LOS ANGELES: Activists ‘lucha libre’-style cultural performance against gentrification

By Kike Ruido

Using the popular Mexican culture of Lucha Libre, activists and political artists this past Sunday turned a section of Elysian Park into a wrestling match between the forces of gentrification and the revolutionaries who fight against it.

The event, which was Livestreamed, was dubbed, “La Ultima Caida,” (The Last Fall). It was put together by the progressive artists of BASURA.

“La Ultima Caida” was a satirical play on developers and the phony-activist sell-outs that support gentrification versus the revolutionaries and the community who fight against it.

finish him

A twist to the already classic style of story telling of heroes versus heels, La Ultima Caida was held at Elysian Park in North East Los Angeles, another area combating gentrification.

BASURA led the event with the participation of the Defend Boyle Heights anti-gentrification organization, the Communist Skinhead 1917 organization and several supporters of the anti-gentrification movement in Los Angeles.

In the stands were the masses on both sides of the matches, one camp satirically representing the pro-gentrification forces and the other camp representing the revolutionaries and the community. Each camp cheered on their favorite luchadores (wrestlers) during all three matches.

Comrade Comadre

Each match represented a battle the community faces in the general fight against gentrification. One of the matches featured a Communist long-time señora resident from the community, Comrade Comadre, portrayed by a leading member of DBH, who faced off with DJ ZKabz (a play on the DJs of the Chulita Vinyl Club chapters in Austin and Los Angeles who break community boycotts). A notable match concluded with Comrade Comadre getting the three-count on Dj Zkabz. The crowd went on to cheer the fan-favorite while berating the heel of the community.

“This is what you get for turning your back on the community,” the Comrade Comadre character said.

Closeline

A fan in the audience said, “It’s important to highlight but also materially support the working class that are fighting gentrification” and “This is a great way to get the people involved so they can see the story of the struggle we face everyday.”

Cultural events like these serves a vital aspect of a revolutionary struggle because it emphasizes both revolutionary feelings and thoughts of the masses, and encourages them to take action not only through art, music and theater but also on the streets. Cultural events must be made to advance revolutionary movements. There is a need to show the change of culture breaking with capitalist hegemony and towards a Communist culture.

A notable change in culture came in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China from 1966 to 1976. The Communists and the masses in China had some of the most inspiring revolutionary artwork. A famous performance was the best ballet later-turned movie, “The Red Detachment of Women.”

Cultural production has a class character and must be utilized by revolutionaries and the working class to raise the level of class consciousness and help advance the revolution.

Group

To follow the organizations involved in La Ultima Caida, you can follow them on their social media accounts: @somos.basura on Instagram, @DefendBoyleHeights on Instagram and Facebook and @DefendBoyleHts on Twitter, and Rash – Red & Anarchist Skinheads – Los Angeles on Facebook for 1917.