CLASSISM, RACISM, POVERTY, MISTRUST, AND PRIVATE SECURITY IN THE GREEN AND RED ZONES ON THE BAYOU POST-KATRINA.
Last Sunday, I spoke with the man who put up this poster on his sidewalk in Uptown-Garden District of New Orleans.
I shared with him jokingly that by hiring private security for policing in their neighborhood, they are feeding into the larger security conglomerates like Blackwater and Dyncorp who will one day have a 'security' stronghold on this country like the phone companies and other business once (an still do) have. I shared that "these small start up security companies are going to be eventually bought out by the bigger companies until there are just a few very large private "security conglomerates" with a lot of power over our liberty and freedom."
He had no I idea as to what I was speaking to. I suggested that he read Jeremy Scahill's "Blackwater", which gives an in depth history of the owner of the private security firm "Blackwater" and his ideological ties.
Again. Nothing. He had no idea about as to what I was speaking about. Then I shared that I felt when there are sections of the same city where one group lives very comfortably with their own private security and then there is another group who lives in abject poverty, then there are going to be those who come from the poorer sections looking to steal from those who they feel "have" enough to be stolen from.
He misunderstood my meaning, and thought I was making an 'excuse' for the thieves, which I am not. It is a practical observation on human nature and suffering.
He told me he had to live our his car at one time and now he is comfortable and poverty isn't an excuse for people stealing.
Which I agree.
Then he really opened up. His anger and frustration flowed. He shared of his anger with the people who come into his neighborhood and make it unsafe. He shared of his frustration and anger with the New Orleans police force. He shared his anger at feeling betrayed by those in power that should be protecting him and his property. He shared about his frustration and feelings of powerlessness and how it led him to put out the poster and get neighbors to contribute towards the fee for private security patrolling their neighborhood to keep out the crime and criminal elements.
HOW THIS STORY RELATES TO THE EFFECTS OF DISASTER CAPITALISM:
Where ever the disaster capitalism complex has landed, it has produced a proliferation of armed groupings outside the state. That is hardly a surprise: when countries are rebuilt by people who don;t believe in governments, the states they build are invariably weak, creating a market for alternative security forces." PG. 417 Shock Doctrine
A PARALLEL PRIVATIZED INFRASTRUCTURE:
"The emergence of this parallel privatized infrastructure reaches far beyond policing when the contractor infrastructure built up during the Bush years is looked at as a whole. What is seen is a fully articulated state-within-a-state that is as muscular and capable of the actual state is frail and feeble." pg. 417
"This corporate shadow state has been built almost exclusively with public resources... yet the vast infrastructure is all privately owned and controlled. The citizens who have funded it have absolutely not claim to this parallel economy or its sown resources." pg 417
"The actual state meanwhile has lost the ability to perform it core functions without the help of contractors." pg. 417
NEW ORLEANS COLLEGES TO PAY FOR MORE SECURITY
Jana Mackin/New OrleansCityBusiness.com
Federal, state and local governments have struggled to speed up the release of funds and restore infrastructure. None of the 115 "critical priority projects" identified by city officials has been completed: For example, New Orleans' police superintendent still works out of a trailer, as do most of the city's firefighters. And analysts at the city's crime lab don't have a laboratory to match DNA samples. USA TODAY
IN THE (BLACK)WATER
Jeremy Scahill The Nation
AFTER KATRINA: WASHED AWAY?
Justice in New Orleans/The Urban Institute
Welcome to brand New Orlean$, disaster capitalism has reached the shores of United States of America.
There are a lot of people here, like myself who are watching the erasing of a culture and the ethnic cleansing of the city of New Orleans. The injustices and unfairness in quality of life in New Orleans for many working poor and poor Black New Orleanians is shocking.
I am grateful for the years of spiritual healing and education I have achieved before coming to New Orleans for it is a daily emotional and psychological struggle, to process the polarization of the "haves" , the "have mores" and the "have nots" in this city and to be a witness to the poverty and suffering of the working poor and poor Black New Orleanians. I don't feel that a lot of the younger activists are able to transform or contain their feelings of anger, frustration, and powerlessness when they witness such blatant and bold actions of injustice.
I do understand how all sides in this issue are feeling.
And as long as all sides keep feeling powerless and angry without a means to dialogue and heal their divisions, then the coprporate profits for privatized security firms are going to be rolling in.
The crux of the matter is this.
Class war = a never ending source of profits for private security firms.
People in the green zones will feel they need to be protected from the people in the Red Zones. Neighborhoods, churches, grocery stores, schools, etc. (I guess they always have felt insecure, as long as there have been ghetto's). What is different is that there is now a hungry industry that will feed off of the emotionality and fears of the population and $profit$ from it.
Rage, anger, frustration, and feelings of powerlessness are not being met within the bounds of our shared humanity, with compassion, dialogue and healing. Instead they are being me met with private security.
More security profits are to be garnered as people find it more and more difficult to contain their fears, resentments, rage, and anger.
Unfortunately, the emotional and psychological health of our overall population, has not been high on our national agenda whilst simealtaneously, we have become in the last 7 years, for the most part, more polarized, politically and religiously. We have become a nation of alienated, overwhelmed, emotionally distanced and over medicated strangers who barely make eye-contact with each other when we pass on the street or in other public arenas and who are afraid of ehtnic and class grouping that are not their own.
What is at stake here as we become more dependent on private security - whether "We the People, " are collectively aware of this new symbiotic political and privatized dynamic or not - is the loss of our liberties, the right to anonymity, and our freedom to dissent.
In the end, just like the peoples of Iraq (Red Zones) and the soldiers in the (Green Zones) have learned, when one group does not enjoy safety, freedom and the right to the pursue their own verisons of 'happiness', then everyone loses those rights. Neither group is safe. Everyone has lost their freedom in Iraq.
And if we continue along this path of disaster capitalism and privatized policing, as I foresee we are going to then as a nation, we will lose the privilege's of freedom and democracy that we have enjoyed for a mere 250 years. It will be the end of democracy as we know it.
If only we could engage peacefully as a nation with each other. I acknowledge that this is pure fantasy, for we have passed this marker in our evolution as a nation. We are lising daily the abilities to engage peacefully and respectfully with each other. We are not a 'peaceful' nation. And our divisions, in the end, will bleed us dry. Our divisions and our inability to dialogue with each other will be the source of the loss of many of our rights, our liberties, and our right to anonymity; our divisions and annomosity towards each other will keep us shackled to the corporate feeding trough of the privatized security industry for years to come.
"People of the Nation of the Free, no longer... free."