portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary united states

corporate dominance | economic justice | katrina aftermath

Eminent Domain and the New Orleans Land Grab: A Prediction

The disaster in New Orleans has created an opportunity for land speculators and developers alike, much in the way corporations see the third world.
The disaster in New Orleans has created an opportunity for land speculators and developers alike, much in the way corporations see the third world. Only in our case has the Supreme Court already set up the legal framework for doing so. With two Bush appointees in the works, a land grab is only a matter of time.

Take for example, the case in Lakewood Ohio, where occupants of perfectly inhabitable housing were forced to leave their homes through a court order, so that the government could turn the property over to private developers, under the guise of "the public good". An article, published on a CBS website over a year ago states, "Cities across the country have been using eminent domain to force people off their land, so private developers can build more expensive homes and offices that will pay more in property taxes than the buildings they're replacing." (Eminent Domain: Being Abused?, 60 Minutes)

In Lakewood, the houses were not even "blighted". In the case of New Orleans, where many homeowners will be declaring bankruptcy, and wanting to liquidate property, speculators will be waiting around to snatch up land deals. New Orleans is ripe for "redevelopment". And just like Baghdad, Halliburton gets the contract for "reconstruction", though many from the South will argue that many places never recovered from the blight caused by the Civil War.

It is clear the eminent domain is being used as a means of transferring wealth to developers; a wealth redistribution scheme for the rich. The Supreme Court, in their recent decision concerning a case in New London, Connecticut, has endorsed this. An AP report quipped, "Cities may bulldoze people's homes to make way for shopping malls or other private development, a divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday [June 23rd, 2005], giving local governments broad power to seize private property to generate tax revenue." What this will mean for the poor is an eventual spike in rents, ensuring that many poor folks will never return to their urban home.

The privitization schemes have yet to materialize in full, but this too is a matter of time.

These land redistribution schemes have been played out over and over in other places, through international corporation and lending institutions, with the legal support of local governments. In many case in this hemisphere, with few options available, people took matters into their own hands. Similar conditions present themselves in New Orleans--people desperate for basic needs, governments that are complicit in land grabs, and US corporations always willing to make the "investment". It makes one wonder what the real reason for so much security and so little food in post hurricane Katrina was. Starving out and controlling a possible armed insurrection, in the wake of denial of food, water, and medical supplies, may be what proof lies in some classified memo yet to be released.
Domestic Training for... 17.Sep.2005 20:09

Quill

I think you're right that there's more going on behind the scenes than many people realize. The media/press/government spin on things placing an emphasis on 'restoring order' and 'shooting on sight' those who might be taking things from ruined shops is suggestive of that. The unnecessary deprivation seems to have aggravated the situation, possibly by design. The private mercenary squads, Blackwater Security, being deployed in New Orleans, the National Guard and Military and Blackwater together helping to disarm/militarize the area, are all very suggestive of domestic counter-insurgency training.
Now that they've had some practice doing this kind of thing that many people compare to Iraq, we'll see what happens next on the domestic and world stage....with the nauseating spectacle of commodity relations smothering those human and animal lives that are only in theory said to be all that important.

Hurrican Katrina's force compacted into a wet laser aimed at certain select targets would have been far more poetic and righteous.

now 17.Sep.2005 20:38

we're getting somewhere

you're right...NOLa is a massive urban renewal project whose time has come...now that the myriad ghettoes of black and poor folks have all been conveniently washed away...the land is open for a giant reclamation project...one that is to be under-written and funded by the tax-paying masses...for the benefit and enjoyment of the tax-evading over-classes.

--witness the no-bid contracts already handed to cheney-burton and sci.

--witness the command and control being excercised on the ground by the military.

--witness what judah hertz, our fine-faced criminal front-man, has been up to in the last year or so.

--witness all the h.u.d. mortgages going into default and just watch who takes possession of them.

--witness the willful neglect and intentional under-funding of the army corps of engineers (under fema) which lead to the levees sinking to disasterously low levels.

--witness the full-scale confiscation of arms and the selective private security practices.

--witness the ready blockade of the escape route through the up-scale white areas.

--witness the scores of stories about supplies and assistance being blocked and refused for days on end.

why, it all adds up to another pay-off across the board for the backers of bush; while the rest of the rabble was "gamed" into yet another major loss.

WIth liberty and justice for all... 17.Sep.2005 23:42

Capt. Amerika

This was published about the time of 9-11...



In October 2001, Scientific American published an article entitled "Drowning New Orleans", by Mark Fischetti. Here is an edited extract:

"A major hurricane could swamp New Orleans under 20 feet of water, killing thousands. Human activities along the Mississippi River have dramatically increased the risk, and now only massive re-engineering of south-eastern Louisiana can save the city. A big, slow-moving hurricane would drive a sea surge that would drown New Orleans under 20 feet of water . . . New Orleans is a disaster waiting to happen. The city lies below sea level, in a bowl bordered by levees. And because of a damning confluence of factors, the city is sinking further. The Mississippi Delta, which buffers the city, is also rapidly disappearing. Each loss gives a storm surge a clearer path to wash over the delta and pour into the bowl, trapping one million people inside and another million in surrounding communities. Extensive evacuation would be impossible because surging water would cut off the few escape routes."

You geniuses figure it out. Here's some more help...

 link to www.total411.info

Check the Votes 18.Sep.2005 07:45

Umbriago

Although your article is basically correct, your implications are not.

I challenge you to check the votes of the justices on the court that voted for this abomination. You will find it was the liberal block that supported this.

This is the reason that in Justice Souters home town they are leading a movement to have his property seized for development. Also one of the other justices is also experiencing similar possibilities.

PRIVATIZATION: DON'T GET MIXED UP 18.Sep.2005 17:29

M. Gilson

Privatization is when you return government monopolies, service monopoliess, and seizures back to private people, not when you seize private property to benefit the government.

Libertarians are the main advocates of privatization and are leading nationwide protest on the Eminent Domain ruling.

M. Gilson,
See www.lp.org

Gimme shelter. 19.Sep.2005 06:46

anon

I think Judge Souter's home would make a nice refuge for some folk from New Orleans. Probalby nicer than a sports dome or the Y. What do you think?