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Graphic from J-Town Collective, c. 1973, urging people to fight efforts to evict tenants and small businesses driving redevelopment in San Francisco's Japantown. "Revolutionary" anti-capitalist ideas came from seeing issues like Japantown's gentrification in a larger context, which helped activists connect local issues with both citywide and international events, as Glenn Omatsu describes (see text below).

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Listening to the Small Voice Speaking the Truth: Grassroots Organizing and the Legacy of Our Movement


With the goal of taking my activism to a new level through community organizing, I relocated to San Francisco, where eventually I got involved in the struggle against redevelopment in Japantown (Nihonmachi).

At that time, Nihonmachi -- like other San Francisco low-income neighborhoods -- was targeted by the city government driving urban renewal. Acting in partnership with corporate interests, including conglomerates from Japan, the city's Redevelopment Agency uprooted small businesses and demolished low-rent housing and replaced them with corporate office buildings and "market-rate" housing with the vision of transforming San Francisco into "the Wall Street of the West."

Eventually, under the leadership from the Japantown Collective (JTC), young activists joined together with residents and small businesspeople to create a new organization called CANE -- Committee Against Nihonmachi Eviction -- an intergenerational and multiracial formation to oppose redevelopment. [activists] from the JTC also provided a larger analysis of redevelopment in Nihonmachi, linking the struggle not only to sister struggles going on throughout San Francisco such as the International Hotel [where low-income seniors were being evicted] but also to the war in Indochina [as related to the Vietnam War], the U.S. government's Pacific Rim Strategy [dominating countries lying on the edges of the Pacific Ocean], and growing corporate domination of communities.

[01 Transforming Ourselves]     [02 Not Without Struggle]     [03 Serve the People]
[04 Listening to the Small Voice]     [05 The Big Picture]     [06 Revolution]
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