Older Articles: pre-blog

The United Front

(Published November 2008)

On November 4, President-elect Barack Obama stood in Grant Park and created something new. Shortly after that, on December 12-14 in Chicago, activists, who played no small part in President Obama’s victory, assembled to plot the change that the prophetic, former community organizer said we could believe in.

United for Peace and Justice, a national coalition of peace and social justice groups, called for a fourth national assembly shortly after the historic election to decide how it will exist in a “post-Bush world” (truly the best phrase conceived in the English language). Over 200 delegates were seated, including Buffalo State Students for Peace. Workshops, working groups, amendment hearings, and a plenary session composed the bulk of the conference with ample time to network with delegates from every state in the union (excluding Alaska), as well as non-US activists.

The Unity Statement and the Strategic Framework were the first and most important documents to be amended. The five points of the Unity Statement, the coalition’s guiding document, are:

1. Immediately end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

2. Respond to the environmental, social, and economic crises worldwide.

3. Prevention of new wars elsewhere.

4. Challenge the global “war on terror” and US empire-building.

5. Defend and protect civil liberties, rights, and political democracy.

The document was passed by the general assembly based on a modified consensus voting system. The strategic framework was modified via individual and group suggestions emanating from various workshops and discussions and subsequently approved.

It is self-evident that the last eight years of collaboration and efforts against empire have not been in vain. The developments due to our collective influence have brought an end to the age and legacy of Ronald Reagan. This is still a world that is “changed but not changed.” This is not the time for petty political division, or blind dogmatism. Let’s go forward with the knowledge that our movement and humanity itself will make mistakes in progress; but together we will go forward towards a popular, collaborative, cross-cutting, world revolution of peace, solidarity, and human liberty. It is not theory but plain fact that in a world in which a global hegemony built on slaves, exploitation, repression, and horror is led by a physical and philosophical representation of “the other,” we have nothing to lose but our eternal, collective, and individual chains.

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March on the Pentagon

(This was published in March 2009)

On March 21 a contingent from Buffalo State Students for Peace participated in a March on Washington marking the sixth anniversary of the Iraq war. The anniversary resonated with the thoughts of more than 1,300,000 Iraqi dead; 2,118 Afghani dead in 2008; 4,926 dead US soldiers combined; and the untold thousands of dead Palestinians. Despite the 10,000 marchers, the “mainstream” seemed to take a political and intellectual vacation.

Rightfully so, the economy is the foremost issue on our collective mind; in a recent NPR poll 56 percent of the respondents said the economy was their main concern, against three percent for the war in Iraq, yet the injustice is one and the same. As a student, along with many other students organizers working to take back our education (tuition has risen by $620 per year), March 21 more than any other day in the year reflects the absurdity of our economic priorities. The global war on terror that has cost $861.1 billion (FY 2001-2009, Congressional Research Service), after subtracting the lowest figure on the list—VA expenditures.

Although, what does this mean? In his article “Moved on From the Struggle” Anthony Arnove quoted a recent email from Moveon.org:

“I’m sure you’ve heard about President Obama’s plan to finally bring an end to the disastrous war in Iraq. It will bring most of our troops home by August of next year—and by the end of 2011 there wont be any more troops left in Iraq…This war is coming to an end in part because of what you did.”

Are we this thick? It is true that the Left has made significant electoral gains in the last six years, but our man at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has not ended the war and he has not committed to ending the war on (of) terror.

Obama’s surge in Afghanistan and “residual force” in Iraq are regressive. Obama inherited this war but he did not inherit the airstrikes into Pakistan. It is damnable if we allow Democratic hawkishness and complacency to dampen “new hope” in the White House, especially since we supported Obama and organized his campaign.

This past weekend 10,000 (down 490,000 from 2007) marched on the Pentagon and demonstrated on the doorsteps of KBR and General Dynamics, two notorious war profiteers. The Left is on the march and we should continue marching, and that includes an ideologically diverse range of people—from Marxists, to Socialists, to liberals/progressives;.

As a politician, Obama has his own agenda, entrenched and competing interests foisted upon him, and a centrism that won’t quit. Therefore the Left needs to re-organize and fortify itself by taking stock of its victories, failures, all of the issues and ideological prejudices, and become emboldened.

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Tea Madness (Published April 21/ 25, 2009- 1: online version/ 2: printed version- Collaborator Irene Morrison)

On April 18th in Buffalo (16th everywhere else), libertarians and conservatives engaged in Astroturf “Tea Parties”. The gatherings alluded to the 1773 the Boston Tea Party but, I doubt the original Boston Tea Party had such right-wing political & corporate support; so it’s a cute concept but a poor history lesson.

The American colonists dumped tea in Boston harbor to tell King George III of England, a sovereign whom they neither elected; Obama is bound in a tax-and-spend cycle, as part of a bid to keep the country, perhaps most of the planet from economic collapse.

“Astroturf” is in reference to a disingenuous grassroots campaign for the benefit of a political, individual or corporate entity. This antiquated philistinism emanates from conservative and libertarian demagoguery, which benefits the interests of the regressive minority, the Republican Party and its spinoffs. The commentary of the “anti-tax” protest movement could trace it roots to the increasing paranoia spread by right-wing pundits and networks such as Fox News’s website providing networking support), which succeeded the propaganda and race baiting from the Republican campaigning from the 2008 presidential election.

In most cases these libertarians, are on the fringe of a political wasteland. Now, given the demagoguery of Governors Perry, Palin and the Virginia Rep. Eric Kantor, they may form the backbone of our national regression. They are simply trying to re-build the base for their electoral and financial success. The Democrats and the Obama Presidency are capitalist, center-left institutions, yet when wealthy CEO’s received lavish bonuses (165 million for internal exec bonuses by AIG, New York Times) from the Federal Stimulus package money, as opposed to protesting the continued exploitative behavior of these institutions towards the people, the freebie multitude said that we were ‘on the road to Socialism’ by infringing on the capitalists’ bonuses and the accumulation of wealth via publicly funded bailouts.

These free-market fundamentalists would benefit from government intervention in the economy, and dare I say, actual Socialism. In short, if a popular (people/ workers controlling it) government were to intervene and use our tax dollars for the common good, alleviating the tax burden on the poor by taxing the rich, or appropriating society from capital via promoting rank-and-file unionization and leveling the socioeconomic playing field, thereby acting as an agent of the people, by the people, and for the people this country and then the world would move forward; all of which is 161 years too late.
Case in point, these protests were brought to us by ‘Freedom Works’ chaired by Richard Armey (former GOP House Majority Leader) and Steve Forbes (multi-billionaire, editor-in-chief of Forbes Magazine).

This free-market fundamentalism has and will continue to retard progress. Therefore, my response to their Astroturf movement is in the words of John Stuart Mill, “the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others”. The more than 49 million Americans without healthcare due to conservative and Republican chicanery have been “harmed” enough.

(http://classwords.org/content/tea-madness)

2: On April 16th and 18th in Buffalo and across the nation, libertarians and conservatives engaged in some very disingenuous “Tea Parties”. The gatherings supposedly alluded to the 1773 Boston Tea Party which revolted against taxation by the British without representation in the British government. Today’s Tea Parties were backed by right-wing political and corporate support—many of the people who got us into this current financial mess—making them fall flat as a cute concept but a poor history lesson.

Americans are obsessed with their taxes. There seems to be so little understanding of the fact that the US has one of the lowest rates of taxation in the world. Or that taxes pave our streets, pay for our teachers, support us when we are too old to work, and so many other things. The idea that too many people abuse “the system” of social safety nets and therefore there should be less support for them is—like the Tea Parties—a case of misplaced priorities. Regulation would solve the problem of abuse of the system; less taxes would just make already stumbling programs worse off.

If we really want our taxes lowered, there is a great solution: stop funding the military-industrial complex that has been a major factor in our current economic recession. Almost 50% of our income taxes are spent on our military. Why weren’t these Tea Parties weren’t being thrown when Bush announced we would be going into two illegal and unjust wars that would lead to out-of-control national debt?

In most cases these Lipton-lobbing libertarians (who in a great twist of irony probably paid sales tax on the tea they used) and conservatives are on the fringe of a political wasteland. Now given the demagoguery of Governors Perry, Palin and the Virginia Rep. Eric Kantor, they may form the backbone of our national regression. They are simply trying to re-build the base for their electoral and financial success.

This free-market fundamentalism has and will continue to retard progress. Our response to their Astroturf movement is expressed in the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes: “Tax is the price we pay for a civilized society.” The focus should be on spending taxes properly and ensuring that they are justly levied accodring to one’s wealth; if anything we could benefit fromtax levels closer to those of many countries in Europe. Fortunately it seems the tea parties are over, at least for now.

(http://buffaloactivist.wnypeace.org/node/37)

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Memorial to the Unknown Activist

(Published May 8, 2008- Buffalo Activist version: http://buffaloactivist.wnypeace.org/node/63 )

On June 6, 1989 one iconic Chinese dissenter globally illustrated the struggle in China for Democracy by standing in front of a tank, and twenty years later the movement is under extreme repression. Despite the conditions in China, the conditions created by “Empire” (universal globalization driven development & hegemony) have strengthened the ability for digital dissent, and the Chinese economic powerhouse is vulnerable. The ‘tweet’ from the dissenters is: no democracy, no peace!
In Beijing according to the New York Times anniversary coverage, the police attempted to block said coverage by a “comical dance” of plain-clothes security personnel with umbrellas; nevertheless, an estimated 150,000 people attended a vigil in Hong Kong to mark the day. Since the aforementioned “Tank Man” incident on June 6th 1989, the government of the People’s Republic of China has operated a global PR campaign out of fear. It is afraid of ideas that can cause its collapse because; a public memory of the past, the actions of the dissenters, current economic inequality can dissolve their authoritarian capitalist machine.
Twenty years ago, the proletariat of the “People’s Republic” of China demanded basic Democratic reforms in Beijing with Tiananmen Square being the spatial center of protest. The three common reforms were: free speech; press freedom; and an end to party/ government corruption. The day after the army’s ‘clearing of the square’ the “Tank Man” was a citizen of Beijing who literally stopped the machines of the state by blocking them with his body. In China since then there have been thousands of protests (according to Fareed Zakaria’s “The Post-American World”, there were 74,000 in 2004) around issues, ranging from housing to human rights to the environment.
Despite the activism of the present, China is still rigidly totalitarian. Current repression in China is by a keyboard, in addition to a truncheon. The ‘official line’ of the PRC (People’s Republic of China) government is that, these were peaceful protests and any riots/ violence were caused by “counter-revolutionaries” that the police “pacified” with the “greatest restraint”. The governments’ smokescreen is obvious, but domestic media manipulation is the key to their success and survival. Within the PRC (excluding Hong Kong) the Chinese government uses digital operatives to shut down online social networking sites. Independent networks continue to be suppressed and the major communications/ IT companies are the enablers. Microsoft, Yahoo Inc., and Google; the IT companies that we deal with every day, according to Amnesty International, “voluntarily” enable repression via agreements that allow them to operate in a Market with 180 million internet users.
In addition to information suppression, social sedatives are the main prescription for the Chinese people in the age of globalization. In the Jeffery Wasserstrom article in the current The Nation magazine “Tiananmen at Twenty”, the author states:
“To minimize the likelihood of a recurrence of 1989 and avoid succumbing to what some Chinese leaders call the “Polish disease” (a Solidarity-like movement), the party has encouraged consumerism (many youths can now buy those Nikes), pulled back from micromanaging campus life (today’s students have much more personal freedom than their predecessors)”.
Manipulation by comfort is the social sedative employed in present-day China. The Faustian promise is: if the people keep their mouths shut, then they will be fed but, if they demand bread and political freedom they will get neither.
The Faustian promise is best expressed by the youth consensus presented in TIME magazine’s November 2007 edition, by a young entrepreneur: “there’s nothing we can do about politics…..so there’s no point getting involved” (p. 48). At the present, the “great recession” has caused a slowdown in rural to urban migration. According to “A Great Migration into the unknown” from The Economist, the fall to 8% growth per year from roughly 13% in 2007 has the government concerned that complacency with dissolve and the old protagonists of Tiananmen will re-emerge.
The force-fed socioeconomic sedative fed by the PRC’s government is supported and funded by the west. Our leaders pay lip service to Democracy for cheap Wal-Mart goods at the end of the day, thereby; the poor of both countries remain sedated. In a recent trip to Beijing, covered by Politico.com, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi received criticism for her silence in light of China’s ongoing impunity towards human rights. Ms. Pelosi was well known for her 1991 visit in which she challenged PRC abuses openly. Currently she’s stated that she “always” engages her Chinese counterparts on Human Rights concerns; however, her stance is that she must take a “more diplomatic approach” because of her position.
“Diplomacy” as House Speaker Pelosi defines it, enables the authoritarian Chinese capitalist state. According to Human Rights Watch, 10,000 people are tried and executed per year without legal representation, within a legal code that proscribes death for no fewer than 68 crimes (the actual number of crimes is a state secret). Authoritarianism has not just politically alienated the Chinese people but, it threatens their very safety; macroeconomic prosperity came at a grotesque civil and human price.
The resistance’s response to authoritarianism has been intellectual and digital. Dissenting exiles and 2000 Chinese citizens have drafted a manifesto of their demands titled, “Charter 08” which calls for obliteration of repressive silence via free speech and freedom of the press and the abolition of corruption. From individual frustration and creativity, previously benign blogs, chatrooms, social networking sites, have become venues to learn about atrocities in China and platforms to counter the PRC’s smokescreen of televised propaganda and digital philistinism. In tandem to the digital and intellectual dissent, the “great recession” has dulled the economic sedative and revealed to the Chinese public that the people lifted themselves up, not the party! The resistance has been digitized, and power is coming from the tip of a pen.
The anniversary of Tiananmen Square should remind us that China’s government is similar to, “a juggler–the sort who somehow manages to keep a dizzying number of balls in the air, even when new objects are tossed into the rotation” (The Nation, “Tiananmen at Twenty). The PRC is a dynamic pillar of Empire and the rope is there for its citizens to pull it down. Insofar as the Western enablers are concerned; Ms. Pelosi and her colleagues cannot be allowed to be “diplomatic”. The U.S. left must usurp their geo-political capital with our digital exchanges and our dollars. Like the Tank Man and the people in Tiananmen we can create our own spaces with the dissenters and say: No.

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Our Fight for Healthcare

(Published June 22, 2008)

Healthcare is a human right, and our rights have been violated too long. President Obama stated recently in a weekly web address that “the status quo is broken.” The profiteers have failed and the system is in shambles. The United States spends more on healthcare than any developed nation and in turn we have 46 million (15% of pop.) without healthcare. 8.1 million are children. We need a renewed system, something that works and something that is a public, not-for-profit system.

The President kicked off his town hall tour in Green Bay, WI, a city that has kept down costs and in turn it has provided fertile soil for political support for Obama’s initiative. This strategy of ‘going public’ is designed to harness the existing popular support for his new initiative. According to a Rasmussen poll, 65% of Americans favor the idea of universal healthcare and this public health option initiative is a universally available option designed to compete with the private sector.
Moderate Democratic and Republican legislators— many of whom have large investments in the industry— have revolted against President Obama’s initiative with the theme “anything but public”. Their argument is that a public option would cost too much, take away choice, and enjoy an unfair market advantage. The American Medical Association and the opposing legislators profit from the disenfranchisement of millions of Americans while the government picks up the check (i.e. corporate welfare). For the last few decades this has become plain fact.

In a Politico.com article by Patrick O’ Connor & Carrie Brown, “Centrist Democrats Raise Big Concerns”, the authors cite the New Democratic Coalition and the Blue Dog Coalition’s attempt to “ensure that that government-backed health care plan doesn’t undermine the private market”. The article explains that their alternatives for national healthcare would also “ensure” that Rep. Allyson Schwartz (PA-13, NDC vice-chair, co-chair of the healthcare committee) would receive $38,823.00 from the health professionals sector for the 2009-10 period (opensecrets.org), in addition to 8 of New York’s congressional representatives and our junior senator Kirsten Gillibrand ($23,825.00 from health professionals, opensecrets.org). Make no mistake: these politicians are receiving legalized bribes.

Our policy interests and course is clear: the interests of a few cannot outweigh the welfare of the many. The objections to universal healthcare—whether by a public plan or a single-payer system that has worked for other developed nations—are largely based on private economic interests; fear of the status quo, and class prejudices.
Many of us in the progressive community would like to insure all Americans under a single-payer plan that uses our large national tax base to fund healthcare (as opposed to ‘defense’ or ‘corporate subsidies’). This is our opportunity and we cannot pass it up. In WNY, the Healthcare Education Project is organizing pillars of the community to engage in the debate towards progressive solutions and if any readers want to get involved e-mail Sergio Uzurin at sergio@hepny.org. It’s now or never; we cannot settle for “market solutions” from conservatives and moderate profiteers that are beholden to special interests. Let us call on those who say that they represent our interests and remind them to do just that; after all, isn’t the government not-for-profit?

http://classwords.org/content/our-fight-healthcare

http://buffaloactivist.wnypeace.org/node/68

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Will the revolution be repeated?

(Published June 29, 2009)

Reaction is pushing against revolution in Latin America. In 2002 the citizens of Venezuela, over weeks of struggle, succeeded in reinstating their deposed president with help from Chavez loyalists in the military on the heels of a neoconservative coup. On June 28, 2009 the beginning of this story seems to repeating itself in Honduras. President Zelaya was ousted by the military on the grounds that a non-binding referendum would have supported his proposed constitutional reforms was judged to be illegal. The opinion of the administrations of the U.S., Venezuela, and the continental organizations ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas, a coalition of left leaders) UNASUR (Union of South American Nations), is that the left-populist president is the legal president and it is self-evident that he must be returned.

The military, congress, and the Supreme Court of Honduras have harshly resisted the proposed constitutional reforms to allow the president to run for re-election after his one-term limit. Similarly in the Venezuelan coup of 2002, the government organs of power turned against the president. The same day, the Congress of Honduras faux-legitimizing the coup by voting Zelaya out and the Congressional President, Roberto Micheleti, in. The likeness between the two situations seems uncanny yet the new paradigm is: even the U.S. administration has denounced the new Micheleti administration in Honduras, and according to the Wall Street Journal (“coup rocks Honduras”) the administration may have even tried to avert the coup.

The administration’s position is a remarkable departure from a unanimous trend of past U.S. administrations endorsing and sometimes actively engineering coup’s similar to the one of the present. The U.S. relationship with Latin America can be summed up in one word: Imperialism.

The imperialism of the U.S. has predominantly not been by the gun but by supporting nominal national regimes that enable U.S. companies to monopolize and control resources for their metropolitan masters. Since the rise of Chavez in Venezuela, Latin American leaders have been increasingly to the left and independent of the “imperial metropolis”; Zelaya was one of those left-populist leaders.

In Honduras, the constitutional reform would have enabled the President of Honduras to run for re-election beyond his one-year term, which started in 2005 as the victorious Liberal party candidate. His supporters comprise the disenfranchised majority within the second poorest country in the W. hemisphere, so his biggest opposition has come from the middle and business-classes, according to New York Times piece, “Honduran President is Ousted in Coup”. In the same piece they mention that his opponents fear that “he wants to introduce Mr. Chavez’s brand of socialist populism into the country”, which according to Al Jazeera is based upon the fact that his referendum also advocated more constitutional control and protection for the poor population that comprises 70% of the population.

President Zelaya’s popular base comes from his left-leaning economic and social programs which, according to The Nation magazine were praised by labor unions and civic organizations. In the same article from The Nation magazine, “Honduras Coup Poses Challenges, Questions for Obama, Congress”, John Nichols also suggests that this coup was not just carried our but influenced by graduates of the infamous School of the Americas/ WHINSEC. Therefore, given the soft and unusually supportive message from the U.S. administration it seems that reaction is not from the U.S. Empire; and moreover, the left represented by the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) is firmly behind Zelaya.

This is a decisive opportunity for the north and the south. ALBA may be able to solidify its position as a significant continental force, due to its leader’s strong and relevant response. If President Obama takes a more substantive stance, U.S. policy may actively accept the self-determination of Latin American nations, which may finally neuter the SOA: the printing press of U.S. imperial policy in Latin America.

http://classwords.org/content/will-revolution-be-repeated

Buffalo Activist version- http://buffaloactivist.wnypeace.org/node/74

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On Regionalism

Our challenges are regional, so municipal solutions are ineffectual. In Western New York our towns and villages, in addition to two cities, are all interdependent in multiple ways yet, all of them have to “protect their turf” (Comptroller Mark Poloncarz, 5/22/2009 Artvoice interview). In Bruce Fischer’s Artvoice article “The Urban President” even President (then -elect) Barack Obama has advocated for regionalism for urban renewal because of “federal programs [that] undermine cities and regions by encouraging inefficient and costly patterns of development and local competition”. In short, regionalism is our future and, it will ensure us a vital and competitive role comparable to our more dynamic past.
While many small town officials and technocrats stayed home about two hundred civic minded people from Buffalo and throughout the Great Lakes Region (even coming as far as Michigan and the Bronx) attended the Great Lakes Regional Summit at Buffalo State, the brainchild of People United for Sustainable Housing –Buffalo’s own Aaron Bartley and Great Lakes Urban Exchange’s Sarah Szurpicki, and MC’ed in part by regional governance champion Bruce Fisher. The attendees and speakers were a who’s who of urban renewal figures; each reporting on their own campaigns but all concerned about the lack of holistic solutions for their metropolitan areas. The very first speaker was Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, describing his vision for high speed trains connecting New York’s cities and Toronto.
The term region has always been confusing, but the reciprocity and sameness of the Buffalo and Niagara Falls Metropolitan area, the suburbs, and the rural parts would legitimately pass as a region. At the Great Lakes conference, UB professor and director of the Regional Institute, Kathryn A. Foster issued four rules for regional governance in her presentation: 1) it must achieve an economy of scale; 2) cross-border local issues; 3) international or interstate cooperation is necessary; 4) the need for a standardized or equalized level of service. Western New York (Buffalo-Niagara) area has a relatively common working pool that utilizes regional services (i.e. NFTA), on the Canadian border with a close proximity to Pennsylvania and Ohio. In WNY, whether it is markets or disasters, neither of them stop at the municipal limits.

The “small government” mentality of Western New York’s citizens via demagogic officials does not neutralize the need for citizen mobilization; regional governance would allow our interdependent community and its constituents to effectively address economic and environmental issues. For example, University at Buffalo is the largest employer in Erie County and despite their most modern campus being in Amherst some of their staff, students and their south campus lie within the city limits of Buffalo in Northern Buffalo’s University area. Taking into consideration the advice of one of the morning GLMS panelists, William Johnson, the former mayor of Rochester, and now RIT professor; citizen inclusion in the process will fulfill the mobilization requirements of: 1) adequately informing the polity. 2) husband political will by massive education campaign & public action campaigns. Therefore, the aforementioned residents of the quazi-suburban UB or the peripheral residents of Buffalo State College have the potential to reintroduce intercourse on a county and regional level from the bottom-up if they are informed to take a controlling stake in regional services and planning.

This competition amongst municipalities fails to realize the sleeping giant that is a regional Buffalo-Niagara Falls Metropolitan Area in the age of Globalization. The Buffalo-Niagara region is located directly on the U.S.-Canadian border; Our region meets all of the aforementioned criteria; more importantly, our region has a lot to gain from the Federal programs aimed at national (inherently urban) recovery.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, has provided substantial grants that range from environmental cleanup, to infrastructure projects (i.e. high speed rail and highway upkeep), to conservation projects that will directly benefit our older historic neighborhoods ($3.2. Billion is available for states, counties/ regions, and cities). In the language used by some of the event’s organizer, about half of the crowd were activists, the people on the ground mobilizing communities, and the other half were “technicians”—people in institutions who work on policy and write grants and proposals. Danielle Woodman–one such hungry grant writer from the expanding Daemen College in Williamsville– said during the lunch break that so many of her colleagues in other institutions are scrambling for stimulus money but don’t know where to look.

A telling measure of the climate is that while, in the words of Aaron Bartley, “money is falling from the sky and we have to organize to catch it”; although, as the Buffalo-Niagara region we will have a larger net to use to catch some of the federal grants falling from above. In the presentation “Regionalism 101”, professor foster proposed some possible forms of political organization on a regional level; from a whole metro government to regional councils, whichever will facilitate a unified representational entity so WNY and not municipal fiefdoms that fetishize their home rule can promote our profitable and attractive attributes. Our educated workforce, waterfront scenery, and historical architecture which are an asset considering that the credits and and grants (Historical site Rehab, Low income housing, New market credits & Brownfield cleanup grants) that are still available post-‘big blast’ from the stimulus package of 2009. These readably available grants can develop WNY for us, provided that Buffalo, Amherst, Tonawanda, Niagara Falls, and etc.. don’t submit competing applications and a regional planning board submits one for a region that features many accredited and respected colleges/ universities, arts centers, and a lake view that some would say that municipalities would kill for.

Who knew it may be profitable to be socially and economically just? That is what regionalism would also accomplish, according to Mark Goldman’s acclaimed book “City on the Edge”, some areas such as the once prosperous east side of Buffalo or the riverside area were dealt a blow by modernization in regards to ethnic flight and the emergence of “pot-holed streets, strewn with garbage” or the expansion of services, such as the thruway for the latter. The organic disenfranchisement of our historic streets and neighborhoods would be addressed, and beyond that given fact this new project of regionalism can give us the clout we need to be successful that the petty romanticism of home rule will not. In conclusion, regionalism would not just bring prosperity for the present but justice for the future.

(Also Published in the Buffalo Activist)

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