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Gentrification is not your next documentary topic,” the group recently wrote on its blog. Its leaders distrust the media, saying they’d “rather opt out and tell our story for ourselves,” and did not respond to interview requests.
“Gentrification is not a trend for the ‘woke wide web’ or for the detached subculture of the left to consume,” they continued. “It is a vicious, protracted attack on poor and working-class people. And we are engaging in class warfare that leaves our friends, families, and neighbors, homeless, devastated, deported or dead. So get with down friends and make s*** crack.”
By “making s*** crack” — by boycotting, protesting, disrupting, threatening and shouting in the streets — Defend Boyle Heights and its allies have notched a series of surprising victories over the past two and a half years, even as the forces of gentrification continue to make inroads in the neighborhood. A gallery closed its doors after its “staff and artists were routinely trolled online and harassed in person.” An experimental street opera was shut down after members of the Roosevelt High School band — egged on by a group of activists — used saxophones, trombones and trumpets to drown it out. A real estate bike tour promising clients access to a “charming, historic, walkable and bikeable neighborhood” was scrapped after the agent reported threats of violence. “I can’t help but hope that your 60-minute bike ride is a total disaster and that everyone who eats your artisanal treats pukes immediately,” said one message. The national (and international) media descended, with many outlets flocking to Weird Wave Coffee, a hip new shop that was immediately targeted by activists after opening last summer.
Yet throughout the event there were also hints that something less civil — and far more confrontational — was afoot. “F*** Hipsters,” read the shirts for sale. A few activists clutched bright red hammer-and-sickle flags. And behind the attendees stood silent men and women in black ski masks — “comrades,” said emcee Facundo Rompe, “who are here to protect us.”
Between speeches, Rompe — tall and lean, with the glasses, goatee and nom de guerre of a vintage leftist — took the mic and alluded to activities that might (or might not) transpire later that evening.
“Obviously I can’t tell you everything we’re going to do, because the cops have really big pig ears,” Rompe said as he gestured toward a pair of plainclothes officers watching from a silver car at the edge of the plaza. “But what I’ve found is that the only thing that works to stop gentrifiers is intimidation. The only thing that works is fear — the fear of harm. Because they are harming us.”
A few minutes later, the program concluded. Rompe made one last announcement.
“There’s a legal side to the struggle, and there’s a creative side to the struggle,” he said. “No one is telling you you gotta mask up — that you gotta be militant as f***. No one is telling you to do that — although,” he chuckled, “that is the right thing to do.
“So let’s take a poll,” Rompe continued. “Raise your hand if you’re anti-gentrification — and you’ll do whatever the f*** possible to stop it.”
Everyone in the plaza — about sixty people in total — raised his or her hand.
“So that means you’re down to put your body on the line?” Rompe asked.
He scanned the crowd; no hands fell.
Abdul Alhazred wrote:Note that in many cases these are neighborhoods that were not always slums.
ed wrote:Given the cost of living in Manhattan, Ft. Greene (which abuts Brooklyn Heights) id pretty darn attractive.
corplinx wrote:So, SJWs use twitter mobs to no-platform anyone that commits heresey. We get it. Speak up and lose your job.
How about PC concerns leading to the UK media self-censoring news about Muslim grooming gangs in the UK so the only news sources reporting it are "right wing" and thus the stories get categorized as right wing propaganda?
The real war is a proxy war. Media self-censors and kids wind up systemically preyed upon.
ed wrote:Keep up you fucker.
I was talking about Fr Greene.
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