Doubleheader Screening and Discussion — Trouble #12: There Goes the Neighbourhood & Trouble #13: Defend the Block
Join us to watch sub.Media's two-part series on gentrification, class war, and resistance.
TROUBLE #12: THERE GOES THE NEIGHBOURHOOD (33 min)
In cities across the world, established urban environments are being transformed according to the dictates of capital. Gentrification is destroying the social fabric of working-class and racialized districts, displacing long-standing residents in order to make way for a new class of upwardly-mobile, and often white professionals – who often view the rich local histories of the spaces they move into as nothing more than kitschy branding appeal. The culture clash that emerges between established community members and these new arrivals is often viewed as the front-line of struggles around gentrification; a quarrel between patrons of a locally-owned roti shop, and those of a new craft beer pub; or a battle between NIMBY condo-dwellers and the beneficiaries of a local social service agency.
But while this tension is certainly real, it is only the tip of the iceberg. Gentrification is a systematic process, facilitated by state, regional and local governments and bankrolled by massive financial institutions managing multi-billion dollar portfolios. It is class war playing out in physical space, with all the complexities and contradictions that entails.
In this month’s episode of Trouble, the first in a two-part series, sub.Media examines gentrification as a process of capitalist urban development, by taking a closer look at how it is playing out in three mega-cities: Toronto, New Orleans and Istanbul.
TROUBLE #13: DEFEND THE BLOCK (32 min)
Gentrification, like all facets of capitalism, is often presented to its victims as a natural process. Shrouded in the logic of progress and polished up with euphemisms like “neighbourhood revitalization” or “urban renewal”, the violent displacement that it brings in its wake is carefully hidden behind a cover of market forces, zoning changes, public consultations and glitzy marketing campaigns. But those who have felt the force of the ‘invisible hand’ plucking them from their communities and pushing them out of their homes are not so easily fooled.
The illusion that gentrification is natural, or even inevitable fact of life, is shattered when people decide to take a stand and fight back. Attacks targeting the front-line agents of gentrification force people to take sides. Often, the resulting sense of clarity can cut through the smokescreen of inclusivity and social peace that states and capitalists use to lull us into believing our communities are nothing more than potential sites of investment. They remind us that our neighbourhoods have a pulse, and that they are physical territories whose futures can be contested, and ultimately shaped, by the people who live in them.
In this month’s episode of Trouble, the second of a two-part series on gentrification, sub.Media talks to comrades in Montreal, the Bay Area and Berlin to see how people in these cities are fighting back on attacks on their communities by developers, real estate speculators and the tech industry.