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(en) US, Turning the Tide: Journal of Anti-Racist Action, Research & Education,

Date Mon, 19 Sep 2005 14:55:32 +0300

ARA-LA/PART's PERSPECTIVE: New Orleans, New Afrika and the New World Order
Here's a quick pop quiz on meteorology, cosmology and sociology:
The destruction of New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta by Hurricane Katrina,
and the unrelieved suffering and deaths of tens of thousands, was caused by:
a) the vengeance on a Satanic/sinful/hypocritical America by
Allah/Yahweh/Jehovah, for whom the last straw was Pat Robertson's call
to assassinate Hugo Chavez
b) an unavoidable, horrific natural disaster that will give America a
chance to show it can still roll up its sleeves and rebuild things
better than they were before
c) the result of 500 years of racism, colonialism and industrialism,
compounded by a decade of heedless profit-oriented neo-liberal and
neo-conservative militarism

The answer is obvious even to those most blinded by religion or
flag-waving. The heart-rending devastation and the terrible cost in
human lives and destroyed homes are driving home to people throughout
the U.S. what the people in the region are experiencing directly.

The U.S. social, political and economic system - the Empire - not only
is incapable of meeting the most fundamental human needs - it is the
immediate cause of irreversible calamity and destruction of the
natural and social environment.

The evidence is clear. Scientific debate notwithstanding, the force of
the hurricane was indisputably a result of the global warming caused
by industrial pollution and its effects on atmospheric and oceanic
temperatures. The inability of the New Orleans levee system to
withstand the ocean surges and the rain was directly a result of
decades of destruction of the surrounding wetlands, compounded by the
diversion of needed funding to Iraq and "Homeland Security." The total
lack of preparedness and evacuation measures, or of effective rescue
operations, was a manifestation of deep-seated racism and class
prejudice. It exposed a political economy and society based on
individualism and privatization, compounded by the assignment of the
bulk of the Mississippi and Louisiana National Guard and their
equipment to military duty in Iraq.

The racism of the media that showed white survivors "finding" bread
and soda in stores, while Black survivors "looted" supplies from the
same stores in the same flood waters was matched only by the state's
diversion of police and Guard troops from search and rescue operations
to property protection under martial law. Bringing the National Guard
troops home immediately from Iraq is all well and good, but what will
it gain us if they are dispatched to wage war on the poor, Black and
homeless residents of New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta?

Reality has smacked us all upside the head with a tragic wake-up call.
But where do we go with this new awareness? What do you do when you
wake up and discover that the long national nightmare is just beginning?

We need to understand that total social, political and economic
transformation - revolution - is on the agenda, now. The "American Way
of Life" has demonstrated its unsustainability for all to see. Forget
"The Day After Tomorrow" - Hollywood films cannot come close to the
actual devastation we are facing today. Is Los Angeles more capable of
dealing with the inevitable 9.0 earthquake?

The Empire does not only stand in the way of human and planetary
survival; every day of its continued existence makes matters worse. We
must begin immediately the process of de-colonization,
democratization, decentralization and demilitarization that is our
only hope.

For the people of African descent in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama,
Georgia and Carolina, along with their white and Mexicano/Caribbean
neighbors, that means that the rebuilding process must be based in
creating a new social order of liberation, collective responsibility
and harmony - New Africa, not Dixieland. For the rest of us, it means
beginning a similar process of dismantling and opposing the Empire by
every means at our disposal. That means turning out massively to the
border on September 17-18 to denounce the vigilantes, the coyotes and
the Border Patrol. That means mobilizing massively on September 24-25
to demand immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan and to
stop the war machine. But even more, it means living each day to build
unbreakable ties of human solidarity and community while reversing the
damage caused by profligate waste of energy and poisoning of the
water, air, and soil.

by Michael Novick, Anti-Racist Action-LA/People Against Racist Terror

This is the lead editorial in the new issue of "Turning the Tide:
Journal of Anti-Racist Action, Research & Education," published by
ARA-LA/PART. A free sample copy in the US is available by writing to
ARA-LA/PART, PO Box 1055, Culver City CA 90232, calling 310-495-0299,
or emailing antiracistaction_la@yahoo.com. A one-year, six-issue
subscription is $16 ($26US outside the US or to institutions) payable
to Michael Novick at the above address.

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