Glasgow is facing a wave of gentrification. The following short films (the next in the housing and community series Answer Time) are being aired in advance of the May Reshuffle in Govan, a community event for all the family. The films address the theme of gentrification in Glasgow, a theme that the series hopes to address over the coming months, to give citizens of Glasgow the information to stand up and defend their communities.
- Main Entry:
The May Reshuffle features community campaigners from across the pond, Movement for Justice in El Barrio. The group are staging a tour of the UK, to make links with communities resisting gentrification here, and to raise awareness of their community’s plight.
— – — – — – — – — – — – — – —
HARLEM MEETS SCOTLAND
“We will not be moved!” Juan Haro of “Movement for Justice in El Barrio” is taking that message from the ground-breaking Harlem community group to Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh this month, as part of a European speaking tour. The renowned Greenwich Village Voice describes the group as “the best power to the people movement in New York City.”
The members of “Movement for Justice in El Barrio” are mainly poor Mexican immigrants. Having driven their previous landlord, millionaire Mr Kessner, out of East Harlem, they are now involved in a major battlewith new landlord, UK-based multinational Dawnay Day.
Juan Haro explains : “Driven by multi-national corporations and profit-seeking landlords and facilitated by city officials, gentrification has swept New York causing the grand-scale displacement of low-income people of colour and immigrants from our communities. East Harlem is experiencing a wave of harassment, abuse and intimidation in attempts by greedy landlords to evict us from our homes in order to raise rents and increaseprofits. Movement for Justice in El Barrio is fighting back: “We Will Not be Moved!!!”
The group accuses Dawnay Day of trying to drive its tenants out of their
homes by the imposition of illegal charges. Juan says “We are organizing
on a transnational level to combat displacement in El Barrio – East
Harlem – by building a multi-nationalnetwork to go after one of our main targets, the multi-national corporation Dawnay, Day Group at their central headquarters in London and on multiple continents where they hold property.” Dawnay Day also own the prestigious Carlton Hotel on Edinburgh’s North Bridge, and hotels in Troon and Stirling as part of
Paramount Hotel Group.
Movement for Justice in El Barrio is committed to a grass-roots way of organising, stating “the struggle for justice means fighting for the liberation of women, immigrants, lesbians, people of colour, gays and the transgender community.” They are part of “The Other Campaign”, an international extra-parliamentary movement initiated by Mexican indigenous rebels the Zapatistas.
MJB are keen to make links with community groups in Scotland. At the Edinburgh meeting they are being joined by a speaker from Save Our Old Town, campaigning for community-based change in Edinburgh’s Old Town, and against the “Caltongate” development. In Glasgow they are taking part in the May Reshuffle and Radical Bookfair, an event hosted to bring together a range of community groups, campaigners, and Govanites, aimed at building community cohesion, and a fun day out for all the family.
- MJB has been active for 3 years, and has 400 members, tenants in privately-rented housing in mainly Hispanic East Harlem. They have launched an innovative form of local democracy, “a consultation of El Barrio”, in which 1,500 local people expressed their views on which issues the movement should take up and prioritise. This led the New York Daily News to state :”It is real grass-roots democracy, and it is being practised by the immigrants who live in East Harlem.”
- Meeting: 17 May, 2-4pm, Pearce Institute, 840 – 860 Govan Road. Glasgow G51 3UU.