What a woman calling the cops on an 8 year old girl says about our cities and our politics
By Ben Udashen
As urban growth becomes more and more concentrated to particular cities, the gentrification rate has made urban neighborhoods the forefront of class war. Instead of feeling the drought of oppressive indifference from mainstream political group, neighborhoods across the country are feeling overwhelmed with a kind of capital rush that leads towards more expensive housing, unaffordable amenities and cultural conflict driven by the bourgeois value of property over people.
This weekend, a video was released that has christened a new paragon of these bourgeois gentrifier values. Her name is Alison Ettel, forever now known as “Permit Patty”, an upper-middle class gentrifier par excellence, with her own cannabis dog treat company, previous work in equity trading, and, of course, a propensity towards calling the cops. The bourgeois impulse to ask “Can I Speak To Your Manager” is ever present apparently, even towards an 8 year old girl on a hot summer day.
In the video, Patty is shown on her phone, speaking to a 911 operator, asking if the 8 year old girl on the street selling 2 dollar bottles of water “had a permit.” When the shooter of the video lets her know she is being filmed, Patty attempted an escape, scurrying towards a low brick column in an attempt to hide. No, really, watch:
Read the story: https://bayareane.ws/2tyOBfg A video similar to the one featuring so called BBQ Becky at Lake Merritt went viral Saturday. It shows a woman calling police on an 8-year-old girl in San Francisco because she was selling water outside on a hot day. The incident sparked the hashtag #PermitPatty.
The video is shocking, but not for its graphic violence, as we are too used to seeing the authoritarian state commit violence against our black and brown comrades. Rather, the video is shocking for its combination of pettiness and indiscriminate cruelty. All the while, Patty runs a grey market business selling weed to dogs. Out of risk of sounding out of my depth, she is the absolute Becky, building a business on helping rich people’s dogs get stoned while generations of the modern underclass rots in jail under the war on drugs for selling the same drugs.
This is not to say she should get punished for selling weed to dogs. Instead of ramping up the powers of the carceral state, that there should be grand clemency for non-violent drug offenders and the communities most ravaged by the war on drugs should get first dibs on running dispensaries and growing businesses. This should include extremely low interest loans to get the businesses running. This is a way to insure that our current social inequalities do not become reproduced ad infinitum as pot becomes legalized.
In an age of local news stories of celebrating how a little brother raised 7000 dollars to pay for his older sister’s anti-psychotic meds (I’m exaggerating, but only slightly), this kind of kid capitalist do-gooderism has been celebrated and portrayed in mainstream children’s entertainment. It was a hot day and a little kid was being a little capitalist like the TV said you can be in these situations. As a small business owner who sells CBD treats to dogs (seriously, I cannot stress this enough), she should be thrilled to see a little girl getting out there and price gouging like any good business owner. At least this is what I would assume from her presentations at conferences for women’s small businesses. Color me surprised!
In a broad sense, the police really are the assistant regional managers of American cities, so of course Patty will call them up the second she is made uncomfortable. This is why police reform is such a crucial issue for the growing left political coalition. As the lifestyle of the liberal bourgeois reforms around a more urban, less suburban lifestyle, the power dynamics that center around property and race will just continue to manifest in different ways, in ways more violent and more absurd than before. People like Patty will continue to use their status to selectively enforce law as a means of social control.
Patty, you are currently embarrassed and will most definitely be upset by all this, but you know what? You’re gonna be fine. The question is, how are people like Patty are violently changing communities and neighborhoods, not just by their lackeys in the police, but by their political impact as well. Without a strong populist left pushing against them, they will just become another aristocracy, reinforcing the systems of power that put them at top in the first place.
Ben Udashen is a writer, podcaster, and childcare worker living in Seattle, WA. You can find his podcast and writing at UnpopularFront.com