CCR and Take Back the Land Visit Abahlali baseMjondolo, the South African Shackdwellers' Movement

This post was written by Max Rameau of Take Back the Land, originally posted at

Monday, March 01, 2010

Take Back the Land is going to South Africa.

As a part of building our national Take Back the Land Movement, we asked the famed Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR- to act as our legal Strategic Partner. As part of that responsibility, CCR invited me to join them on a trip to South Africa to research learn from organizations engaged in anti-eviction and land reform work.

This trip is particularly exciting for me both because of my Pan-African ideological perspective and because the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign is one of the two organizations Take Back the Land Miami is modeled after (the other one is the MST in Brazil).

Our party of five will spend three days in Cape Town with the Anti-Eviction Campaign and Abahlali baseMjondolo (ABM) and three days in Durban with ABM. CCR will examine legal issues and responses there as well as look at how legal organizations provide support to social justice movements. For Take Back the Land, this trip has four (4) objectives:

Build an International Movement. We seek to realize housing as a human right for every person on this planet. As such, we seek to establish formal relationships with organizations fighting for those rights, thereby building an international movement for community control over land and housing as a human right.

Campaign Modeling. The WCAEC and ABM have executed mass campaigns to stop bulldozers and evictions. We in the US have much to learn from our sisters and brothers across the globe.

Network Modeling. South Africans have built a national anti-eviction and land reform movement. Take Back the Land strives to learn from their model and replicate their successes.

For the next week, I will post, email, blog, facebook, buzz and tweet from South Africa to share the experiences of Take Back the Land and the Center for Constitutional Rights.

This email is being sent from the airport in Johannesburg, South Africa.


Max Rameau


Mission Statement of Take Back the Land

People of African descent have been systematically denied control of land in their communities- from slavery to sharecropping to segregation to the current gentrification and displacement of our communities. Elected officials and high ranking bureaucrats have sold out the black community in favor of enriching already wealthy and politically connected developers.

We assert our right to the land in our community and to use public space for the public good- specifically, to house, feed and provide community space for the poor, particularly in low income black communities. As such, we are Taking Back the Land and empowering the black community, not the politicians, to determine how to use land for the benefit of the community.
Our struggle is fundamentally one of land, and control over that land. We take inspiration from and support our sisters and brothers across the globe engaged in similar struggles for control over land for the benefit of the people.

The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at


Last modified 

March 2, 2010