Friday, September 09, 2005

LOUISIANA GREEN RELEASE LA. Greens express outrage, call to action

The Green Party of Louisiana

Monday, September 5, 2005

Leenie Halbert, Coordinating Committee, Green Party of
Louisiana, 504-343-1273,
Malik Rahim, 504-368-6897,

Louisiana Greens Express Outrage at Katrina "Planning"

War, Racism, Coastal Mismanagement Exacerbate Devastation

As the devastation in New Orleans from hurricane
Katrina grows more and more deadly, disgraceful, and
surreal-we find ourselves in a state of 'shock and
awe' at the appalling carelessness to the rescue
effort, the racist neglect of New Orleans' most
vulnerable people, and the devastating mismanagement
of our regional ecosystem which hastened and
exacerbated the devastation.

Greens are committed to rebuilding Louisiana
sustainably and equitably!


Fully one-third of the Louisiana National Guard, whose
mission is to assist in rescue and relief operations
during peacetime, have instead been sent to Iraq to
fight for George Bush's war, based on lies and
deception. This includes many troops who were trained
specifically for high-water rescue operations. Yet
four days after the hurricane hit, there's no National
Guard in sight. Tens of thousands of New
Orleanians-most poor and African-American-have been
without food, water and medicines for almost a week
while the president cobbles together a hodgepodge of
disaster relief teams from under-staffed and
under-funded local authorities.

Here's what stranded New Orleanians are saying about
the rescue efforts:

"It's unbelievable but its for real. That man [Bush]
can spend all that money and send all those troops to
Iraq but he can't do nothing for us right here!"

"You mean to tell me they couldn't just drop some
water and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from all
those helicopters?" (responding to the reasoning that
no relief could be delivered because of the high

Damage estimates for New Orleans and the Gulf South
are already reaching the tens of billions. The
Republican-Democrat consensus on appropriating
hundreds of billions of dollars to fight the illegal
and immoral war in Iraq have taken funds which could
have been rightly used to address domestic needs such
as health care, education, and local projects such as
improving levee and drainage systems in New Orleans
and other American cities.

As Greens living in a city whose destruction has been
exacerbated by the outrageous negligence and outright
madness of the Bush Administration and it's pliant
Democratic "opposition," we reiterate our demand that
all US troops are brought home now, that the costly
war budget be transformed into a prosperous peacetime
budget, and that the Bush Administration apologize in
full for its role in intensifying this absolute


One of the most striking images from the ongoing
hurricane disaster is the ubiquitous poverty of the
mostly-black victims, which underscore the existing
race and class inequalities in our city-a microcosm of
the national inequalities that confront people of
color and the working poor.

Disaster planning officials know that 112,000 people
in New Orleans have no access to a car-the only way to
get out of the city. And a staggering 61% of
single-mom families in New Orleans are living in

The working-class Plaquemines and St. Bernard
parishes-home to factory workers, commercial fishermen
and shrimpers-were also hit very hard, particularly
St. Bernard. The awesome reality of the hurricane is
that it starkly sharpened the existing class and race

Greens have been working to address these disparities
in New Orleans, and we reiterate our calls for social
justice: raise the poverty-level 'minimum' wage to a
living wage; restore all funding to the Charity
Hospital system; investing in education-not
incarceration-for our young people.

As New Orleanians committed to systematic change in
our economic and political systems for social justice
and environmental sustainability, we are both angered
by the culmination of a century of irresponsible
planning, yet heartened by the resilience and
determination of our brothers and sisters who are
battling through the challenges of this disaster with
the same dignity and resolve that they have battled
the ongoing challenges of the daily lives under a
system which has been designed to disregard them.


If you had asked anyone in Louisiana just two weeks
ago what was the biggest environmental crisis-nearly
every person would have said "costal erosion." Losing
our coastal areas-at a rate of a football fields every
20 minutes-has destroyed not only a rich source of
wildlife but also crippled our natural defenses
against storms and flooding. In fact, until the
canals and levees were built, the coastline was
actually growing-strengthening our regions defenses
against storms and hurricane.

The truth is that the environmental planning in our
region has systematically wiped out our precious and
protective coastal wetlands which, if not weakened to
their current state, could have provided defense
against the deadly storm surges which broke the levees
and caused the most damage. Shortsighted and
politically-connected oil and gas companies wrecked
coastal areas with impunity with an elaborate and
destructive system of canals to facilitate the
extraction of 'resources.'

Our system of irresponsibly-built canals and levees-as
well as the laissez-faire complicity in allowing oil
and gas industry to build destructive canals through
the wetlands- act as giant straws, sucking saltwater
from the Gulf inland and destroying the freshwater
wetland habitats.

In addition to the mismanaged regional ecosystem,
global environmental issues such as rising ocean
levels from global warming are adding fuel to the
fire. In fact, since FEMA was founded in 1979, New
Orleans has been consistently at the top of the list
of most disaster-prone areas in the country. And in
1995, the International Panel on Climate Change of the
United Nations identified New Orleans as the most
vulnerable North American city to global climate
change, because sea-level rise and elevating
temperatures of the Gulf of Mexico intensify the
frequency and power of hurricanes.

As Greens committed to environmental sustainability
and proper management of our regional ecosystems for
the benefit of recreation, human habitat, and natural
disaster protection, we reiterate our call to reduce
emissions which are causing global warming, as well as
for a sustainable system of drainage and storm
prevention in Southeast Louisiana.

For information about the Green Party of Louisiana,

Green Party of the United States


Green Party web page with information on aid for
victims of the hurricane

Web page with information on relief efforts, set up by
New Orleans Greens Andrea Garland and Jeffrey Holmes

Discussion list set up by Green Party member Bart
Everson from New Orleans, for exchange of information
(advice, requests for help and offers of direct
material, other assistance)



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