Katrina and Other Catastrophes

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The Lords of Capital learned a great deal from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. They learned that the Black Misleadership Class was incapable of organizing resistance to even the most public crimes committed against the Black poor. Not only could African Americans be removed en mass from valuable urban property with no push-back from the Black political class, but many of them would join in celebrating the catastrophe as a “renaissance.”
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Katrina Pain Index 2016 by the Numbers: Race and Class Gap Widening

by Bill Quigley 

When much of Black New Orleans was forced out of town in the wake of Katrina, the powers-that-be welcomed the opportunity to make the purge permanent. Today, “there are 95,625 fewer African Americans living in New Orleans now than in the 2000 Census.” The state of Louisiana “continues to rank dead last in poverty, racial disparities and exclusion of immigrants.” 

Katrina, Climate Justice and Fish Dinners: Social Justice Lawyer Colette Pichon Battle

by Bill Quigley 

A young corporate lawyer returned to Louisiana to immerse herself in the post-Katrina struggles of her people. “People were being asked, in the middle of trauma, to sign away rights and legal documents on property and your land that are going to have ramifications for generations.” In New Orleans, Atty. Battle learned that “rebuilding since the storm favors privileged private enterprise and this illusion of recovery is not progress."

Black Agenda Radio for Week of September 21, 2015

What Price Reparations?

Based on calculations by University of Connecticut researcher Thomas Craemer, reparations to African Americans for slavery would cost between $5.9  trillionand $14.2 trillion. Prof. Craemer’s formula multiplies the number of hours worked by every enslaved man, woman and child above the age of five, at prevailing unskilled labor wages, with interest compounded at three percent per year. It is widely recognized that the surplus produced by slave labor allowed the United States to rapidly develop into a world economic power. “You could look at this as a start-up loan that the United States took out with African Americans – and never repaid,” said Craemer.

The Afro-Americanization of “Momma Emanuel”

In 2011, a suburban Washington DC police officer shot to death Nigerian-American college senior Emanuel Okutuga. The cop was never charged with a crime. The youth’s mother, whom activists call “Momma Emanuel,” became a mainstay of demonstrations against police violence. “She’s a tower of strength,” said Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, the renowned whistleblower and activist with the Hands Up Coalition-DC, who is also an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. Momma Emanuel “now feels very African American,” said Coleman-Adebayo. “When she talks about white supremacy, she now understands what she’s talking about.”

New “WikiLeaks” Book shows U.S. Runs Amuck in Latin America

Diplomatic cables from the Bush and early Obama administrations document years of U.S. subversion and attempts at regime change in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Honduras and El Salvador, according to The WikiLeaks Files, a new book by three analysts for the Center for Economic and Policy Studies. The U.S. funded right-wing NGOs that tried to topple the Venezuelan government, said co-author Dan Beeton. For example, a U.S. diplomat in Caracas cabled his superiors to report: “The streets are hot, and all the people organizing these demonstrations are our grantees.” Beeton cannot imagine that the U.S. would tolerate “Chinese or Iranian funding of NGOs that put up street blockades in Washington, DC.”

Post-Katrina Documentary: “Fear No Gumbo”

Kimberly Rivers-Roberts, the New Orleans filmmaker and hip hop artist also known as Queen Kold Madina, is raising funds to complete Fear No Gumbo, her new documentary on the city’s incomplete recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Her first film, Trouble the Water, depicting events during the first five days after the storm, was nominated for an Oscar and won several awards at the Sundance Film Festival. The new project aims to show “that the recovery isn’t over, even ten years later.” Rivers-Roberts considers her film “an educational piece to get people back to the table, get some positive change, and get the Lower Ninth Ward rebuilt.”


Dark Waters: Hurricane Katrina, the Politics of Disposability and the Racism of Malcolm Gladwell

by Henry Giroux

Ten years after the Katrina catastrophe pushed 100,000 Black people out of New Orleans, it has become acceptable in polite society to advocate involuntary dispersal of Black and poor people. “This is the reasoning in support of creating the dehumanized Other, one that rationalizes not only an intolerable violence, but also supports producing new forms of disposability, new zones of social death, and terminal exclusion.”

New Orleans Katrina Pain Index at Ten: Who Was Left Behind

by Bill Quigley

A decade after the Katrina catastrophe, 100,000 people have still not returned to New Orleans, most of them Black. Whites in the city have gotten a lot richer, yet poverty still stalks Black neighborhoods, the public schools have been almost totally charterized, and rents have skyrocketed – all in the name of “renewal.”

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