The Woke-Washing of Manny

by Deeg

poster of weekly demo

In the often losing battle over gentrification of the Mission, 16th and Valencia has long been contested territory. It’s a block south of Valencia Gardens, one of the first public housing projects in SF. It’s a long block west from 16th and Mission and the BART plazas, where houseless people have hung out for years, now constantly being chased away, in anticipation of the “Monster in the Mission” apartment project. This little neighborhood is the hub of techie culture with bars, scooters, and $7 a scoop ice cream.

On November 6, Manny Yekutiel opened his “cafe, bar, bookstore, and civic gathering space” on the Northeast corner of the intersection, 3092 16th St. Although not a non-profit, Manny solicited and got tens of thousands of dollars in donations through a kickstarter campaign. He also told Gay Shame that he got a reduced rent in the 3000 square foot space through the Mission Housing Development Corporation, headed by Sam Moss, because of his planned “community engagement.”

So now Manny is playing host to everyone from Alicia Garza (Black Lives Matter) to Barbara Kinney (Hilary Clinton photographer) to Janetta Johnson (TGI Justice).

To the Lucy Parsons Project, a radical black queer direct action group, this is Woke Washing. “We call for a community boycott of ‘Manny’s’… ‘Manny’s’ as a gentrifying wine-bar, cafe and fake ‘social justice’ space in the Mission District, will only accelerate the raising of rents and the displacement of Black, Latinx, disabled and trans/queer people in the Mission…”

“Additionally, the proprietor of Manny’s, Emmanuel Yekutiel, has unequivocally espoused racist, Zionist, pro-Israel ideals that we will not tolerate or accept in our community.” (see full statement this page).

LPP is joined by the Black and Brown Social Club, Gay Shame, and Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT!) in advocating a boycott of Manny’s. The groups note that in April, as israel attacked the Palestinian Great March for Return, Manny posted on Facebook his celebration of israel’s 70th anniversary of statehood as a response to antisemitism. In the 6 months of the protest, israel has killed at least 214 Palestinians and has wounded more than 18,000.

We have been asked, by people who stop to take our leaflets, and by political allies and friends, why we are targeting this particular gentrifying business, as compared to all the other chocolatiers, boutiques and hipster restaurants that occupy the north end of the Mission. It’s because it’s particularly appalling when the gentrifiers commodify our political movements and cultures, which they then filter, package and sell to not only the techies and would-be politicos, but to us. Manny’s appoints our leaders and spokespeople, those willing to be in the Manny’s picture, and provides them a platform. Manny’s portrays itself as an old-style café, with books, socially conscious food, and $20 a glass wine, while displacing the people who created Latinx, Black, trans, lesbian, gay, and queer culture here. The Mission used to be the home of Latinx trans/gay bars, and the last lesbian bar in SF. Now it’s the site of Manny’s wine bar.  Manny’s holds community events every Wednesday, so LPP has called for picketing and leafletting every Wednesday from 6:30 to 7:30. For more info see the Gay Shame SF facebook page.

Author: lagai

LAGAI-Queer Insurrection is one of the oldest radical queer liberation groups in the U.S. We publish UltraViolet, a more or less bimonthly newspaper, which is mailed free of charge to over 1500 people, including over 800 prisoners. Our website is www.lagai.org.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s