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Conflating Apartheid

There is not doubt I tend to conflate the political economy on the southern shores of Lake Michigan with Israel’s occupation & settlement of Palestinian land. Granted there are significant limits to this comparison. Yet, it is clear the concentration of negative externalities attributable to our nation’s heavy industrial base seriously impairs our fence line communities and is very much a scar on the values of Democracy we hold dear. Simply put, Democracy does not exist here.

Existing Conditions:

  • Arguably the most polluted waters in the country – the Indiana Harbor Shipping Canal (IHSC): The only waterway to fail all beneficial uses.
    • Joerse Beach: most contaminated beach in the Great Lakes and third most in the country.
  • Arguably the most polluted air-shed in the country – Lake county indiana’s air-shed ranks as the 9th most polluted in the country (of 3140 counties) with the sources of pollution attributed to the three big industries concentrated on East Chicago’s lakefront – BP, Mittal Steel, and U.S. Steel.
  • A Gated Industrial Community with >80% of East Chicago’s land-use is dedicated to heavy industry – ~50% of these industrial lands are out of productive use and considered contaminated, e.g., brownfields
    • 14% of East Chicago’s land-use is dedicated Residential – ~17% of these residential properties are apart of a superfund site.

When I look at the impact our nation’s heavy industrial base has had on the local populations, culture, land, air, water and biology in my community, I see a misapplication of rights and justice – environmental justice. This prompts me to identify the problems with the fragmented pattern of land use, populations, and the expression of political will seen in the mapping of Palestinian lands.

Categories: International
  1. February 3rd, 2010 at 15:42 | #1

    Words like “apartheid”, “fascism”, “empire”, “torture”, etc., are painful for people to hear when applied to their own societies or to societies they identify with, but that is why they MUST be used. The delusion of normality is relentless until pierced. It’s continuity is its strength.

    And I think you are right to use the word in relation not only to Palestine, but also in relation to the US. The fact that the use of this word in relation to the screamingly obvious reality of apartheid on the ground in our cities is a tribute to the relentless power of the delusion of normality. Call it what it is. That’s the only way to change the discussion. Carter did that for Israel and his recent recanting (effectively) can’t pull it back.

    ‘Whatever you call it’ DOES matter.

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