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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

March 1, 2010

ATLANTA: FROM BLACK MECCA TO BLACK MISLEADERSHIP

Bruce A, Dixon, Black Agenda Report - The [Atlanta] African American leadership class that gave us Black Mecca has no answers to multiple crises. Their memories are too short and selective to recall that the last time a federal government program lifted millions of Americans out of poverty at a stroke was the 1960s adoption of Medicare. Our black political elite are not just unable to articulate even the foggiest vision of how urban neighborhoods can be developed for the people who currently live in them, or how jobs can be created, how public education can work, or poverty alleviated, they shrink even from public discussion of such matters because these are dreams they gave up long ago. Our black business and political leaders won't discuss black mass incarceration as the pervasive and pernicious social policy it is. Instead they join with the white elite who depict it as the outcome of individual choices, or of differential educational outcomes arising from a "school to prison pipeline" or similar nonsense.

After riding high for a generation they are unable to come up with any model for urban economic development aside from moving poorer residents out and moving richer ones in. Some of their signature projects, like the Atlanta Belt-Line, the 1996 Olympics, and the policies of the Atlanta Housing Authority, have been based around or occurred in the context of destabilization and dispersal of lower-income black neighborhoods, including Atlanta's housing projects. Like the white elite, our black leaders across the nation do not value stable black neighborhoods if the people in them have low incomes. Wherever there's a dollar to be made flipping a neighborhood, they have joined the white establishment in portraying such places as hopeless sinkholes of despair and violence for which the best medicine is gentrification.


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