|Where the heart is.
||[Wednesday, Jun. 25th, 2008|10:30 pm]
The richest girl in town.
|[||current mental state
The housing projects in New Orleans have been emptied of their inhabitants. Even those that rest on higher ground and were not flooded or significantly damaged during Hurricane Katrina are empty. When the people who lived in them were evacuated, they were locked and no one allowed to return to their homes. They are now going to be destroyed.
Carnival Cruise Lines housed some of those displaced by Katrina on three of its cruise ships. The company then charged for the cost of those rooms as well as for the revenue it lost on booze and gambling. The total cost is $250,000,000. This works out to be over $1,200 per person per week. The normal cost per person for a week-long cruise is $599.
Everyone talks about how the skyline of New York City changed after the World Trade Center towers fell. Chicago's skyline has changed, too, though--Cabrini Green, Robert Taylor Homes, so many homes are gone. The destruction of public housing is a different kind of terrorism.
My personal reflections on the March on the Mayors last Friday were included in the Right to the City dispatch:
It is a strange experience to be back in Miami with Right to the City. Having lived in five of the regions represented here and calling three of them home--I was born in Chicago and grew up there and in Miami Beach as well as Oakland, which is where I currently live--to be back here in South Florida in this context is disorienting and inspiring. My memories of this place and its corrupt government officials, its lack of racial and ethnic solidarity, and its economic disparities are butting up against a great deal of respect and pride in the movement I see here, a national movement of which I am glad to be a part.
The culmination of this experience came yesterday as we marched from Overtown to the InterContinental Hotel, where the Conference of US Mayors is being held. For the first time ever, I walked through these streets with a feeling of ownership. Our demands were clear--accountability to the masses who built these cities and keep them running. The rain didn't stop us--if anything, it felt as though the sky joined us in solidarity, shedding tears for the dead and displaced in New Orleans.
The march reflected who we are, what our communities are - loud, joyous, and powerful.
"The destruction of public housing is a different kind of terrorism."
Beautiful words. I'm proud of your hard work.
Thanks, but I didn't do anything. It was mostly just a matter of listening--the housing sitch here is bad, but it's definitely worse elsewhere. I didn't realize how much worse until last week.
ps. We should talk.
used to work not that fara way from the skeletal remains of cabrini green. by the time we had moved, gentrification was squeezing in on all sides on what little remained - and as we walked north from her office building, you could see that, even without walls, there were still people living in a building that had no side, just trying to make it work somehow.
it was heartbreaking - watching someone hanging up their clothes to dry. and right on the other side of the street, where another development had stood? a sign promising future condos, starting at a ridiculously high price.
Chicago is the latest city to join the Right to the City Alliance. (I'm surprised it took this long.) I spoke to a lot of folks there who seriously wake up everyday to a new crane. It's incredible. I feel like I should go visit, but frankly I'm scared to see what it looks like now. Miami was enough of a trip--there they've razed a public housing development of 850 units (displacing several thousand people) and built nothing in its place, but the center of the city is now full of half-finished condo towers that no one can afford to live in.
Eh, just witnessing a lot of awesome.
2008-06-26 06:34 pm (UTC)
I assure you that you don't want to live in a world where people get to misuse the word "terrorism" the way you just did.
we already live i a world where terrorism is misused all the time. no one ever speaks about state terrorism. The assault on low-income black folks can certainly be categorized as such.
2008-06-27 12:26 am (UTC)
we already live i a world where terrorism is misused all the time.
That makes it ok then?
no one ever speaks about state terrorism. The assault on low-income black folks can certainly be categorized as such.
Oh, bullshit. Words mean things. Terrorism is the use of random acts of mass murder to send a message to a larger audience. It doesn't mean "icky" or "things I don't agree with." Regardless of how bad they are, "economic policies I oppose" and "zoning codes I oppose" are not terrorism.
But I'm trying to cut down on the amount of time I spend arguing with idiots on the internet, so feel free to go ahead and have the last word.
First of all, Jamie: Google "poetic license."
Got it? Okay, good.
Second of all: This one snippet from my notes from last week doesn't discuss the many, many ways in which terrorism is
an appropriate term to use when discussing what is happening with public housing in many cities right now. For one example, google "trespassing laws public housing." For another, see also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVFofiIZzfA&feature=related
Perhaps I'll get around to writing that diatribe/dissertation/report-back at some point. In the meantime, you might want to reserve some of your self-righteous indignation for shit that matters a lot more than my fucking blog.
according to webster terrorism is: the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.
Now not to get into a semantical arguement here. My arguement is that the state uses terrorism against certain populations in ordert o maintain control. Terrorism isn't the only means of control, there is also the influence ideas, which is usually effective when those ideas are hegemonic.
My argument is that the mass destruction of public housing, the mass displacement of communities that rips apart social networks that support survival and the resulting emotional, psychological, and spiritual distress is terrorism.
Also terrorism is not random by any means. Random acts of murder or mass murder are sociopathic. Terrorism is targeted. The targets of terrorism may seem random but they are chosen in order to coerce and control other populations.
The World Trade center was not a random target of terrorism, neither is the destruction of public housing inhabited by a majority African - American population, neither was the enslaved African who was whipped in front of all the other enslaved Africans. A key factor of terrorism is that it is not random. But that fear of random is what makes terrorism so powerful, it is the disempowerment of populations through fear in order to coerce and control.
Terrorism can be used by anti-state forces and it can be employed by state and corporate forces. Some violence is terrorism and some violence is not. Some icky things are terrorism and some are not.