Radical anti-gentrification

  • Posted on: 22 October 2018
  • By: thecollective

From edíciónes ínédítos

An anti-gentrification strategy which counters the “good local business” to the “bad, ‘gentrifier’ business,” and thus does not question capitalism itself, is a strategy which may garner popular support, but it is one which is ultimately shallow & reformist in nature. It confuses the symptoms of gentrification for the causes. If we take gentrification as an opportunity to truly interrogate what housing means under capitalism for proletarians, we would see that this society will always have us living as close to the edge as possible.

It’s easy to say “Fuck Hipsters” because of their hyper-visibility at the surface/cultural level. But if we are radicals, we have to be able to see beyond the white-tiled cafés, the art galleries which used to be party supply stores and the breweries which used to house manufacturing machines. Gentrification is very much a homogenizing force: every gentrifying city looks like every other gentrifying city but what unites these cities more than a spreading basic aesthetic are the intensifying capitalist social relations which they are a product of. Capitalism ever deepening its teeth into proletarian life.[1]

If we were to remove every ‘gentrifier[2]‘ business from Los Angeles, or any other city in the world, we would still have to pay the rent, go to work and lead a life so disconnected from our own needs & desires.

Of course, a strategy which takes into the consideration the totality of capitalist society is difficult to imagine at the level of everyday life, but if we are radicals then this is part of the dream we must make. Surely we will have to level antagonism towards the shocktroops of gentrification, but like a moldy piece of bread the shocktroops are but the end of a lifecycle of the parasites they are. They go on as contagion, but the deep work happened before their arrival. In the same way, we must look and think deeply. It is not simply “the community” vs “the not-community.” It’s about liberation of those of us under the thumb of capitalism and those who gain from pressing the thumb. And those pressing the thumb are more likely to be local & State government, international financial institutions investing in real estate, the police, local real estate agencies and banks…than those pressing French coffee presses.

Note on the font used in this banner image: this font was recently popularized by White artist, Cali DeWitt when he used this font for merchandise for Kanye West. This was a font first used by Chicanxs in the 80s, most notably on sweaters made to memorialize those recently deceased, often by gang or police violence. Using it here is an act of taking back what a White artist has appropriated for their own financial gain & furthering of their career off of Chicanx pain and cultural innovation.

Man in a motorcade funeral procession in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles shows-off his shirt that reads “FUCK LAPD.” Photo by Gary Leonard (1995).

Lincoln Heights funeral scene

[1] In other words, the intensification of the extraction of profit from the cycle of accumulation under capitalism: an intensification necessary to the very being of capitalism.

[2] Here, we also have to call into question what exactly is a ‘gentrifier’ business. Some would say it is a business run by the ‘gentry’! But what is the ‘gentry’? Is the ‘gentry’ the petit-bourgeoisie? The shopkeeper? If so, then even the small, local, longtime shopkeeper is also the ‘gentry.’ Some say it is a business which tends to promote the forces of gentrification, but in a way most businesses do exactly this by requiring our money in exchange for their commodities and/or services and thus act as a way of impoverishing us., making it harder to pay the rent. Although, often times cultural connections cultivated in ethnic and/or proletarian neighborhoods act as a mask, a cover for the fact that there too does capitalism wield its control.



I'd like to see the author expand on their thoughts, this is just incomplete.

It seems though that this fails where the rest do, gentrification just isn't capital but it's also ideals. Hipsters aren't just consumers, but are also believers in the ideals of normalcy. The LGBTQ and art scenes don't just randomly push gentrification, it's that many of those people are actively engaged in the enforcement of the dominant ideology. Whereas those same people are not actively engaged against it. They actively leach off counterculture and we see it's impacts as anarchists with their imposition of identity politics that slows and hinders our ideals. It's not an accident.

So, do we need different ways to fight gentrification? Absolutely. But we also need to be willing to flip these people off after our victories, if there are any. Danger is what these people fear.

Lastly, consider that there are examples of places that have avoided gentrification for a lot longer than others. And some who are still avoiding it. Think about why.

Because a region has to be "pacified" first by police. Then comes the social peace, followed by hipster art scenes, etc.

Gets complex trying to assign agency to individuals within this process though.

Is it the hipsters looking for cheap rent? Hard to blame them just for being millennials. Is the keystone cop security guards? They're scum sure but is it the petit-booj business owners who hire them? Is it the megabucks property developers? Politicians who take their money?

None of that stuff can happen smoothly if the streets are "unsafe".

I wish there were more practical discussions about this stuff. I'd say that in terms of whites/middle class people moving into poor neighborhoods, their presence works as a counter insurgency that lifts up the local politicians and community leaders not to mention home and business owners. In this way the police come in second to pacify with support of "everyone."

Although on the flip side now we have gentrification in 2018 in non poverty mostly white areas as well. But still, the same forces of counter insurgency, literally the same people. Or same types.

The LGBT artisrs invade our neighborhoods with their excuses of getting paid less and wanting community and force us to move to Sacramento. If it werent for them entering and taking over anarchism wed have won by now.

It's true, both of you should have organized cool-ass roller skate gangs and do stylish fights in the streets.

If you don't understand how the dominant ideal works as a counter insurgency to heresy that's your own fault. Leftists can't think beyond the mass movement they've never been able to create.

If you don't understand how jokes work thats your own fault. But yes, we all get what youre saying.

For a critical examination of efforts against gentrification in San Francisco U.S.A. 20 years ago, see this:


No thanks Kevin, still not interested. Like, same as last year and 2 years before that and so on?

is that a lot of these issues extend from the what happened in the San Francisco after 1968. The issue is that post-ww2 anarchism has completely abandoned practical alternative economic models and niched itself into cultural enclaves. Essentially it's the progressive planners who fill the economic void from the top.

The answer to the gentrification issue is to return to some pre-ww2 characteristics and develop some grey area economics.

Inb4 the 8th then maybe the 9th and the stubbornly persistent 10th response to 19:09 is censored, I just want to say to the poster, you have lost your battle and should, with humility, refrain from taking on the mighty thecollective, who are invincible!

Im the anon troll that triggered Kevin's outrage loop and I'd like to sincerely apologize to the poor, poor volunteer moderator.

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Enter the code without spaces.