Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report - The current election cycle is, indeed, one for the history books. For the first time since the rebellions of the Sixties, we hardly hear the call for a Marshall-type plan to rebuild the cities - once the near-unanimous, unifying demand of virtually the entire spectrum of Black "leadership." Not that the demand has been made moot or passé by great achievements in rendering urban America more habitable to Blacks or more recent influxes of browns. The opposite is true: urban centers have become far more hostile environments to the non-affluent of all ethnicities. . .

In place of a massive public sector-led Marshall Plan to rehabilitate the cities for the benefit of the largely African American populations that inherited them by default through government-subsidized white flight, public policy now facilitates the Corporate Plan for the cities: Black removal.

If any handwriting-on-the-wall were needed to graphically illustrate the grand corporate scheme for the cities, it is written on the walls of the 70,000-plus unrehabilitated, empty homes of the scattered, mostly Black and poor classes of metropolitan New Orleans; in the rubble of countless demolished public housing projects across the nation, not one of which has ever been replaced unit-for-unit; and in the millions of affordable private dwellings that have been supplanted by habitats for well-to-do urban newcomers - a small fraction of whom are Black or brown. . .

With the ascension of Barack Obama, all Black agitation has been subordinated to his election, leaving African Americans as the only constituency that has presented no demands to the two corporate candidates. Black misleadership simply accepts what Obama feels comfortable in offering. His Denver acceptance speech shows Obama is prepared to give Blacks precisely what they have asked for: nothing. . .

Even as Hurricane Gustav bore down on New Orleans, Obama made only the most oblique reference to the 2005 catastrophe, with a swipe at "a government. . . that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes." . . . If Obama cannot commit to making the displaced residents of New Orleans whole - despite, in his opinion, their having been victimized by government "incompetence" - then he will never lift a finger to derail the slow-motion displacement of gentrification elsewhere in urban America.


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