MAKING ALLSTON-BRIGHTON BETTER FOR WHOM?
The question to ask about individuals and organizations that are active in our Allston-Brighton neighborhood is this:
Are they trying to make our neighborhood better for the working class people who currently live here and who are finding it increasingly difficult to afford to do so?
Are they simply trying to make our neighborhood better for the wealthier people who are (or soon will be) living here?
What the working class people in our neighborhood need more than anything else is to end the gentrification that is driving them out. They need a movement that is serious about making the rich and powerful who are behind the gentrification FEAR what might happen if they keep treating working class people here like dirt. Working class people do NOT need organizations (like the Brighton Allston Community Coalition [BACC]) that only PRETEND to be fighting for more affordable housing.
I say "pretend" because 1) the BACC only aims for 20% of so-called affordable housing in new developments when it should be 100%; 2) the BACC never says that by "affordable" it means affordable to working class people whose annual income is five digits and not six digits; 3) the BACC never exposes the fact that the City of Boston's definition of "affordable" is affordable to somebody with a six digit income; 4) the BACC doesn't even allow its members to discuss (in its internal email group) the idea--not even the pros and cons--of building a movement to make the rich and powerful fear being removed from power if they keep building luxury housing to drive working class people out. This is how some people merely PRETEND to fight to make our neighborhood better for its working class residents.
These pretenders, as I call them, reveal their actual aims by focusing their attention on issues that will make the neighborhood nicer after the working class folks are gone: issues such as having more green space, having more housing suitable for families with children, having better transportation, and so forth. Yeah, sure! These are good things for our neighborhood. But it is immoral to fight for these good things INSTEAD of fighting to ensure that our working class residents can remain here to enjoy them!
Oscar Wilde said "Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue." Here in Allston-Brighton, let us be clear:
Virtue is fighting the proliferation of luxury housing (gentrification) that is driving working class residents out.
Vice is abandoning our working class residents to their fate and merely aiming to make Allston-Brighton a nicer neighborhood for the wealthier people who remain.
Hypocrisy is pretending to fight gentrification.