Defend Boyle Heights formed less than a year as a direct result of the continued threat of gentrification and displacement in our community coupled with the lack of leadership and action from city officials and local non-profit vendidos in addressing community concerns, particularly the violent displacement of poor and working class people of color. We know all too well that it is the people and the people themselves, autonomously, who are the only ones who can defend and protect themselves, ourselves. We can’t trust in the machinery of capitalism and white supremacy.
Celebrate, not condemn, resistance!
While the police, as the armed wing of the state, and the media, as its mouthpiece, will be quick to pin these acts of vandalism on Defend Boyle Heights, it is absolutely not the case. We don’t know who tagged up these galleries, but we we certainly don’t condemn it. It is right to rebel! We are glad to see the community rise up to resist displacement, art washing and gentrification – however they see fit! Your anger is justified.
The system will send in its soldiers, the police, their apologists, and the vendidos to further criminalize an already historically-oppressed and persecuted community. All the while our communities continue to become displaced, while homes are lost, while rents increase, while slumlords grow rich from our rent, while young people of color are targeted for being affiliated with gangs (whether they actually are or not) — all this is the material atmosphere of violent gentrification. Gentrification is the true, highest form of hate crime!
On the supposed “hate crime” investigation
Who is the LAPD to claim or categorize a crime as a supposed “hate crime” when it is the very police department, particularly in Boyle Heights, who is guilty of literally murdering men, women, boys and girls in our community extrajudicially? It is a hypocritical and disgustingly ironic that LAPD rush to investigate these property crimes when literally nothing is being done about the police officers involved in the cop-killing of Boyle Heights youth Jesse Romero. It is tragic but not surprising that LAPD is rushing to defend and protect these art galleries but are nowhere to be found when our historic murals, which actually showcase our history, our im/migrant, Latinx and Chicanx history, are whitewashed or erased – those incidents aren’t reported or investigated as hate crimes. It is when a privileged, protected and affluent people move into Boyle Heights, violently and arrogantly displacing our people, low-income working class renters, that the police jump to the chance to show their true colors: as enemies of the people!
Their laws are not ours
It is additionally telling that these art gallery owners, according to the LA Times article, sat down and met with LAPD. There is no better example of who the police feel more allegiance to; certainly not the community of Boyle Heights who they continue to terrorize on the daily. Our allegiance is and will always be to the low-income working class renters of Boyle Heights. Not the predominately white petite-bourgeois art gallery owners, who are now claiming they’re being targeted for being white! No foos, you’re being targeted for being gentrifiers! We won’t be intimidated by calls of a police investigation. We did nothing wrong, legal or illegal. The real power is in the community, and we are bigger and stronger than LAPD and their gentrifying partners.
The police and their apologists speak of laws being broken, of precious private property being vandalized. But which class or people do these laws serve? We don’t own galleries, let along much property! The police don’t come to protect us, to serve us; they come to beat us, to arrest us, to detain us, to violate our rights, to silence us. They will speak about favoring legal protests and more legal and legitimate methods of resistance. But the problem there is that the oppressors don’t get to dictate how the resistance resists. The legal-illegal binary is a byproduct of the capitalist imagination.
Let’s be clear: the police are the protectors of capital and guardians of white-supremacist capitalism!
Defend Boyle Heights!
It is right to rebel!