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Capitalist Success not Wanted in Seattle by Blacks and Browns

by Mike Seeley
(United States)

An unconventional protest by two artists is singling out businesses they say are destroying communities in a historically African American part of the city.


On a corner of Seattle’s historically black Central Area, Sea Suds car wash and Uncle Ike’s pot shop sit on either side of a well-established African American church, Mt Calvary.

Across the street, there’s a store that sells $4,000 electric bicycles, soon to be joined on the ground floor of a towering new apartment building, by a Brooklyn-esque barber shop/artisan coffee bar.

“I’m no expert, but those sound more gentrifying than a car wash,” says the owner of both Sea Suds and Uncle Ike’s, Ian Eisenberg.

Others in the neighborhood would disagree. Uncle Ike’s, which opened in 2014 and sells pot for as little as $10 a gram, has become a symbol to them of the growing displacement and runaway affluence in the Central Area.


Seattle economy soars alongside efforts to combat worsening inequality
Read more
Mt Calvary has tried, unsuccessfully, to shut Ike’s down on account of its operating too close to the church’s teen center. And in April, some 100 protesters picketed the pot shop, acutely aware of the irony of a white-owned business making millions from the legal sale of pot when, as longtime Central Area resident and activist Pamela Banks puts it, “Black and brown people are still sitting in jail who sold weed on that corner.”

But last week, Uncle Ike’s, CommuniTea Kombucha and the new apartment building, the Central, became the targets of a quieter, more unconventional protest: Emnet Getahun, a 25-year-old daughter of Ethiopian immigrants who was raised in the area, and her Cuban cohort, Yeni Lopez Sleidi, taped up black and white, “wanted”-style flyers on the properties. The “karmic infraction” leaflets accused the shops of “being an unapologetic gentrifier”, “exasperating income segregation”, “making mortgages and rent unaffordable”, and “destroying black and brown communities”.

Read more...https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/sep/12/seattle-anit-gentrification-activists-karmic-infractions

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