When artists and intellectual types are a big part of the problem

Posted: February 15, 2017 in Call to Action, for your reflection, Real Food For Thought, resistance, Solidarity, We fight on

Check out the article posted on Hyperallergic, How to Draw a (Picket) Line: Activists Protest an Event at A Boyle Heights Gallery.

A meeting of the Artists’ Political Action Network failed to take into account its location in a neighborhood that’s been mired in gentrification controversy for quite some time.

The article begins this way

A group of artists organizes an event, “a call to effective political action,” in order to bring together a network of art practitioners to address “the increasingly alarming executive actions, policy proposals, and the culture of fear, hatred, and exclusion” and “to affirm that art is not neutral.”

They schedule it at a location, 356 Mission, along the new gallery row in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, which has been visibly mired in gentrification controversy for quite some time. They do not investigate the controversy or contact the local community activists who instigated the anti-gentrification protest. When met at the entrance to their own event by these same activists, they and a large number of audience members proceed to cross the picket line in order to hold this political event.

Outside of 356 Mission, members of the Boyle Heights Alliance Against Artwashing and Displacement approached me and asked me not to step inside. I stayed and listened. I stayed and was convinced.

DON’T CROSS THE PICKET LINE!!!  DON’T BE A SCAB!!  A GENTRIFIED  SPACE IS NOT A SPACE OF RESISTANCE!! A GENTRIFIED SPACE IS NOT A REVOLUTIONARY SPACE!!!

Image result for scabs against the picket line

and this

And nevertheless, I stood there watching members of LA’s institutional art scene walk all over the picket line organized by Boyle Heights’ activists and artists.

I nevertheless found myself at a threshold where I had to make a decision, and I decided not to enter — because, with all due respect, what possible art world event would merit crossing a picket line? Unless you strongly disagree with the position of the picketer, you just do not cross a picket line. That is activism 101.

The organization and sheer tenacity of the protestors should have been enough to earn them the respect and ear of the art world. Instead, we arrived in their neighborhood and demand that they compromise. It is us who have miscalculated where the line should be drawn. The only question left is: where do you stand?”

Then in years to come when the neighborhood becomes gentrified and the artists and galleries are push out WHAT!!! Should we cry a tear for them. Listen to some of the lame white privileged class folks talking to the activists. What assholes. Anyone who crossed the picket line is a scab, non-revolutionary and a tool of the ruling class. This is the same discussion that we like, who is at the end of amerikkka beating stick and do we care? Listen to the white woman artist who has a studio on Andersen. What a privileged asshole. Someone should have told her, go inside you privileged fool or you may not get a seat or you may miss your call to “effective political action”. ( in our long career we have met so many people like this woman) No wonder some of us do not care all that much for artists and the art world. We are never going to win against the powers that be if we continue in this manner the manner of scabs crossing the picket line when we are fucking aware that there is a big problem and we chose to side with those creating the problem. All in the name of what?

Here is a song for you scabs.

 

 

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Comments
  1. Emma Jean says:

    Some people just don’t get it and these artist types are in that bunch. Thanks for this article. What the hell are they looking for. Yes I agree the real political action was on the outside. Shame on those who crossed the picket line. Look at them wearing the costume of revolt. They don’t know the first thing about it.

  2. Hey Emma Jean, great to have you on board as always. One line that stand out from Nizan’s article among many is “Unless you strongly disagree with the position of the picketer, you just do not cross a picket line. That is activism 101.” Yes activism 101 these artist folks have a heck of a lot to learn on that subject. And this “Instead, we arrived in their neighborhood and demand that they compromise. It is us who have miscalculated where the line should be drawn. The only question left is: where do you stand?” There is a heck of a lot shaking out to do if we are ever going to turn this system upside down and the shaking will have to start with those who stand with power.

    Emma Jean a big hello to the folks in VT. Coming up in May.