[News] The Battle in New Orleans Continues! Update on the ongoing struggle for affordable housing and the right of return

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Sat Dec 29 19:51:56 EST 2007

The Battle in New Orleans Continues! Update on the ongoing struggle for
affordable housing and the right to return

For the latest video update on the struggle and how you can support it visit


On Thursday, December 20th, 2007 the world witnessed first hand the ongoing
battle for human rights for the Black and working class peoples of New
Orleans. The Police riot prompted by the New Orleans City Council to
and suppress dissent against the neo-liberal reconstruction program of the
US government and international corporate interests displayed the true
limits they are willing to go to deny the cities historic Black majority
right to return.

Despite the repression and coerced and discriminatory vote of the City
Council, the struggle to stop the demolitions and the human right to
in New Orleans continues. The Coalition to Stop the Demolitions is moving
without pause to the next stage of the struggle and is calling on everyone
of conscious to stand with us in this fight.

To successfully engage the next stage of the struggle, a concrete
understanding of where the movement now stands is in order. While the
shameful vote of the City Council approving demolitions was a temporary
back, our movement was able to force City Council and Mayor C. Ray Nagin to
make some critical concessions to several of our demands. These include: •
   An expansion of the replacement units
•    An expansion of the HANO (Housing Authority of New Orleans) Board one
to three persons
•    More resident inclusion in the "redevelopment' process
•    Thorough public documentation and review of all redevelopment plans,
particularly their financing plans
•    Federal guarantees for resident vouchers
The movement also forced several prominent national politicians and 2008
Presidential candidates to respond and put pressure on George Bush to halt
the demolitions and to live up to his September 2005 promises to rebuild
Orleans and confront the racism and poverty that underlined the
These figures included John Edwards, Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, Barack
Obama, and most recently, Hilary Clinton.

While the concessions offered by City Council and Mayor Nagin are fairly
significant, they do not provide sufficient protection guarantees for
housing residents, and more importantly, they do not concretely address the
escalating housing crisis presently afflicting the city. What the
concessions in effect attempt to do is give political cover to Mayor Nagin
and the City Council through a décor of humaneness, progress, and false
promises of homeownership and inclusion in the reinvigorated American
of Bushes "ownership society". What they offer in reality however is further
legitimacy to the neo-liberal reconstruction program of the Bush regime
outlined by neo-conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and
administered through the likes government institutions and agencies at
level, including the neo-colonial city administration of Mayor Nagin through
his "free market" recovery policies.

If the concessions offered by Mayor Nagin and the City Council are
administered rents in the city will continue to rise, homelessness will
immediately escalate, more and more working and middle class Blacks will
forced back out and further exiled, and the city will become irreversibly
whiter. The Coalition to Stop the Demolitions seeks to stop these
and is thus resolved to pursue the following courses of action.

1.    Maintaining Political Pressure on key targets, including (see contact
information below) by emailing, calling, and faxing them to adhere to
various demands of the Coalition:
a.    Mayor Nagin and the New Orleans City Council
i.     To not let them off the hook for their heinous vote, and
ii.    To ensure that they adhere to the compromise provisions they passed
in their resolution on December 20th
b.    Senator Vitter to end his holdup of Senate Bill 1668.
c.    Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee to pass SB 1668
and move it to the Senate floor for a full vote.
d.    Alphonso Jackson, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban
Development (HUD) to:
i.    Stop the Demolitions
ii.    Adhere to the demands of the coalition (see demands)
e.    The Developers and Demolition Contractors to stop the demolitions.
2.    National Days of Action on Friday, January 25th and Saturday,
26th, 2008 targeting the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee
and focusing on SB 1668
3.    Legal Action to
a.    Challenge the proceedings of December 20th and,
b.    The enforceability of the City Council Resolution and the appeal
letters of Mayor Nagin to HUD
4.    Recall and Voter Registration Initiative
a.    To recall the Mayor and all of the City Council representatives for
their amoral vote on December 20th and their consistent undermining of
policies that support the right of return
5.    Economic Reprisals targeting
a.    Mardi Gras Festivities February 1st – 5th, 2008
b.    The NBA All Star Game Festivities February 15th – 18th, 2008

Concrete ways that you can support actions in demands are as follows:

1.    Come down and help! We need for as many people who are able,
particularly Black and other oppressed people, to come to New Orleans to
with outreach, coalition-building, and base-building, and engaging in
nonviolent civil disobedience in line with the resident council's
(see below) and the Coalition's pledge of resistance statement (see
www.peopleshurricane.org). To engage in this initiative, we ask that you
contact the Coalition at action at peopleshurricane.org.
2.    Pressure, Pressure, Pressure! We need to continue bombarding all of
the aforementioned targets with calls, faxes, and emails demanding that
comply with our demands.
3.    Take action in your State! We need our supporters throughout the
county to take action on Friday, January 25th or Saturday, January 26th
targeting your Senate representatives and demand that they let SB 1668 out
of committee if they reside on it or to take a position in favor of its
passage if they are not. See a contact list of the Senate Committee
4.    Help Re-register Internally Displaced Persons! Outreach to IDP's in
your area and encourage them to re-register to vote in New Orleans and
support the recall initiative. For more information on the recall visit
5.    Boycott, Boycott, Boycott! Spread the word to everyone in your area
and various networks to boycott Mardi Gras and the NBA All Star Game. Let
them know that the City of New Orleans should not be supported until the
Mayor and City Council make a firm commitment to stop the demolitions,
address the housing crisis, and ensure the right of return for all.
should be made with all of the Professional Basketball players we have
contact with and encourage them to support the boycott reprisals and to
a statement against the demolitions.
6.    Make media and get the word out! We need to reframe the struggle to
stop the demolition based on the demands of the Coalition. To this end we
need everyone to
a.    Write letters to the editor for your local news outlets,
b.    Blitz the major newsprint, TV, and cable media networks and demand
that they cover the issue, and
c.    Write articles on the issue based on the Coalition's demands and post
them to as many listserves, blogs, and websites as you possibly can. i.   
Topics to cover include connecting the New Orleans struggle to what's
happening in your community; the violence used to try and silence and
suppress dissent at the City Council hearing on the 20th; and the recent
letters and statements from Pelosi/Reid, Edwards, Obama, Clinton, and
Nagin's letter to Alphonso Jackson.

The Coalition to Stop the Demolition calls on our national and
allies to support our demands, which are as follows:

1.    No Demolitions – reopen the existing units and rebuild dignified
housing at former public housing sites.
2.    Guaranteed one-to-one replacement for all public housing residents.
3.    All available public housing units should be made available for the
homeless and those likely to face homelessness from the pending loss of
vouchers and trailer recalls.
4.    The Federal government needs to suspend demolition until they complete
their own investigation of Housing and Urban Development head Alphonso
Jackson regarding the illegal no-bid contracts he awarded to his cronies.
5.    Rent control (at pre-Katrina rates) to provide deeply affordable
housing so that all will be able to return to the city.
6.    Stop the privatization and gentrification of the city.

Resident Principles for Guiding Action

1.    All actions should be non-violent.
2.    There should be no weapons or drugs at any actions, and no alcohol or
drug or weapon possession at any action.
3.    No destruction or defacement of resident property.
4.    No coalition meetings without resident knowledge and input
5.    No media without residents or resident knowledge.
6.    Focus on defending public housing and affordable housing in the city
for all.

Federal Government Contact Information

George W. Bush - 202-456-1111
Alphonso Jackson, Secretary of HUD - (202) 708-1112
Mary Landrieu, US Senator, (D-LA) 202-224-5824; Fax: 202-224-9735
David Vitter, US Senator, (R-LA) - (504) 589-2753, DC Office (202) 224-4623

Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee contacts – demand that
they approve Senate bill 1668:

Senator David Vitter: New Orleans Office (504) 589-2753
Senator Christopher Dodd (202) 224-2823
Senator Tim Johnson (202) 224-1638
Senator Jack Reed (202) 224-4642
Senator Charles Schumer 202-224-0420
Senator Evan Bayh (202) 224-5623
Senator Tom Carper (202) 224-2441
Senator Robert Menendez (202) 224-4744
Senator Daniel Akaka (202) 224-6361
Senator Sherrod Brown (202) 224-2315
Senator Robert Casey (202) 224-6324
Senator Jon Tester (202) 224-2644
Senator Richard Shelby (202) 224-5744
Senator Robert Bennent (202) 224-5444
Senator Wayne Allard (202) 224-5941
Senator Michael Enzi (202) 224-3424
Senator Chuck Hagel (202) 224-4224
Senator Jim Bunning (202) 224-4343
Senator Mike Crapo (202) 224-6142
Senator John Sununu (202) 224-2841
Senator Elizabeth Dole (202) 224-6342
Senator Mel Martinez (202) 224-3041

New Orleans Mayor and City Council Contact Information

Mayor Ray Nagin – 504.658.4900

Arnie Fielkow 504.658.1060 afielkow at cityofno.com

Jacquelyn Clarkson 504.658.1070 jbclarkson at cityofno.com

Stacy Head 504.658.1020 shead at cityofno.com

Shelly Midura 504.658.1010 smidura at cityofno.com

James Carter 504.658.1030 jcarter at cityofno.com

Cynthia Hedge-Morrell 504.658.1040 chmorrell at cityofno.com

Cynthia Willard-Lewis 504.658.1050cwlewis at cityofno.com


Info Packet compiled by the Advancement Project:

Public housing: Rooting the struggle in past reconstructions –article
linking past and present struggles:

Save Public Housing in New Orleans

In Unity and Struggle,

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