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by Kevin Keating
Saturday, Mar. 07, 2015 at 5:08 AM
As ye sow, so shall ye weep...
The self-styled "anticapitalist community events and organizing space" Station 40 is located on 16th Street near Mission Street, across 16th from the BART Plaza, at the virtual ground zero of today's tech-boom-fueled galloping ruin of San Francisco's once predominantly working class Mission District. Over an almost two year long period, from 2010 and 2011 and into 2012, I tried to get the "crew" at this self-styled "anti-capitalist" subcultural identity space to either let me organize or themselves organize a meeting about the then-accelerating gentrification of SF's Mission District. In a fight against gentrification timing is everything and trying to get something rolling at an early point was going to be crucial. The Station 40 people hemmed and hawed and eventually Station 40's perpetually sanctimonious Cindy Milstein told me to my face that the Station 40 "crew" were not interested in hosting or organizing a meeting about the gentrification of San Francisco's Mission District.
"We’ve hosted and/or organized hundreds of anticapitalist-oriented events, including fund-raisers, critical discussions, film screenings and performances, assemblies, book releases, art shows and workshops, and indie media projects, contributing to the rebel spirit of the Bay Area," says Station 40's Hanna Quevedo, in a statement that can be seen here:
https://www.indybay.org/ newsitems/2015/03/02/18769420. php
"Hundreds of meetings" at Station 40 -- but not a single public meeting at Station 40 about the main impact that the capitalist system was having on the neighborhood where Station 40 is physically situated. By public meeting, I meant a discussion open to working and low-income people in the neighborhood at large, with the location and date of the meeting on flyers posted on walls and phone poles that are impossible to miss throughout the neighborhood, and not just another navel-gazing subculture event attended by the usual ruck and run of sluggish scenesters and passive consumers of spiky dogmas.
Now Station 40 has been served with an eviction notice by the landlord of the property, and Station 40 is falling victim to the larger social forces that the Station 40 people were too self-absorbed, timid, or a-political to help oppose at a much earlier phase of the problem. Boo-hoo-hoo: as ye sow, so shall ye weep. For a sustained period of several years the people at Station 40 were indifferent to the escalating negative changes in the neighborhood while continually proclaiming themselves to be uncompromising enemies of the capitalist system. Now, in several public statements, people involved with Station 40 and their friends are engaged in truly shameless lying about their wholly imaginary resistance to gentrification, and, of course, all this is in the context of what great rebels against the social order they fantasize themselves to be.
It is an objective and undeniable fact that from 2010 through mid-2013 the Station 40 crowd were unwilling to host or organize even a single public meeting that would be open to working class grown-ups in the neighborhood at large. A few slumming hipsters hiding in an alternative scene rabbit warren and slurping forties while grumbling about the yuppies is not a credible real world response to the problem. And a handful of the exact same extremely small number of people who always show up at easily ignored housing protests in San Francisco showing up at a press conference for Station 40 on the BART Plaza on March 2nd doesn't constitute any real outpouring of community support. Rather it drives home the fact that Station 40 has been an irrelevant and easily ignored left-liberal fringe phenomena.
No one can pretend that the Station 40 crowd helped defend the overall working class character of San Francisco's Mission District. Working people and renters in the Mission owe the scenesters at Station 40 the same indifference that Station 40 has shown the Mission District. This "anticapitalist" social center has had a long-term passively parasitic relationship to the Mission and the disappearance of Station 40 will not be a loss for working people and renters in San Francisco's Mission District.
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