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+5 votes
It seems like in a lot of people in various sub-cultures (anarchists, activists, hippies) are worried about gentrification. It's happening in almost every town with an urban renewal project going on it seems.

While many people can see the signs of gentrification it seems as though most radicals accept it as inevitable and undefeatable. I know anarchists/autonomists in Germany have fire bombed cars in areas that are being gentrified, especially Berlin, but are there other examples of anarchist organizing against gentrification that have worked (or failed)?
I'd be interested if there were any success stories against gentrification at all.  From what I can tell, there are ways to stall or alter how gentrification happens, but it is almost like asking a 19th or early 20th century anarchist "is there a way to keep the peasants from coming to cities?" at the height of industrialism.  I guess this is just an amendment to the question rather than an answer.
i agree with hpw. these are forces that seem to be out of our control. the only thing i could think of (especially for white people), would be a) something like the firebombing mentioned (a tamer version was the mission yuppie eradication project, which destroyed property of visitors - cars, etc), and/or b) dressing and acting like scary people - not punks (insufficient fear factor), but violent and/or addicted.

still just seems like a delaying tactic though.

edited to be clearer.
Addendum: How can anarchists keep from becoming a part of the gentrification process?
The post Berlin wall gentrification resistance was a failure. They lit basically everything on fire, fighting the police every night, and occupying a good chunk of the buildings downtown. All in in vain

3 Answers

–3 votes
It all depends upon how you define success. I can't think of a single instance where anarchists or anyone else has  stopped gentrification entirely but that may have to do more with the complex circumstance of the problem (cities have seen an influx of better educated, wealthier and whiter residents, high housing prices may give  motivation for selling long held property, and old slumlords start working together to "revitalize" neighborhoods to make way for a bigger payday from condos, high end businesses, etc).

Saying that there have been some successes delaying or limiting gentrification. Two cases to look at from San Francisco:

In the 1990s  San Francisco Food Not Bombs, along with many others of an anarchist bent fought long and hard against attempts to push the poor and homeless out of the city during the dot com era. While the anti-poor agenda has advanced to some degree (especially lately), the resistance was somewhat successful.

Mission Yuppie Eradication Project
For all its excitement and self-promoted mythology, the MYEP was neither successful nor anarchist.
+1 vote
1. "Gentrification" is a loosely defined process which is driven by many complex forces. The word has even seen a substantial drift in meaning over the past 20 years or so, becoming much more general in the process. Gentrification by any definition is fairly impossible to stop, it's more akin to trying to keep a beach from eroding. At a certain point, you have to ask why people don't just fucking move to one of those vacant lots in a dying rust belt town, rather than bitching about the jetty washing away or the Starbucks going up.

2. Anarchists do fuck-all to stop gentrification. In fact, in most cases, their continuous presence in a neighborhood is often like distant thunder on the horizon, a sure sign of an impending storm.

3. Conversely, anarchy, in the layperson's use of the word, has proven to be the only truly effective weapon in fending off gentrification. The new breed of hoodlums all across America who are working hard to keep their neighborhoods trashy and dangerous are like some sort of Taliban insurgency in the ongoing class war.
by (580 points)
like the taliban? really? fuck i hope not.
"Conversely, anarchy, in the layperson's use of the word, has proven to be the only truly effective weapon in fending off gentrification."

I think it would be helpful to see the proof.
+1 vote
Dress up as professional people, go to  these areas throw lattes ( scalding hot) at cops telling them gentrification isn't happening fast enough. But seriously. This would be awesome to have a tactic that is not just delaying.
by (1.2k points)
dunno if it works like that