the pillars of gentrification

Today is the first day of the KW Anarchist Bookfair.  While some PMUS members are no doubt taking part, two of the group’s members have some reservations about this otherwise good event. Earlier in the planning process, these PMUS members were invited to present an anti-gentrification workshop based on their work opposing gentrification (including presenting a bunch of workshops).  They declined and communicated their concerns to some in the planning collective.  There were numerous thoughtful reflections offered by individual collective members and the two PMUS members were asked to submit a statement for the official bookfair program.  Finding that option potentially problematic and hypocritical, they declined.  Here is the statement that they did prepare:
 
Greetings KW Anarchist Bookfair Collective,
 
We are writing to you regarding the idea of having an anti-gentrification workshop/session at your upcoming bookfair.
 
The idea that we might facilitate such a session was first raised to us by (redacted), after a SC Waterloo game.  More recently (redacted) suggested to us that we put in a proposal.  Thanks to both of you for thinking of us.
 
We will not be doing so and want to share with you why we have made this choice:
 
The location is the Faculty of Social Work.
 
The Faculty of Social Work, along with the School of Pharmacology, are central pillars of the violent gentrification that is taking place in Kitchener.  On an institutional level the schools’ presence (and the earlier rounds of social cleansing that preceded their arrival) has had a oppressive and damaging effect on our community.

Overall, the students and faculty have also embodied this elitist class distinction and have demonstrated a lack of authentic connection or sense of accountability to the community.  The campus has not been a welcoming space for poor people and their allies.
 
We figure that you all likely already know this as its been discussed in great detail in our own circles and even in the Record.  In fact, we have also presented on the subject before. 
We have been involved in a lot of work around gentrification, but have been unable to truly connect with many of the activists who uncritically benefit so directly from it.

We imagine that you understand that the Faculty has been central to the great successes of local gentrification because the knowledge and backdrop for that awareness is part and parcel with class war and/or anti-authoritarian analysis.
 
We will not begrudge you that, but, we are not willing to sacrifice truth for function.
 
In addition to our own issues with the location, we feel that the most important reason to avoid such a contradiction is that we don’t wish to give more language, and therefore more legitimacy, to an academic factory producing individuals whose roles will ultimately be regulating, monitoring and ‘managing’ the very people for whom a gentrification workshop purports to be concerned. 
 
No doubt there are many participants, including the new wave of facebook revolutionaries, who would benefit from such a workshop and the discussions surrounding it, but due to its location would be excused from facing-up to any of the realities (and degrees of complicity) associated with gentrification.
 
We urge you to reconsider presenting such an ironic workshop. It would be ill advised and disingenuous to present about gentrification while reaping its rewards and propping up its officers by way of association.
 
Anyways, just some of our anarchic thoughts on anarchism.
Pan-optic social war isn’t fun,
Ian and Shannon
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