The People of the Dome
By Mitchel Cohen
Les Evenchick, an independent Green who lives
in the French Quarter of New Orleans in a 3-story walkup,
reports that 90 percent of the so-called looters are simply
grabbing water, food, diapers and medicines, because the federal
and state officials have refused to provide these basic
Les says that “gifts only because of the looters that
non-looters—old people, sick people, small children—are
able to survive.”
Those people who stole televisions and large non-emergency items
have been SELLING THEM, Les reports (having witnessed several of
these "exchanges") so that they could get enough money
together to leave the area.
Think about it:
—People were told to leave, but all the bus stations had closed
down the night before and the personnel sent packing.
—Many people couldn't afford tickets anyway.
—Many people are stranded, and others are refusing to leave
their homes, pets, etc. They don't have cars.
You want people to stop looting? Provide the means for them to
eat, and to leave the area.
Some tourists in the Monteleone Hotel paid $25,000 for 10 buses.
The buses were sent (I guess there were many buses available, if
you paid the price!) but the military confiscated them to use
NOT for transporting people in the Dome but for the military.
The tourists were not allowed to leave. Instead, the military
ordered the tourists to the now-infamous Convention Center.
HOW SIMPLE it would have been for the State and/or US government
to have provided buses for people BEFORE the hurricane hit, and
throughout this week. Even evacuating 100,000 people trapped
there—that's 3,000 buses, less than come into Washington D.C.
for some of the giant antiwar demonstrations there. Even at
$2,500 a pop —highway robbery—that would only be a total of
$7.5 million for transporting all of those who did not have the
means to leave.
Instead, look at the human and economic cost of not doing that!
So why didn't they do that?
On Wednesday a number of Greens tried to bring a large amount of
water to the SuperDome. They were prevented from doing so, as
have many others. Why have food and water been BLOCKED from
reaching tens of thousands of poor people?
On Thursday, the government used the excuse that there were some
very scattered gunshots (two or three instances only)—around
1/50th of the number of gunshots that occur in New York City on
an average day—to shut down voluntary rescue operations and
to scrounge for 5,000 National Guard troops fully armed, with
"shoot to kill" orders—at a huge economic cost.
They even refused to allow voluntary workers who had rescued
over 1,000 people in boats over the previous days to continue on
Thursday, using the several gunshots (and who knows WHO shot off
those rounds?) to say "It's too dangerous." The
volunteers didn't think the gunshots were dangerous to them and
wanted to continue their rescue operations and had to be
"convinced" at gunpoint to "cease and
There is something sinister going down—it's
not just incompetence or negligence.
How could FEMA and Homeland Security not have something so basic
as bottled drinking water in the SuperDome, which was long a
part of the hurricane plan? One police officer in charge of his
120-person unit said yesterday that his squad was provided with
only 70 small bottles of water.
Two years ago, New Orleans residents—the
only area in the entire state that voted in huge numbers against
the candidacy of George Bush—also
fought off attempts to privatize the drinking water supply.
There have also been major battles to block Shell Oil's attempt
to build a Liquid Natural Gas facility, and to prevent the
teardown of public housing (which failed), with the Mayor lining
up in the latter two issues on the side of the oil companies and
One of the first acts of Governor Kathleen Blanco (a Democrat,
by the way) during this crisis was to TURN OFF the drinking
water, to force people to evacuate. There was no health reason
to turn it off, as the water is drawn into a separate system
from the Mississippi River, not the polluted lake, and purified
through self-powered purification plants separate from the main
electric grid. If necessary, people could have been told to boil
the municipal natural gas used in stoves was still functioning
properly as of Thursday night!
There are thousands of New Orleans residents who are refusing to
evacuate because they don't want to leave their pets, their
homes, or who have no money to do so nor place to go. The
government—which COULD HAVE and SHOULD HAVE provided water
and food to residents of New Orleans—has NOT done so
INTENTIONALLY to force people to evacuate by starving them out.
This is a crime of the gravest sort.
We need to understand that the capability has been there from
the start to DRIVE water and food right up to the convention
center, as those roads have been clear -- it's how the National
Guard drove into the city.
Let me say this again: The government is intentionally not
allowing food or water in.
This is for real.
MSNBC interviewed dozens of people who had gotten out. Every
single one of them was WHITE.
The people who are poor (primarily Black but many poor Whites as
well) are finally being allowed to leave the horrendous
conditions in the SuperDome; many are being bussed to the
AstroDome in Houston.
Call them "People of the Dome."
If people resist the National Guard coming to remove them
against their will, will New Orleans become known as the first
battle in the new American revolution?
Mitchel Cohen / Brooklyn Greens / Green Party of NY, and
co-editor of G, the newspaper of the NY State Greens. Mitchel Cohen / 2652 Cropsey Avenue, #7H / Brooklyn, NY 11214 /
(718) 449-0037 or (718) 499-3497
posted 4 September 2005
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Salvage the Bones
A Novel by Jesmyn Ward
On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—
* * * * *
The New Jim Crow
Mass Incarceration in the Age of
By Michele Alexander
Contrary to the
rosy picture of race embodied in Barack
Obama's political success and Oprah
Winfrey's financial success, legal
scholar Alexander argues vigorously and
persuasively that [w]e have not ended
racial caste in America; we have merely
redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial
segregation has been replaced by mass
incarceration as a system of social
control (More African Americans are
under correctional control today... than
were enslaved in 1850). Alexander
reviews American racial history from the
colonies to the Clinton administration,
delineating its transformation into the
war on drugs. She offers an acute
analysis of the effect of this mass
incarceration upon former inmates who
will be discriminated against, legally,
for the rest of their lives, denied
employment, housing, education, and
public benefits. Most provocatively, she
reveals how both the move toward
colorblindness and affirmative action
may blur our vision of injustice: most
Americans know and don't know the truth
about mass incarceration—but her
carefully researched, deeply engaging,
and thoroughly readable book should
* * * * *
The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
* * *
Ancient African Nations
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Negro Digest /
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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
Only a Pawn in Their Game
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for
George Jackson /
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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
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