Israel police guard a military bulldozer at it destroys a Palestinian home in the South Hebron Hills. Photo: International Solidarity Movement.
In the village of Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank, dozens of Bedouin families are at risk of losing their homes and becoming refugees again by July. While it is the Israeli government and military that are enacting the demolitions and evacuations, their efforts are largely driven by a pro-settler nonprofit supported by American charities.
While it is masked as an environmental organization, Regavim’s work involves petitioning the Israeli government to demolish structures and pursue evictions for Palestinians and Bedouins under the guise of protecting “Israel’s most precious and scarce resources: land reserves, water, air quality” — though much of the organization’s focus is on occupied Palestinian territory. Regavim’s most recent targets have been the villages of Khan al-Ahmar and Susya, located in Area C of the West Bank, which is under total Israeli military control. Israel rarely approves building permits for the indigenous people in Area C so the majority of Palestinian and Bedouin construction there is deemed illegal. Continue reading →
“Blackstone was a huge winner coming out of the global financial crisis, and I think something similar is going to happen,” said the private equity firm’s billionaire CEO Stephen Schwarzman as millions brace for eviction.
Diane Yentel of the National Low Income Housing Coalition said that the consequences of congressional inaction on housing relief “will be deadly and costly—for children and families, for communities, and for our country’s ability to contain the pandemic.” Stephen Schwarzman photo: World Economic Forum/flickr/CC
As the December 31 expiration date on the CDC’s federal eviction moratorium nears in the midst of the surging Covid-19 pandemic and freezing weather, an estimated 30 to 40 million working-class households in the United States are bracing for the possibility of eviction—but at least one Wall Street investor looking to capitalize on the crisis is bragging about what he sees as a golden opportunity to expand his real estate empire.
“You always have winners and losers—Blackstone was a huge winner coming out of the global financial crisis, and I think something similar is going to happen,” said the billionaire CEO Stephen Schwarzman. Continue reading →
Toilet paper shelves at a Costco in Maine. Photo: Amanda Hill/Twitter
The run on toilet paper has brought the failings of capitalism front and center to the bathroom of every house across Australia, a trend that has now spread to other countries. We are witnessing, in real-time and with stunning consequence, the stone-cold fact that markets are an ineffective mediator of resources, prone to the worst vagaries of herd mentality. Perceived impending shortages of toilet paper owing to the spread of COVID-19 set off widespread panic. We might be inclined to laugh at the implausibility of the whole scenario, but whether the situation is real or imagined is beside the point. The truth, which in this case may appear stranger than fiction, is that markets operate in the sweet spot between scarcity and fear. Continue reading →
When people look at racial disparities in MN, they often hear about systemic racism – the systems, structures and policies that have lead us to where we are now – one of the worst places to live for African Americans.
To understand the systems in place that created and create such powerful momentum to grind down African American life in MN, you can look at the criminal justice system, you can look at the covenant system (which basically enacted Jim Crowism in the North, including in MN), you can look at lending practices, medical practices, education and much more. Continue reading →
In the midst of riots in 1968 after civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was slain, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act.
The federal legislation addressed one of the bitterest aspects of racism in the U.S.: segregated housing. It prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion and national origin when selling and renting housing.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, has administered the act with some success. From 1970 to 2010, the share of African-Americans living in highly segregated neighborhoods declined by half. But in areas that remained highly segregated in 2010, there were no signs of improvement. In several cities, such as Baltimore and Philadelphia, average levels of segregation had actually increased. Continue reading →
HUD Secretary Ben Carson on Wednesday introduced a proposal to impose work requirements on Americans who receive housing subsidies, aas well as raising their rent. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)
Blatantly flouting his own agency’s recommendation for how much money Americans should spend on monthly housing costs, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson announced Wednesday a plan to triple the rent for low-income individuals and families who receive housing subsidies and to impose work requirements on many recipients.
Ben Carson likely wants us all to think that this inhumane policy will inspire the poor to raise themselves up by their own bootstraps. But tripling the rent of those who need housing assistance and instituting work requirements is the stuff of slumlords. https://t.co/ZH1kPlMmUL
By Susan Mizner, Disability Counsel, ACLU. Published 2-13-2018
The entrance to the post office in a small town was up a flight of 20 steps. When told he needed to make the post office accessible to wheelchair users, the postmaster was befuddled. “I’ve been here for thirty-five years and in all that time I’ve yet to see a single customer come in here in a wheelchair,” he said, according to Joe Shapiro in his 1994 book, “No Pity.”
It would seem the postmaster didn’t see the irony in that response. But it’s because of that lack of awareness from business owners and government workers that Congress in 1990 passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which promoted the integration, acceptance, and everyday rights of people with disabilities. But this week, the House of Representatives could undermine a key tenet of that landmark civil rights law. Continue reading →
While informed critics and experts say they are now “running out of adjectives to describe how horrible” the GOP’s House and Senate tax plans are, the evidence continues to mount showing the manner in which the party’s overall approach is a gift to the rich and corporations at the expense of low- and middle-income families, millions of whom who will see their taxes actually go up while key social programs like public education, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will face massive cuts.
United States — In a reversal of the smidgen of accountability forced on Bank of America for its role in the 2008 financial crisis, a U.S. appeals court threw out a jury’s verdict — and with it, the $1.27 billion fine BoA would have paid for mortgage fraud.
Though the Department of Justice had alleged Countrywide Financial Corp., which was purchased by Bank of America in 2008, had sold Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac thousands of bad loans through its “Hustle” mortgage program, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York found insufficient evidence to back charges of fraud. Continue reading →
A protest for increased corporate taxes and affordable housing in San Francisco.
Capitalism is a strange beast. Though incredibly resilient in the face of systemic crises and remarkably adaptive to ever-changing conditions, it never truly overcomes its structural contradictions. As the Marxist geographer David Harvey often points out, it merely displaces them in space and time.
The global financial crisis of 2008-’09 has been no exception in this regard. In fact, the very response to that calamity has already laid the foundations for the next big crisis. And just like its immediate predecessor, it looks like this one will be centered, at least in part, on a massive speculative housing bubble. Continue reading →