Take Back The Land
Land, Gentrification and the Umoja Village Shantytown
Max Rameau (Author)
Released January 15th, 2013
Published by AK Press
In October 2006, a group of housing activists called Take Back the Land seized control of a plot of public land in Miami, Florida and built an encampment that would become known as the Umoja Village Shantytown, a living reminder of the lack of low-cost housing in the city, and a public protest against gentrification. Though the Umoja Village encampment lasted only a few short months, Take Back the Land's actions inspired activists and observers around the country, shifting the conversation, re-politicizing the act of squatting, and helping to catalyze a new movement against the foreclosure crisis that continues to grow stronger as the economy continues to falter.
This is the story of the Umoja Village Shantytown, told by its principal architect, the Haitian-born Pan-African theorist, campaign strategist, organizer, and author Max Rameau. Addressing the issues of land, self-determination, and homelessness in the Black community, Rameau explains the birth and development of Umoja Village day by day, and outlines the larger strategy behind the Take Back the Land movement.
"Take Back the Land is an activist's impassioned cri de coeur for fairness and justice for those who have been denied even the illusion of the ever intangible 'American Dream.' Max Rameau not only offers much needed insight on the movement that seeks to make housing a human right but shows us ways in which we can all be part of it. Though it exists no more, the Umoja Village shantytown remains a beacon and an inspiration for how communities can be built and rebuilt against all odds and we are fortunate to have an intelligent and passionate witness as Mr. Rameau to return that community, among others to us. Out of the ashes of a continuing American tragedy rose this book and you will be wiser and even more human after reading it." —Edwidge Danticat
"For people seeking sharp analysis of our current political era, Take Back The Land is the most important book you could read. It lays out in detail the successes and challenges, the victories and betrayals, of an absolutely critical campaign for housing justice. Max Rameau is a visionary, and his words and actions have inspired a movement. His work has created a new framework for struggle. If you want to know a way forward in the current economic and political crisis we are in, read this book." —Jordan Flaherty, author of Floodlines