Economic Disobedience: What Is It And How Does It Work?
As the COVID-19 pandemic brought the global economy to a standstill in March 2020, a peculiar trend popped up in multiple cities: People started hanging white sheets out of their windows. With April rent coming due alongside record unemployment numbers, the white flags became a protest symbol for struggling tenants on the verge of a rent strike. The symbol spread online and eventually showed up in Chicago, Brooklyn, and New Orleans, according to reporting from CNN. The rent crisis also led to a rise in tenant unions, with tenants-turned-housing-activists in Oakland and San Francisco successfully organizing multi-month rent strikes that resulted in impressive wins. Despite the threat of eviction and potential economic and legal fallout, ordinary people, acting out of necessity, engaged in a collective act of defiance.