Green Party Speaks Out on NOLA Protests

The Green Party has responded to protests in New Orleans over opposition to the New Orleans City Council’s vote to demolish “low-income public housing.” According to CNN, the “City Council voted unanimously to greenlight the demolition of the city’s four largest public housing developments, saying they are too damaged by Hurricane Katrina to allow residents back into them.”

“Could the federal government have done better? Sure. Could [federal housing officials] have opened more units quicker? Sure,” New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin reportedly said. “But we are where we are today, and today, we had a unified decision to move forward with accountability, honoring our overriding premise that every citizen has a right to return to the city.”

“Police used pepper spray and extremely dangerous stun guns against those attempting to enter Council chamber on Thursday, December 20,” reads a Green Party press release. “The Council is acting in cooperation with plans by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to replace the public housing units with new mixed-income housing, which would result in the eviction of tenants, nearly all of them African American, from their homes without any further plan to house most of them.”

“By choosing to destroy existing structures instead of renovating them for the current residents, Council surrendered to a long-range effort to displace New Orleans’ working class African American population,” said Alfred Molison, co-chair of the Green Party’s Black Caucus and a Texas Green. “New Orleans politicians are cooperating with the Bush Administration’s plan to exploit the Katrina disaster in order to reduce drastically the amount of low-cost housing in the city.”

“Despite promises from Council members, the result of the demolition will not be improved public housing for poor black people in New Orleans, but enforced homelessness and removal from a city they have a right to live in,” said Nan Garrett, Co-Chair, National Women’s Caucus of the Green Party of the United States . “The vote was a giveaway to powerful developers favored by the White House, and who stand to make a killing from Hurricane Katrina’s effect on New Orleans infrastructure. The actions of the police against protesters—many of whom have been denied return to their homes in the past two years—are consistent with the atrocious racist and classist treatment of New Orleans residents in the aftermath of Katrina.”

Garrett encouraged presidential and other candidates to speak out in the defense of people residing in public houses. “What’s going on in New Orleans is an accelerated version of what has been happening in cities across the US,” stated Garrett.

12 Responses to “Green Party Speaks Out on NOLA Protests”

  1. Preston Says:

    What!? C’mon Greens! You would rather have public housing be unlivable? This article, and the Greens, I’m assuming, forgot to mention that everyone being evicted was given housing vouchers—this is NOT forced homelessness. Once again, I’m disappointed by my own.

  2. Denise Blackwell Says:

    Why should we the people and the government not tear down these nasty sites. These building were in deplorable condition far longer than the storm damage. It about time the government cleans this mess up.

  3. Google Yahoo Says:

    Why should we the people and the government not tear down these nasty sites.

    Because it is not yours.

  4. Michael Says:

    These low-income public housing units were scheduled to be torn down before hurricane katrina. They are not safe enough for tenents to be living in.

    Shortly after the no-bid contracts were given out for New Orleans clean-up following hurricane katrina, several contractors ran ads in several Mexican newspapers advertising jobs. The residents (and former residents) of New Orleans were largely denied these jobs and the opportunity to get back on their feet in their home city. Tens of thousands of these jobs have gone to illegal immigrants. Many of these imported cheap labor foreign nationals are living in abandoned homes, formerly occupied by African-Americans.

    The Green party remains silent on this outrage. N.O. residents deserve to contribute to the re-building of their city. They need jobs to get back on their feet. That is the real fight. Our tax dollars (via rebuilding contracts)should be going to those residents that need assistance, instead of contributing to the GDP of Mexico.

    Instead, the Green party wants to keep these unsafe eyesores standing, thus continuing the victim mentality of a whole city. The vast majority of N.O. residents want these buildings torn down. The vast majority of N.O. residents wanted these buildings torn down before hurricane katrina.

    Their are many pragmatic steps that can be taken by the city, community leaders, non-profits, churches, etc. to help those displaced by the storm. We need to look for pragmatic solutions, instead of looking for fights to pick.

    We need to lift up our citizens, by empowering them. Keeping them victims does them nor our nation no good.

  5. matt Says:

    I imagine that the displaced are angry because they feel that their community is being destroyed. A better response would be offering to sell the building to it’s former tenants, which would be easy enough to do considering that it isn’t worth much and demolition is expensive.

    Public Housing is a complex, hairy, no-win situation, and if the Green Party is getting it wrong, well, so is almost everyone else.

  6. NOLA2005 Says:

    And it’s not the former tenants either. Have you never been a renter, and been asked to vacate the building because the owner wishes to make improvement? It’s not against the law as far as I know. And speaking of the law, nowhere can I find in the Constitution, either U.S., or state find where it guarantees anyone the right to free, or subsidized housing. This is a courtesy offered by the taxpayers, not a right. The vast majority of the cities residents, both black, and white, want these failed development to come down. In a democracy, where majority rules, that means there coming down. God Bless America.

  7. Marat Balagula Says:

    Since the government does not properly own anything, the majority should have no say so, only the people who live there.

  8. Michael Says:

    nobody lives there. The buildings are empty and have been empty for a while now.

  9. Marat Balagula Says:

    The people who lived there until forced out and still have possessions there.

  10. Nick Says:

    Not a single mention of what they’re going to build on top of those buildings. This isn’t complicated.

    Public housing is torn down, thousands of units, in order to build private condos that will sell for multiples of what was being paid for public housing.

    So, they gave it to developers, passed out housing vouchers and told those people to go find a FEMA trailer.

    This isn’t about the physical buildings in my mind; City Council and the Vultures are seeing what they can get away with.

  11. Fabio Says:

    I agree with Nick.

    There was a bill going through congress (SB 1668) that would guarantee one-for-one replacement of affordable housing. Despite pleas to delay the City Council decision for sixty days to give the bill time to pass, the decision was made. Dozens of petitions were made, dozens of petitions were ignored (another step towards the destruction of the Bill of Rights). Now this: protesters are tased and sprayed (a combination that can lead to the pepper spray combusting). Our freedoms are being taken away one by one.
    Residents of FEMA trailers who have been evicted are swelling the ranks of New Orlean’s homeless. The homeless are having their tents and other belongings confiscated by police and have to relocate.
    This goes to show that the United States has become a police state. The frightening part: the police is controlled by the government, and the government is under the control of the big business and corporations.
    I’m moving back to Brasil if this keeps up.

  12. Tyler Westbrook Says:

    Here is a good look at what happened @ City Hall Nola that day, plus a lot more on our website

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