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From South Central to Palestine: Land Confiscation knows no borders

by Kevin D'Amato Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005 at 12:08 PM

Making connections between South Central and Palestine

In the wake of the 1992 rebellion in Los Angeles the city set aside a 14-acre plot of land to be used as a community garden or farm in South Central. This spontaneous uprising burst forward in the wake of four white police officers being acquitted for their role in beating Rodney King and put a spotlight on the poor of Los Angeles, and particularly those in South Central.

For the past 13 years, the South Central Farmers have worked to transform the land into a farm that meets the needs of a community that continues to be ignored and neglected by the “elected” representatives of Los Angeles. The land has been divided into 360 plots and is believed to be the largest urban gardens in the country. The South Central Farmers provide fresh foods and a healthy alternative to the working poor, many of whom are seamstresses, laborers, or restaurant workers earning ,000 to ,000 a year with no proper healthcare. These gardens provide an important source of food for their families as well as medicinal herbs, which provide an alternative to expensive prescription drugs. This community farm represents a shift from traditional reliances on a state that regularly fails to meet the needs of poor and working class communities to a reliance on individuals within the community, who understand firsthand their particular needs.

The South Central Farmers are now under attack. Real estate developer Ralph Horowitz of Brentwood is working through the judicial system to forcefully remove the South Central farmers from the land and destroy the community garden, in order to build a strip mall. Ralph Horowitz is extremely wealthy and clearly has no connection to South Central and its community outside of trying to capitalize off of it financially. His aim is to subordinate the wishes of the people of South Central to his own greedy motivations for profit. Ralph Horowitz will most likely “legally” get full property rights to the farm soon, and he told the LA Times recently that he would get the sheriff to "throw off" the farmers from the land.

In Palestine land confiscation is nothing new. Since Israel began its colonial project in 1967 by occupying the West Bank and Gaza Strip and annexing East Jerusalem they have continually perpetuated their domination by constructing illegal Jewish settlements along with apartheid-like roads that can only be accessed by Jewish settlers and the Israeli army. According to the Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, 42% of the West Bank is under the jurisdiction of settlers. This report is from 2002 and does not include the land that is currently being stolen from within the West Bank due to the construction of the Apartheid Wall. Upon completion of this wall an additional 9 % of the West Bank will, in effect, be annexed because the Israeli army controls all access points to this land. The majority of this stolen land is fertile farmland that Palestinians rely on to grow food to feed their families and sell in the larger cities in order to survive. Some may argue that Israel has made a first step towards peace by pulling out of the Gaza Strip, but one need only look towards the West Bank where their brutal expansion has continued, making the “Gaza Disengagement” nothing but a smokescreen for their real motivations to take more land in the West Bank.

There are some parallels between these situations; one being land grabs by people in positions of power with the aim of subordinating entire communities and peoples to their will and another being the sheer determination to resist these injustices by those fighting for their dignity. We here in Los Angeles can take heart from Palestinians who are putting their bodies on the line trying to stop the bulldozers from destroying their land and put our own bodies down on the line to stop these bulldozers from stealing a valuable source of life from South Central.

-------

-Kevin is a Palestine solidarity activist and member of the LA chapter of the Southern California Anarchist Federation

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 5 posted about this article.
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TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Total Nonsense Property Rights Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005 at 10:30 PM
whose land @ Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005 at 11:38 PM
Land belongs @ist Friday, Nov. 18, 2005 at 10:34 AM
What is a Native? Property Rights Friday, Nov. 18, 2005 at 5:41 PM
It was the City's Property johnk Saturday, Nov. 19, 2005 at 1:17 AM

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