Photo: Austin Mayor Steve Adler at homelessness forum on Tuesday
By Ed Dalton
Around 9 PM on Tuesday, after leaving a heated forum on Austin’s homeless at St. Edwards University, a black SUV driven by Austin Mayor Steve Adler was pelted with eggs. Eggs hit the driver side windows and windshield, prompting the police to search the wooded area around the action for over an hour.
According to one St. Edwards University student, Christy, who lives in a nearby dormitory, the windows were pelted shortly after anti-gentrification activists confronted Adler at the forum.
“Police popped out of the vehicle and joined the heavy police presence already on the ground in searching the campus area,” she told Incendiary.
While the police continued to search the area, they forced Adler back into the forum for his own safety; none of the masked assailants were found, identified or apprehended.
A group of protesters directly confronted Adler at the homelessness panel for his role in pushing forward the Project Catalyst development plan, also known as the “Domain on Riverside.” Adler has received over $11,000 in “donations” from the developer interests poised to destroy thousands of student homes in the East Riverside area, raising the rents of countless working-class families. They held signs that read “Defend Riverside,” “No Domain on Riverside,” and a banner that read “Combat City Council And Their Developer Masters.”
Anti-gentrification activists can be heard shouting at Adler in the news video released by local bourgeois media KXAN. “You’re an enemy of the people Adler! You’re a crook, you’re a shark!” one woman said. “Are you gonna go back to your $4 million condo?”
The police began yelling at the young woman that if she did not stop and leave she was going to jail, once again showing that Adler and the police do not respect the democratic or constitutional rights of anti-gentrification protesters. Only moments later, the police grabbed one of the protesters at random, who was able to resist and avoid arrest.
While the egging and the protest were not believed to be in direct connection, both highlight the readiness of the masses to confront their enemies. The people of East Riverside will not go out quietly like other neighborhoods in Austin. Adler may receive what amounts to bribes from developers but has found out he is not so invincible. He received eggs this time, but they send chills that next time it might be something more serious coming his way.
The panel Adler had been speaking at had already drawn considerable ire from the masses who are fed up with the rampant and reactionary criminalization of Austin’s homeless population. At least one fascist, Infowars reporter Owen Shroyer, was escorted out by police for aggressively insisting that police sweep the area of the city he lives in clearing out the homeless. Shroyer continued harassing people in the parking lot for the remainder of the event.
Christy told Incendiary that “[the egging] happened right in front of the news.” Reactionary news outlet Fox 7 Austin, as well as several other bourgeois reporters, saw the egging take place, none of whom reported it in what can only be considered a concerted media blackout to discourage such confrontational and aggressive acts of protest.
As the working class and oppressed nations residents of Southeast Austin constinue to be pushed into a corner, their resistance increases and they take bolder actions. By arresting more than 12 activists at the last city council hearing, Adler has made it clear that democratic rights of protest will not be extended to the people of East Riverside.
Now that the Mayor and City Council have shown that law and order are only tools to push the interests of developers, revolutionaries and the masses must explore means other than the conventional democratic ones to combat and resist gentrification in one of the last proletarian neighborhoods near the city center. What is clear is that the city officials have plenty of tactical weaknesses, while the workers and the revolutionaries continue to improve tactically.