Wednesday, September 7

US gears up for largest resettlement in US history

That is if you don’t count the tragic history of Native Americans who were forced off their traditional lands (including the infamous Trail of Tears tragedy and the Indian Removal Act).

Today’s news is littered with stories of how the evacuees of New Orleans will create the largest US black resettlement since the Great Migration of poor Southern blacks heading North for better job prospects, a migration that spanned from 1910 to 1970. Seems like a positive spin to a very negative situation. The predominantly poor black residents of New Orleans didn’t choose to leave their homes for better opportunities – a catastrophic hurricane devastated their communities and left their future in the hands of those who cared too little to make necessary repairs to the levees.

This new wave of “migration” is actually forced resettlement with the victims of Hurricane Katrina being bussed to such temporary holding pens as the Houston Astrodome by FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. Plans are underfoot to figure out what to do next with the evacuees but rest assured, people like Barbara Bush see a silver lining:

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this [she chuckled slightly]--this is working very well for them."

Meanwhile, suburban evacuees have been returning to examine the extent of damage to their homes. No talk of resettlement for these folks who are probably not black, and most certainly not poor. According to one such suburban resident, "We're going to rebuild it. You know we're going to come back."

By contrast, survivors who managed to ride out the storm and consequential chaos, thanks to the delayed rescue and relief efforts as coordinated by federal agencies, are insisting on staying put in their central New Orleans homes.

"There is absolutely no reason to stay here. There are no jobs. There are no homes to go to. No hotels to go to and there is absolutely nothing here," New Orleans Deputy Police Chief Warren Riley told a news conference.

For those who chose to stay in central New Orleans rather than join their poor black neighbours who have to resettle and find new jobs, there will be no more goodwill and compassion. According to a representative of a search-and-rescue team tasked with finding these survivors and persuading them to leave, “no relief materials, such as food and water, would be provided for these people”.

Rebuild or resettle? I sure know what I would choose.

17 Comments:

At 7:22 PM, Blogger Rosa Benito said...

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At 7:22 PM, Blogger melloman said...

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At 7:29 PM, Blogger Emily Santiago said...

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At 7:37 PM, Blogger Credit Profits said...

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At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you, Laine. This administration seems to have no understanding, no compassion -- except for corporations & its wealthy citizens. I wouldn't put anything past them.

I feel deeply for those who have suffered such misery & will continue to suffer in so many ways.

 
At 9:55 PM, Blogger Laine Lowe said...

Hate to say it, but it does seem like the reality of poor people living in the "third world" very much exists in the USofA. How anyone poor could continue to support the status quo system that is out to destroy them is mind boggling.

 
At 1:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arrived --thanx Cristina --- agreed, Tonu

 
At 1:23 PM, Anonymous trina said...

Great summation of what is happening, Laine ~ it is now being reported that those who have survived and are self-sufficient, are being forcibly removed by the military.

Coming to a city near you, compliments of the Neocons, unless there is a huge expression of outrage by the American people.

What's interesting is, the usually vocal, Second Amendment advocates, are remarkably silent as they watch the scenario they so feared for so long, the government sending in troops to disarm its citizens and move them out of their homes, turning them into 'nanny state wards'!!

The world is upside down, it seems. I wonder when we'll hear from the NRA, if ever? Have they decided to lay down their arms at the first sign of the government's awesome power?

Looks like it!

 
At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

great blog!!!:O)
the one thing that the news keeps overriding and ignoring, is the fact that it wasn't the hurricane that did a lot of this damage....it was the levees that broke and flooded the place.
even the families that are holding their own there in their semi submerged homes are saying that they could have made it through this hurricane, but the levees that broke and provided the flooding was the straw that broke the camel's back.
they are there in the midst of everything. i believe what they're saying to be the truth. and why did the levees break? because of bush taking away money to upgrade them.
like you posted, it's the corporate greed and our government's will to feed them. peace, bunkie.
10:51 AM

 
At 8:27 PM, Blogger Laine Lowe said...

Very good points Trina and Bunkie.

 
At 5:54 PM, Blogger Arby said...

Hmm. Personally, I think it's a mistake for New Orleans to be re-built. I don't know. If the elite are determined to rebuild the French Quarter (Is that the high ground?), then What can be done about that? The poor are not going to get a piece of that. How can it happen? What's realistic? Putting aside the sins of the rich, You can't force them (non government rich) to create something for others on their own time and dime.

But I did like Naomi Klein's thoughts on the subject, as reported here.

But, The poor in New Orleans were already screwed. They needed, and still need, assistance and our attention. Let the rich do what they want, although they should always be made to pay for their crimes and it goes with saying that when they have what they have at the expense of the poor, that's a crime. But, Should we encourage the poor to fantasize about what they can't have?

I was once in a rooming house where the drunks and low lifes hated me so bad they couldn't tolerate my presence. One day, The fellow who ran the place told me bluntly I was leaving. I said 'No I'm not'. He just repeated himself, at one point telling me that all I wanted to do was save the world. I can't imagine why he said that, since he didn't know me. It occurs to me that he probably entered my room when I wasn't around and my reading material and writing gave him that bad impression of me. I took my glasses off and told him again, 'No I'm not'.

You know what? It ocurred to me that I was playing a losing game. Why did I want to stay in a hell hole where my close neighbors were rabid animals? He was right. I was leaving. However, I never had any assistance in coming or going.

Hopefully, The poor survivors get plenty of assistance in adjusting, not to a potentially deadly future, but to a new and uncertain future where there isn't a clear and present danger.

Which isn't to say that there are no decent well off folks who survived the New Orleans disaster. I'm sure there were a few.

Arby

 
At 9:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well the French Quarter doesn't need to be rebuilt - it was on relatively high ground. It suffered some damage that should not be so much to repair. But the issue is the surroundimg slums and some of the business district.

The levee system needs some crucial rethinking to allow for the rebuilding of the barrier islands and swamps to the south and east of NO to recreate the buffer that saved them in the past.

It is the enlargement of Pnchartran that has caused so much of the impending trouble and future problems.

Great to hear from Tuno and Ed and Bunkie

Jwilson

 
At 10:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A broader issue is the one that pits the the poor against the wealthy.

We are rapidly building a society that is inviting the right to cry Marxism when listening to the complaints and proposed solutions of the poor and progressives that view these inequities.

My view is that we are creating a homegrown version of Marxizm in this country brought on by the greed of the wealthy class and the subjegation of the poor and wroking class folk - who now have lost their jobs to companies moving overseas to maintain stock margins - lost healthcare and benefits in the process.

Capitalism is failing AGAIN in this country and we will need another FDR to SAVE capitalism from itself unless they begin to read WHY MARX came into prominence in the first place.

We are beginning to lose all restaints to the crony/capitalism that at one time would dissallow the likes of Ken Lay and Michael Isner.. Now - we are off to the races again. Most of the valuable American culture has come from the poor. Only products, tools, machinery and drugs have come from the industrial class.

That stuff is good - but can't replace our culture.

 
At 11:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another addendum: My apologies for no getting this together in one posting.... but

New Orleans, it seems to me in the time I've spent there, is something altogether different. The culture is ot one of attempting to better itself - but of enjoying itself!

There are more folk on assistance of one form or other in that community than any other per capita in the US.

The outfall is poverty - and a great deal of creative time. Creative time for crime and coruption = but also art and music and food and laughter.

The term "The Big Easy" was hard one.. and is unique to the culture.

Or either with it or not... You might be too uptight for it.. I know I am.... but that doesn't prevent me from enjoying the culture emmensly when I visit. It take a certain folk to make it work and live there... God bless them --- small price to pay.

Must everything is culture be effcient?

 
At 1:29 AM, Blogger Laine Lowe said...

Efficiency is an over-used and narrowly defined term.

Culture is about imagination, hope and connectivity. The fact that culture keeps communities together is an example of efficiency if you abandon an economic definition of the word.

 
At 2:27 AM, Blogger aa said...

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