[sorry for my French to English translation]
On last March 6th was launched the « J’aime mon Village » campaign (http://www.jaimemonvillage.org). At the time, we can only agree to such a slogan even if the choice of the singular possessive pronoun emphasizes the individualistic character of the report to the community: more than « My Village » is « our village » I like because prior to that of residents, merchants, users and tourists, it is first that of all Montrealers … In short, a public space!
Reading the various press articles covering the subject, my criticism has eventually take over the popularity of the first, the reason more than emotion, having myself been a victim of homophobia and physical violence. And then I wondered if I should write an article, afraid of angering and accused of being counter-productive, even illegitimate. But since I’m not a shy person at all, and I’m downright radical and as legitimate as anyone – certainly no more or no less than the instigators of this campaign – I have decided to write, because I think the political issue far too important to let this slow and silent glide of a fixed part of our community to the right of Western ideological continuum is observed for several months or even years. For it is not a moral community we need, let alone a consumer community, but a community of solidarity, the very one who has forged – just against the Judeo-Christian heterosexist moralism – the history of LGBTIQ communities, through the sexual revolution and the AIDS crisis. Explanations.
Firstly, the proposal begins badly, since the initiative is justified by the fact that « in recent months much has been heard about the issues of homelessness, poly-substance abuse, antisocial behaviors and aggressions ». To say this without any contextualization is first catchy little ethics of journalistic point of view, and especially dangerous politically because it insinuates that there is a systematic causal link between these four social realities (the good drug users on one side, warmed in the bathhouse with prices prohibitive, and the bad drug addicts on the other side, in the street). Thus, all right-wing excesses are allowed and especially justified. As a European, who has experienced these problems of social exclusion manipulation for political and economic, I warn you: the problem is much more complex, responses are diverse and to adapat, and Journalists should be more careful – they certainly have a duty to inform, but then informed and nuanced.
Then we are told that this initiative follows the campaign of denunciation to some, others say testimony, the incidents taking place in the Village and set up last summer. Even though no assessment has been conducted, it starts again the process with the PDQ 22! And for that, it uses « four public figures, highly regarded in the gay community. » But how representative survey confirms that these same people are estimated or even estimable? They are all from the same generation, all white, artists and / or merchants (and certainly never used drugs, lol). In terms of community representation we can do better…
But let us, because there is worse. Ghislain Rousseau – whose everyone will be understood that I do not share political beliefs or even the populist methods consisting in demanding more repression – shamelessly says: « We run this and it is unclear how far this can succeed. […] … Then we’ll see. » I do not know whether to laugh or get angry, but it is at the heart of the problem: the ease with which potential negative consequences in terms of stigmatization, segregation and exclusion of the most vulnerable of our villagers are outrightly ignored! Sex workers, drug addicts, trans people, the homeless, young transferred by their homophobic families, they don’t give a fuck! The expertise of community organizations is despised, the impact on their vital work ignored. This is absolutely outrageous! More than amateurism, it is blind activism. Hopefully it does not become deaf.
In fact, under the guise of « citizenship », the marketing seems to be rather disguised social control by a few individuals that describe themselves as representative. This is for sure a denial of democratic. Finally in this initiative unrepresentative and unprofessional, it seeks only suppress the symptoms (homelessness, poly-substance abuse, antisocial behavior, aggression), without addressing the deep causes, structural, without tackling the root causes of these (homophobia , racism, poverty, criminalization of sex work and drugs, financial disengagement of the state and municipality with community groups, etc..). Indeed, apart from the use of SPVM, no support to community groups and their expertise in homelessness, sex work or drug abuse; no support for the decriminalization of sex work or drugs; no support the creation of services supervised injection showed that yet, where there are experienced, their effectiveness in health (down infections HIV / Hepatitis, increased cycles of rehab), lethal (lower number of overdose) and safety (reduced crime). Go to the root causes, this is radical, otherwise radical claim is just a glorified social or artistic manipulation is not fooling anyone, which makes the Conservatives’ game and fill the new prisons of Mr. Harper in order to better empty our wallets …
In short, this « citizen » initiative is at level zero of politics and community. For effective analysis, it looks more like a social marketing campaign to sustain the economic health of the Village and its merchants – coincidentally funded by the SDC du Village – by exploiting all the tranquility of the residents. But I dare not believe that this would be a simplistic class struggle by moral entrepreneurs all immaculately white and bourgeois and mercantile concerns with a very monolithic design of the community. No, I fantasize, it is simply gentrification disguised as a fight against homophobia on the part of our « representatives » who have apparently forgotten about their histories and our diversities … Yuck.