How bourgeoisie independent shops and cafes are ruining the streets of London. By Sam Bland.
Gentrification is spreading like a disease; it‘s seeping through the streets of London at an almost unstoppable rate. First it took Shoreditch, then Brixton and it’s heading to New Cross! From living in London we see every day new high-rise apartments being constructed to support the rich. Meanwhile working class people are being forced out of their homes. This is the first step on the gentrification ladder and is something that we must fight from day one. But what does gentrification look and feel like after the invasion has done its worst?
The knock on effect of this daylight robbery is that it spawns a perfect breeding ground for young business professionals. They try to differentiate themselves from your average capitalist by marking their territory with ‘alternative’ bars, shops and cafes however all they are doing is perpetuating the destruction of an area. Charging £10 for a cocktail in a jar and £15 to eat scrambled egg from a shoe is no different to developers charging £400,000 for a one-bed flat. These bourgeoisie independent outlets allow gentrification to be sustained as they attract a new influx of people to the area. Areas like Shoreditch have turned into a wank-den for marketing professionals; average things like a cup of coffee and a cupcake have been rebranded to even more expensive commodities. You can always spot an asshole when someone orders a “Skinny-Soy Macchiato” at a coffee shop or pays £5 for an overly frosted fucking posh cup cake.
However as a student I can’t claim to be totally clean from avoiding the effects of gentrification. Students push the prices up and attract chic bars and shops to the area. This means as students we must be aware of this and do all in our power to help fight it. It can be anything from helping stop evictions, to getting organised with a local campaign groups or simply supporting your local music venue. Gentrification is a tool used by the government in order to white wash the effects of their spending cuts on the people. Areas like Brixton, formally a predominantly working-class area, are becoming over run by the rich, with the average price of a one bed flat being nearly £400,000. Many of the original record shops have been forced to close and are being replaced by pricey restaurants and ‘vintage’ clothing stores, giving a completely different feel to the area.
On the other hand, grass-root resistance against gentrification is at an all time high. Reclaim Brixton back in April, had seen thousands on the streets to protest over rising rent prices and social cleaning. The E15 mums are a prime example of how we can win against the ferocious hand of the government and the developer. So unless we want our streets littered with more posh twats, expensive coffee shops and hipster cocktail bars, we must act fast. The Radical Housing Network, Class War and the Radical Assembly are just a few of the many London groups keeping up the fight against gentrification. So bin your ‘vintage’ clothes, forget that over-priced coffee and get ready to occupy. Resist and smash the next posh Cup Cake shop, we cannot let this happen without a fight!