The connections between our targeted, unhoused relatives in GAZA and our unhoused bodies on occupied Turtle Island
by Tiny, daughter of Dee, mama of Tiburcio, @povertyskola
“WTF? Three cops came up to me in succession, first cajoling, then demanding, then threatening arrest if I didn’t leave. This wasn’t just a sweep; this was terror.” Jonny X, longtime reporter with RoofLessRadio at POOR Magazine from Occupied Yelamu, SF, from under his tarp at Eighth and Mission. While Jonny was calling me, my phone was pinging with updates of thousands of humans being removed, harassed, bombed and dying in hospital rooms and street corners in Gaza.
“This is my home! Where will we go?” a Palestinian mama cried, holding her injured baby to face the camera from the streets of Gaza, standing in front of a frayed shell of her now bombed family home.
“This is the only place I have to live! Where will I go?” While the Israeli army descended on the biggest hospital in Gaza with lies about an underground resistance headquarters being beneath the hospital swirling through corporate media, a disabled houseless family member was facing eviction and removal from their RV in occupied Huchuin (Oakland), another in a never-ending “sweep” that has continued, uninterrupted, all across the Bay, from Oakland to San Francisco, in an endless attempt to push houseless peoples out of sight and out of our homes.
Houseless in Huchiun or houseless in Gaza … where will we go? Where can we go? Settlers have claimed Palestinian land on top of the people already inhabiting it, while here on occupied Turtle Island, poor, houseless and longtime working class residents are evicted and pushed out of their neighborhoods, tents and homes if that neighborhood is now seen as “desirable” for richer, whiter people to live in.
Not only are the settlers ruthlessly bombing babies and families and elders in Gaza; they are also bombing people’s homes, apartment buildings, trees and entire neighborhoods and just like the global contractors always do, will come in after the genocide and start more extractive construction projects to build right on top of all they destroyed, receiving multi-billion dollar contracts for all that “re-building” and best believe the multi-national developers will be right there, getting right to work on top of people’s graves and lives.
As we all “live” in this settler occupied pseudo peacefulness of the U.S, with murder and genocide of Palestinian people happening in our name – not to mention, Syria and Afghanistan, Africa, Iraq and beyond – it is extremely important for people to overstand that our “neighborhoods” wouldn’t even be our “neighborhoods” of San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland or the entire United Snakkkes without the genocide of first peoples of this land, removed in almost the same terrorizing, genocidal playbook as our relatives in Gaza right now. Read the powerful statement by Tribal Chair Corrina Gould in her statement in support of Gaza.
Removed for what? For the right to steal, buy, sell, hoard and extract Mama Earth and her resources for a few wealth-hoarding humans and to perpetrate the krapitalist lie of private property and the business plan of selling and buying her for profit.
“Who is coming to town, ‘cause they were more brutal than usual and DPW showed up and took everything. I had no chance to even leave!” Alice, another long-term, disabled POOR reporter cried out to me from her little corner behind a building in the Embarcadero. Incidentally, Alice is neuro-divergent and used to dwell silently and peacefully in the TransBay terminal before she was brutally evicted for the ridiculous purpose of re-building a perfectly good building so it could become SalesForce, another corporate extractor on that site.
But the other urgent dot we need to connect is that houseless peoples, who don’t extract and destroy, but merely try to survive closest to Mama Earth, with no walls or doors or PGE or grant deeds or leases or stolen land ownership lies are brutally, constantly, harassed, removed, targeted and swept from every street, park, doorway, corner, lean-to and tent across this stolen land and to make it even more ironic, in the face of this idiotic APEC – another corporate poltrickster conference, where they are convening to plan the destruction of more indigenous lands from the Phillipines to West Papua. They put up 12-foot-tall iron fences and have harassed and removed literally hundreds of houseless, disabled elders and folks holding on by a thread to “prepare” for APEC.
Let’s not understate the settler lies being perpetrated in Gaza, that somehow the settlers’ lives are more important than the people already living there. That with the settlers’ presence the Palestinian mamas, grandmamas, uncles, fathers and babies already living there must be erased. And the corporate media tropes about the people already living there are also rampant.
Poltricksters talk about the “Palestinian problem” like they talk about the “Homeless problem.”
In a worldview rooted in truth, we would not only recognize the sovereign rights of the original Palestinian inhabitants of Gaza, but we would hold a conversation about the bizarre truth vacuum that exists when a new group of people goes somewhere and denies the presence of the people already there.
Another frightening example of this and how it impacts houseless, poor and working class relatives in Occupied Turtle Island is gentriFUKation itself. When a devil-oper “buys” a huge swath of Mama Earth like they did at 73rd and BlackArthur in Deep East Oakland – after it mysteriously burned down – or at 18th and Wood Street in West Oakland, only to construct some new monstrous condominiums being “sold” at an insane figure of “starting at $800,000,” the new residents immediately launch a series of violent and consistent “sweeps” – read: eviction – of all of the houseless relatives who already have been humbly living in their own vehicles, on the street, in a tent and wherever they can sort of safely hide. This is what happened to Wood Street Commons, a homeless peoples’ solution to homelessness and continues to happen.
And then like one of the baadass revolutionary lawyers, Ari Pomerantz, who help us houseless people at Homefulness pointed out in their statement in solidarity with Gaza, when we build our own solutions like Homefulness, the same settler lies that rule this occupied land make it impossible for us to even build a self-determined, rent free solution to homelessness.
In the end, this violence of krapitalism is the system that extracts the most, kills the most and terrorizes the most and so like all bullying systems, it seems to “win” but there is a new truth of Indigenous sovereignty, LandBack, Black Land Return and houseless peoples speaking for ourselves being lifted up all across Mama Earth. And even if they would like to, they can’t sweep us, kill us or remove us all and we are fighting back every day from West Oakland to the West Bank.
Come to Oakland City Council meeting Tuesday, Nov. 28, at 6 p.m. to hear houseless residents from Wood Street Commons and Homefulness and unhoused advocates speak on the danger of sweeps of houseless Oaklanders and the launching of our own solutions.Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia, aka “povertyskola,” is a poet, teacher and the formerly houseless, incarcerated daughter of Dee and mama of Tiburcio and author of “Criminal of Poverty: Growing Up Homeless in America” and many more and co-founder of Homefulness, a homeless people’s solution to homelessness. Reach her at www.lisatinygraygarcia.com or @povertyskola on Twitter.