[mpisgmedia] FW: Some American Bhagidari

//delhi is more advanced (also up for best-pract honour, btw). for removing arjun camp, with sub-judice case for relocation to nearest low-income housing site (occupied by still-standing sahara restaurant-cum-bar that sent sitting judge to jail in the DDA scam), honorarium was later claimed by some RWA bhagidaar out of some bhagidaari money.

From: "Rajesh R." <[email protected]>
Reply-To: <[email protected]>
To: <[email protected]>
Subject: Some American Bhagidari
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2005 11:50:20 +0530

Racist gentrifiers use drug charge as cover
By Larry Hales
"I admit, when I see a group of Black people hanging out on the streets I
think they're selling crack or gonna use crack," said one of the founders of
the Capitol Heights Neighborhood Coalition, a Denver group formed shortly
after the November elections.
The coalition paints itself as a "grassroots organization, making an effort
to make necessary changes." Its aim is to "create a committed coalition of
residents, business and property owners to revitalize and thus change the
current image of the neighborhood bordered by 11th, Colfax, Clarkson and
Business and property owners called for the Capitol Heights Neighborhood
Coalition. The initial meeting attracted nearly 60 people. The next meeting
drew even more.
According to the group, the two most noticeable "blights" that plague the
Capitol Heights Neighborhood, also known as the Molly Brown Neighborhood,
are the open crack dealing and the many homeless people who traverse the
streets asking for money.
The danger that is posed by this burgeoning vigilante group is obvious.
Drugs are a problem, but the rise in drug use coincides with the downward
spiral of the economy.
While people typically think of Denver and the state of Colorado as
physically beautiful and with a higher standard of living, Denver actually
has a rising homelessness problem. The high cost of living is asphyxiating
the poor. The Rocky Mountain News reported in a Dec. 9 article that the
number of homeless people in Denver would increase to 11,000 before 2004 was
The Capitol Heights Neighborhood Coali tion pays no attention to these
numbers. It seeks not to truly effect change, but to move the "problem" out
of the neighborhood by bullying and spying on people and getting the cops to
Some members of this group even set up a website called www.crackstreet.com,
where they posted pictures of so-called drug offenders. They had to remove
the pictures due to community outrage.
To accomplish its goal, the coalition has been trying to incite people who
live in this community against the homeless, those who are addicted, and
those who because of an addiction or the few opportunities available sell
their bodies or drugs.
The coalition is trying to get city officials to agree to open a "cop shop"
in a closed 7/11 store that Southland Corp. no longer found profitable.
They also want to have "No Trespass" zones set up so no person can stand in
an area too long without being harassed by cops. They want to begin
discussing the effectiveness of a city "Drug Court."
Instead of fighting poverty and racism, they are fighting its victims.
Poverty is being further criminalized. There is no doubt that property and
business owners around the country are taking the same steps as this group.
The rise of these wanna-be vigilante groups, spurred on by the police and
city officials, is part of gentrifying an area.
Inner-city areas are prime for buying and developing, but for the moneyed
and propertied people who fled urban areas decades ago. As the poor grow
more destitute what are people to do? What are the thousands affected by the
computer glitch in the Colorado state welfare system to do without their
What are the over 1,000 homeless families in this city to do when jobs are
scarce and those available are low-paying? After all, the average
two-bedroom apartment in Denver costs $984 per month but the Samaritan
Shelter reports that the people it houses earn on average $1,193 per month.
In addition, the Capitol Heights Neigh bor hood Coalition targets people of
color because they have been misled to think that people of color make up
the majority of drug users and dealers, no doubt from the cops, whose Gang
Task Force recently released absurdly bloated figures about Denver's "gang
This Task Force went as far as to release a report stating that there are
25,000 gang members on Denver streets, leading to the rounding up and
aggressive profiling of Black and Latino youths. The coalition cited the
figures at a meeting.
It is a shame that the "drug problem" is being blamed on the poor and
disenfranchised, of any color but especially those from oppressed
nationalities, who face higher unemployment, higher rates of being uninsured
and higher rates of homelessness.
Activists in the city have started attending meetings and challenging this
group. They are building a campaign against this attack on the poor that
will invariably feed more youths of color into the growing prison-industrial
Shareef Alim is an activist who has worked on the issue of police brutality
and spearheaded Operation Get Tourney (Tourney is the cop who shot and
killed Paul Childs, a 15-year-old mentally disabled Black youth). Alim said
that "given few possibilities, people get by the best they can".
He further said that "if the group truly wanted to help, then it would be
making recommendations to the city and state to provide housing for all,
begin to build the hospitals needed, daycares, schools and to staff all
those institutions, that nothing short of complete transformation of society
can happen before the drug problem can be addressed properly."
To be sure, the only answer to the problems of drug use and dealing,
homelessness and prostitution is a revolutionary socialist reorganization of
society--to abolish capitalism and to provide for human need.
Reprinted from the Jan. 13, 2005, issue of Workers World newspaper

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