Tagged: direct action

Squatters in Manila clash with police over gentrification project

from libcom.org

Squatters in Manila clash with police over gentrification project

Thousands of people living in slums in Manila have fought fierce battles with police, who are trying to evict them from their homes in order to make way for a multi-billion dollar project to turn the area into a new business district.

As police moved in to the 72 acre site, residents erected barricades, and fought back the police using rocks, nail bombs, and bags of faeces. The police repeatedly charged the barricades with batons and teargas, but without success.

Of the 10,000 families housed in the area, 8,000 have already been relocated (violently removed) over the last two years, since the government signed a huge deal with a leading real estate company.

Many of the residents are migrants who earn poverty wages, and have lived in their homes for over 30 years. The site that the government are proposing to relocate people to is many miles away from Manila, their families, and their jobs.

In a typically callous statement, the minister responsible for the project claims that those refusing to vacate their homes of several decades are “Professional Squatters”, and militants who are agitating for a better relocation package, and that “they will not be tolerated, and dealt with accordingly”.

Invitation to participate in the 6th AMAGG (6th Annual Montreal Anti-Gentrification Games)!

from Anarchist News.

Spring…the sounds and sights of lilacs blooming, starlings teaching their young to fly, and freshly tagged condo presentation centre… time for Montreal’s 6th Annual Anti-Gentrification Games!

There’s plenty of analysis on why gentrification is fucked, and everyone has their own reasons, informed by ideology and experience. Rising rent and increased enforcement of nuisance bylaws chase broke folks out of their homes. Condo developers profit off of an image of community that their developments work steadily to crush. And as gentrification changes the social and geographic landscapes of neighborhoods, spaces are sold out to the more easily controlled, and we (as anarchists, etc.) lose ground in our skirmish with society. Even if we don’t feel that we have true communities in these neighborhoods; luxury condos, the lifestyle they promise, and the measures of social control they require ensure that the types of lives we want to lead and the communities we want to sustain and create will never be possible.

Let’s create the spaces we want to live in, and destroy the ones we hate! St. Henri, Point St. Charles, Verdun, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve—this is your formal invitation to participate in Montreal’s 6th Annual Anti Gentrification Games!

Here are some ways in which one could participate:
– organize a neighbourhood block party
– resolve a conflict with your neighbor amoungst yourselves
– put up anti-gentrification, anti-police graff
– redecorate a condo presentation centre
– convince a yuppie that a neighborhood is ‘too dangerous’ to buy a condo in
– start a luxury car hood ornament collection
– redesign condo promotional advertising
– take advantage of a free sale at a gentrifying store
– be creative!

The only points you get for participating are -10 for taking yourself too seriously.

Get together, stay safe, and have fun!

–Montreal’s 6AAGG Organizing Committee

Invitation à participer à la 6e AJAGM (6e Edition Annuelle des Jeux Anti-Gentrification de Montréal)!

Le printemps… ses sons et le vue des lilas en fleurs, les étourneaux apprenent à leurs petits à voler et les bureaux de vente de condo fraîchement tagués…il est le temps pour le 6e Edition Annuelle des Jeux Anti-Gentrification de Montréal! Il existe plusieurs analyses pour expliquer pourquoi la gentrification, c’est de la merde, et tout le monde a ses raisons, influencées par l’idéologie et l’expérience. Les augmentationa du prix des loyers et l’application des règlements sur la nuisance ont pour effet de chasser les pauvres de leur maison. Les promoteurs immobiliers profit d’une image de la communauté qu’ils s’encharnent consciencieusement à détruire. Et alors que la gentrification tranforme profondément le paysage urbain et le tissu social des quartiers, des espaces sont vendus à ceux et celles qui sont plus facilement côntrolables et nous (en tout qu’anarchistes, etc.) perdons du terrain dans notre combat contre la société.

Même si nous ne sentons pas que nous avons de réelles communautés dans ces quartiers, les condos luxueux, le style de vie qu’ils promettent et les mesures de côntrole social qu’ils nécessitent assurent que n’y seront jamais possibles les formes de vie et les communautés que nous voulons créer. Faisons en sorte de créer les espaces dans lesquels nous voulons vivre et de détruire ceux que nous détestons!

St. Henri, Pointe St Charles, Verdun, Hochelage-Maisonneuve…ceci est une invitation formelle à participer à le 6e EAJAGM!

Cette participation peut prendre diverses formes:
– Organizer un party de rue de quartier
– régler un conflit avec des voisin.es sans la participation des flics
– faire un graf contre la police ou contre le gentrification
– redécorer le bureau de vente d’un condo
– convaincre un ‘bobo’ qu’un quartier est trop ‘dangereux’ pour qu’il y achete un condo
– commencer un collection des ornements de capot des voitures de luxe
– concevoir un nouveau design pour la pub d’un développement de condos
– profiter de la ‘gratuité’ d’un commerce gentrificateur
– faisons preuve d’imagination!

Les seuls points de participation sont: -10 points pour se prendre trop sérieux.

Organisez-vous, restez prudent.es, et amusez-vous!

–Le comité d’organisation de la 6e EAJAGM

Large protest voices opposition against gentrification of the Downtown Eastside

from Straight (unfortunate name)

More than 200 people gathered at the corner of Main and Hastings streets today (June 11) to voice their opposition against the gentrification of the Downtown Eastside.

 

They carried signs and chanted slogans calling for affordable housing. Several speakers placed an emphasis on the rights of aboriginal people, and argued that a lack of affordable housing contributes to high levels of violence against women.

Herb Varley, a resident of the Downtown Eastside who served as an MC for the demonstration, told the Straight that rising rents are forcing many low-income earners out of the area they consider their home.

“Many people who I’ve talked to, they’ve said that in other neighborhoods, they don’t feel welcome and that they don’t have a connection to those neighborhoods,” Varney said just before the protest got underway. “And then they came down here and they found themselves and they found a community… but now they’re being forced to leave.”

Varley, who also goes by the Nisga’a name Gwin Ga’adihl Amma Goot, is a member of the Downtown Eastside Local Area Planning Process, which is working with the City of Vancouver to improve the quality of life in the area. But he said he’s dissatisfied with that process.

He claimed that while more than 1,000 condos have been approved for the few blocks immediately surrounding the Carnegie Community Centre, less than three dozen affordable housing units have been made available in that same area.

“We’ve been asked to work in good faith, but every condo unit that comes and gets approved is a show of bad faith,” Varney explained. “So we’ve had a thousand shows of bad faith versus two dozen shows of good faith, with maybe another 12 still up in the air. That’s not a very good ratio and we are understandably upset about that.”

After approximately 20 minutes blocking the intersection of Main and Hastings streets, the group of demonstrators moved one block east, to the BC Housing office at Hastings and Gore streets. There, a number of speakers expressed frustration with what they described as that office’s failure to provide affordable housing in the Downtown Eastside.

As the march moved back west along Hastings Street, Ivan Drury, one of the event’s organizers, told the Straight that he has participated in the city’s Local Area Planning Process for two years and has yet to see the initiative make any difference in the Downtown Eastside.

“People are here today because being included in a planning process is not enough,” Drury said. “People are here today because we need justice, not accommodations for the real estate market.”

“The voices of low income people are being marginalized,” he added.

Addressing a group of Downtown Eastside advocates in April 2013, city manager Penny Ballem said that affordable housing and related issues are a “major focus” of the city.

“The city is working very hard to leverage all the opportunities that we can to improve housing for low-income people, to renovate and rehabilitate housing, and there’s a lot of work still to be done,” she emphasized.

Istanbul Taksim Gezi Park is not about trees

from libcom.org

Istanbul’s central area of Taksim is currently the scene of a fledging ‘occupy movement’ as people react to this morning’s 5am teargassing of protestors opposed to unchecked gentrification in the historic city.

These are some cursory notes on whats been unfolding in Istanbul’s central square Taksim and the small green area within in – Gezi Park, as of Friday 31 May there is still little English language coverage, the best place to look is #occupygezi or in Turkish #direngeziparkı which is trending worldwide.

Along with a lot of information in Turkish there are quite a few Tweets pointing at the environmental nature of the protest with tree-saving and maintaining green space in an over urbanised city as the key issues. This is only the tip of the iceberg.

The recent wave of violence released by Turkish police under the rule of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan‘s AKP (Justice and Development Party]) government including this morning’s tear gassing of protestors is in fact a growing trend which many are worried as seeing Turkey slipping further and further into authoritarian rule. Since the annual May 1st demonstrations violence used against protestors has intensified in Istanbul as people have taken to the streets to decry the worrying trends they see developing in their country. This is reflected around the country with attacks on university students in Ankara coupled with a rapidly destabilising situation in the South East as the Turkish border areas are dragged into the Syrian conflict.

Back in Istanbul years of rapid neo-liberal gentrification under the guise of urban improvement has seen swathes of the city transformed. Most recently the go ahead was given for the third Istanbul bridge which is due to see the city transform into an enormous monster spreading up towards the black sea. Many commentators see this as the death knell for Istanbul. In the city centre the central working class neighbourhood of Tarlabasi is currently being decimated while projects such as Galataport and the redevelopment of the Kadikoy train station see historical parts of the city flattened and redevelopment as global investment opporutinites leading to soaring prices and the replacing of large parts of the city with shopping malls and luxury apartments.

In Taksim square, Gezi park (hardly a park by European standards but more a huge traffic island made of of concrete with several hundred trees sitting in its midst) sees itself as the latest victim of a government which deploys heritage as an argument for redevelopment as it drags from the dust the idea of an Ottoman Army Barracks which suddenly must be developed as a shopping mall, replacing one of the last remaining open spaces a city which is already struggling to breathe from congestion, traffic and over development. Scene of protests for the last few days this morning saw police attempt to clear protestors with swathes of tear gas, hospitalising some with an attack which started at 5am while many were sleeping in a makeshift camp. Protestors belongings and tents were burned and newly planted trees uprooted. At 8am this seemed to cease as opposition politicians seeking to make political capital declared opposition to the ongoing destruction and arrived among the bulldozers.

Anarchists claim responsibility for torching East Vancouver duplex

From the Vancounver Sun.

Anarchists claim responsibility for torching East Vancouver duplex

Vancouver police are investigating whether an early morning arson fire at an East Vancouver duplex that was under construction is linked to a series of protests by individuals claiming to be members of an anti-gentrification group.

A group, calling themselves the Anti-Gentrification Front, claimed responsibility for burning down the building at Victoria and E. 1st early Wednesday morning and posted the claim on an anarchist online message board where other claims have also been made about attacks on banks and restaurants.

The incident comes in the wake of increased anti-gentrification activities, including vandalism, thefts and ongoing protests outside the new Pidgin restaurant in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Const. Brian Montague, a police spokesman, said investigators have not been able to verify the latest claim and are also looking at other possibilities, including disgruntled employees and unhappy squatters. But he said the seriousness of the fire, which nearly spread to an adjacent home, has raised the police department’s level of concern.

“Obviously this is a priority. Any time we get a serious incident like this we treat it as a priority when a group sees the need to rely on violence or arson to possibly make a point,” he said.

The fire in the partly built duplex in the 1900-block of E. 1st Ave. was discovered by police around 1:30 a.m. and residents on either side were quickly evacuated. Vancouver firefighters got the fire quickly under control, but adjacent houses suffered minor damage.

Someone claiming to be from the Anti-Gentrification Front posted the claim anonymously on the anarchist message board anarchistnews.org, saying they had set fire to the building because they were “tired of seeing our lives and memories being torn down one development at a time.

“We wish and will create fear for developers in East Vancouver. The class war is heating up. We have no intention on stopping. If we, if you, allow this (to) continue you will be pushed out of East Vancouver due to rising rent and gentrification. If you are the cause of gentrification you should never feel safe.”

A portable toilet on the construction site was spray-painted with an anarchist symbol and the warning: “We’ll be back.”

Neighbours say the old house once had two apartments but the building had been abandoned for years.

Montague said police take the threats seriously.

“There’s someone who is claiming responsibility and we will be investigating whether those claims are true or not. But it is too early to tell right now if there is any validity to that right now,” he said. “We will see if there is a link but there is nothing that we can say that links them right now.”

Mayor Gregor Robertson issued a statement saying he was deeply concerned about the arson.

“The alleged arson of a house under construction is of significant concern to me, especially in light of extremist claims made online,” he said.

“Innocent lives could have been lost. I would like to thank our first responders for their immediate action to evacuate the neighbouring homes. Violence of any kind will not be tolerated in the City of Vancouver, and any criminal acts will be investigated and responded to with every resource at our disposal.”

For several years, predating the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, anti-poverty activists and so-called “Black Block” groups have waged a small and so far ineffective war of vandalism on banks and other groups they see as capitalist symbols.

The Royal Bank, CIBC, HSBC and others have had windows smashed, and in several cases Molotov Cocktails — gasoline-filled bottles — have been thrown.

Heckling demonstrators have held ongoing protests outside Pidgin restaurant to draw attention to gentrification of the area. One woman was recently arrested and charged with a violent protest outside the restaurant after she tried to lock employees inside.

Individuals claiming to be part of an anti-gentrification movement also claimed responsibility for smashing the windows of a Commercial Drive pizzeria at least three times and stealing the sign from in front of Save On Meats on Hastings Street. Anti-poverty activists in the Downtown Eastside have repeatedly distanced themselves from the Anti-Gentrification Front.

This latest online claim has drawn comments from people — including some who call themselves anarchists — who said the arson fire wasn’t an anarchist action, especially considering it put people in neighbouring homes at risk.

At the height of the blaze, firefighters went door to door urging nearby residents to evacuate. Leslie MacDonald, who lives four doors away, had to flee with her cat and three dogs.

She “and the rest of the neighbourhood” waited on the corner for an hour until they were told it was safe to return home.

Despite the scare, MacDonald said she has “mixed feelings” about the stunt. “This is not the way to approach societal problems. It’s disturbing to think of that level of destruction, and the houses right next door with families and kids sleeping in them.”

Still, she “understands the frustration with how expensive it is to live in Vancouver … when there’s a divide like that there’s the potential for more action.”

According to property records, the site had the same owner from 1996 to 2012, when it was sold for $671,000 to two property development companies.

Masked mob marks Mayday outside fancy restaurant in Vancouver – with lit torches

The title is my own. Look at the original article on CBC and watch the video cause I can’t figure out how to embed.

Vancouver police had to ramp up their presence on the Downtown Eastside this week, amid ongoing anti-gentrification protests and an anti-capitalist May Day march.

A strongly-worded editorial on a local blog called The Gastown Gazette detailed the May 1 event and warned the public that soon “there will be blood” in the neighbourhood.

The editorial showed photos of a masked mob carrying lit gas torches outside the Pidgin restaurant, on the boundary between Gastown and the Downtown Eastside.

The high-end restaurant has been a target of anti-gentrification protesters since it opened opposite notorious drug-dealing hotspot Pigeon Park.

Const. Brian Montague said the May Day incident was part of an International Workers’ Day protest.

“There was a group within the march and the protest that wore masks and covered their faces and carried torches,” said. Montague.

“We did have to increase some of police presence there as we were concerned that things may escalate. We didn’t have to do anything. The march eventually moved on and then up into Thornton Park.”

Protester facing mischief charge

Police are also asking for the public’s assistance in locating a Vancouver woman wanted for an alleged incident related to the ongoing anti-gentrification protests at Pidgin restaurant.

Robyn Claire Pickell, 25, is wanted for mischief after police saw a woman trying to chain and lock the restaurant’s front doors while staff worked inside during the early morning of March 15.

The editorial in the Gastown Gazette urged Vancouver’s mayor to take action to quell the anti-gentrification protests, which have been condemning high-end local restaurants as contributing to the gentrification of the local area.

Protesters say the restaurants are too expensive for residents of the low-income neighbourhood to enjoy. Many would prefer to see the location used for housing.

Mayor condemns ‘counterproductive’ demonstration

On Friday, Mayor Gregor Robertson released a statement, saying violent demonstrations were counterproductive.

“Aggressively targeting a restaurant is unacceptable, and a significant distraction from urgent issues such as homelessness, affordable housing and chronic poverty receiving full attention in the ongoing provincial election campaign,” Robertson said.

“I also hope that input on these issues will continue to be directed through the Downtown Eastside Local Area Planning Process, which the community pushed hard for and is actively engaged in.”

Robertson also said he was pleased the Crown had approved charges against Pickell, the protestor who is alleged to have tried to chain and lock Pidgin’s front doors.

A Year in the Life of the Anti-Displacement Movement

Key events in the anti-displacement movement in the Mission district of San Francisco in the late ’90s. Extracts from the full article.

Writings on the Walls

The posters of the Mission Yuppie Eradication Project (MYEP) was one of the visible signs of opposition in 1998. Below, left, we see the first of several posters MYEP — advocating vandalism of expensive cars — wheatpasted around the neighborhood. On the right, social commentary on an abandoned Mission district factory wall.

blight2 myep

July 27th: Party Crashing at the Armory

armoryEikon Investments, the firm that proposed a dot-com office remake for the Mission Armory, staged a party for the Internet business set, served by white-coated parking valets, and addressed by Da Mayor. Activists from MAC and the Digital Workers Alliance crashed the party.

September 21st: Occupation of BigStep.Com Offices

bigstepThe first influx of dot-com office development had been in the Northeast Mission Industrial Zone. The Bay View Bank Building was the first major incursion into the heart of the Mission — the Mission Street corridor. The Mission Street and 24th Street corridors are the main commercial and cultural heart of the Latino community in San Francisco, and many of the small businesses in these commercial strips are marginal. For example, produce markets are a common site in the Mission. A study of these markets by MEDA showed that only 16% had enough revenue to qualify for mortgage capital to buy their buildings. This puts them at the mercy of the current rental market. The incursion of high tech firms into this commercial district threatens to drive rents through the sky, as landlords drool at the prospect of much higher revenue per square foot.

The first major invasion of high-tech firms into the Mission was the takeover of three floors of the Bay View Bank Building by BigStep.Com — a firm that provides e-tailing services and tools for small businesses. The Cort family, who had bought the building, used asbestos abatement as the excuse to evict two dozen community serving entities from the building — immigration lawyers, nonprofits, etc. Luring BigStep.Com was the sign that the Corts needed that their strategy of “flipping” the building would work. MAC maintains, however, that this takeover is illegal. Zoning for Mission Street limits any one entity to no more than 6,000 square feet — the equivalent of one floor. This is to maintain the office space in the Mission for smaller community-serving entities. To “enforce the law” (which the Planning Department has failed to do), MAC activists occupied the offices of BigStep on Sept. 21st, to present their case directly to employees. About 20 activists were arrested by police. A banner was also draped on the outside the building (photo at right).

November 30th: Zing.Com Blockaded

blockade

Richard Marquez, left, and Renee Saucedo, speaking, are among the MAC members blockading the doors to Zing.com.

At 11:30 AM Mission Anti-Displacement Coaltion members “moved in” at the live/work building illegally used as office space by Zing.Com (an online photography firm), at 17th & Bryant Streets. Furniture and padlocks were used to block all the entries to the building. After more than two hours Zing management finally signed a complaint and the police arrested a dozen MAC members blocking the doors. The blockaders were enthusiastically supported by over a hundred people from the Mission Anti-Displacment Coalition and the Day Laborers’ Program, which has its makeshift hiring hall one block away.

As with the BigStep occupation, MAC was demanding that the city enforce existing laws. By converting a 48-unit live/work building to office space, the city loses out on the fees that office developers are required to pay for affordable housing and childcare, as well as losing the 48 units of housing.