This film tells the story the residents of Midtown Park Apartments who have been on rent strike since August 2015. It is the largest rent strike in San Francisco since 1978. After decades of essentially being a tenant-run cooperative housing complex, the City of San Francisco who owns the property, transferred management to a Christian non-profit called Mercy Housing. Mercy Housing issued new leases to all of the residents, leading to large rent increases for many of them. The tenants, including some of those faced with little or no increase in their rent, refused to sign the new leases and launched a rent strike instead. Midtown tenants have been organizing to stop the city from demolishing two of their buildings, to fight for rent control, to terminate Mercy Housing as the property manager, and for the right to ownership they were promised when they first moved in.
Marianne Maeckelbergh is Professor of Political Anthropology (Ghent University) and Professor of Global Sociology (Leiden University). Her research explores how people’s everyday political practices inform and transform the way we understand democracy. Her pervious work focused on how emerging forms of self-determination within transnational social movements challenged core assumptions underlying classic notions of democracy. Currently, she is the Principle Investigator on the “Property and Democratic Citizenship” project which uses conflicts over property to explore how various property regimes impact people’s experiences of citizenship. She is the author of The Will of the Many: How the Alterglobalisation Movement is Changing the Face of Democracy and co-producer of the globaluprisings.org film series.
Brandon Jourdan is a filmmaker and journalist who has contributed to Democracy Now!, the NY Times, CNN, Reuters, Deep Dish TV, the Independent Media Center, Now with Bill Moyers, Foreign Exchange, and Free Speech TV. Since 2011, he has worked together with Marianne Maeckelbergh on globaluprisings.org, a documentary series dedicated to showing responses to the economic crisis and authoritarianism. Together they have produced over 20 short documentary films covering the large-scale uprisings, occupations, protests and revolutions in Egypt, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Spain, Greece, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Turkey and the United States.