett, Alternatives for Community and Environment; Alicia Garza, POWER; Mark Swier, Mothers On The Move; Eileen Ma, Korean Immigrant Workers Association; Yvette Thierry, Safe Streets Strong Communities; Gihan Perera, Miami Worker Center/Florida New Majority; and Leonardo Vilchis, Union De Vecinos.

The RTTC national staff went through some changes this year, and has come out strong. The Alliance was very fortunate to hire an experienced and dynamic organizer, Rachel LaForest, as its new Director of Organizing, while it said farewell to its dedicated Lead Organizer, Marisa Franco.  Lisette Le joined RTTC as the new Regional Organizer for Boston.  Avi Rosenthalis came on board as the New York City Regional Coordinator and we said goodbye to New York City Organizer Shannon Barber.  RTTC bade a fond farewell to Carl Lipscombe, and welcomed Mark Swier as the new Operations Coordinator.  Claire Tran remains as our now-veteran RTTC staffer, leading the way as National Organizer for Civic Engagement.

Happy New Year to RTTC and its allies and supporters. Onward!

Anita Sinha serves on RTTC's Executive Committee as Archivist, and is a Senior Attorney at Advancement Project.