A Perspective on Katrina - "Povertina" from Cornel West

Exiles from a city and from a nation
Cornel West
Sunday September 11, 2005

It takes something as big as Hurricane Katrina and the misery we saw among the poor black people of New Orleans to get America to focus on race and poverty. It happens about once every 30 or 40 years.

What we saw unfold in the days after the hurricane was the most naked manifestation of conservative social policy towards the poor, where the message for decades has been: 'You are on your own'. Well, they really were on their own for five days in that Superdome, and it was Darwinism in action - the survival of the fittest. People said: 'It looks like something out of the Third World.' Well, New Orleans was Third World long before the hurricane. (continued...)


  1. Povertina. What a word. West is so lucid. Now we have to figure out how to revive johnson's War on Poverty. In fact if poverty and hopelessness could be eradicated, terrorism threats/actions would be substantially eradicated also.

    I believe education plays the essential role in eliminating so many ills: poverty, racism, fanaticism of all kinds.

    Where do we begin?

  2. I saw Mr. West speak at a Rolling Thunder event a couple or so years ago. He is a tremendous orator. I think his denial of a need for revolution might be disingenuous though. Sure, reform would be great. But, does history, or even an understanding of the scope of the current assault on the poor allow for believing a meaningful true reform is possible?

    The plutocratic tyrants are waging a war on the people. Are the People justified in self-defense? You decide.


Aldo Leopold: "We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect."

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