By Mike Talavera
Incendiary received the following pictures from Austin, Texas of graffiti reading, “No Domain on Riverside” at the vandalized house of Gian Michael Piano, a developer with Presidium Group, the main company behind the notorious “Domain on Riverside” gentrifying project in southeast Austin which was approved by city council last October.
Resistance against the project, which has yet to begin construction, has distinguished itself by targeting enemies of the working class, unlike previous ‘anti-gentrification’ efforts that have relied on the conventional (and unfruitful) method of working with the city and developers. In so doing, the struggle has more clearly illustrated how gentrification is not a problem of policy or urban planning, but a form of class war that the capitalists wage against the oppressed.
Piano attempted to downplay this growing, combative anti-gentrification movement at a panel last November, where he instead applauded neighborhood residents who collaborated with developers. Groups like ‘Friends of Riverside,’ representing the area’s wealthier demographic, are well known for working with developers, police, and gentrifier artists.
Now that his home has been marked with red spray paint, Piano joins the list of other class enemies who have been singled out for their role in the gentrification of East Austin, including the mayor, city council members, city staff, city commissioners, developer agents, art nonprofits that have all collaborated with Presidium, and the current property management of the low-cost apartments set to be demolished to make way for the Domain on Riverside.
The massive multi-use project intends to displace thousands of workers, students, immigrants, and refugees, and if completed will result in a severe shock to the surrounding area, including raising property values, the demolition of a nearby working-class shopping center, and the encroachment of parkland.