We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The corporate steamroller of gentrification is a deliberate process

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from his blog Systemic Disorder. 
Gentrification is an ongoing process, of which we’ve had two reminders in the past month in New York City. The recent closing of the Bowery Poetry Club is a sad reminder of the dwindling number of community spaces — and one need only look across the street to see a high-end corporate clothing boutique occupying the space where CBGB showcased musical acts for more than three decades.
While witnessing recent changes in a neighborhood in New York, he discerns a pattern that may reveal a strategy of "deliberate gentrification" that remakes organic neighborhoods to serve the interests of profit for the One Percent. 

The author's breadth of vision sees this as a part of the historical experience of the capitalist class that first saw them clearing people from the commons in Britain in the18th century to make way for more profitable sheep farming. Many people were forced to work in their woolen mills for long hours and low wages. Others were forced to immigrate to the British Empire's newly conquered possessions.