Rarely has there been a more open display of arrogant entitlement than the alliance of pampered hipsters and Tory scum who have lined up across the media to attack yesterday’s anti-gentrification protest in Shoreditch. From ‘High Society Darlings’ in The Independent to the usual spittle-flecked tirades in The Telegraph, the establishment are united in their revulsion that working class people could not only organise themselves, but took a step beyond the usual stale political marches and petitions that we are supposed to use to air our grievances.
By all sensible accounts last night’s Fuck Parade – organised by Class War and named after similar anti-gentrification protests in Berlin – was a huge success. Hundreds of people took to the streets for a party and protest that has lit up the debate about gentrifcation in London. At one point an estate agent’s window was shattered, whilst some paint and cornflakes were thrown at the daft Cereal Killer Cafe – an emblem of the hipster invasion of East London where bowls of cereal can cost the best part of a fiver. And it is a fucking invasion as posh flats and trust-funded small businesses spread across London like a virus, with every last brick turned into an investment opportunity.
Some of those new local business owners have suggested that to complain about this is a bit like racism – raising the ghost of Oswald Mosley to smear the protesters. The owners of the cereal cafe have even complained that the protest was a hate crime. Have you ever heard anything so fucking vile? To the cosseted middle classes racism, and even fascism, are just things to be re-appropriated for their benefit when their privilege comes under attack. How the poor hipsters have suffered due to a bit of paint on a window and some loud music and shouting. It’s like Nazi Germany all over again, only this time the victims are posh white people who run businesses. They are no different to the UKIP pub bores dribbling into their pints about the global conspiracy against the straight white middle-class male.
The harsh reality is that, according to the government’s homelessness statistics, at least 259 children were made homeless in Hackney in the last quarter. This is what gentrification does to people. That’s 259 young lives destroyed by soaring rents and housing shortages. And that’s just those who were classed as officially homeless and so eligible for help from the local council. Hundreds of thousands of kids are growing up in social housing who will have nowhere to live when they are older. A crisis is taking place in the lives of London’s poorest residents who will never share in the middle class Disneyland that is being created in the wake of social cleansing.
None of this is our fault plead the hipsters, why not blame the council. And the council blames the property developers, who in turn, say they are just providing the homes and business spaces that people want – like the people who run the Cereal Killer Cafe. No-one is to blame, and yet everyone’s making a buck. Except the poor, the collateral damage in this profit driven frenzy that is destroying the city.
So fuck small businesses. Today’s hipster entrepreneur is the Richard Branson of tomorrow – and it would have done no harm if that cunt had been nipped in the bud early. That doesn’t mean you should fall out with your local off licence, you’ll never get anything on tick that way. There are many businesses that we have little choice but to use and that may be run by people that give something back to the community that provides their lifestyle. These kinds of businesses are also falling victim to gentrification. But to pretend that the interests of business and the people who work for them are the same is horseshit. That is why the Tory Party styles itself as the party of small business people and acts as they do. Every current attack on the poor is being carried out not just for the benefit of the super rich, but also the gentrifiers of Shoreditch and their pop up monstrosities. If the new business class don’t like that they could try and do something about it. But instead they seek to profit from it.
Of course these hipsters have decided that last night was all about them. Everything always is. But the Fuck Parade is clearly about more than a bit of paint on a cafe’s window. As long time East End resident Martin Lux has said, Saturday night was a continuation of the near thousand year old tradition of the London mob. Hundreds of people joined a protest that didn’t ask for permission and took to the streets with the mixture of carnival and defiance that has defined popular protests in London. An anti-gentrification movement with real teeth – but that is also fun to be a part of – is what the city desperately needs. So ignore the fucking hipsters crying into their cornflakes, and long live the fucking Fuck Parade!
UPDATE: Class War have now released a statement about the events of Saturday night.