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Saturday, March 15, 2008

TENT CITIES RAISE ALARMS OF LOSS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS’ LIBERTIES

A good friend of mine, Jacobin, came to "Mainstream Politics Returns With LordMercifulVoo" last night and shared a story about tent cities cropping up throughout the United States because of the mortgage foreclosure crisis. Under the guise of security, municipalities have been stepping on the rights of citizens.

I did a Google search and found several stories about this problem, however it was curious that there weren’t many stories from the mainstream media discussing the issue. One story is by Andrea Bennett from the Daily Bulletin, "Only homeless with Ontario ties may stay"

The Bennett story features one of the tent cities that is gaining notoriety in Ontario, California. That tent city was created about a year ago and has ballooned to about 400 people. The Municipality of Ontario’s action plan should cause some concern to Americans because it suggests that their plan should also be used as a template in other regions. The municipality is demanding that people prove that they are from the area of Ontario or they will be bussed to “their places of origin.” Is that a solution? Instead of providing much-needed services to people, like giving them access to affordable housing, job services or training and supports, they plan to mark them as undesirables who have no rights and relocate them. This is a band-aid and will merely transport the problem to another municipality. Is this an infringement of the right for movement within the nation of the USA? One resident of the Ontario tent city said in the Bennett story that he had previously been kicked out of other cities, so it appears that municipalities just “deport” “non-citizens.”

A highly contested part of the Municipality of Ontario plan is the placing of wristbands on the citizens who can prove they are from the area and get to stay there. Another controversial act is that they plan to fence the area in. Say what? It has been suggested by some critics that these are Hitler-style tactics. We need not even look to Nazi Germany to see where this has happened before. It is reminiscent of how Native Americans have been treated and placed on reservations. In Canada, Natives were forced on reserves and labeled as “status Indians.” They were given an enrollment card, or status card to identify them as Indians. The geographic space “reservation” marked as for Indians, was to separate them from the mainstream white spaces because Natives were seen as a threat to white society. There was a time when Natives were required to get a pass to leave the reservation. Such heavy-handed policing methods hadn’t been placed on citizens. These racist policies were outlined in the Indian Act which legislated all aspects of Native lives. The restriction of movement, the branding with a status card number and lack of citizenship and voting rights resulted in the oppression of a people because of racism and was managed through the Indian Act.

Back to Ontario….the way that tent cities such as this will be policed and regulated demonstrates that Americans have lost their civil liberties, similar to how Natives were denied citizenship rights. The Bennett article reported that there will be certain regulations written up and enforced that the tent city residents have to abide by. An example is that there will be no children or pets allowed.

Natives have long-warned Canadians and Americans that the oppression inflicted on us could happen to others as well. I now hear Americans complaining and acting shocked and hopeless about losing their liberties. These tent cities are classist, an assault levied on the poor who are a problem and therefore must be “managed” much the same as the “problem” of Natives and how we had to be “managed.” But we as Natives also understand that the mistreatment of us by the white settler governments was perfected in Europe before being imported to Turtle Island… What was justified through classism in Europe was replaced with racism here. History repeats itself over and over again. Now we see this kind of oppression coming full circle whereby whites are being targeted again.

This problem will become systemic in the USA. It isn’t only Ontario California that is experiencing this problem, I have found a site that lists several other tent cities.

With economic experts predicting that even more mortgage foreclosures are to come over the next year, this crisis will grow. Question to Americans, how does it feel to be treated like a Native American and what are you going to do about it?

4 comments:

Gary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

this is something very horrific... about what is to happen and americans dont seem to take this seriously enough.... I think they may when it is way too late. then there will nothing anyone can do for them.

AUNTY KATE said...

Mitsuk, ty for the blog posting and I imagine this news will shock many readers in your country and the USA.

People living in camps, deprived of basic modern amenities? How dreadful.

Well, Australian Aboriginal people in many parts of this country have been living that that ever since there land and therefore ability to sustain themselves was stolen.

Mitsuk, some years ago I recall a conversation where we talked about a situation where the non-indigenous people of your country and mine would not wake up until they experienced the suffering of your people and mine. That this may ever happen was not such an outrageous proposition given the way our respective countries were forging ahead with programs that has little to know regard for the humankind. So here we are with camps for the dispossessed that does not discriminate between, race or religion. The poor is a club anyone can join. There is no subscription fee or silly minimum income restrictions of the country clubs Steven Harper, George Bush or little Johnnie 'I'll never apologise' Howard, would join.

Your blog will, no doubt, be an earth shaking experience for many to read. But for you and I and every other indigenous person in our respective countries, we will smile and say, welcome to the club, this has been the lot of many indigenous people for hundreds of years. And it my country it still continues.

Anonymous said...

Anyone that thinks we will wind up in FEMA camps is worse than retarded.
But just look who thinks that.
That should give you a clue.
Aunty-Fruitcake,"Well, Australian Aboriginal people in many parts of this country have been living that that ever since there land and therefore ability to sustain themselves was stolen."
Without the whites coming in you would still be digging a hole and pooping it kate. some of you abos still arewhen you are not screwing kids and drinking.
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