NYC rally: “Cancelar la renta!”

BY: Maicol David Lynch| October 2, 2020
NYC rally: “Cancelar la renta!”


“Es un derecho tener un techo” (It’s a right to have a roof over your head), chanted the crowd gathered at Foley Square, just in front of City Hall in Manhattan this past Thursday.

Why the protest? After all, New York State governor Andrew Cuomo declared on September 28 that a moratorium on COVID-19–related evictions would be extended until January 1, 2021. While this may seem like a victory, the question becomes, Why are we still having to pay rent if we are unemployed as a result of the pandemic?

The crowd was diverse and represented almost every neighborhood, borough, and nationality in New York City. From Bangladeshi tenant unions to neighborhood “ICE watch” groups, the frustrated working people of NYC united to demand an extension of the moratorium on evictions until everyone is back to work. They also demanded that the state legislature pass three bills that would cancel rent, provide stipends for people without homes to stay in hotels, and protect renters from eviction filings until at least one year after the end of the pandemic. This last bill has been supported by many labor unions. Equally important is better political representation at the local, state, and federal levels.

The rally in Foley Square lasted about an hour, with speakers from the NY Housing Justice for All and other organizations demanding, “Cancelar la renta!” and calling for Cuomo to put “people over profits.” The NY State District of the Communist Party USA also sent a contingent to the protest with a banner which read, “Tax the rich, house the poor. Money for jobs, not for war!” A reporter asked Cameron Orr, a NY Young Communist League organizing committee member, “Why are you out here today . . . and what exactly are the goals of these activists?” Cameron responded:

Working Americans have been through it all this year. From Trump almost starting World War III in January, to the pandemic setting in two months later, to the George Floyd protests over the summer, and now this in the midst of the 2020 elections. It’s hard for many hard-working Americans to even think about the elections when they are struggling to pay rent due to the fact they are unemployed. And on top of that, they are being threatened with evictions! It’s criminal. The system is criminal.

The rally grew to about 400 people who then marched through the financial district until reaching an intersection on the other side of City Hall Park (close to where the summer-long encampment to defund the police was held). Protesters blocked traffic with household furniture to symbolize an eviction, and then sat on the beds, couches, kitchen chairs, etc., until the NYPD showed up in full force to surround them on all sides. “You are blocking vehicular traffic and you will be arrested if you do not leave the space and stand on the sidewalk,” the police repeated time and time again. The protesters did not budge. Eleven activists, mostly women, were arrested.

But the protesters will not turn back from this struggle . The fight for affordable housing continues!


Related Party Voices Articles

For democracy. For equality. For socialism. For a sustainable future and a world that puts people before profits. Join the Communist Party USA today.

Join Now

We are a political party of the working class, for the working class, with no corporate sponsors or billionaire backers. Join the generations of workers whose generosity and solidarity sustains the fight for justice.

Donate Now

CPUSA Mailbag

If you have any questions related to CPUSA, you can ask our experts
  • QHow does the CPUSA feel about the current American foreign...
  • AThanks for a great question, Conlan.  CPUSA stands for peace and international solidarity, and has a long history of involvement...
Read More
Ask a question
See all Answer