Fortress L.A. in the 21st Century

Fortress L.A. in the 21st Century
This essay was first published almost two years ago in August of 2016 by a friend of the project. We re-publish it here as we feel it is more timely than ever as the struggle grows against ICE, borders and, more generally, against this whole carceral society.

“Positioned increasingly as a ‘capital of capital’ in the Pacific Basin, Los Angeles has been surging toward the ranks of the three other capitals of global capital, New York, London, and Tokyo (its Pacific Rim cohort). […] Los Angeles broadcasts its self-imagery so widely that probably more people have seen this place – or at least fragments of it – than any other on the planet. As a result, the seers of Los Angeles have become countless, even more so as the progressive globalization of its urban political economy flows along similar channels, making Los Angeles perhaps the epitomizing world-city, une ville de venue monde.

Edward Soja, Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory1

Our Present Material Conditions in Los Angeles

“Los Angeles is barely treading water while the rest of the world is moving forward. We risk falling further behind in adapting to the realities of the 21st century and becoming a City in decline. […] Los Angeles is sinking into a future in which it no longer can provide the public services to which our people’s taxes entitle them and where the promises made to public employees about a decent and secure retirement simply cannot be kept. City revenues are in long-term stagnation and expenses are climbing. Year by year, our City – which once was a beacon of innovation and opportunity to the world – is becoming less livable”

The Los Angeles 2020 Commission (Dec. 2013)2

Continue reading “Fortress L.A. in the 21st Century”

Riot and Representation: The Significance of The Chicano Riot

Riot and Representation: The Significance of The Chicano Riot

What follows is an essay we first learned of via our friend El Chavo! His description is an apt introduction to this important essay. The only thing we’ve done is removed the gendered language of some of the essay. Though we may not agree with everything in this essay, we think it stands as a powerful counter-narrative that viewed the Chicano riots of 1970 as merely a police riot. This essay has been pivotal to our own anti-political understanding of the possibilities for revolt and life in Los Angeles:

The following is a hard to find text about the 1970 Chicano riots in East LA, supposedly written by Herbert Marcuse but really written by the Bay Area 1044 situ group of that time. I find these essays on riots quite illuminating in their attempt to understand these periods of intensity as opposed to the typical lefty line of denouncing all violence.. Unfortunately, these views are rare in LA (or the rest of the world for that matter) and most locals subscribe to the line touted by whatever ideology is currently in favor.

Continue reading “Riot and Representation: The Significance of The Chicano Riot”

The Psycho-Geography of Gentrification in L.A.

The Psycho-Geography of Gentrification in L.A.

 

But what does this mean?

Much has been written about gentrification, but simply put it is the name for the rise of property values (and then ipso facto rent prices), resulting in displacement and often cultural erasure of those who were displaced. As Stuart Hall said, “race is the modality in which class is lived” and so by this logic gentrification is also deeply racialized. But what is the cause of this rise is more contentious. Some point to art galleries/spaces; others to international & national real estate speculation looking for new markets to profit off of; some see it is as a natural process of re-vitalization of areas once thought of as blight (if life under Capital could be seen as natural); some see the incursion of the (white) hipster as the cause. Suffice to say the cause is complex and may include all of these.

Continue reading “The Psycho-Geography of Gentrification in L.A.”

This House Is A Fence

This House Is A Fence

The wood-slate fence has jumped from being a simple signifier of “this house has been flipped” to becoming a part of the construction of the house itself. The above is a photo of an actual house in Boyle Heights being offered for rent at $2995 for 3 bedrooms.

Whereas previously the function of this fence was to shield its new, well-heeled owners from the insufficiently gentrified neighborhood, these wood-slates now are free to signify “flipped” no matter where they are placed on the home. Continue reading “This House Is A Fence”

About Hating Art

About Hating Art

by Asmodeus

Basically the art world exists to make money for a small number of people and to make a larger number of people feel like they’re cool. The first purpose is just capitalism. The second is an effect of capitalism, because only in a world as ridiculous as ours would standing around in mostly empty white rooms be considered a valid form of community. This probably sounds cynical, and in a way it is. But if you think about it, the fact that lots of people have nothing better to do with their “free” time than to stand around in mostly empty white rooms, rooms that make a huge amount of money for other people, is a good reason to destroy pretty much everything.

Continue reading “About Hating Art”

The Broad: Class Hatred, Concentrated

The Broad: Class Hatred, Concentrated

Originally published on Ediciones Chafa on May 24th, 2016. Here we re-publish it so that it can continue to be accessible for those of us with a critical view on Art and its role under Capital.

by Asmodeus, a friend of the project.

Eli Broad is a multibillionaire. He made his fortune constructing tract homes, which is to say by pumping hot air into the pre-2007 real estate bubble. Later he moved into life insurance as well. Some of that money ended up bailing out LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) around the time the housing market was going south – the museum had been hemorrhaging funds for years. It was a maneuver that some have described as closer to a hostile takeover than an act of philanthropy. Notably, Broad’s intervention was closely tied to the arrival of a new director – the gallerist Jeffrey Deitch – who fired the museum’s widely admired chief curator, Paul Schimmel, in 2012. Other wads of cash ended up at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) – where the donor had Renzo Piano build the quasi-autonomous Broad Contemporary Art Museum – as well as the Los Angeles Opera, which promptly used the funds to stage a full production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. These actions, among others, won Broad a reputation in the art world as LA’s resident Maecenas-cum-Evil Emperor, with Deitch, perhaps, playing the role of a bumbling Darth Vader.

Continue reading “The Broad: Class Hatred, Concentrated”

The Ditch Party – #FBF

The Ditch Party – #FBF

by Noche

So like back in 2016 I wrote a text about anti-work and Chicanxs/Mexicans and I’d like to share this excerpt since talking about 90s ditch parties is now in vogue though they are often spoken of apolitically. Here I attempted to bring it into the realm of antiwork, or maybe it could even be thought of as a kind of refusal to grow-up to just sell their labor-power and a racialized discounted price. Trying to get the fuck out of this world & have a good time, instead of trying to save it.

Continue reading “The Ditch Party – #FBF”