Tampa has recently joined with Orlando in cracking down on groups that feed the homeless on public property. According to an article published today on tbo.com, Tampa police have shut down an operation of church group volunteers that have been feeding the homeless in downtown Tampa for 6 years. This comes after Orlando police have been arresting activists with Food Not Bombs for feeding the homeless in Orlando. Why is it that the “Sunshine State” has been cracking down on folks who are literally just trying to feed the homeless? There has been some speculation that in the case of Tampa’s recent actives, it has to do with the upcoming Republican National Convention and an effort by the city to “clean up” before the convention is underway. While the city denies it is related to the GOP convention, the effort to “clean up” the streets is certainly cited by officials.
There has been a recent upsurge in the population of those without homes, that has come at a time of continued economic crisis. Florida is home to one of the hardest hit housing markets in the wake of the Great Recession. It has also ceased to be one of the fastest growing states in the US, which has lead many in power facing an image problem (along with recent attacks on unions and immigrant workers by the state legislature).
There is certainly a problem with painting efforts to arrest and harass those feeding the homeless as “cleaning up” the streets of a given city. It assumes that homeless populations are themselves a “problem” that need to be “taken care of,” and instead of addressing the real roots of that problem, they assault those who are the victims of economic circumstances. Similar rhetoric has been used against the communities that recently were hit by major riots in the United Kingdom.
This crackdown on those feeding the homeless comes after years of non-enforcement of these ordinances that as the TBO.com article points out: are difficult to demonstrate laws were broken. It really comes down to the class nature of law enforcement in places like Florida, where property is considered a “right” (see: the advice by the city to move the feedings to private property) and where human rights and dignity are pushed to the wayside.
David Gilmore, the federally-imposed-administrator of the Housing Authority of New Orleans, and Mayor Mitch Landrieu, want to make life even more miserable for working class New Orleanians by demolishing the Iberville Public Housing development. To add insult to injury they have given the contract to greedy developer Pres Kabacoff, who drove hundreds of poor families from St. Thomas and still, a decade later, has not built the 100 off site apartment he promised. But, to carry out their crime, HANO, Landrieu, and Kabacoff need a multi-million dollar grant from the Department of Housing Urban Development. Join us Saturday, December 18 as we demand:
· No to a HUD Choice Neighborhood grant to demolish Iberville
· Yes to a massive public works program to rebuild Public Housing, Schools, Hospitals and Infrastructure
Press Conference, Rally and March
Saturday, December 18
Meet on neutral ground, corner of St Louis and Basin St.
Sponsor: Hands Off Iberville. For more information call 504-520-9521
Filed under African Americans, austerity measures, budget cuts, class struggle, Demonstration Announcements, Event Announcement, Gulf States, housing, Human Rights, Louisiana, National Oppression, New Orleans, Public housing, Race, Solidarity, Southern United States, Uncategorized, United States, Upcoming Events, workers
Tues & Weds tune in to the Labor Forum program on WRFG, 89.3FM
Please tune in to the Labor Forum program on WRFG, 89.3FM, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4:30-5pm, hosted for the next couple months by the Atlanta IAC coordinator, Dianne Mathiowetz .
The program addresses issues of concern to working-class people such as housing, education, health care, immigrants rights, the environment and U.S. foreign policy, and also up-to-date news of workers’ struggle in their fight for their voice to be heard in our city, nationally and internationally.
We encourage active participation in our discussion. Please call in during the show at (404) 523-3471 with your questions and comments.
Also if you have any suggestion for the program please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The radio programs will be video recorded and will be put on the IAC’s YouTube channel.
Filed under Anti-Imperialism, Atlanta, class struggle, Environment, Georgia, healthcare, housing, immigration, Leftist media, other announcements, Southern United States, United States