I stopped identifying as a YIMBY sometime this year, because wrapping your identity up in any kind of organization leads to personal disaster.
Its been incredibly hard to stay focused these last weeks of 2018, knowing full well that there is no bottom to this pit we all seem to be falling into, for far too long.
Its rather boring at this point.
But also quite boring.
I want to be out seeing the world again. Building art. Hacking the planet. More than I'm doing right now. This is also how I'm able to reason about staying in the bay area for this New Year's eve.
I haven't written nearly as much as I've wanted to this year. Everyone always says that though. Its still true; my life has turned into something else than when I hacked graphics code, maintained phonon-gstreamer, had Opinions about free software licenses. I guess I still do have Opinions, but they hardly matter right now to me.
I'm proud of all the stuff I haven't written about. Two years ago sat with some friends around a coffee shop table and quietly resigned to live with the fact that we were going to be called East Bay Forward.
It wasn't a great name, but the name didn't matter as much as we were Doing The Work. Our antagonists usually had names like "Friends of the Regional Munincipal Zoning Ordinance 8472" or other absurd sequences of words which really crowded the field. So East Bay Forward it was.
East Bay for Everyone turns three years old next year. It has been a source of hope for myself and others. We're Showing Up, as is the only one rule we have. I intended to establish an organization that would be able to effectively win an electoral cycle or two, while using direct action to dismantle oppressive structures in between.
And that's what I think East Bay for Everyone is today. An anarchist collective of housing organizers. Urban organizers, even. We're a lovely bunch of people who just love cities. And we think everyone should be able to love their city too.
Bay Area politics really bum me out. Like, extremely bummed out. Sometimes its just too much and I need to take a holiday or a break or something, because I can really only take so much at a time. Its gross. I don't believe it is inevitable.
The first thing I remember doing with EBFE was pushing to adopt a code of conduct. I knew that, while we all liked each other right now, around that table, it is 100% possible two of us will hate each other within the first five years. The problem is so much bigger than us, and we don't need to be fighting each other.
Our Code of Conduct is one of our earliest documents, possibly only pre-dated by the adoption of the original YIMBY platform and our name. I was serious about its importance. I wanted to make sure that if this thing got big, it would have a rock solid foundation to grow on.
Today we have 1,200 members. I'm one of three co-executives. The social housing working group is making friends with the public bank coalition. We got a dozen to show up to an afternoon meeting on establishing a regional housing agency. There is a whole new generation of organizers whipping members to show up to public hearings, to stop evictions, to make burritos for feeding the people. Its impressive. I'm impressed with what I've seen, with what I've helped grow.
Today, in a moment of passion, an errant tweet was made that shouldn't have been made. In another universe, it would have lived on to be a point of contention between two people who couldn't overlook it and see eye-to-eye. But today, I saw a community that rejected that, and took care of its own.
Here, we have a politics of abundance. We do believe that there can be enough to go around for everyone, and it doesn't matter what that is. Housing. Bike lanes. Prosperity. Grocery stores.
There is no limit to what a politics of abundance can achieve. A politics of scarcity leads to fighting over scraps. A constant struggle. A fight to survive. But I want to do more than survive; I want to thrive. I want to grow and be the better version of myself for all the world to know. I've paid incredible attention to fostering a culture of love and abundance within EBFE.
We're assaulting a problem that has existed for generations, giving birth to the entire economic system of capitalism. Decoupling wealth from land ownership is not a thing you can do overnight, and we're smart to recognize that. This isn't a sprint, this is a marathon; and we need to make sure nobody gets burnt out, that everyone else knows we're all in this together.