Locals vs. Gentrifiers : East Bay Fight Party
As housing prices soar upwards and neighborhoods seemingly transform overnight, conversations can get pretty zesty pretty quickly surrounding the topic of gentrification. I don’t know about you, but my Facebook feed is a regular bullshit fest of people defending their right to move here and others defending their right to still afford to be here.
Before we get into it any further, I’m going to come clean here and now. I am not a Bay Area native. I was born and raised in Hawaii and moved to Oakland in 2000 and haven’t left. While I lack the pure bred local pedigree, I do possess all of the zealotry that comes with being a born-again Bay Area Californian.
Needless to say, the topic of outsiders pouring into the Bay Area their presence and effects that it has on our cities is both timely and tumultuous. In a creative attempt to address the roiling boil topic of gentrification, the East Bay Rats opted to cut the shit and take the dialog straight into the boxing ring. Thus as a community we all piled into the Rat’s club house on San Pablo Avenue this past Saturday and watched as our friends worked out our collective issues and aggressions surrounding this current influx of people via the time honored method of fisticuffs. That’s right, motherfucking fisticuffs baby.
The East Bay Rat’s fight parties take place at the Rat’s clubhouse on San Pablo and are wild free-for-alls featuring punk bands, bottle rockets, and booze, not to mention fights. People start packing in early, and by the time the party is in full swing, the backyard area that hosts a regulation size boxing ring and nothing else is crammed with people, with people crawling up onto the roof for a better view of the fights.
Thanks to films like Fight Club, and the popularity of the East Bay Rats, fight parties are a familiar concept. Someone gets in the ring and whoever feels like fighting the dude or chick volunteers and strap on a pair of regulation boxing gloves. The fights are refereed by a member of the Rats who makes sure that things don’t get too gnarly. The criteria for this particular party was to qualify as being a local you needed to be a resident of the Bay for at least 10 years, anything less being considered a gentrifier. The fights are done in good fun, they usually end in a hug or a handshake. Punches were thrown, blood was spilled, and everyone who entered the ring was a champion. Who won? Well, locals of course. But we will have to see how things pan out in real life.