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(en) US, Baltimore, Wirlwind of Nemesis Collective on New Orle4anse +

Date Mon, 26 Dec 2005 19:08:20 +0200

> Page 1 French Quarter Struggles With Crisis Residents Defy Evacuation Begin Rebuilding
By David, 09/09/05 "I've got no time for talking. I've got to keep on walking.
N. O. is my home" --- - Walkin' To New Orleans
New Orleans-September 9, 2005- the destruction laid upon New Orleans and the
surrounding region has been devastating. Many sections of the city continue
to be submerged in toxic waters. Countless streets are impassable due to debris and
flooding. The military has begun house-to-house searches hoping to find survivors,
but are mostly finding otherwise. It is estimated that thousands
are dead. Corpses dwell in the putrid floodwaters, and in the ruined
homes in which they once lived. Electricity is still out.

New Orleans resident Mike Powls, 46, sits and has a drink in
Molly's, one of the two bars open in the French Quarter. When
asked about the time immediately following the hurricane, Mike
says, "the first week after Katrina, for all practical purposes,
capital property relations disappeared in New Orleans."
The breakdown in the established order was compounded by a
four to six day lull between Katrina and the arrival of federal
aid. For some communities, especially the low lying ones, this
spelled absolute disaster. For neighborhoods that were fortunate
enough to escape flooding, there was still the desperate need to
find drinking water and food.
In the French Quarter, which had no water damage, people
acted fast. Within 48 hours, residents formed ad hoc commu-
nity centers and created new organizations to try and address
their acute needs.
Today it is estimated by neighborhood leaders that 200-300
people remain in the quarter. Like other parts of the region,
living conditions are bad, but they are getting by in part because
of the unity demonstrated by these residents.

Public Houses
Two community centers have risen out of this storm. Both are
old wooden pubs. One is Molly's at The Market on Decatur
Street; the other is Johnny White's on Bourbon Street. The
former is open every day from 11am-6pm, and serves as a place
for people to get together to exchange knowledge and resources.
The latter does this too, but has evolved into a kind of shelter/
supply depot/first aid station.
"We are the community center. It started out as just a bar and
then people started bringing food here. People started bringing
clothes and water. Suddenly, it became a soup kitchen and a
homeless center," said Johnny White's bartender Joe Bellamy, a
former Para-rescuer in the Air Force.
Many of the supplies are donated by residents. It is common,
when a person decides to evacuate, for them to drop off their
useful belongings to one of these centers. In the last few days,
they have also been receiving goods from the National Guard
and Army. Even so, much of what comes in has been "looted".
However, few take issue with people acquiring basic necessities
through whatever means available to them. Ride Hamilton, 29,
a network analyst and artist, who himself has acquired a large
assortment of basic necessities, had this to say: "you go down to
places... that [has] already been broken into, I've never broken
into a place, but you go in after the people and usually if they
open up... police take supplies they want first, then they guard
it as other people go in and that's where I get all of my things".
On a typical day, the tavern provides services for dozens of
residents, and until recently was one of the only places where
people could receive first aid, administered by Bellamy, Hamilton,
and other volunteers. Hamilton's efforts include stitching up an
ear with a sewing needle and fishing line.
"It doesn't matter if you're gay, straight, no matter race, reli-
gion, no matter what your personal beliefs are, you come in and
need some food- you're getting it. You need some water- you're
getting it," said Bellamy.

People's Organizations
Beyond these two community centers, new people's organiza-
tions have coalesced around a grassroots recovery effort. One,
commonly known as The Red Shirts came together as a band of
ten people who set out to clean the streets of the French Quar-
ter and administer first aid to any in need. This group continues
to hit the streets, wearing their trademark red, and impressing
many with their self-imposed twelve-hour shifts. To date, their
most impressive achievements were the cleaning of the wrecked
Jackson Square, and the removal of a fallen brick wall.

Thai Watford, a member of the group, stated, "we found a brick
wall that was completely collapsed into the street. It was im-
passable except maybe by a hummer... brick by brick we picked
up that wall and stacked them against this building on the side-
The Red Shirts aren't the only new organization in town. Re-
store the French Quarter (RFQ) came together shortly after the
levies broke. RFQ, which includes forty volunteers, has cleared
their share of down trees and rubbage. One of their fist acts was
to make Esplanade, a major street marking the border of the
neighborhood, passable by vehicle.
Beyond cleaning, the group has built a public stockpile of nec-
essary items. These include food, water, tools, clothes, etc. the
goods and the organization are located in a makeshift headquar-
ters on the corner of Esplanade and Decatur. HQ is a nine
thousand square foot three story building owned by actor Harry
Anderson of Night Court fame. It is equipped with generators, a
fully stocked bar, and a large gas grill. RFQ has gone the extra
step of stenciling white "RFQ Volunteer" t-shirts, printing pro-
fessional looking ID badges, and writing and producing a mis-
sion statement.
Standing in the HQ courtyard, RFQ member "Steve", who works
in construction, declared that the groups' initial action was
shortly after the disaster struck. Their first priority was to help
distribute guns and ammunition to area residents to use in self-
defense. Since then they have turned their attention to fixing
roads and keeping people fed.
RFQ was in the process of gathering resources to repair a num-
ber of area roofs that were damaged by Katrina's winds, when a
rumor stopped them in their tracks. Yesterday, word got around
that either the local or federal government was close to enforc-
ing the mandatory evacuation. This rumor gained validity ear-
lier in the day, when a number of Louisiana State Troopers
entered Johnny White's and initially demanded that patrons
leave with them to be evacuated. After some heated words, the
Troopers were convinced to call their superiors for confirma-
tion. As things went, the Troopers left with no one in tow. Even
so, the story and fear of a looming forced removal spread like
wildfire across the French Quarter.
"All of us are hunkering down and hiding in our residences. Is
that stupid or what? There are hundreds, even thousands, of
people right here that would be active volunteers. We know this
city like the back of our hands. We are not driving around like
Mississippi cops that don't know this place. We know what
we're doing, where everything is, and how to get resources. We
can get this place back up and running. They [the government]
need to leave the French Quarter alone, and let us do this," said
Steve of RFQ.
Karen Watt, 61, a small bar owner and RFQ member added, "we
are survivors who live here. We can take care of ourselves".
Many have expressed fear of the shelters in Houston, as well as
a strong desire to stay put. David Richardson, 56, a carriage
driver in the French Quarter who I met up with at Molly's said,
"this is my home, I want to stay with it. This is my city. I love
this city. I love the French Quarter. I want to be here to put it all
back together."
Have RFQ been scared into non-action? The answer is no.
Tomorrow, RFQ is planning a show of community solidarity by
organizing residents in a massive cleanup starting near Jackson
Square (the middle of the quarter). It is hoped that this display
will convince officials that residents, far from being a liability,
are a clear asset.
While The Red Shirts and RFQ are the most visible organiza-
tions, a number of other groups have also coalesced around the
basic needs of survival. RFQ says that they have become aware
of a new formation in the nearby Marigny neighborhood. This
organization, like RFQ, hopes to start reclaiming their streets
from Katrina's ghost in the coming days.
Hurricane Rita Update
By Common Grounds Collective,
Rita is a strong category 5 hurricane
with winds over 165 mph. The fore-
cast track for Rita brings the storm
into the Texas coast on Saturday.
Storm forecasts for more than two
days out are not reliable and should
not be used for planning. New Or-
leans may expect winds of tropical
storm strength - over 39 mph. East
New Orleans is still under mandatory,
but not forced, evacuations with con-
cern for flooding. West New Orleans
(including Algiers) is under voluntary
evacuations and is currently acces-
sible to relief volunteers.
As dusk approached, David Richardson leaned up against a post
on Decatur street and summed up this Quarters spirit of self-
reliance; "This is what I call the 'Committee of 75'. Nobody is
giving orders. There are enough people that know what needs
to be done and we talk it over."
"If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess
to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who
want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain
without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the
awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral
one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and
physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing
without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just
what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact
amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon
them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either
words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are pre-
scribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. Men may
not get all they pay for in this world; but they must pay for all
they get. If we ever get free from all the oppressions and wrongs
heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this
by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice. and, if needs be, by our lives,
and the livest of others." - Frederick Douglas
"Anarchy" in New Orleans?
By P.J. Lilley, 09/02/05
Death and devastation. A chemical factory explosion. Fires rage
& tempers rise. Capitalist media around the world screamed the
headline "ANARCHY" today. Days without food, water, medi-
cal supplies.
It's very important to the war-makers, lawmakers, and oil in-
vestors to submerge the real definition of anarchy: mutual aid
without government, co-operation in solidarity, and ORDER.
Their authoritarian control is deeply threatened by their own
complete failure to meet basic needs. Their authority has rested
on the divides of class, on misogyny and racism. Capital's media
pitches images of black men with bags as "looters", while a
lighter-skinned man is carrying "something he found". They
didn't get pictures of the corrupt police, allowed into WalMart
for "relief measures" instead loading their car trunk with DVDs
and dogfood. The rulers have no humanity, only profit inter-
ests. They continue madly pouring billions into war, while ex-
pecting "charities" will bail out New Orleans.
Law is not order. Bush knew that levee would fail in at least
2001. Those who "chose not to evacuate" were the poor, black,
elderly... while the rich had long left for their second homes,
safe hotels and elsewhere. But it doesn't stop there, as the ruling
class seem determined to make things even worse. Now the
Governor of Louisiana brings in the National Guard - many
young shell-shocked soldiers freshly returned from Iraq - "M-
16's locked and loaded," she says about their killing capacity,
"and I expect they will". They are sent in like so many other
mercenaries, first to protect private property. [Remember that
through the poverty draft, the south has already suffered among
the heaviest casualties in Iraq, where doubtless many boys sit
tonight wondering why they can't just come home to help their
families and neighbours, whether they themselves will make it
out alive.] A decent journalist from Toronto is nearly shot on
sight for taking pictures of flagrant police brutality.
If this was anarchy, there would be neighborhood bases estab-
lished much earlier to coordinate relief. Direct action toward
liberation. Many people actually said it was the looters that first
distributed food and water. Perhaps capital will not be able to
recuperate. Possibly, finally, the bosses and their media lap-dogs
may not escape the peoples' wrath on this one. Will it become
widely understood that another world is possible? "Disasters like
this can only be met when ordinary people begin to work to-
gether on a human level, to the best of their abilities helping
each other to get through, instead of relying on highly bureau-
cratic and irrational social abstractions to save them..." as 'Shevek'
put it to Indymedia. "Then there will actually be anarchy in
New Orleans". Justice? Just us. Get organized.

* WHIRLWIND! is a publication of the Nemesis Collective
(NEFAC). For more see http://www.nefac.net/katrina

"It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle
shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the
earthquake." - Frederick Douglas

Page 2
Night Patrol With The Vermont
National Guard
In The Shadow of Katrina and Iraq
By David, 09/07/05
Jefferson Parish, LA - The Vermont National
Guard has been distributing food and patrolling
neighborhoods in Jefferson Parish for the last
week. On Tuesday, September 6th, I joined them
on their first night patrol. At six PM, still light,
I boarded a truck with ten solders from the 1st
of the 86th Field Artillery. All of these men
served eleven months in Iraq. They returned
home February 29th, 2005.
As we left the gates of their head quarters, an
old middle school, the solders loaded their M-
16s. They had no more idea of what to expect
than I did. All we knew were the images of
chaos that flashed upon the nightly news sev-
eral days before.
We rolled through the streets of Jefferson Par-
ish. Katrina's devastating power was evident.
Telephone poles were snapped like toothpicks.
Roofs we ripped from their beams. Electricity
was still out. One gas station was simply flat-
tened. I had never saw anything like it. A sol-
dier turned towards me and said, "Better than
we seen in Baghdad."
We reached the sector assigned to the unit.
Holms Avenue. The truck drove through the
area to get a feel for it. One house had the
entire second floor wall torn from it's framing.
I could see into what was once a person's bed-
room. It looked like a giant, postmodern
dollhouse, made to appear in a war zone.
Four Guardsmen were dropped off at one end
of the street. Four more at the other. I de-
parted with the later. The two groups were
maybe three miles apart. The plan was for them
to slowly walk towards each other, with the
truck patrolling in-between.
As we walked Sergeant Cramdon, the squad
leader, said how strange this felt. All the open
windows, all the alleyways; this would be a very
dangerous situation back in Baghdad. Maybe
subconsciously, maybe through intent, the group
fell into military formation. It was the first
time this unit was activated for such duty since
Iraq. We continued on.
The subtropical heat barred down on us. I asked
how they were doing in their heavy fatigues.
"Every one of us was over [for eleven months].
We went on the last deployment to Iraq. I'm
used to the heat. The humidity is another story,"
said Sergeant Cramdon.
Moving into the side streets of what appeared
to be a working class neighborhood of small
ranch houses, it was not long before we heard
gunshots. They came in groups of four and
five. Fifteen shots in all, emanating from a few
blocks away. The squad leader called for back
up. When the truck arrived they moved to-
wards the shots. A few residents, those who
refused to evacuate, directed the Guard towards
the perceived source. I was given the advice
that "If we get shot at, find cover wherever
you can."
The search lasted a good twenty minutes. No
shooter was found. Still, walking through the
neighborhood, the solders were busy. A number
of people standing in their driveways would
ask, "When is the power coming on? Will you
be patrolling all night? How are things going?"
For most, this was the first sign of a govern-
ment response to the destruction since the
storm hit, nearly a week before. The Vermont-
ers would stop, answer what they could, remind
them of the encroaching curfew, and then be
on their way.
As night drew near the two groups converged.
The commanding officer decided that they
would stay in and about the truck, together, for
the remainder of the shift. They would patrol
this way, for safety, until the sun came up.
Standing around the truck, we talked to pass
the time. I asked what they thought about this
assignment. Sergeant Cramdon answered,
"[Compared with the Regular Army] We're
more public friendly." This was a telling state-
ment as it was rumored that tens of thousands
of Regular Army troops were heading for the
New Orleans area. The conversation quickly
headed to their experiences in Iraq, and how
the Vermont Guard approached their duties
Oversees they were assigned to protect mili-
tary convoys passing through the Baghdad area.
This is one of the most dangerous assignments
in the occupied region.

Sergeant Scott, who in the civilian world works
as an auto mechanic in Burlington, stated,
"These guys [some Regular Army] don't un-
derstand. You don't want to piss off the people
who live in your back yard." Another Soldier
added, "One guy got shot at the north gate
there [in Iraq], and two days later we got mor-
I asked if there was a `cause and effect' regard-
ing their conduct in Baghdad. "Exactly, " re-
sponded Sergeant Cramdon. "You just want to
keep the peace in the community. Let them
know your there, but let them know your not
there... When we were over in Iraq we were
never proactive, we were always reactive," said
Sergeant Scott continued, "Like two days after
we got mortared, [the sheik] had heads at the
front gate." Cramdon continued, "The sheik
had somebody's head... Cause he knew that
there'd be repercussions to whoever was mor-
taring the base so he came up with their heads."
I asked them what is the real situation in Iraq,
how is the war progressing? Scott responded,
"There's the people who like us, the people
that don't like us but don't fuck with us, and
then there's the people who fuck with us."
Another soldier stated, "a lot of the insurgents
pulled out of Falujah [when we attacked it].
Soon as we go into Falujah all hell broke loose
in Baghdad." Scott inserted, "In Ramadi too.
That's where our guys are being hit hard now...
From what I understand we're getting beat up
pretty good over there too. We're loosing a lot
of Vermonters over there now.
All talked of having to fire their weapons regu-
larly. One soldier, helmet pushed forward, nearly
sleeping, said he only fired his gun once in
eleven months. The others looked at him. Some
with near disbelief. Still leaning back, hardly
bothering to open his eyes he said, "We threw
rocks when other people were shooting bul-
"Rocks don't do to good when they're shoot-
ing bullets at you," argued Sergeant Cramdon. I
thought of the Palestinian youth who throw
stones as the Israeli Army. Sergeant Cramdon
was right; their fate is often death.
The stone thrower answered, "We [his unit]
didn't get shot at."
"You didn't get shot at? I can't believe it. That's
unbelievable," countered Cramdon. "We all were
getting fucking plowed every day... Thirteen
days straight we got hit."
I foolishly pointed out the obvious and said
that it must have been stressful. Sergeant
Cramdon pardoned my flair for the obvious
and answered, "That's the biggest question I
got when we came back. `It must have been
stressful.' To be quite honest with you, I slept
better on nights that we came back that we got
hit... because you leave the wire and it's all
bottled up in you. Stress and everything, you
know. So when you get hit you start firing back
and all the stress that you had built up in you
comes out. I slept like a baby on the nights
when we got hit."
As the night wore on, there was little to do but
maintain vigilance, smoke cigarettes, and talk.
I looked up and noticed the stars. I thought
how ironic it was that many local residents
were seeing the beauty of the stars for the first
time in their lives thanks only to this sea of
destruction. The moment of reflection did not
last long. The conversation again became
gravely serious. Again recollections of Baghdad
filled the space.
"[In Iraq we'd see] kids taking tires off of burn-
ing trucks. Tires would be on fire and they'd be
rolling them down the road," said Cramdon.
"Pissing fucking fuel all over the ground...
They'd be bare foot running in there trying to
get what they could," added Scott.
Sergeant Cramdon continued, "We got hit one
time under 51 Alpha. It swept the whole under-
side of a trailer out. Flames everywhere. This
truck was blazing. And they [kids] had the back
of that [trailer] open, unloading it... MSR was
two miles down the road, and that truck was
half unloaded by the time that MSR patrol got
there." A soldier proclaimed, "Any thieves or
anything around here, they got nothing on those
Intermittently throughout the night we would
board the truck and drive up and down Holms
avenue. Flashlights would keep track of the
passing landscape. From Holms we could see
the raised highway, 90, which lead over the
Mississippi Bridge into New Orleans.
Looking at the underpass just outside the unit's
area of patrol, Sergeant Cramdon stated, "[In
Iraq] when you drove by they used to blow
them [improvised explosives] up head level at
you. At this bridge, 51 Alpha, is where a lot of
shit hit the fan. Right in-between my two
Humvees, I was in the middle, and they blew it
up right in-between and missed everybody. I
don't know how they missed everybody, but
they missed everybody. Unbelievable. Right at
head level too. A lot of it over there was just
luck. A lot of people were unlucky, a lot of
people were very lucky"
A different Guardsman discussed his experience.
"It was ok when you got passed the bridge, you
know. Me being a driver and having a freakin'
[explosive] go off and having my driver side
door blown open and having stuff flying out, it
kinda scarred the shit out of me... They couldn't
really prepare us for it [in training]. You kinda
learned as you went."
Sergeant Cramdon went on to discuss other
aspects of convoys in Iraq, "You'll be driving
down the road and these fuckers don't want to
wait for you behind the convoy. You're doing
sixty mile per hour in the convoy, but they
want to do sixty-five, seventy. They'll get into
the oncoming lane and just play chicken all the
way down the road. And then you'll just see it.
WHAM!... Multi-car pile up cause he hit an-
other car head on, there had to be fourteen-
fifteen dead people there... [Including] a dead
"I thought it was a doll. Two guys came run-
ning up. Picked it up. It was a baby. Just jello
New Orleans Resident Rescues Mules
By David, 09/08/05
New Orleans, LA - In the wake of Hurricane
Katrina, humans weren't the only ones left
homeless. So too were the dozens of mules
normally used to pull tourist carriages through
the French Quarter. Many of the stables in
which the animals lived were all but destroyed
in the storm. In the days following, no one
really knew, or cared, what became of them; no
one that is except David Richardson.
Richardson, 56, worked as a carriage driver be-
fore the storm. I met him outside of Molly's
pub on Decatur Street. With a gruff salt and
pepper beard, a slight twang in his voice, blue
jeans, and a bone handled sheath knife on his
belt, he isn't exactly the stereotypical New
Orleans resident. But then again, who is?
Richardson has lived in this city for 25 years.
Before that his roots go back to a small farm in
Indiana, where his father had two mules. He
tells me he has no plans to evacuate. In David's
opinion he can do more good in the city than
he could in a refugee camp. As of Thursday (9/
8) more than fifteen mules have been rescued
from the rubbage largely because of him.
"[Initially] I wrangled about eight of them back
to an area down here in front of my house so
we could get them across the lake yesterday
with the LSU Vetenary Rescue," said Richardson.
Richardson says that he's recovered at least
ten more after this first batch. He is keeping
them in a warehouse, making sure they have
plenty or water and grass until they too can be
evacuated. Some of these he rescued with the
aid of two Boarder Patrol agents and twelve
men from a Texas Sheriff's Department who
he has recently enlisted in the effort.
He recalls yesterday morning when some of his
neighbors woke him up to say they saw five
mules in front of their house. By the time he,
the Boarder Patrol, and Sheriffs arrived, "they
[the neighbors] had two mules already tied up
in their yard. [There was also a] white mule we
couldn't catch. So we lead the two down. We
thought she'd follow. Un ah. [It took] all twelve
of that sheriff's posse, two boarder patrol guys,
[my friend] john and about five other civilians
about an hour and a half till we got that little
girl. We never did catch her. We herded her
down by the other mules and got her to run in
the gate."
Richardson then looks me in the eyes, and asks
in a sincere tone, "You ever try to wrangle
horses on a bicycle? I guarantee you it would
make you healthy." He laughs.
The "Buggy Man", as he refers to himself, is
not just concerned with the mules. Like so
many other New Orleans residents, he has done
what he can for those in need. He recounts
treating a young man for heat exhaustion. He
also tells of a humble attempt to raise moral in
the French Quarter.
"For Labor Day I did a parade [with] one buggy,
we usually have twenty. We came down here
into the Quarter on Sunday with a big red and
white carriage and my big old red mule Sachmo.
I come down Bourbon Street... I come down to
this bar... We come down to Johnny White's
[back on Bourbon Street]. I swear to God people
had tears in their eyes when they saw the big
David gets choked up. In a cracked voice he
continues, "I did it because we needed a vic-
tory. And by God we did it." A tear rolls down
his cheek.
Despite the mandatory evacuation, Richardson
has no plans to leave. "Dam right I'm staying.
I got two more [mules] out there I know of...
I'll find them by God."
Dome City Radio is a low-power FM (LPFM)
station that serves the Reliant Complex in
Houston, Texas. Our mission is to provide these
new Houston residents with the timely infor-
mation that they have been otherwise unable
to obtain, such as school enrollment proce-
dures, vaccination availability, and mail for-
warding assistance. The station is completely
volunteer-operated and self-supporting.
Nemesis is an autonomous supporter
collective of NEFAC: Northeastern
Federation of Anarchist Communists:
(bilingual:fr/eng. | theory. | agitation |
direct action. | social struggle | revo-
news - opinons - anarchy
"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"
Bob Dylan, "Subterranean Homesick Blues"
Page 3
Vermont Guard Brings Food To Projects
People Tell of Police Abuse,
Express Anger at Feds
By David, 09/07/05
Jefferson Parish, LA, - On the afternoon of
Wednesday, September 7th, Vermont National
Guard troops brought food and water, by truck,
into a number of poor and working class com-
munities in Jefferson Parish, just across the
river from New Orleans. Throughout the day
twelve Guardsmen distributed an estimated 900
meals to hurricane survivors.
The first destination was a housing project in
Tarrytown. The apartment buildings were two
story structures, built in the 1970s. These
projects are populated by poor Blacks. The
streets were littered with debris. Many build-
ings remained intact. Others showed signs of
Katrina's devastating winds. Electricity re-
mained out. At the flood's height, waters flowed
waist deep through this neighborhood. By the
time the Guard rolled through, the flood had
already subsided.
Before Katrina the projects were home to hun-
dreds. As the Guard arrived with provisions, it
appeared that only thirty or so remained. These
were the poorest of the poor; those who had
no means to leave on their own accord. Many
were children and elderly. This neighborhood
received little aid prior to the Guard's arrival,
and none whatsoever for the first five days of
the disaster. The fire department refused to
bring supplies into the community without a
National Guard presence because of fear for
their safety.
As the Guard drove slowly through the streets
passing out food and water, I followed, inter-
viewing residents. A young man named Renee
Rose, 16, made his way to the supplies. I asked
him what he thought of the government's re-
sponse to the crisis.
"I don't think they done alright cause the power
should have been on by now," said Rose. He
continued to talk about the state of his neigh-
borhood, "The community right here is falling
apart. Ain't never been that many people who
have left... we got a man who lived right here,
got killed." The reason for the killing, as well
as the perpetrator is unclear.
"That was his van right there, and they left.
See what they did - the anger - they messed up
the van... see how messed up it is? They just
went berserk, see?" The van he points to looks
as if its been bludgeoned with sledge hammers.
The sides are smashed in, and the windows are
I ask Renee what he thinks the future holds. "I
don't know. I have no clue. Bush needs to come
down here and see himself... I don't think he
would, but he needs to."
Kathryn Nevels, 54, sits in a chair in front of
her apartment. She also contends that the gov-
ernment response to the storm was less than
adequate. "To tell the truth we wish it could be
better. We wish it could be much better."
Despite these misgivings, Nevels remains opti-
mistic about the community. "Everybody is
fine, they're pitching in together and helping
the best way we can. We're just hoping that
once everything is over with our debt to soci-
ety is paid and we can rebuild and start all over
again." She does not explain whom she feels
the people owe a debt to.
I approached a group of four adults, three
women and one man who all appeared to be in
their late thirties-early forties. This group was
standing around a car loaded with belongings.
They immediately express their desire to leave
for Texas, but confess they have no gas. All
wished to remain unnamed.
A distraught woman, mother of three, tells me
"everybody's gone and we've been living here
for over five years, maybe six. We're just hang-
ing on strong... I'm just trying to look after
my children... We got no gas, we got [some]
water in jugs... We're trying to keep [our home]
clean the best way we can, but it still has the
whole filth and smell in it. The damage is real
bad... I'm trying to get out of here. I'm trying
to get to Texas. I don't care where I go as long
as I get the fuck up out of here."
I ask how she assesses the local and federal
government's response to the crisis. Her eyes
become sharp. "They [the government] are
not handling it [the crisis] right. They're not
doing what they're supposed to do. If they
were to do what they were supposed to do, we
would be out of here right about now."
Addressing local officials she becomes angry
and proclaims, "People came here and drew
guns on us... The police... They were about to
beat up my [twelve year old] son on his birth-
day because he told them not to search his
bag... They came out from nowhere, just crept
up on us. When it's dark we can't see nothing.
We didn't know what was going on. They draw
guns on us, telling us to raise our hands up, you
know - and everything. My little niece was right
there, she had her baby and they still was draw-
ing guns... We had no choice but to put our
hands up or we'd get shot. They [the police]
said `we saw you breaking into peoples cars'
and were gonna shoot somebody."
The woman claims that police shot and killed
local residents without just cause. "People that's
dear to us done got shot. People we know got
killed. They [the police] got the permission to
shoot them on sight."
A strong looking man in his forties stepped
forward and said, "They draw guns on all of us.
Every last one of my kids, my wife, and my
nephew, and everything."
The man discusses the plight of those who were
forced to loot food when government aid failed
to arrive, "We got a lot of people who go get
food for their [family]. They [the police] killed
them, since the storm, in this neighborhood,
on Manhattan [street] across the river and ev-
erything. All down here. [The police] have been
shooting on the kids. They aren't saying freeze
or nothing. They shooting you in the head and
that's bad."
Another resident, a woman in her late 30s,
attributed the alleged instances of police kill-
ings to racism. "We got a lot of racist [White]
cops that are taking advantage of this fact that
it's supposed to be marshal law, and they're
really taking advantage of it."
With relative chaos still prevailing in Jefferson
Parish, it is impossible to verify or discredit
these serious charges. It is also difficult to tell
if these alleged abuses are localized or wide-
spread. However, in the past 72 hours, similar
reports have been coming in from New Or-
leans. I can report that the night before, while
on patrol with the Guard no more than a mile
away, two local cops from the sheriff's depart-
ment pulled up to us. In the darkness they did
not notice that a member of the press was
present. I heard them tell the Guardsmen "no
one on this street is innocent." They went on
to encourage the Guard to shoot people, and
informed them that they would cover up such
events. As they pulled away, they aimed their
PA system at area apartments, blaring the
sounds of a woman screaming. To date the Ver-
mont National Guard has not fired a weapon.
A Southern US Anarchist Statement on the Gulf Coast Disaster
The State leaves 100,000 to drown like rats, while people everywhere open their hearts
and homes
As many as 20,000 people have been abandoned in the New Orleans Convention Center with no
resources and no anticipated relief. Meanwhile, National Guard units with submachine guns and
body armor prevent people from taking necessary food from places where it would otherwise go
to waste, and call it "urban warfare." Under capitalism, there is no such thing as "natural"
disasters; horrible and unavoidable events are exacerbated by the callous acts of the ruling class.
Examples include: the Irish potato famine of the 19th century, and the Somalian of the 20th,
where food was taken by imperialist countries, like Britain and the US, instead of being used to
save the starving population; the more recent hurricane disasters in Haiti shortly after the U.S.
ousted the only government which might have marshaled any aid to the Haitian people and
replaced it with a military junta; the tsunami disaster, which was aggravated by years of IMF and
World Bank domination in the region that resulted in severe underdevelopment; and the present
situation in the Gulf Coast.
How did the ruling class contribute to this disaster? Having full knowledge that this would be a
devistating hurricane season, they chose to sink the 79 million dollars designated to repair the
antiquated levee system into the Iraq quagmire. Furthermore, although they knew ahead of time
that the hurricane would be at least a category 4 hurricane, and that the levee system could
withstand no more than a category 3, the ruling class did not invest any serious resources into
evacuating the city of New Orleans and the surrounding area as the storm approached (and rich
politicians have the gall to accuse working-class people of carelessly staying in the city)! As we
mentioned, their first priority is to mobilize heavily-armed National Guard units who will shoot
people that are merely trying to find food, rather than to bring the necessary aid to the estimated
20,000 starving people at the Convention Center who will die if nothing is done (not to mention
other people in similar situations throughout the city). The politicians continue lying in a
desparate attempt to save their careers, making it increasingly clear that they have no concern
for the lives of the people they've abandoned.
In contrast, thousands of people have opened their homes to survivors in an amazing gesture of
solidarity and compassion. Despite the State's citation of its ability to channel aid in times of
need as a justification for its existance, it has again demonstrated how the constraints of capital-
ism interfere with its ability to provide any sort of assistance. The incredible display of mutual aid
on the part of the people gives further support for the anarchist argument that people can indeed
develop a stateless society based on the adage "from each according to ability, to each according
to necessity." We hope to see that society become a reality someday, but for now we declare our
solidarity with those who have been abandoned, and, in hopes that others will join us, we demand
the following:
That the government immediately commandeer the necessary resources, such as transportation
and shelter, in order to evacuate people from the city and ensure that they have adequate
accomodations until it is possible to return to their homes or move on;
An immediate end to national guard and police units attacking those looking for food
Immediate distribution of ALL necessary items (water, food, clothing, etc.) during the process of
The immediate resignation/dismissal and punishment of all decision-makers who neglected the
responsibility of repairing the levees or coordinating evacuations from the city while it was
possible, or who are responsible for National Guard and police units attacking those who are
"stealing" necessary items;
No conviction for any who were arrested while "stealing" food or any other necessity;
An end to the price-gouging of oil which is affecting working-class people across the country, by
price fixing if necessary;
Adequate aid to all people wishing to rebuild homes lost due to the negligence of capitalist
Solidarity with the victims of the Gulf Coast disaster! Solidarity with those who remain in
precarious positions months after the tsunami disaster! Solidarity with those all across the globe
who have lost family or remain in refugee camps due to the disasters which the ruling class
magnifies or the wars which it engineers!
The Capital Terminus Collective
Atlanta, Georgia
Page 4
Katrina's Heart of Darkness
The Devastated Ninth Ward
By David, 09/08/05
In the morning, I prepared to depart from
Johnny White's tavern in the French Quarter,
to venture into the devastated Ninth Ward.
Before Katrina this was one of the poorest
sections of the city. When the levees ruptured,
the area was submerged under many feet of
water. The Ninth Ward was also the location
of much alleged shootings. Thousands of
Superdome refugees came from this neighbor-
I asked a bar patron, James La Lon, 62, for
directions to the Ward. He told me to head
three miles past Esplanade - away from the
Quarter. "You can't miss it." In addition to
directions I also was given a warning to be care-
ful. He claimed to have been shot at a dozen
times while driving through three days before.
Myself and a local, Ride Hamilton, 29, a vol-
unteer first aid provider of Cheyenne decent,
boarded my small red pick-up truck and headed
north. I met this man an hour before at the
bar. Ride, six feet tall with long black hair,
wore a blue "Sioux City" fire department shirt
he bought in a thrift store. He found that the
uniform helped avoid hassles with the local
police. I was equipped with a press pass.
As we drove away from Johnny White's it be-
came eerily apparent that we were the only
vehicle on the streets. In this sea of destruc-
tion traffic laws no longer applied. We took a
one-way street the wrong way for a mile past
As we drew closer to the ward, we began to see
large "x"s spray painted on the sides of every
house. In each quadrant of the X were written
letters and numbers. In the top it read "9-6."
To the left, "TX-1." To the right, "NE." At
the bottom, "1." We correctly guessed that
these symbols we the record of a search con-
ducted by the military or other government
agencies. The top obviously represented the
date of the search. The left, the unit who
conducted it. The right was a code for the type
of contamination found within. The bottom
number told the grim tale of how many bodies
were found. Again, these were on every house.
A mile past Esplanade we saw the first other
vehicles. Two military trucks rolled past. In
the back we could see the sullen faces of hag-
gard evacuees. Nobody bothered to wave. We
The deeper into the neighborhood we got, the
more debris littered the deserted streets. "Fuck
Bush. Them Bitches Flood Us," was written in
black spray paint across a battered brick wall.
Heading up Rampart Street we passed a tire
garage. A wirery Black man sat out in front.
The sign said "open." He, along with the two
taverns operating in the French Quarter, rep-
resented the last outposts of commerce in this
former city.
Soon we approached a small bridge crossing a
canal deep into the Ninth Ward. A gate sat
across our path. Four National Guard troops
stood watch with loaded M-16s. We ap-
proached. I got out of the truck and present
my press pass. They opened the gate and let us
in. Immediately the flooding began.
The road we drove on, North Rampart was
sometimes dry, sometimes six inches underwa-
ter. The side streets to our left were under too
much water to traverse. The water was black
and smelled like rotting meat.
On the corner of St. Clair and Deslonde the
water deepened. The wreckage from the flood
and winds was like nothing I have ever seen.
Sides of houses and roofs were ripped clean off.
The tops of abandoned trucks were caked with
We drove a half-mile further and still we saw
no signs of the living. The tightly packed
houses were left alone. Here, a number of homes
were yet to have an `X' to keep them com-
pany. The scene made me think of some kind
of evil Venice that had been bombed and left
for dead.
The flooding worsened. To my left I saw a
boat that had been heaved atop of a four-foot
fence. Trees were up-rooted and strewn across
the road.
Breaking the strange silence two empty mili-
tary trucks passed heading deeper into the Ward.
Did they expect to find survivors?
Down a side street, still underwater, I saw empty
school busses. I assumed they never brought
people out.

We turned right down Gordon Street. We drove
carefully to avoid being ensnared by fallen
power lines. The letters "DEA-OK" were
painted on a cement wall. Arrows pointed in
both directions. A few blocks away we made
out five military personnel on a front porch.
They were battering down a door. We assumed
they were looking for the dead and injured. We
drove through the black putrid waters in their
When we reached them I got out and ask, "have
you been finding anyone?" A soldier replied,
"No. Just dead bodies." "Are you going to start
clearing out the dead bodies?" The soldier an-
swered, "No." He gave me a cold look. The
conversation was over.
In silence we headed back up to Rampart, then
south out of the Ninth Ward. It will be many
years before this community can count the
ghosts which walk these wrecked streets. It
will be generations before they can be exor-
cised from the collective memories of the liv-
Unfounded? Stories Violence and Rape
Countered By New Orleans Residents
by David, 09/11/05
New Orleans, LA, - Initial media reports of
widespread violence and rape amongst hurri-
cane survivors may have been overstated. The
Associated Press is reporting that at both the
City Center, and the Superdome eyewitnesses
failed to substantiate such claims. On the con-
trary, many contend that it was the "thugs and
criminals" who took the lead in rescuing people,
keeping them fed, and providing water [`Loot-
ers Denounced But Also Called Heroes' AP 9/2/
05]. National Public Radio has reported like-
wise [`This American Life' 9/11/05]. Many New
Orleans residents I spoke with agreed. On Sep-
tember 8th I asked city residents about such
allegations at the two open bars in the French
Quarter, both of which are also serving as com-
munity centers.
Joe Belome, a bartender at Johnny White's on
Bourbon Street takes issue with the recent ste-
reotypes of violent looters. Joe paints a differ-
ent picture. Referencing the large stockpiles of
food and water accumulated behind the bar, he
explains that a portion of it was brought and
donated by the very people who are being por-
trayed as criminals.
"Street thugs are just donating things to us to
help people out. That's the kind of commu-
nity we have here, " said Joe.
Several blocks away at Molly's, I spoke with
the pubs owner Jim Monyham. Upon being
asked about the initial reports from the
Superdome, he becomes agitated. In a loud voice
Monyham proclaims, "[the allegations of vio-
lence and rape] and not true! They are lies!"
Mike Powls, 46, sits calmly at the bar drinking
a cold beer. Prior to the storm he was a taro
card reader in Jackson Square. Powls depiction
of events contradicts the reports of general
"I live right off of Rampart Street so I saw
thousands of people leaving the Ninth Ward
and heading, unfortunately, to the Superdome.
I saw people share the only pair of shoes that
they had. I didn't see any acts of violence. I
saw people just trying to help one another...
The people have been good. I haven't seen
any problem with violence."
Powls continues, "This whole image of the
poor people coming from the Ninth Ward be-
ing this uncontrolled mob is absolute BS. Like I
said, I was right where the people were coming
from, and I didn't have any problems with any-
"The main thing [is] how humane the people
were... Everybody said, `hello', `how are you',
`good luck.' They'd tell you where to go to get
things. It was heart warming, because even
people that were in worse shape than I was in,
much worse shape, would do things that were
helpful, and I'm very thankful for that... I saw
the best of people, and that includes people
from the Ninth Ward," recalls Powls.

Medical Relief In Algiers Continues
Liz Highleyman, BARHC Report #4, 09/17/05
The medical relief effort at the Common
Ground clinic in the Algiers neighborhood of
New Orleans is shifting from "emergency re-
sponse" to "primary care" mode. Many pa-
tients now are repeat visitors. The clinic is well
stocked with first aid supplies and has a phone
line and several donated computers.
But, says BARHC's Dr. Michael Kozart, "pub-
lic health conditions are so unpredictable." He
says they are still seeing dog bites, wounds, and
other types of emergencies. Business owners
began re-entering dry areas of the city today,
and residents are scheduled to start coming back
on Monday. The history of past disasters has
shown that injury rates typically increase as
people get into recovery and rebuilding efforts.
"We anticipate a sharp increase in work vol-
ume once the evacuees return to the neighbor-
hood," says Kozart. "So many of them will
need medication renewals and all sorts of other
Also, as conditions permit, volunteers are try-
ing to branch out to provide medical assistance
in other parts of the city and surrounding ar-
eas. They have made contact with some re-
maining residents in the French Quarter and
assessed conditions in the 9th Ward. Several of
the smaller towns around NOLA still have re-
ceived little or no outside help. Expansion of
the Algiers effort has been hampered, how-
ever, by remaining floodwaters, a heavy mili-
tary and police presence, and a shortage of
Two of the BARHC medics left NOLA today,
and Kozart - the only physician on site who
can write prescriptions - will be departing Mon-
day. Other action medics from the Bay Area
and elsewhere (including DC, Connecticut,
Canada, and Montana) are still at the clinic and
more will be arriving over the next couple
The volunteers in Algiers are working diligently
to move the relief effort into local hands. They
have been teaching residents basic medical pro-
cedures like how to take blood pressures and
read glucose levels. Hopefully, healthcare work-
ers at all levels will be among the returning
But there continues to be a pressing need for
primary care providers - especially those who
can write prescriptions. Out of more than a
dozen hospitals in the greater NOLA area, only
a handful are up and running.
Unfortunately, the governor's order allowing
out-of-state physicians to prescribe medica-
tions in Lousiana is expected to be rescinded
before the end of the month (it remains un-
clear whether this order applies as well to nurse
practitioners and physician assistants). Medics
on the ground stress that this would pose a
serious hardship, and encourage activists - in-
cluding organizations such as Physicians for
Social Responsibility, Doctors Without Bor-
ders, and healthcare worker unions - to apply
pressure on Louisiana officials to allow out-of-
state providers to continue practicing there as
long as needed.
Health professionals considering going to New
Orleans to lend a hand should contact the LA
state board in Baton Rouge at 225-763-5766,
225-763-5770, or 225-763-5751 for the lat-
est status. People can also call the Algiers clinic
for updates (504-361-9659), but keep in mind
that staffing there is limited.
For more information on the Common Ground
clinic, see www.commongroundrelief.org.
Three days earlier I spoke with a New Orleans
evacuee at a shelter in Baton Rouge. The
evacuee was a young Black man in his twenties.
I asked him if "gang members" had been play-
ing a positive or negative role in the crisis. In
response he simply smiled, and said, "I'm still
here, ain't I?"
Anarchists say:
Many liberals feel that it was wrong to invade
Iraq; that, though the United States has used
the crime of 9/11 to justify a war for geopoliti-
cal power, wealth and oil and created disaster
upon disaster in that country, it has a responsi-
bility to stay there to restore order and to re-
pair a ruined infrastructure. Other liberals feel
Iraq should be handed over to NATO or the
U.N. But these are coalitions of imperialist
governments with motives similar to the U.S.
The Iraqis will gain nothing by being occupied
by more foreign armies than by, mostly, just
one. Anarchists recognize that we cannot trust
the U.S. imperialist state to act any better than
it has already. On no account will the U.S. help
the Iraqis gain real democracy and freedom.
The U.S. must immediately withdraw from Iraq
and Afghanistan, and withdraw all support
from Israel. Supporting the continued occu-
pation of Iraq is a justification for the contin-
ued imposition of U.S. dominance.
Iraqi workers and peasants have the right to
determine the fate of their own country. They
have every right to armed resistance against
foreign occupiers. We give no political sup-
port to the semi-fascists who would impose a
religious dictatorship over the women and other
workers of Iraq or the rest of the Middle East
but we want the U.S. to lose its wars of aggres-
sion. We urge U.S. soldiers and their families
to oppose this war and to demand the soldiers
be brought home now. We support all efforts
to resist military recruitment of young people,
on and off school grounds. There must be no
draft. Registration for the draft must be ended
All real popular gains have been won outside of
the electoral system. Slavery of African-Ameri-
cans in this country was ended with illegal run-
aways, revolts, and, ultimately, with a civil war.
Legal segregation was defeated with civil dis-
obedience. Urban rebellions brought anti-dis-
crimination and affirmative action laws.
Unions were won through mass sit-down strikes
in major industries. Women's rights were won
with consciousness-raising and mass demon-
strations. Gay rights began to be recognized
with the Stonewall Rebellion. The struggle
against the war in Vietnam was won with the
armed resistance of the Vietnamese people and,
in the U.S., with large legal and illegal demon-
strations, campus strikes, widespread draft re-
sistance, and a virtual mutiny in the army. The
mainstream antiwar movement focuses on elect-
ing Democrats or third party politicians but it
is only through mass struggle, outside of and
against the State, that we can successfully stop
this war. In particular, we should aim for po-
litical strikes, using the unique strategic power
of workers to stop society in its tracks, recre-
ating it on a new and better basis.
The war and other social evils are caused by a
bad social system. They are not caused by the
bad policies of politicians. At the heart of this
system is capitalism, by which a few rich people
drain off the wealth produced by everyone else.
This class system supports, and is supported
by, all other forms of oppression: of women,
of people of color, of poorer nations, of gay,
lesbian, bisexual and trans-gendered people, and
so on. Holding it all together is the nation
state, the special layer of police, military, bu-
reaucrats, politicians, lobbyists, and others that
stand over the rest of us. The nation state is a
war-waging machine in the service of the rich.
Without war -- preparing for war and paying
for war -- there would hardly be nation states.
To end all wars, we must end all states.
What is revolutionary socialist anarchism? An-
archism means the abolition of all forms of
oppression. Instead of the State, we advocate
a federation of democratic associations. In-
stead of capitalism, we advocate a federation
of self-managed workplaces, industries, asso-
ciations, and communes. To achieve such a
society, we must bring an end to patriarchy,
white supremacy and class domination; smash
State power; expropriate the wealth of the rich;
abolish the wage system and market economy;
and seize the means of productions and distri-
bution for the benefit of society as a whole.
This means nothing short of social revolution,
which can only emerge from autonomous mass
movements and the revolutionary self-activ-
ity of the working class.
Open City Anarchist Collective, New York
City, opencity@nefac.net
PO Box 250-159, Columbia University Sta-
tion, NY, NY 10025
http://www.nefac.net/ secretary@nefac.net
Nemesis Collective, Baltimore, Maryland,
Capital Terminus Collective, Atlanta, Geor-
gia, capitalterminus@gmail.com ;
Seattle NAF (Northwest Anarchist Federation)

Page 5

Hurricane Katrina, and the Good
Churchgoers of the U.S. South
By prole cat, Capital Terminus Collective
Like many frustrated Southerners in the after-
math of the hurricane named Katrina, I drove
a small truck-and-trailer full of food and water
to South Mississippi. I met some refugees at a
camp site, during the trip down. They appeared
to be poor whites. One, a native of Bay St.
Louis, was snarling against the "looters", using
racial epithets. When informed that I planned
to take food straight to the hungry people in
the streets, this man (who had already taken
offense when I challenged his bigotry) snorted,
"Good. You gone find out then. Great. You go
right ahead." His words left me more deter-
mined than ever.
Later that night, one of the man's campmates
approached me. He had been told of my plans.
He was on the verge of tears. "Hey man, I'm
not wanting to be all hateful, or racist, or any-
thing. Really, I'm not. But please, please don't
just drive down there, and open up your truck,
and start giving stuff away. Please don't. You
don't know these people. You don't know what
it's like, down there."
He seemed sincere. His words accomplished
what neither his friend's words, nor the media
news reports, had been able to. I hadn't been
frightened before. But now I was scared.
The role of the good church people
We went first to the rural town of Wiggens, but
relief had arrived there earlier in the day. We
went to Poplarsville, which was militarized to
an alarming degree. Soldiers carrying
submachine guns guarded the gas pumps. (As it
turned out, President Bush was doing a photo
op in Poplarsville that day.) A National Guards-
men with rank told us that aid was still desper-
ately needed (ironically enough) in Bay St.
Louis, sixty miles outside of New Orleans. So
we took off. (We believed New Orleans itself
to be unapproachable due to martial law.)
The sunlight was beginning to dim on the sec-
ond day of our trip as we approached Bay St.
Louis. Adding to my apprehension, was the
otherworldly sight of automobiles upended in
drainage ditches. Motorboats were perched in
the tops of trees, either thrown there by the
wind, or perhaps nested there as the flood wa-
ters receded. Cars traveling on the road became
rare, consisting mostly of military vehicles.
Power was out, and so of course no gasoline
was available. Occasionally a man in a bucket
truck with a chainsaw was in evidence. I de-
cided against camping in the area. We would
drop the food as close as we could get to the
people who needed it, and then get the hell out
before nightfall. I, for one, had a family to
return to.
A man in front of a wrecked convenience store
directed us towards a National Guard armory, as
the nearest exchange point for relief aid. Was
this what I had traveled so far to do, hand the
supplies over to the U.S. government, who had
already demonstrated their callous indifference
to all but the richest people in the area? A knot
in my stomach tightened as we advanced.
Then we came to the intersection of two main
roads. In the parking lot of a darkened K-Mart,
a large tent had been erected. People were busily
unloading food and water from trucks, and car-
rying them into the tent. Smoke rose from a
large grill out back of the tent. All around the
tent, people sorted through piles of clothes,
carrying away what they needed, without pay-
ing. Inside the tent, blacks and whites mingled
without apparent distinction. Immediately
upon approaching, we were offered a meal. In
the short time we were there, we saw a pair of
men in cheap jeans and mill-worker tee shirts
approach, carrying canned goods wrapped in
the stomach portion of their shirts. Presum-
ably, instead of hoarding, they were bringing
what little they had, and throwing it into the
common pile with everyone else's. It was the
polar opposite of all the looting, murder, and
rape that we had been told to expect.
We began to unload the truck. I was so relieved
not to have to give up the goods to the govern-
ment soldiers, I never thought to ask under
whose authority (if anyone's) the operation
was being carried out. But as we stacked box
after box, I was hardly surprised to note crosses
hanging from chains around the necks of many
of the relief workers, and Christian messages
on tee shirts. This was Deep Dixie, after all. I
struck up a conversation. I learned that a circle
of volunteers from a small Baptist church in
southeast Alabama, near Mobile, had been in-
strumental in organizing the particular relief
site we had stumbled up on. We had been saved
from the clutches of the soldiers, by common
folks who had organized among themselves.
And they had done so, in large part, by em-
ploying the mostly unofficial networks of their
I was touched. I have long been antagonistic to
the self-righteous evangelicals of my region.
But here they were, in the vanguard of some
fine, compassionate work. A new evaluation of
their role in our society was surely in order.
In addition to my newfound appreciation for
these kindhearted individuals, I was also moved
to wonder, "Why does the government allow
this?" It has long been apparent that the gov-
ernment and the corporations demand a mo-
nopoly on power. They either absorb, or infil-
trate and destroy, unions, active community
groups, food coops, coordinated anti-war ac-
tivists, grassroots political organizations of all
types, in short, any and everything that tries
to operate outside the framework of the mar-
ket place, and its corollary, the election booth.
But churches are granted a remarkable, an in-
credible, amount of latitude. For example, ev-
eryone had been warned not to try to take food
into, or even near to, New Orleans, because
putting a stop to "looting" and "lawlessness"
was being given a higher priority than relief.
"If you go near the soldiers guarding the stores,
you might get shot", was the clear-if-implicit
message. But here were these good, simple
people from the far corner of Alabama, a scant
sixty miles outside of New Orleans, actually
being allowed to give food away- out in front
of a store! For what reason, I wondered, were
they granted this exemption? Did the govern-
ment have a secret soft spot, reserved solely
for born-again Christians? Or was there a darker
underlying motive?
The role of the Deity
A man approached my traveling companion
(who had recently had a finger surgically re-
moved, due to disease.) The stranger took my
friend's crippled hand in his, and petitioned
"God, through our Savior Jesus Christ", to heal
the illness that caused the deformity. This, I
found more spooky than touching. To change
the subject away from invisible Physicians in
the Sky, I commented that it was some mighty
fine, generous work that was being done in that
parking lot.
The man replied, "It's the Lord's work, son.
The Lord is doing it all. We're born into sin,
and left to our own devices, we would rip each
other up, just like you see on TV. Only the
grace of God can heal your friend's hand, or
make a sinner help his brother."
So I had my answer.
Here is how it works: the little country churches
are granted an exemption from the restrictions
that the government (working for the corpora-
tions) places on everyone else. For example,
churches are allowed to give food away, at the
same time that kids doling out chow under the
banner of Food Not Bombs are prosecuted for
vending without a business license. Heck,
churches don't even have to pay taxes! In ex-
change for all this special treatment, the
churches agree to promote the fiction that "char-
ity", giving, helping, is something otherworldly,
"spiritual", exceptional. Helping out a sister in
need, they insist, runs counter to "human na-
ture". Only the mystical "Lord" can make a
person give.
It is all lies, of course. To begin with, science has
long known that there is no such thing as "hu-
man nature". The behavior of the human ani-
mal varies so widely according to the surround-
ing conditions, that talk of the innate goodness
of humanity, or its evil nature, is nonsensical.
We do, however, have instincts, that were honed
by eons of evolution. The deepest instincts of
women and men, after tending to their own
survival and that of their children, runs to help-
ing their fellows. Now, the bosses know this.
The CEOs and politicians know that we have to
be conditioned to be selfish and fear our neigh-
bors, if the reign of the corporate marketplace
is to continue. And they also know that when a
disaster strikes, they can't stop us from helping
each other, in the process doing an end run
around the structures of domination, the Wal-
marts and Exxon stations and government of-
fices. The U.S. government can barely subdue
the Iraqi people right now; they don't have
enough soldiers left, to put the entire South
under martial law, and so prevent the free ex-
change of goods (as was done in New Orleans).
Because they can't physically stop us, they have
to find a way to limit the damage, to make sure
that when the crisis is passed, we don't continue
to give things to one another (and so undermine
the buying and selling that they spend millions
of dollars to promote, on television and else-
where.) They have to, they must, have a means,
in the months following a disaster in which com-
munities have come together in sharing, to coax
the good, common folks back into the old rou-
tines of acting selfishly.
Enter the churches.
The churches assure us all that it is not possible
to be giving and caring, all the time. We are
born into sin. It is normal to live under the
watchful eye of security cameras, to sleep with
a loaded gun under one's pillow, to hoard one's
goods, and to gouge one's neighbor. "Let the
buyer beware". It is just human nature, they
claim, to lie and cheat and strive to dominate,
to separate ourselves into bosses, and servants
of the bosses. Twas ever thus. "There will be
poor among us always." It can't be helped. And
it is a rarity- no, it is a by-god miracle- when a
storm wrecks havoc on a region, and the people
come together to help each other.
And miracles, though awesome, are of course
brief. When the crisis and its attendant miracle
are past, it will be time to go back to "reality",
to hoarding and gouging and cheating and most
of all, to turning a blind eye to the suffering of
our sisters and brothers. We will return to blam-
ing the victims, and insist that "if they were
not so lazy, they would get jobs, and not be
poor anymore." By treating compassion as
something alien to humanity, the churches du-
tifully play their role in this sorry state of
The mystery is solved. Now we know why the
politicians and their commanders, the corpo-
rate bigwigs, grant the various churches access
and permissions that are denied to so many.
Because they can't trust anyone else with the
Katrina's Real Name
by Ross Gelbspan
The hurricane that struck Louisiana yesterday
was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather
Service. Its real name is global warming.
As the atmosphere warms, it generates longer
droughts, more-intense downpours, more-fre-
quent heat waves, and more-severe storms.
Although Katrina began as a relatively small
hurricane that glanced off south Florida, it was
supercharged with extraordinary intensity by
the relatively blistering sea surface tempera-
tures in the Gulf of Mexico.
The consequences are as heartbreaking as they
are terrifying.
Unfortunately, very few people in America
know the real name of Hurricane Katrina be-
cause the coal and oil industries have spent
millions of dollars to keep the public in doubt
about the issue.
The reason is simple: To allow the climate to
stabilize requires humanity to cut its use of coal
and oil by 70 percent. That, of course, threat-
ens the survival of one of the largest commer-
cial enterprises in history.
In 1995, public utility hearings in Minnesota
found that the coal industry had paid more than
$1 million to four scientists who were public
dissenters on global warming. And ExxonMobil
has spent more than $13 million since 1998
on an anti-global warming public relations and
lobbying campaign.
In 2000, big oil and big coal scored their biggest
electoral victory yet when President George
W. Bush was elected president -- and subse-
quently took suggestions from the industry for
his climate and energy policies.
As the pace of climate change accelerates,
many researchers fear we have already entered
a period of irreversible runaway climate change.
Against this background, the ignorance of the
American public about global warming stands
out as an indictment of the US media.
When the US press has bothered to cover the
subject of global warming, it has focused al-
most exclusively on its political and diplomatic
aspects and not on what the warming is doing
to our agriculture, water supplies, plant and
animal life, public health, and weather.
For years, the fossil fuel industry has lobbied
the media to accord the same weight to a hand-
ful of global warming skeptics that it accords
the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change -- more than 2,000 scien-
tists from 100 countries reporting to the United
Today, with the science having become even
more robust -- and the impacts as visible as the
megastorm that covered much of the Gulf of
Mexico -- the press bears a share of the guilt
for our self-induced destruction with the oil
and coal industries.
Ross Gelbspan is author of ''The Heat Is On"
and ''Boiling Point."
"We have always lived in slums and holes in the wall. We will know how to accommodate
ourselves for a while. For, you must not forget, we also know how to build. It is we the workers
who built these palaces and cities here in Spain and in America and everywhere. We, the
workers, can build others to take their place. And better ones! We are not in the least afraid of
ruins. We are going to inherit the earth; there is not the slightest doubt about that. The
bourgeoisie might blast and ruin its own world before it leaves the stage of history. We carry a
new world here, in our hearts. That world is growing this minute.", Buenaventura Durruti

Page 6

APOC Conference Postponed
The Anarchist People of Color Conference
scheduled for October 7-9, 2005 in Houston,
Texas has been postponed due to a myriad of
urgent circumstances and the need for local
organizers to turn their attention to commu-
nity efforts in this demanding time in our re-
gion. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,
the addition of over 100, 000 new and tempo-
rary residents from the Gulf coast, Houston is
short on help from the radical community.
We need to focus priorities on helping grassroots
efforts for hurricane survivors who have been
intentionally left behind and set-up by an arro-
gant capitalist state. It is easy to say that we
should continue with the conference as sched-
uled, but our reality is the reality of most radi-
cal communities in this country. We are in the
process of building strength as the world around
us falls apart.
Houston is the epicenter of many struggles right
now and it needs its own community members
to figure out what is needed here before we
move forward with a national conference within
a month. There are many community efforts
going on in Houston and not enough being done
by the larger radical community in terms of
support. We need educators, food, supplies and
especially money for community organizations
that are supporting Katrina evacuees. A clear-
inghouse is in the works of community cen-
ters, churches and shelters that are housing
Additionally, Houston is preparing itself for
the coming of the racist border vigilante group,
the Minutemen. Various community organiz-
ers have been readying themselves for direct
actions, community patrols, and poster cam-
paigns. Not to mention the impending state
lynching of Frances Newton this Wednesday
September 14th. While our hearts are heavy
and the mind overburdened-we must ready the
fight. Houston's gonna pop. With all of this
going on in our community, we realize that
having additional people is not conducive to
the needs that we have of building our founda-
tions and preparing ourselves adequately for
what's to come. We need some extra time, we
need to prioritize and focus. With the date
postponed, this conference can only be bigger
and stronger than our last.
Concessions for the APOC 2005 conference
have been put into place. Space is confirmed,
we have the fundraising in motion, we have the
schedules, we have the vision and ultimately
we have the will and the strength to put it
together. We are simply asking for solidarity
and support in our decision to move it back to
March. As we move forward, we ask for more
input and debate, for more voices to be in-
volved in the planning of the event. We have a
great need for discussions to happen at our
event. What is our direction? We have a need
to figure out how to build solid networks, foun-
dations and goals; engage in a critical analysis,
create strategies and define common visions,
goals. In the coming weeks, we will be setting
up a conference specific website with discus-
sion forums, room for debate, and more infor-
mation about what is going on in the Belly of
the Beast.
New and established community organizations
are creating mechanisms for support where
people can plug in. Right now, give your sup-
port in various ways. If you had in your plans
to come to Houston already, come. There will
be ways to plug in and be a resource. Let us talk
about the format of the conference and how
we can use the coming months to have a solid
There is also work at home, now. Build parallel
institutions that foster self-determination, self-
definition, unity, courage and hope. People in
our communities know what is going on, now
more than ever. How do we serve their needs
and unite them across cultural and economic
lines to take this system down by creating the
alternative? Get together with other people of
color in your cities, communities and regions.
Build for March. If you can come help before,
let us know and we will set you up. We look
forward to seeing you in March!
In Struggle, from the Heart of the Beast,
Karla Aguilar and Heather Ajani-Villalobos.
You can make cash donations or send
supplies from the list below to the following
address and they will be distributed directly to
people of color grassroots community
centers in Houston: APOC-Houston, PO Box
667110, Houston, TX 77266-7110
Items you can donate: Cash, Non-perishable
food items, Personal Hygiene, Diapers,
Blankets; Women and Men's clothing (all
sizes), Large/X-Large Women's Underclothes
(bras and underwear), Gas cards, phone cards,
grocery cards (Randall's, HEB, Kroger, etc.)
Kanye West is My Hero
By Justin Felux, Counterpunch, 09/05/05
"I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family and they say we are looting,
you see a white family and they say they are looking for food. And, you know, its been five days
because most of the people ARE black ... We already realize a lot of the people that could help are
at war right now, fighting another way. And now they've given them permission to go down and
shoot us. George Bush doesn't care about black people."
- Kanye West, speaking to a nationally televised audience on NBC
"We've never seen anything like this before." I have heard this phrase repeated several times by
newscasters describing the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. However, as I watched the
footage of all those black bodies desperately trudging through dirty flood waters, I realized that I
actually had seen something exactly like this before. It was one year ago, when Hurricane Jeanne
slammed against the coasts of Haiti, a country which like New Orleans is both poor and black. The
floods and mud slides ended up killing thousands of Haitians. The media gave scant attention to
the matter for a few days; just long enough to get some sexy footage of houses being destroyed and
valleys filled with floodwater. Enough to boost ratings for a while. Shortly after that, they packed
up their equipment and got out of there faster than you can say "racist indifference."
The United States rendered so little aid as to be insignificant, and before long the entire incident
had faded from the minds of most Americans. There were few cries of outrage over the fact that
this country couldn't care less about the deaths of thousands of black people, but devotes countless
hours of TV time to the latest Missing Pretty White Girl (I believe at the time it was Dru Sjodin,
not Natalie Holloway). But people dying in Haiti is one thing. Americans have always found it
easy to dismiss the deaths of those from other countries, especially when those countries are full
of dark-skinned people. But who would think our government would allow something equally
devastating to happen to people on our own soil -- to people who are full-fledged American
citizens (in theory, anyway)?
Enter Kanye West. The future of hip hop. An artist who more than compensates for his less-
than-stellar skills as an emcee with his razor-sharp wit and passion for justice and equality, not to
mention his bravado. It's hard to imagine any rapper since Tupac Shakur having the guts to get
brolic with the Commander-in-Chief on national TV. He will undoubtedly be savaged by detrac-
tors on the right and the left for "politicizing" a fundraiser to aid the victims of the flooding.
However, I have little doubt that Kanye was saying exactly what most of the black residents of
New Orleans are thinking right at this moment. As Kanye said on his last album, "Racism's still
alive, they've just been concealin' it," but it's in times of crisis such as this one that America begins
to show its true colors, and "black" isn't one of them.
The truth is, Kanye West didn't "politicize" a damn thing. George W. Bush did. The hurricane
became a political issue the second Bush decided there were more important priorities than
shoring up the preventive measures in New Orleans; such as giving tax cuts to billionaires and
launching an evil, imperialist war against the people of Iraq. Hurricane Ivan made it abundantly
clear that New Orleans was unprepared to deal with such a catastrophe if one were to occur. If only
Bush could be half the statesman Fidel Castro is. The Cuban government managed to evacuate
over a million people, and didn't lose a single life to Hurricane Ivan.
In fact, I'd say Kanye was far too generous. Bush, as well as some of the other players in this affair,
don't simply "not care about" black people. They have been proactive oppressors of African
Americans for years. As Texas governor, Bush never met a death certificate he didn't like. As a
result, he is personally responsible for the executions of numerous black men. Mississippi's
governor Haley Barbour warned that all "looters" would be dealt with "ruthlessly." This is a man
who has been linked to the Council of Conservative Citizens, a group started from the White
Citizen's Councils of the civil rights era. These were groups committed to the preservation of Jim
Crow and had intimate connections and overlapping membership with the Ku Klux Klan. And the
New Orleans Police Department doesn't need a "shoot to kill" order from the governor to go
about attacking black folks. New Orleans consistently ranks among the top cities in the number
of citizen complaints of police brutality. Just last month, a black man named Raymond Robair
died after the police brought him to the hospital. Witnesses observed the cops brutally beating
him, leaving him with four broken ribs and a ruptured spleen.
Cartridges for Katrina? The white supremacists are supposedly collecting ammunition to be
donated to racist vigilantes for confirmed kills of black "looters". The despicable ideological
descendents of the KKK are still capable of spreading misery. Fight them! Protest white
supremacists at the Georgia Peach Museum on Oct. 1, 2005 in Tempe, Georgia. See
onepeoplesproject.com for details.

But don't expect the mainstream media to tell
you anything negative about the New Orleans
Police Department. Their time will likely be
devoted to unsubstantiated stories that play
into popular white fears about blacks -- stories
about wild, black savages engaging in theft,
murder, rape, and even cannibalism. White folks
will eat it up like candy, and the ratings will
soar accordingly. In a time when we are being
bombarded by so many images and statements
which seem designed to bring out the worst in
us, it's very refreshing to see someone like
Kanye West step up and call a spade a spade.
Let's make sure he still has a career to go back
to after the dust settles. First and foremost we
should donate money to the relief efforts, but
it would also be a good idea cop Kanye's new
album, Late Registration. It's a classic.
Justin Felux is a writer and activist based in San
Antonio, Texas.
The United Houma Nation in Need
Indymedia, 09/20/2005
The 15,000 members of the United Houma
Nation branch out across the most southeast-
ern part of Louisiana. Of them, at least 3,400
have been direly affected by Hurricane Katrina,
the homes of approximately 1,000 remain un-
derwater, and the plight of all have been largely
ignored by the federal government and main-
stream media alike.
Still federally unrecognized by the U.S. gov-
ernment, the Houma's calls for help have too
remained unheeded by the same authority. For-
tunately, the Houma can count on allies such as
the National Congress of American Indians and
the Common Ground Collective. NCAI and the
National Indian Gaming Association have
teamed up in a million-dollar fundraising effort
to benefit all of the tribes in the affected areas
of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Mean-
while, the Common Ground Collective of the
Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans sent one
truck loaded with food and ice today. Another
truck stocked with gasoline, water, and medi-
cine, should be hitting the road tomorrow.
Throughout their history, the Houma have re-
built and relocated after each displacement, be
it because of natural disasters or man-made op-
pression. How many times must a people rec-
reate themselves before the simple recogni-
tion of their existence is finally granted?

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