Statement in Support of The “Shack Dwellers” of Kennedy Road Settlement from Picture the Homeless, New York

Statement in Support of The “Shack Dwellers” of Kennedy Road Settlement, Durban, South Africa from Picture the Homeless, New York City, USA

It is with great concern that I pen this statement of solidarity in support of the current struggles of the South African “Shack Dwellers” of the Kennedy Road Settlement of Durban South Africa.

The Abahlali baseMjondolo is part of an African Nationalist Poor People’s Alliance. This Alliance much like my beloved “Picture the Homeless,” is led and directed by those who are directly impacted, trapped in poverty and extreme poverty. The current global population of over six billion by 2025; Accordingly, the distribution of land and other natural resources is a burning issue that effects all the inhabitants of our globe.

This issue cannot be resolved in a just manner by resorting to neo-liberal, free market economic policy such as the invisible hand i.e. the so called “Washington Consensus.” Pursuant to this outmoded capitalistic model, far too many sister and brothers would be priced out of current markets left without the means to access vital commodities that are essential to sustaining life. It is no exaggeration to state that disproportionately the global populations in peril are persons of color. As Jeffery Sachs points out by the sheer number of preventable deaths that occur in Africa alone on a daily basis, we are witnessing a form of global population control that manifests itself in the form of subtle genocide!
From Brooklyn to Brazil, from the Gulf Coast in America to the Gold Coast of Africa, this inhumane process continues to take its toll. The socio-economic data coming forth from South and Central America from 1980 to date provide proof that neo-liberal economic policy in the hands of multinational corporations who have more rights than the worlds citizens and far less responsibility cannot continue to be left unregulated, and unaccountable.

–Jean Rice, Picture the Homeless

We in New York understand all too well what Rev. Mavuso, the abahlali basemjondolo and the Shack dwellers are going through.

Just yesterday Picture the Homeless was in court to fight for the right of poor people to occupy the vacant land in Harlem that has been warehoused for decades. Interestingly enough, the attorneys for Chase Manhattan Bank, the worldwide financial conglomerate, refused to present any evidence documenting their ownership and title for the vacant property where our Tent City Ten were arrested.
You see, homeless landless poor people in New York know what it’s like to be pushed aside so that upper-class friends of the government officials can take possession of our community. Bankers and billionaires pull the (campaign) strings and elected officials respond. One example is the Old Broadway Hotel which was cited in the newspapers a while ago when it turned out the DHS was paying thousands of dollars person per month to be warehoused in this shelter that was owned by friends of the mayor.

We also see homeless people pushed aside for the construction of the New YANKEE STADIUM THE Upcoming Ratner Arena in Brooklyn. Sound like the abahlali are in the way of the 2010 World Cup soccer.
Our struggle is one. Poor people need housing. Housing is human right. The capitalists who seem to think that they alone are entitled to live on land created by God are our foes. We stand with the poor, the landless, the homeless in the fight for justice and equity

Owen Rogers (

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