We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Gentrification-to-Prison Pipeline

Click here to access article by Lacino Hamilton from TruthOut.

Hamilton explains what people experience as they are removed from their neighborhoods under the policies known as "gentrification" (a very nice sounding word). Usually the people who are being removed are low income and powerless people of color who find it very difficult to fight back to preserve their homes and neighborhoods. The most vulnerable people of our society are targeted by developers and bankers who see the prospects of making loads of money if these people can be removed so that they can develop the property and sell or rent it to higher income people. Hamilton describes the aggressive nature of this removal process and what typically happens to the people who are forced out.
...the city of Detroit's approach to "social development" came to rely so dramatically on the bricks and mortar of prison at the expense of other responses that would have been both more humane and more effective -- such as social development with people in mind, not profit.

If we are willing to take seriously the consequences of a justice system that is the extension of money and power, it should not be difficult to reach the conclusion that enormous numbers of people are in prison simply because someone else's vision for the future did not include them. We were sent to prison not so much because of the crime we may have indeed committed, but largely for the expropriation of land (i.e., gentrification), which requires getting rid of the people who live on the land. Social development, urban renewal and the like are just new words for what sociologists in the past called imperialism, and what we can loosely refer to as colonialism. Gentrification and colonialism are the same processes largely because they share the same goals -- dislocation, expropriation and the pursuit of profit.

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