Mon Dec 3, 2012, 01:57 PM
starroute (12,515 posts)
Occupy Sandy and fighting back against disaster capitalism
I just posted this as a reply on a thread about Chris Hedges' latest -- but it struck me it belongs here too. The more people can come to understand the true nature of the struggle, the better.
It has been more than a month since Hurricane Sandy. Windows of opportunity that have opened will soon close again, and we need to seize the moment. Compared to just a week or two ago, there are now fewer volunteers, fewer people reading the mass emails from Occupy Sandy, fewer hubs in active service. And just like before, the vultures are still circling, hoping to use this period of crisis to replace flooded bungalows and moldy housing projects with the fancy condos and luxury hotels they’ve always wanted. Just like before, the underlying systems and crises — social, economic, political and environmental — still exist, and are still causing damage much deeper than any hurricane ever could on its own. . . .
How the city will be rebuilt, where the resources will go, who will profit from them and how they will affect communities around the city — those decisions are being made as we speak. The city government is already thinking about how it is going to spend the enormous sums of money that will be poured into redevelopment in the near future. The Wall Street investors in unpublicized meetings are confident they will get a big piece of the pie. The disaster-capitalist developers are already out there doing everything they can to ensure that they’re the ones who get the contracts.
Staff members of Navillus, Mayor Bloomberg’s favorite contractor, are out in the Rockaways “volunteering,” probably in an effort to be first in line when the reconstruction contracts are auctioned off. The fossil fuel companies, meanwhile, are hoping none of us will put two and two together and hold them rightfully responsible for the climate crisis; they are probably doing all the lobbying they can to make sure the city rebuilds in a way that is as dependent on fossil fuels as before.
By the time the bulldozers come to knock down the bungalows in the Rockaways, and the contractors come to build condos in their place, the decisions will have already been made. Maybe we’ll be strong enough to reverse them, but we’ve lost too many battles before to bet on that. In some cases, it’s true, those buildings should be knocked down; no one should have to live in prison-like project buildings, or in homes with walls so moldy they make you cough within minutes. The question is, what will be built in their place?
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Occupy Sandy and fighting back against disaster capitalism (Original post)
|Fire Walk With Me||Dec 2012||#2|
|Lady Freedom Returns||Dec 2012||#4|
Response to Fire Walk With Me (Reply #2)
Thu Dec 6, 2012, 11:28 AM
starroute (12,515 posts)
3. That plus hotels and casinos
There was also some scheme I read about last winter to build a new convention center for New York near JFK Airport -- which is on the north side of Rockaway Bay. It seemed like a really bad idea at the time, since as the article pointed out, people who come to New York City for conventions want to be in Manhattan where they can do the tourist thing, not over an hour out of town.
... Ah, I see on checking that the idea fizzled out last June, but that Governor Cuomo -- whose scheme it was -- was "handling multiple offers from the gambling industry to develop a combination casino and convention center at other sites around New York City." (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/08/nyregion/cuomo-weighs-other-convention-casino-complex-options-in-new-york.html)
(See also http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20120602/REAL_ESTATE/120609973)
In any event, the whole thing would hinge on a referendum to overturn the state's current prohibitions against casinos (other than on Indian land). But one way or another, I smell the likelihood of some really dirty politics in the pipeline, probably coupled with the argument that the state needs gambling revenues to pay for hurricane clean-up.