CHARLOTTE: Dispatch from Brookhill Anti-Gentrification Struggle

By Gabriel Roshan

Serve the People-Charlotte (STP-C) has been struggling to stop the demolition of Brookhill Village since May 2018. The fight has continued on into the winter months where the conversation around housing has begun to heat up in Charlotte.

As with all conversations initiated by the bourgeois media and nonprofits, they have remained just that—conversations. STP-C has brought the issue of displacement to the forefront in 2018, emphatically saying you must hit your enemy to make them fall. This has culminated in the masses taking up the general call to action.

Incendiary spoke to a STP-C representative about the ongoing struggle in Brookhill, printed below:

IN: Thanks for taking time to discuss these important issues with me. Last time Incendiary covered STP-C, you all had disrupted Terry Shook’s presentation at the South Tryon United Community Methodist Church. What developments have occurred since then?

STP-C: Since that action we have begun to propagandize [against] Terry Shook’s plans to first relocate Brookhill residents, then demolish their former homes and build “affordable” mixed-use housing. Learning lessons from our comrades in Los Angeles and Austin now we know how to spot gentrifier deception from a mile away.

Not only will the residents not be able to afford to move back into this “mixed-use” development but Brookhill as a neighborhood will forever be gone, replaced by the cookie-cutter condos littering Southend already. Through our propaganda the goal is to show that rebellion is always justified especially when dealing with greedy developers and parasitic landlords.

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IN: How have the masses in the neighborhood responded to your propaganda?

STP-C: Overall, positive. However there have been difficulties, in particular the leasing office has been putting fear in the minds of the tenants. The masses already live in fear of being evicted; the leasing office has exacerbated that fear by promoting the same narrative all reformists, NGOs, revisionists and liberals push: revolutionary action will only aid in the masses self-destruction. However by fighting slum conditions and displacement the masses can win!

IN: How have the masses been supportive of your actions and message?

STP-C: They have given us leads to insider information. Sending pictures of maintenance men burning our flyers down. Supporting our disruptions and taking up our slogan of “Defend Brookhill! Shook Kelley Out Now!” There is further to go, our links with the community are developing, but we know that through faith in the masses and patience the masses will continue to link up with us and beat back all class enemies.

IN: What else have you heard about Brookhill that is worth mentioning?

STP-C: Recently we heard from the tenants that a banner and graphics shop nearby has been racist towards Brookhill residents. We decided to investigate further—the company in question is a franchise of the corporation Allegra Printing. They have been in the neighborhood since May 2018. They are a direct product of the growth of Southend.

Confirming what the masses already knew we discovered firsthand that the business-owner is a full-blown racist. He was asked by our volunteers if he would sign on to a coalition to Defend Brookhill instead he said—very matter of factly, “No. I can’t wait till that neighborhood full of drug dealers, welfare abusers and crack heads get demolished then Southend can finally grow into a desirable area for shopping and good people. Those people in Brookhill are ruining the potential for business around here.”

Allegra is already playing a key role in facilitating the shutdown of community owned businesses it surrounds. Plus, the reactionary ideas of the ownership have aided in growing the “popular” justification for the demolition of Brookhill. Of course, this development is only in favor of the yuppies moving in, [gentrifying] businesses like dog cafes and breweries. Therefore, we know that Allegra Printing is an enemy of the masses and should not be supported by anyone. I am sure more will come of this later.

IN: Thank you so much for taking time to talk to me again, any final words?

STP-C: We will stop the demolition in part of the overall struggle to overthrow this putrid system once and for all. As far as immediate next steps anyone, except cops, gentrifiers, or unwanted media are welcome to our Community Meeting on December 13 at 7pm!

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The community meeting will discuss rent, wages and evictions with the neighbors of Brookhill. It will be dedicated to hearing the tangible concerns of the masses and bring back to them the key point that all the issues the masses face on a daily basis come from their lack of political power. That political power only comes from the barrel of a gun—not elections.

Revolution is the only solution; therefore, the masses must join up with each other to fight against their common class enemies like Shook-Kelley, the police, landlords, gentrifiers and fascists.