We Live Here: Detroit Eviction Defense and the Battle for Housing Justice (Paperback)

We Live Here: Detroit Eviction Defense and the Battle for Housing Justice By Jeffrey Wilson, Bambi Kramer Cover Image

We Live Here: Detroit Eviction Defense and the Battle for Housing Justice (Paperback)

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A graphic novel featuring uplifting stories of combatting—and beating—calls for their eviction in Detroit, showing how everyday people are fighting to stay in their homes, organizing with their communities, and winning.

We Live Here! is a graphic novel biography of the members of the local activist group Detroit Eviction Defense combatting—and beating—calls for their eviction. By illustrating the stories of families struggling against evictions, the book gives a voice to those who have remained in Detroit, showing the larger complexities at work in a beleaguered city. These are everyday people fighting back, organizing with others, going into the streets, and winning their homes back.
 
What will Detroit look like in the future? Today cheap property entices real estate speculators from around the world. Artists arrive from all over viewing the city as a creative playground. Billionaires are re-sculpting downtown as a spot for tourism. But beyond the conventional players in urban growth and development, Detroit Eviction Defense (DED) members—like others engaged in place-based struggles all over the country—are pushing back, saying in effect, “we live here, we’ve been here, there is no Detroit without us.”
JEFFREY WILSON is an activist-scholar and author of several graphic novels that are interview-based and deal with issues of social justice, housing and immigration. His work has appeared in McSweeney’s, Counterpunch, and World War 3 Illustrated, and he is the author of The Instinct for Cooperation: A Graphic Novel Conversation with Noam Chomsky, illustrated by Eliseu Gouveia (Seven Stories Press, 2018). He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

BAMBI KRAMER is a comics author and illustrator based in Rome, Italy. She has participated in festivals, events and exhibitions around the world, her work has been exhibited in Rome, Cape Town and Madrid, and her illustrations and comics have been published by international magazines.
 
Product Details ISBN: 9781644212424
ISBN-10: 1644212420
Publisher: Seven Stories Press
Publication Date: April 30th, 2024
Pages: 240
Language: English
"What makes this book remarkable is the intimately drawn true stories of ordinary people coming together to fight nefarious systems and demonstrate the possibility of winning against seemingly impossible odds. More than ever we need to believe it is possible to surmount the destructive forces that are ruining our health, our neighborhoods, our planet. Jeff Wilson and Bambi Kramer's We Live Here! demonstrates the power of the comics to do just that." —Peter Kuper, co-founder of World War 3 Illustrated and contributor to The New Yorker, The Nation, and Mad

"Jeffrey Wilson and Bambi Kramer’s We Live Here is a triumph of comic art and grassroots ethnography, taking the raw and powerful testimonies of Detroit residents in the crosshairs of racial capitalism’s predatory dispossession, and showing how street-level solidarity and neighborhood direct action kept people in their homes and built a movement. The panels of this book capture, with the utmost care and clear revolutionary love, the moments in which personal despair facing down foreclosure and eviction was transmuted, through organizing, into the power of community refusal. A visual and intellectual gift to anyone who wants to understand where and how truly radical responses to an unjust world are built."
—John Duda, Worker-Owner, Red Emma’s Bookstore

"What a superb book of comics journalism on place-based solidarity in resisting eviction in neoliberal Detroit! A non-extractivist, publicly accessible and engaged account of the accumulative dispossessions assaulting Black and Latinx home-owners, and of racial capitalism in action. The texts and images draw us into the solidarity that enables non-white, working class resistance, deftly illustrating the nuances and complexities of the evictions, the politicization of the grass roots, their resistance as survivability, and the fight back itself."
—Loretta Lees, Director of the Initiative on Cities and Professor of Sociology, Boston University

"An intimate, thought-provoking portrayal of a housing justice movement, Jeffrey Wilson and Bambi Kramer bring readers behind the scenes of Detroit’s foreclosure crisis, illustrating not only how financial institutions and speculators prey on Black and Brown communities but how organized communities can succeed in fighting back. Through deft narration and arresting illustration, We Live Here celebrates place-based solidarity, illuminating its essential ingredients: love, compassion, defense, refusal, education, mutual aid, and stories. Stories of housing justice, they argue, must not only be seen and heard but also shared. This must-read handbook for housing activism does just that. Comic book meets critical urban studies, it sets an exciting new precedent for visual scholarship that is at once thorough and accessible. An achievement and inspiration."
—Sara Safransky, author of The City after Property: Abandonment and Repair in Postindustrial Detroit

"Wilson follows up The Instinct for Cooperation (an illustrated dialogue with Noam Chomsky) by partnering with co-artist Kramer for this galvanizing chronicle of hardscrabble victories won by a grassroots coalition dedicated to rescuing Detroit families from home foreclosure and eviction. In most of the firsthand accounts, success for the Detroit Eviction Defense hinges on preventing the delivery of a dumpster, which signals the final step in an eviction. “If that happens, they’ll remove you physically from the house,” says an organizer at a meeting with a family threatened with eviction. While battling evictions in courtrooms and bank cubicles, the DED’s most potent tactics include picket lines and crowding properties with parked cars to block dumpster deliveries. These efforts may take months, and depend on extensive volunteer commitment. In capturing the powerlessness felt by individuals pitted against unresponsive mortgage lenders, the portraits lay bare the racial disparities baked into Detroit’s much-celebrated revitalization. But as DED efforts repeatedly force banks to the negotiating table, the accounts also serve as testaments to organized action and strength in numbers. Kramer’s lightly stylized sketches lend each firsthand narrative a verisimilitude shaded with pathos and dignity. Personalizing the lingering aftereffects of the subprime mortgage crisis, this collection of resilient first-person testimonies is comics journalism at its most vital."—Publisher's Weekly