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September 3, 2005

The Criminal Destruction of New Orleans

Join me in demanding that the federal government lead the effort to supply food, water, and shelter for the survivors of this disaster. I think it is disgusting that with all the billions of money wasted on pointless wars and "homeland security," for some reason Americans cannot act together via our government to fund the relief effort.

I'm also disturbed by all the white celebrities getting on tv to let us know that New Orleans is color blind. Sela Ward just made that statement on CNN. Apparently, she has not been watching CNN and cannot see how the disaster is disproportionately affecting poor, black people. Yes, there are still poor white people waiting to be evacuated from New Orleans and elsewhere. But they are not immediately met with suscipicion by their rescuers. The color of their skin will make it easier for them to rebuild their lives. If my fellow white Americans cannot admit that racism and classism are systemic problems in America, how will we ever dismantle it?

A good friend and sister WILPFer sent me the following two articles.

If you ain't got no money in America, you're on your own. People were told to go to the Superdome, but they have no food, no water there. And before they could get in, people had to stand in line for 4-5 hours in the rain because everybody was being searched one by one at the entrance.

I can understand the chaos that happened after the tsunami, because they had no warning, but here there was plenty of warning. In the three days before the hurricane hit, we knew it was coming and everyone could have been evacuated.

We have Amtrak here that could have carried everybody out of town. There were enough school buses that could have evacuated 20,000 people easily, but they just let them be flooded. My son watched 40 buses go underwater - they just wouldn't move them, afraid they'd be stolen.

People who could afford to leave were so afraid someone would steal what they own that they just let it all be flooded. They could have let a family without a vehicle borrow their extra car, but instead they left it behind to be destroyed.

There are gangs of white vigilantes near here riding around in pickup trucks, all of them armed, and any young Black they see who they figure doesn't belong in their community, they shoot him. I tell them, "Stop! You're going to start a riot."

from "'This is criminal': Malik Rahim reports from New Orleans," by Malik Rahim, a veteran of the Black Panther Party and recent Green Party candidate for the New Orleans City Council; posted on San Francisco Bay View
As for the rescue operation, the free-marketeers like to say that relief to the more unfortunate among us should be left to private charity. It was a favorite preachment of President Ronald Reagan that "private charity can do the job." And for the first few days that indeed seemed to be the policy with the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina.

The federal government was nowhere in sight but the Red Cross went into action. Its message: "Don't send food or blankets; send money." Meanwhile Pat Robertson and the Christian Broadcasting Network---taking a moment off from God's work of pushing John Roberts nomination to the Supreme Court---called for donations and announced "Operation Blessing" which consisted of a highly-publicized but totally inadequate shipment of canned goods and bibles.

By Day Three even the myopic media began to realize the immense failure of the rescue operation. People were dying because relief had not arrived. The authorities seemed more concerned with the looting than with rescuing people. It was property before people, just like the free marketeers always want.

from "How the Free Market Killed New Orleans," by Michael Parenti on Znet Commentary

Posted by cj at September 3, 2005 7:55 PM


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