From rebellion to war: escalate the anti-gentrification strategic defensive to equilibrium!

FeaturedFrom rebellion to war: escalate the anti-gentrification strategic defensive to equilibrium!

From rebellion to war: escalate the anti-gentrification strategic defensive to equilibrium!

At the meeting and march called for by the Defend Boyle Heights coalition approximately three weeks ago titled “For the Love of the Hood,” on Feb. 7, advances were made but setbacks were also experienced. The following is a summation of the night by the leaders of the militant march-bloc, Red Guards – Los Angeles (RGLA).

The growing presence of pigs in the war against gentrification

By approximately 5 p.m. LAPD Hollenbeck Division pigs were already closely monitoring the meeting as DBH supporters were setting up chairs, tables and other materials for the evening at Mariachi Plaza. A white Dodge Charger with uniformed pigs was parked nearby. Pigs walked up to DBH supporters to suggest that the march be contained to the sidewalk and that the meeting’s organizers communicate with the pigs. Most people refused communication with the pigs except for a guest speaker who, not knowing any of the evening’s plans, answered as vaguely as possible. Toward the end of the DBH-led public meeting, the facilitators announced a plan to march in Boyle Heights without disclosing the route, its destination or leadership.

The plan, as it was revealed, was to march to the art galleries in the so-called “arts district” of Boyle Heights and focus on the main target, the new breweries. A polemic against the breweries and gentrification in general issued by DBH had been released the day prior and a Facebook event page for the public meeting at Mariachi Plaza had been made public for close to a month. While it acted as a rallying call for militants and defenders of the community and masses to come out, it, in the end, hindered the militancy of the march. Hollenbeck Division pigs were adequately prepared as they have a seemingly good, but incomplete, understanding of the high level of militancy of the Boyle Heights anti-gentrification movement. We say they have a good understanding of the all-around growing militancy of the movement, but it is incomplete because they do not grasp its essence. They do not fully understand the high-level of discipline and naked revolutionary selflessness of the movement’s soldiers, who have shed the dead skin of their activism.

The time for activism is over. Now is the time of war. 

Hollenbeck Division pigs ended up attempting to escort the RGLA led march-bloc with police cruisers, undercover Ford Crown Victorias and Dodge Chargers following closely behind, in the front and waiting on most corners – with one or two exceptions. Although the route had not been announced, it was fairly evident the marchers were going toward most of the big-name art galleries.

The first stop was at Chicano comprador bourgeois institution Self-Help Graphics & Art. RGLA gave a brief overview and analysis of the institution’s class and Chicano Nation traitors, specifically naming Alfred Fraijo, Jr. as one of the principal enemies of the people for his carrying out evictions against proletarian immigrants and Chicanos in the community, as well as his loyal lapdog (comprador) servitude to arch-gentrifier Vera Campbell – one of the richest capitalist-gentrifiers in Boyle Heights.

The militants, then, carried on with the rest of the route. But the pig presence continued, if not increased. RGLA operation leaders created scenarios in the event of the pigs showing up at the start of the march. One scenario, as some militants had addressed the marchers during a brief strategic retreat midway in the march, was to end the march early and scatter. But it had been decided to carry on with the march for two reasons: 1.) because the goal was still within reach – all-out intimidation of the gentrifiers residing in the arts district and confronting the breweries at the end of the arts district’s gallery row near 7th and Anderson, and 2.) earlier in the evening, at the end of the DBH meeting, there was a collective oath taken by the vast majority of the attendees at the meeting to defend Boyle Heights – the vast majority made up by the advanced and intermediary sections of the masses of Boyle Heights and Los Angeles would fight by any means necessary, up to and including laying down their lives and risking imprisonment – against the strategic offensive of the collaborationist state-and-non-state gentrifiers and their pig army.

This was not a civic expression of exercising freedom of speech and assembly as the bourgeois activist would say. The two above-mentioned reasons were the guiding philosophy of the military operation.

In the end, it was evident and proven correct to not abandon the operation. The goal was enthusiastically fulfilled.

Necessary risks for a necessary outcome

As mentioned earlier there was a steady presence of pigs in the rear and front of the march-bloc. Therefore, the operation leaders reverted to an auxiliary plan with a near-immediate adjustment. While the plan succeeded in fulfilling the objective and fulfilling the goal of the operation, its errors were dangerous because it did not take into account certain scenarios. For that very reason it put comrades more at risk. Nonetheless, in adherence to the march-bloc’s collective oath, it was decided that the risk was necessary, come what may, pig baton, arrest or worse.

It was evident that attempts were made to evade and obstruct police presence, which included a breaking off and sprinting en masse from the pigs and quickly changing route to the front of 356 Mission. This on-the-spot sprint worked momentarily. In a hurried speech, hurried because pig cruisers could be seen surrounding the march-bloc, another analysis was offered by RGLA and a DBH supporter as to why 356 Mission remains another principal enemy of the people, specifically naming capitalist-gentrifier Gavin Brown and petite-bourgeois artist Laura Owens.

But overall, the march-bloc’s speed was no match for the speed of the police cruisers. Many militants were out of breath. Militants and allies shared concerns over their state of health and physical fitness. Some were overheard to have said that they would here on out smoke less, exercise more, etc., to essentially militarize.

Another stop was at artist live-in lofts where militants launched heavy trash on top of cars over a tall wrought-iron fence. Other militants shook the fence, repeatedly slammed a dumpster with heavy debris. The goal was to ensure the lofts residents were awake and aware of the march-bloc and its thirst for revolutionary violence.

Gentrifier-hipsters were terrified. The pigs were seen shining lights on hipsters walking out of or around the art galleries and breweries, being told to go inside, to probably lock the doors, and stay away from the windows. This was emergency code red for gentrifiers.

If it wasn’t clear to any of the masses in attendance in the march-bloc, this example made it evident that the pigs only exist in capitalist society for the protection of private property and the oppressor sectors and classes.

During the march and operation, rear and mid-section militants moved tires, street sandwich boards, traffic cones, and rolled dumpsters into the street to momentarily delay and block following police cruisers.

Final confrontation at breweries

The march-bloc eventually reached its last stop, the newly-named enemies of the people, the breweries. This is where pig confrontation increased but still remained overall tame. Due precisely to the close proximity of pig presence there was minimal disruption and damage against the enemy.

This is where perhaps the most bold and daring actions were taken by the RGLA-led march-bloc as part of the operation. It is unclear exactly what damages had taken place, but many public posts on social media or in-person reports claimed militants launched heavy items into a brewery, walls, windows and other property, and vandalized vehicles, – including “Fuck hipsters” spray-painted on a nearby car. However, the enemy has yet to furnish any proof. Without proof, we cannot say it actually occurred. Nonetheless, confrontation ensued but ultimately nothing major came out of it other than a few angry and traumatized gentrifier-hipsters. One was seen praying or meditating with his palms pressed together in the face of the protesters, seemingly as a bourgeois symbol of meaningless protest. This is not a joke. It is a sign of desperate times for the enemies of the people.

While the last action of the overall operation was fine, it was not satisfactory. The people wanted more, but the pigs were too close to truly unleash the full fury of the masses and militants. Even so, we applaud the actions of the march-bloc.

While the enemy, the gentrifier-hipsters, did not flee en masse, one jeep did quickly load up its passengers, busted a U-turn and sped down Anderson and 7th.

The spark of the anti-gentrification war will ignite the prairie fire of Protracted People’s War

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In the end, the march-bloc disengaged and walked toward 7th Street. It was reflected and agreed upon in a quick debrief that the fighting had been too fair. The RGLA operation leaders addressed the two different types of violence, revolutionary violence and reactionary violence. We said the only way to resist gentrification and capitalism is through the mastery and popularization of revolutionary violence. The march-bloc enthusiastically agreed.

An analysis was laid out on the state of the gentrification war in Boyle Heights. The militants are small. The enemy is not. The militants strength, while commendable, is comparatively weak. The enemy’s is not. The militant’s are poorly armed. The enemy is not. This is the less concerning, for as Maoists we know armament comes when politics are kept in command in building up the masses. But, in the final analysis, both camps powers are dialectically related and changing. As one grows strong, the other is beaten down to a weaker level.

Currently, the method of warfare is mobile guerrilla tactics, correlating appropriately with the anti-gentrification war’s stage of strategic defensive.

In our analysis, the militants will not fight fair and for that we all will win.

We, however, have to offer a self-criticism for ignoring the original plans without having fully developed auxiliary plans. Because of that, their was great potential for one or more comrades being arrested, hurt or worse, during that action. While in war loses are unavoidable, we as operation leaders will do a better job of gaining mastery in military operational planning and reducing the risks of loses as much as possible.

RGLA, the militants and the masses are invincible because we have proven our character as militants of a growing army, forged in the fire of struggle. We are subordinate to highly-centralized and disciplined organizational body, RGLA, guided by the invincible ideology of Maoism. We are popularly supported by the advanced and intermediary sections of the masses.

These military operations are part of a larger preparation in the coming Protracted People’s War (PPW). The militants and certain sectors of the masses appear to be transforming into soldiers, into the future soldiers of the People’s Army.

As Maoists, we see the initiation of the PPW not as a far-removed date in time, but rather as a life-or-death test we are in constant conditioning for. Military operations, like the one mentioned in this summation, should be seen as an application of one of the most important aspects of Maoism, the universality of PPW. As a universality, it exists everywhere, all the time, with or without anyone’s acknowledgement, just like gravity or the air with breathe. In order to fully carry out PPW successfully, it must be weilded by a genuine principally Maoist Communist Party, with the anti-revisionist United Front combining the militarized masses with the militarized Party, and the People’s Army also made up of soldiers who are Party militants and mass militants.  

It is evident that the line of demarcation has been drawn. The question was asked, the oath posed, at the DBH event by the meeting’s facilitator, “How many of you will do whatever is necessary to defend the masses of Boyle Heights?” Almost unanimously those 40-to-50 in attendance thrusted their hands up to the night sky. The line is being drawn by the militants and masses – and this action acted as one solidification. There can be no middle-of-the-roaders in the war against gentrification. There only exist two lines, that of fighting against gentrification wielding the invincibility of revolutionary violence or supporting the reactionary violence of the state-and-non-state gentrifiers.

We as Maoists will not wait for the war to become soldiers. We are becoming soldiers every day, in and outside of small and big operations, and in serving the people. These anonymous masked militants and the masses embolden our efforts, our guiding ideology and our conviction. Militarize all the pre-Party Maoist formations in the country! Militarize the masses of the country! Grasp Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism!

Long live the anonymous masked militants and the masses who risk their freedom and lives for the defense of Boyle Heights!

Long live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism!

Long live the building of the Communist Party, the United Front and the People’s Army!

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Avenge the Kalief Browders and Jesse Romeros of the U.S.: toward revolt, away from reform

Avenge the Kalief Browders and Jesse Romeros of the U.S.: toward revolt, away from reform

What does the tragic story of Kalief Browder and his family say about white supremacy and U.S. national oppression? What does the tragic story of 14-year-old Jesse Romero say about U.S. capitalism?

Because it is white supremacy that incarcerated 2.4 million New Afrikans in 2014, making up 34 percent of the inmate population. New Afrikans, although a minority making up 12 percent of the country’s population, are the most over-represented ethnicity/nationality in jails or prisons. One in 15 New Afrikans are currently behind bars.

Because it is U.S. capitalism that commodifies all things and dehumanizes all people. It is mobile and virus-like, growing wherever it detects a vulnerability. Here, in Boyle Heights, U.S. capitalism’s most local and honed manifestation in the eastside of Los Angeles is gentrification. It is gentrification that materially displaces proletarians, mainly oppressed nationality proletarians, and other oppressed groups, and ideologically reinforces that violence through its cultural hegemony. It was U.S. capitalism, specifically gentrification, that murdered 14-year-old Chicanx youth Jesse Romero in cold blood in 2016. Fifteen people have been killed in Boyle Heights since 2016, all Chicanxs or more recent immigrants.

Gentrification needs to literally displace and dispose of bodies, of undesirables, of used-up proletarians and the oppressed. First, the gentrifiers will buy the original petite-bourgeoisie out of the working class neighborhood and prepare the area for the new petite-bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie, often majority Euro-Americans, and as this transitioning is happening, agents of the state commit colonial-style cleansing by literally eradicating Chicanx bodies from the barrio, from the hood. Gentrification killed Jesse Romero to have one less brown body for a new white re-imagining of Boyle Heights.

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In 2010, when 16-year-old New Afrikan Kalief Browder was thrown in jail, into one of the country’s most corrupt and abusive jails, Rikers Island, nothing fundamentally unique or historic had occurred. It was and is normal.

Kalief would go on to spend three years incarcerated, without being found guilty, without trial and constantly awaiting trial, waiting on the spineless public defenders, the sadistic prosecutors of the Bronx District Attorney, the omnipotent and arrogant judges (one of which would go on to become the Bronx District Attorney, enemy-of-the-people Darcel Clark) – without being found guilty, behind bars – spending most of those three years (approximately 800 days) in solitary confinement. Again, still, nothing fundamentally unique or historic had occurred.

When Kalief kept refusing countless plea bargains, contrary to the advice of his public defenders, the presiding judge and the Bronx District Attorney, when he went to bed starving in solitary confinement, his mind slipping further and further away, reliving the ultimate trauma of his constant abuse and the chaos of the uncertainty of his release from solitary confinement, of the supposed coming trial date, of his release from Rikers Island, of freedom, of peace – even then it was nothing fundamentally unique or historic. It was and is normal.

And when Kalief, two years free from Rikers Island, was driven to take his own life by hanging himself in his Bronx home – a home which his family would later lose after the abrupt death of his mother, Venida Browder, from a heart attack – that, too, was nothing fundamentally unique or historic. It was normal.

Normal for the entirety of the Black Nation of the U.S. – where most will see the inside of a jail or prison cell at least one time in their life, and where all have been or will be affected because of the reality of mass incarceration: the legal, repressive state apparatus of national oppression.

But Kalief’s death was not a suicide.

He was murdered by the normality of anti-New Afrikan violence of U.S. white supremacy. The only reason Kalief’s story is news, the only reason he has become recognized as the martyr that he is, is because of his refusal to surrender to that normality, his unshakable commitment to his innocence. He refused to enter a plea of guilty, and he refused all plea bargains. That isn’t normal.

And when the U.S. capitalist state detects an abnormality, an interruption in the hegemony of its omnipotent legality, of the judiciary, of law enforcement, it quickly attacks that abnormality to neutralize it or to kill it. It needs to. U.S. capitalism needs to literally neutralize or kill anything that authentically challenges its hegemony. In the case of Kalief Browder, the judiciary, the legal arm of U.S. white supremacy, punished him. It attempted to neutralize Kalief by keeping him in jail for a.) asserting his innocence defiantly in the court room and not accepting plea bargains, and it attempted to kill him by b.) punishing him for not accepting the normality of Rikers Island “program,” the highly-calculated guard-and-inmate extortion agreement.

It is one thing to protest, it is quite another to revolt.

Kalief and his family attempted to sue the City of New York, the District Attorney’s Office and the Department of Corrections. Kalief and his family saw the grave injustices and initially said, this isn’t how it’s supposed to be. Venida, in the beginning of the 2017 documentary, “Time: the Kalief Browder Story,” expressed astonishment that this could happen to her son, in 2010, in the New York City, in the U.S. But toward the end of the documentary, after Kalief is martyred, after the birth of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, she quickly sees that, no, it is not an anomaly; it is systemic.

Other people in the documentary, such as Van Jones, Michelle Alexander (author of “The New Jim Crow”), ACLU officials, law experts, even former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, all agree that it is systemic. But what is interesting here is the interpretation of what “systemic” means. For most, if not all, in the documentary, systemic merely means a largely legislative reform or fix – i.e. raising the age youth can be tried as adults from 16 to 18, banning solitary confinement for youth (but permissible for adults?), expediting the time to a fair trail, reforming certain prisons or jails, promising to review protocol for correctional facility workers and guards. For the bourgeoisie, this is an acceptable interpretation of “systemic.” For the proletariat and oppressed masses, this is, while obviously alleviatory, a dead-end in and of itself. What good is a reform if our society is still, when not brutalizing, displacing and murdering New Afrikans and Chicanxs, funneling them and us through jails and prisons? This is a focus on the judiciary, on merely one aspect of white supremacy. White supremacy, as a part of capitalism, is composed of a multitude of intricate machines and institutions but it ultimately can be divided into two parts: ideological and base (or material). Legislative reform, although appearing to affect material change, actually only reinforces the ideological legitimacy and its reproduction. It is largely ideological and does little-to-nothing to deeply affect the base of capitalism.

Without an armed, highly organized and disciplined revolutionary organization capable of destroying capitalism, capable of establishing and defending the dictatorship of the proletariat and capable of aiding the liberation of all the oppressed nations in the U.S. prison house, all reforms, however necessary, are destined to be used against actual revolutionary organizations and movements as evidence of functioning bourgeois freedom.

Maoists call this entity, this necessity, a Communist Party, and while the U.S. has a exhaustive list of so-called “communist” or “socialist” parties, in reality none are capable, so none currently exist.

Akeem Browder, now the main head of Kalief’s case, is seen in the documentary leading a BLM rally on the streets of New York. Akeem, like Venida, like Kalief, had always known in their heart, in their bones, in their blood, that the U.S. was never built for them, although it was built by them. The whole system – U.S. capitalism and white supremacy – is culpable for the deaths of Kalief and Venida Browder.

The whole system is culpable. The whole system has blood on its hands for all the millions of New Afrikan comrades rotting in jail, hanging by the noose, being shot to death on the streets, pushed through the violence of necessity into the arms of reactionary camaraderie in the streets, pushed to self-destruction through alcohol and drug abuse.

This is not an isolated incident. This is not a story about how the highly sophisticated U.S. judiciary dealt with an anomaly of wrongfully incarcerating a poor, working-class New Afrikan youth. This is not a story about how all the pressure and heartbreak of losing her child, twice (first to Rikers Island, and ultimately to his own hand), caused her health to deteriorate and ultimately kill her. This is not the story of how a 14-year-old Chicanx youth was shot to death by pigs, then handcuffed for show, left to die without any medical care, as a symbol of what happens to a Chicanx or an immigrant if they dare to  get out of line, if they dare to refuse normality.

This is a story of New African genocide and settler-colonialism on U.S. soil. It is not new. For the Black Nation, it started when the first African was stolen and brought to the U.S. in 1619, and the descendants of those slave catchers are now largely still running this settler-colonialist project we call the U.S. For the Chicanx Nation and other indigenous nations in the southwest, it accelerated after 1848, with the U.S. aggressively absorbing more than half of Mexico, ripping Mexicans from underneath Mexico and imposing a settler-colonial state, equipped with courts, armies and vigilantes, upon them.

But it has developed in its sophistication, in its cruelty and in its violence so much so that we now call it normal. But the capitalist state is afraid. It has seen more and more cases of Kalief Browder and Jesse Romero; it has seen rebellious movements spring up, taking their rage into the street in broad daylight; it has seen the communities of Boyle Heights and the Bronx rise up, although briefly, with the glimmering spark of revolt.

It is the task of communists to be among the masses, especially the most oppressed, side to side with those surviving every day under U.S. capitalism and national oppression. It is the task of the communists to take that rage, anger and refusal to surrender to normality and to turn it into something massive, into something highly organized, into something capable of once and for all destroying U.S. capitalism and white supremacy. Imagine if there were actual communist – Maoist – collectives and mass projects or organizations in every city in the country with strong mass bases not only to react when there’s an injustice or brutality, but to strategically launch community-defense offensives. And imagine a national network of that. It is the task of the communists to have an imagination, and to more importantly transform that imagination into a material force, into a weapon for the people.

It is the task of the communists to take that spark of rage and turn it into the fire of revolt. Avenge the Kalief Browders and Jesse Romeros of the U.S. and lead the people away from reform and to revolution!

REBELLION IN BOYLE HEIGHTS

ANTI GENTRIFICATION, CAPITALISM, AND THE NEED FOR A REVOLUTIONARY PARTY

On Saturday evening, the community of Boyle Heights came together to give a simple and direct message to the art galleries, their owners, and their patrons who are currently invading the community with their hideous bourgeois art: GET THE FUCK OUT. You are not welcome here.

This confrontation has been a long-time coming and will be only the first in a long line of such confrontations if these galleries do not heed the demands being made by the community. Members of Red Guards- Los Angeles have been active participants in the Defend Boyle Heights coalition that was formed earlier this year in order to confront the rapidly approaching gentrification of the community of Boyle Heights. Our time organizing among the residents of this community has been humbling for us. We have been inspired by this community’s willingness to stand together in the face of bourgeois developers, speculators, and gallery owners with far greater access to capital and the repressive machinery of the State than this working class, largely immigrant community will ever have while this land remains the dominion of capitalists and their pig footsoldiers. And despite the glaring imbalance of power, this community remains defiant and steadfast in its goals.

The anti-gentrification struggle in Boyle Heights makes abundantly clear to us the Maoist principle that has been instrumental in guiding our work: the masses of people, and the masses of people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history. The unified resistance of this community is powerful enough to move mountains, and will prove itself powerful enough to push back the forces of gentrification that have begun to show their faces as art galleries and other businesses which cater to the wealthy, with callous disregard for the destruction of community and culture which they leave in their wake.

The recent tactics of direct and hostile confrontation with these forces of gentrification demonstrate that the community itself—the palateras and palateros, the immigrant families, the senoras who overcame the scourge of gang violence within their communities, the muralists who have enriched their community with the colorful paintings and street art that adorn every wall and building in the neighborhood, the youth, the punks with their backyard-show scene—this community understands very well that the only reliable factor in this struggle is themselves and their ability, when unified, to resist even the most well funded galleriests, landlords, and investors seeking to rip the community apart.

This Saturday’s action was not a pleasant experience for those on the receiving end of it. There was no pretense of openness to dialogue or conversation with the gallery owners and their patrons. There was no coddling of the white liberal sentiment of “support” for the “message” but “disapproval” of the “tactics”. There was no willingness to dilute or defuse the righteous anger that was directed at the galleries like a shotgun blast. Standing side-by-side were older senoras who boldly denounced the presence of the galleries and detailed the material effect these galleries have on rent prices, with young, masked militants who made abundantly clear just how unwelcome the community at large feels the presence of high-priced art galleries, funded by west-siders and outsiders, to be.

Gallery attendees were harassed and harangued, pelted with water and bottles and an endless barrage of verbal assault. They were stopped in their tracks, surrounded, chased back to their vehicles and out of the around Anderson Street and Mission Road where the majority of these galleries have begun opening up. The galleries themselves were surrounded while members of the community banged on their windows, entered their galleries to smash bottles, and continued the barrage of verbal assault. The initial expressions of smug amusement turned into palpable fear from the gallery attendees as the confrontation continued to escalate with no signs of winding down. The gallery owners rushed to their doors to lock them and pull down the metal barricades over their windows. The community succeeded in shutting down several openings that night, ran many dozens of yuppies and rich hipsters out of the neighborhood, and undeniably birthed in many more an unwillingness to ever step foot in Boyle Heights for a gallery opening again.

So what does this confrontation teach us? We have learned that this community recognizes the importance of taking matter into its own hands. This community knows instinctively and through experience that politicians, city councils, and electoral politics will do nothing to come to its aid, and will in fact stand behind the very forces of gentrification that want to break the community up and sell each piece of it to the highest bidder. There is an awareness, sometimes spoken and sometimes unspoken, of the shared class interests among these politicians and the investors, speculators, and gallery owners currently driving much of the gentrification in Boyle Heights.

There is the knowledge, firsthand, that the police forces they are told to rely on to “protect” and “serve” them will likewise stand in defense of the forces of the bourgeoisie and will do nothing to protect the livelihoods of the working class residents that characterize the community—they will enter with guns drawn and chains ready to shoot them dead and drag the ones that remain to prison under pretenses of gang-injuctions, or, in the case of 14 year-old boys like the recently murdered Jesse Romero, petty vandalism. They know the pigs stand ready to do the brutal grunt work that the delicate hands and sensibilities of the bourgeois galleriests are unwilling to do themselves.

With this near complete inaccessibility to institutional power, our community is recognizing the importance of building its own power, outside of the system, as the only effective method for serving its people and protecting its livelihood and culture. While we wholeheartedly support and endorse the actions taken by the community on Saturday evening, we know that the only long-term solution to the problem of gentrification is the formation of working class institutions of power that are dedicated to serving the interests of the people. Concessions from city and state government, deals and collusion with galleries and landlords, temporary acquiescence to the demands of the community—these things are not enough. They amount to bones tossed to us by the representatives of the ruling class for the express purpose of derailing our anger and stunting our ability to build organizations that will claim all political power for ourselves and our community. They are carrots dangled before our heads which these ruling class elites hope will distract us long enough to forget that they still retain the power to dictate the terms of our engagement with them.

These confrontations teach us the truth that all correct ideas emerge from the masses of people, and it is only through the process of engaging with our community, learning from their history of struggle and standing shoulder to shoulder with them in their current struggle, that necessary revolutionary leadership can be developed to guide them into confrontation not only with the forces of gentrification but all the forces of capitalism that exploit and oppress our people. The history of struggle within our community, the experience of struggle in the communities surrounding us which have fallen to gentrification, and our daily struggles to survive, are a breeding ground for the revolutionary ideas that are currently taking root in Boyle Heights and finding their outlet in these direct confrontations.

Just as we understand that the history of struggle within our community is the basis for their correct ideas, we must also recognize that capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy, and the ideological divisions they create along class, gender, and racial lines also foster the creation of incorrect and backwards ideas within our community. Revolutionary leadership entails that we encourage and develop the correct ideas within our community and that we use our understanding of revolutionary theory to combat the manifestations of the backwards ideas that likewise exist.

We must be wary of those who continue to advocate for dialogue with the forces of gentrification. We must be wary of those who continue to push the idealistic line that if we simply convince the gentrifiers of our humanity and essential goodness as human beings perhaps they will abandon their plans to seize our community—that being “too confrontational” somehow reaffirms the gentrifiers conception of us as thugs and hoodlums who don’t deserve the space to live.

These positions fundamentally misunderstand the mechanics of capitalism and its auxiliary force of white supremacy that are at play in the urban removal currently being experienced in our community. Let us be clear: the gentrification of our community is and will continue to be driven by the opportunity to profit that exists in purchasing the relatively cheap land in our neighborhood, repurposing it in a way desirable as a playground for the wealthy, and then selling it back at much higher prices to the community of wealthy people who would now desire to live here. This process is independent of ethics and morality, for the only “morality” under capitalism is profit. The racialized justifications for this process are nothing more than ideological rationalizations for the profit-driven conquest of our communities. If we were somehow able to combat the racist caricatures of our community that are utilized by those who advocate for its gentrification, the opportunity to profit from low-priced real estate would still exist and thus the motivation for gentrifying it would still exist.

We cannot fall into a trap of respectability politics or give weight to the idea that only opposing urban removal in “legitimate” and “respectable” ways will be successful: not only does this argument replicate the racist narrative of the white supremacists, but it is also entirely unsuccessful. Silverlake, Echo Park, Highland Park, and countless other communities did not succumb to gentrification because their residents failed to protest in a respectable enough manner. These communities made spectacular pleas to city and state government officials for affordable housing measures and rent control measures. They protested and lobbied city council officials, put out calls to vote for or against city council representatives based on their stance re: gentrification. They made cultural and artistic displays the demonstrated the vibrancy and artistic spirit of the community in hopes that the investors, speculators and landlords would be so moved they would be unwilling to displace the community: this did not work. These communities are currently crawling with the same yuppies and hipsters that are thankfully, mostly confined to the area around “Gallery Row” in Boyle Heights.

We must also be wary of and combat the notions that gentrification makes the community “safer”, more “beautiful”, or that “gente-fication” (the gentrification of the community by petty-bourgeois, brown gentrifiers) is an acceptable alternative to “gentrification”.

1. There is nothing “safe” about the forced, often violent removal of families from their homes and businesses. There is nothing “safe” about the threat of homelessness. Eviction is not “safe”. Increased police patrols and the violence and criminalization that accompany them are not “safe” for a community preyed upon by the pigs daily. This illusion of “safety” can only be enjoyed and its benefits touted by those with the economic resources to remain in the community after rents have doubled or tripled and the original community, with all of its contradictions and socially rooted problems, are displaced violently.

2. The “beautification” of the community is not for the working class residents who currently live there. Developers and the city only make efforts to “beautify” when they are preparing the area to be sold to a new class of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois residents, so we hardly care whether or not the neighborhood is going to be made more “beautiful” when that beautification necessarily comes at the expense of the community currently living there.

3. “Gente-fication” is no different from “gentrification” and results in the exact same large-scale displacement of working class communities. The fact that some number of brown and black oppressed nationalities have been able to gain access to wealth and capital, and can thus afford to live in a “redeveloped” neighborhood, is no excuse for the fact that the majority of our people have been systematically denied this access to wealth and capital due to the collusion of capitalism and white supremacy, and will therefore experience the process of “gente-fication” exactly the same as they would experience the process of “gentrification”–evicted, displaced, removed, uprooted and erased from the community.

Lastly, we must be wary of the sell-outs and opportunists, the “radicals” of yesteryear who have long since abandoned whatever genuine revolutionary spirit may have at one time flowed through their bones. These people come to us with a facade radicalism, but when the community finds an outlet for their outrage these will be the first people to hold them back, selling out the trust they have established in the community to carve out a niche of power for themselves on neighborhood councils, city councils, or non-profit organizations.

We see this clearly in figures like Carlos Montes, neighborhood council member and leader of Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) and their community front group Centro-CSO, who uses every instance of community outrage to position himself in front of news cameras, squeeze himself between grieving mothers after their children are murdered by the police, to give another tired and bland speech recycling rhetoric that hasn’t inspired anyone in 40 years. He uses his space at these events to sell the community watered-down, reformist solutions to problems that require genuine revolutionary analysis under the pretense that the community is not ready to hear the truth about the need for armed struggle and revolution, that they are not ready to rebel and engage in direct confrontation with the forces of capitalism that threaten their existence. When the storm of revolution arrives these vendidxs will be washed away in the tide, their newspapers and badges of honor from the “glory days” washed away with them.

Members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) present themselves to our community in a similar manner, wagging their fingers and critiquing our actions from afar. When our community accurately identifies the influx of galleries and their wealthy patrons as a gear turning the wheels in the process of gentrification, they come to us with condescending declarations that we are too stupid to understand these galleries are just a “symptom”, our anger is misguided and misdirected, and we should be directing our activities towards the “real culprits” who, in their class-reductionists analysis, are always banks which they provide no indication of how to meaningfully target at our current level of organization. Maybe if we subscribe to their newspaper they will teach the community how to achieve this. Regardless, the positions taken by these so-called radicals serve only to defuse the anger of the community, condescendingly “correct” their mistaken ideas from a position that is removed from their concrete struggle, and offer go-nowhere alternatives to a community that is achieving far more by engaging in direct confrontation, occasionally making mistakes, learning from and correcting those mistakes as the struggle advances.

Revolutionary leadership does not come from afar, in the form of condescension and finger wagging, and it does not lord itself over the community in the form of paternalistic advice from washed up old radicals who sell the community short at every turn. Revolutionary leadership emerges from within the concrete struggles of our community, by combining the community’s most forward and progressive ideas with revolutionary theory that encourages them in their rebellion rather than holds them back or leads them into the dead-ends of reformism and electoral politics.

Because gentrification, in the final analysis, is intimately tied to the mechanics of capitalism, we understand that only an end to capitalism will do away with the process of gentrification entirely. Only a recognition of the necessity for a revolutionary Party, institutions controlled by and in service of the working class and oppressed nations as a whole, and a revolution in the heart of the imperialist beast of America, will be sufficient to defend the livelihoods of working class people.

Our only hope in these conditions is to unite the various struggles of all working class and oppressed nationalities people under the banner of a revolutionary Party that will be capable of providing leadership and structure in a fight with the highly organized forces of capitalism, the bourgeoisie, and gentrification. Only the unity of these working class institutions, under the banner of a revolutionary Party, defended and reinforced by a People’s Army, will be capable of waging the struggle for national liberation for the oppressed Chicanx nation (and all other oppressed nations) and revolution that will deal the death blow to the forces of capitalism that destroy our families and our communities. We understand that all political power grows from the barrel of a gun, the traitors who say otherwise—be damned! Only a willingness to struggle on these same terms will lead us to victory.

In Boyle Heights we must stand in solidarity with the vigorous efforts being made to combat gentrification and to wrest control over our communities and our lives from the vulture capitalists who currently dictate where, how, and whether or not we live. The direct actions undertaken by this community on Saturday represent the initial steps towards creating that political power that in the long term will be necessary to establish control over our own communities and our own lives. We support and stand beside them in their rebellion. We respect and are humbled by their spirit of resistance. We know that it is right to rebel.

Down with the art galleries!

Down with landlords, speculators, and investors!

Down with vedidxs and false radicals!

Up with the rebellion! Up with revolution!

Defend Boyle Heights!