Yes to Liberation Arts! No to Gentrification!

by GATAS, a collective of cultural fieldworkers using art as a tool for liberation and healing in Los Angeles. 
Let’s call “gentrification” by what it really is: oKKKupation. Our communities are under attack with the threat of displacement every day. From settler colonialists of USC in South Central to occupiers in Echo Parque who call ExP “The New Silverlake”, we now see the attack on Boyle Heights with the recent bike ride planned by Adaptive Realty as well as with CicLAvia this past week. We are being invaded by those who aim to push working class families out of the very communities they have built. We must learn from these current fights and be critical of the tools that make occupation possible.

Art in particular has been used as a tool to create access of our communities to occupation forces. When the artwalk invaded downtown, we saw a growing trend of overpolicing with the push for S-Comm and Special Order 1 which legitimized LAPD Spying. The city made way for the hipsters and chipsters to drink their shitty wine by clearing the streets in the same fashion that the World Cup would clear the favelas in Brazil earlier this year.

Liberation is the goal. Art is only a byproduct. As cultural field workers, liberation artists and peoples’ propaganda brigadiers, we are calling for all artists to build for revolution. When it comes to the role of the artist, let us be very clear: Pintorxs tambien somos trabajadorxs. We are working class and must fight for proletarian revolution. This can only be done through an anti capitalist lens that remains critical of how art is used. Art is not the problem. The problem is how and why we make art. Are we collectively building art with the community or are we creating art to attract outsiders to “invest” in us? This is a question that we as artists must ask ourselves.

These are our communites. We know these streets better. We have run them as children of the night and now we run these streets
as guerriller@s.

Vamos dibujando el camino companer@s.

Somos GATAS – Guerrillera Arte por la Tierra, Autonomia, y Solidaridad

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