Sunday, July 01, 2007


From CounterPunch:

How to Destroy an African American City in 33 Steps

Step Eleven. Insist the President suspend federal laws requiring living wages and affirmative action for contractors working on the disaster. While local workers are still displaced, import white workers from outside the city for the high-paying jobs like crane operators and bulldozers. Import Latino workers from outside the city for the low-paying dangerous jobs. Make sure to have elected officials, black and white, blame job problems on the lowest wage immigrant workers. This will create divisions between black and brown workers that can be exploited by those at the top. Because many of the brown workers do not have legal papers, those at the top will not have to worry about paying decent wages, providing health insurance, following safety laws, unemployment compensation, workers compensation, or union organizing. They become essentially disposable workers--use them, then lose them.


Step Fourteen. When the big money is given out, make sure it is all directed to homeowners and not to renters. This is particularly helpful in a town like New Orleans that was majority African-American and majority renter. Then, after you have excluded renters, mess the program for the homeowners up so that they must wait for years to get money to fix their homes.


Step Twenty Six. Create and maintain an environment where black on black crime will flourish. As long as you can keep parents out of town, keep the schools hostile to kids without parents, keep public healthcare closed, make only low-paying jobs available, not fund social workers or prosecutors or public defenders or police, and keep chaos the norm, young black men will certainly kill other young black men. To increase the visibility of the crime problem, bring in the National Guard in fatigues to patrol the streets in their camouflage hummers.


Step Thirty Two. Refuse to talk about or look seriously at race. Condemn anyone who dares to challenge the racism of what is going on--accuse them of "playing the race card" or say they are paranoid. Criticize people who challenge the exclusion of African-Americans as people who "just want to go back to the bad old days." Repeat the message that you want something better for everyone. Use African American spokespersons where possible.

Click here for the rest.

So yesterday I said that New Orleans' massive crime wave is the result of generational poverty mixed with local corruption and the city's Katrina-savaged economy. That's only partially true. The above excerpted essay, written by a law professor from the Big Easy's Loyola University, makes it achingly clear that the way the White House has handled "reconstruction" organization and money has made this massive uptick in the murder rate utterly inevitable. No jobs for poor New Orleanians, even though the jobs exist. No housing for poor New Orleanians, even though both housing and money to create new housing exists. No schools for poor New Orleanians, even though schools, in the form of the right-wing's pet education "theory," charter schools, exist. No health care for poor New Orleanians, even though the money exists to fund that health care. No funding for social workers, cops, and courts, even though the money exists to do it!!! We all sat and watched in horror for nearly a week after Katrina hit New Orleans while the federal government did nothing. Since then, the feds have spent millions, but continue to do nothing.

If Bush were doing the right thing, directing money where it needs to go, rather than to cronies executing crackpot conservative ideas, the streets of the Crescent City would be much safer, and things would be moving toward a better situation than the one that existed before the hurricane. Instead, lots of innocent people are dead, and many more are going to be killed.

There's a lot of anger in New Orleans right now directed at local authorities. Even if there were no such thing as old fashioned Louisiana corruption, under these White House imposed "reconstruction" conditions, I'm not sure the local authorities could do anything to help.