Detroit-Style Black Removal Coming to New Jersey
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
“If you can ethnically cleanse Detroit, then little Atlantic City should be a piece of cake.”
Kevin Orr, the Black corporate lawyer dispatched by Michigan’s Republican governor to preside over the bankruptcy and degradation of Detroit, has sold his urban executioner skills to Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey. Orr’s next victim is Atlantic City, the town built around boardwalks and casinos, whose full-time residents, as in Detroit, are overwhelmingly non-white and poor. The immediate cause of Atlantic City’s financial crisis is loss of its employment and tax base. Four of the city’s 12 big casinos have closed, putting more than 8,000 people out of work.
Atlantic City’s top elected officials oppose the imposition of an emergency manager, and no governor has ever tried to force bankruptcy on a city in New Jersey. But Detroit worked out so well for the bankers, it’s now the textbook model for how to destroy any semblance of democracy in mostly Black and brown cities. Kevin Orr proved, in Detroit, that it’s always best to put a Black man out front when your mission is to disenfranchise the residents of a chocolate city.
Atlantic City council president Frank Gilliam says Governor Christie is usurping the sovereignty of the community. But that, of course, is precisely the purpose of establishing an emergency manager dictatorship: to strip the targeted population of an effective vote and, ultimately, to push them out of town, altogether. The State of New Jersey will probably never succeed in bringing Atlantic City’s casinos back to their former profitability, just as Detroit can never relive its days as a world center of manufacturing. However, there are other potential uses for Atlantic City’s seaside properties – if only all those poor Black and brown people could be cleared out of the way. If you can ethnically cleanse Detroit, a city of 700,000 with an 82 percent Black majority, then little Atlantic City, with only about 40,000 residents – 70 percent of them Black and Latino – should be a piece of cake.
Christie and Orr – What a Team!
Detroit is right now preparing to evict 100,000 people from their homes for being behind in taxes; that’s two and a half times the total population of Atlantic City. Detroit authorities have cut off running water to 40 percent of the city, and are shutting the valves on 3,000 homes every week. The United Nations calls that a “human rights violation,” but its not even an issue for the Democratic Party or the First Black President. Therefore, it is no wonder that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican presidential hopeful, is eager to replicate the Michigan model for Black urban removal. Remember, that Christie’s political career took off when he put the Black mayor of Newark on the road to prison, back in 2008. If he can disenfranchise the voters in Newark, Jersey City, Camden, Trenton, and Patterson – just as Michigan Governor Rick Snyder did in all the largely Black cities of his state – then Governor Christie will be hailed as a hero by every white racist in the country.
And, the Democrats won’t do a damn thing to stop him – just like in Detroit.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com, and sign up for email notifications of our new issues, each Wednesday.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.