Saturday, January 5, 2008
The Ongoing Struggle for Housing in New Orleans is Class Warfare
How does this affect you and I? Well... These citizens of the United States have been abused by their government (and therefore you and I who allow such governance to continue) in such an ugly way. Many people lost their homes when Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005, and were offered little to no assistance by any levels of government. In fact, the government has practiced a pattern of working against them, so now there are MANY former residents of New Orleans left homeless in other towns, and many who are trying to get the homes that they rightfully own in New Orleans, but are being fought by the government, who serve the interests of corporate developers and those who wish to gentrify. WHAT IS THEIR METHOD OF RECOURSE? Apparently, nothing short of a riot, because they are not being listened to. Tearing down this low-income housing is only going to increase the number of homeless people. I have talked to some of them in Oakland.
They are being systematically denied access to the basic necessities of life, when housing, food, and clothing CAN be made available without much difficulty (other than proving one could make a PROFIT by doing so). To me, this SCREAMS of class warfare, and is proof-positive evidence that endemic institutionalized racism is thriving in America today. Were it me who was abused like this, without voice in my city hall, without access to my elected representatives, I would be hard-pressed not to want to resort to just about anything, including violence, to be heard. Unfortunately, committing said violence can get one tossed in jail or prison.
Our penitentiaries are already overcrowded with poor people who weren't able to get up to the the bottom rung of the ladder. Our penitentiaries are already overcrowded with young black men who got busted for possessing some amount of marijuana, in our nation's War on Drugs, which is actually a class war, and a war of ideologies. Arresting people in the United States and locking them up is the best method of social control, rather than the more overt military and paramilitary methods our government uses to oppress people in other countries.
How can this be a good thing? It's not. America, when will your people have the freedom you claim they have? Ah, but I digress.
What needs to happen is for people to start talking, and shouting, in public places, demanding to be heard. Start conversations at the bus stop. Make your voices heard in churches. The poor people left to the streets (AND those who care about them) need to get vocal. If your ministers have not been addressing these human-rights issues, interrupt your church service, so people know that it's NOT business-as-usual here in America. God would want you talking.
America (the USA) is not going to get better UNLESS we the people make it better. Don't expect your elite leaders in the white house, the senate, and the supreme court to do it. They've had an opportunity to do so, and at best, they pay it lip service. At worst, they baldly perform acts of injustice and find ways to frame them as if they're just.
You judge a culture by how it treats its poor! The culture is made up of the people, not of the elite in government and in the media. The media may try to portray it a certain way, but that's only because they have the megaphone.
Which brings me to another very important point: What happens when the media all (under)reports something in one way, but the people begin to understand that the truth is something else? Because we in America do not have any method in the mass media* to be critical of the news as (un/under)reported, the raw power of the TV feed creates its own reality that cannot by publicly contested! This is what the Bush Administration folks are talking about when they deride people for being in "the reality-based community." With the power to speak comes the power to shape people's understanding of what is happening, what has been happening, and what can happen. Get your churches talking.
lyrics: "I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes..." - Love Actually
colors: Black and White and Read all over.
mood: Tired of being mad at America. Tired of being part of the problem. Ready to be part of the solution.
chant/prayer/mantra: Let the people hear the people, and may restorative justice rule the day!
agape to all,
*The blogosphere and the indymedia.org's on the Internet hardly count, because they don't hold a candle to CNN, MSNBC, etc, and because bandwidth costs money in a way that the UHF/VHF spectrum handed out by the FCC to the major media companies does not.