Spatial Deconstruction, by Yolanda Ward

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Spatial Deconstruction, by Yolanda Ward

Postby admin » Sat May 07, 2016 10:10 pm

Spatial Deconstruction
by Yolanda Ward

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.




This article is based on material that is publicly available, especially the "Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civic Disturbances," known as the Kerner Commission Report. However, it is also based on materials not publicly available, specifically a number of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) files which Ms. Ward and her collaborators apparently stole from the HUD office in Washington, D.C.

Spatial Deconcentration was first published as part of a collection of notes for a national housing activists' conference held in Washington, D.C. No more than 500 copies were made at that time. Shortly after this first publication, Ms. Ward and two associates were accosted on a Washington street one night by two well-dressed white men, who singled out Ms. Ward from her two friends, ordered her at gunpoint to lie face down in the street, and then shot her in the back of the head. The documents she and her friends allegedly stole from HUD have never been published, nor are they included here.


SPATIAL DECONCENTRATION
by Yolanda Ward


This book is the result of painstaking work done during the second half of 1979, mostly in Philadelphia, but also in St. Louis, Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C.

It includes a collection of materials from federal agencies such as the department of Housing and Urban Development and the General Accounting Office; from community sources such as Philadelphia and St. Louis legal aid societies; and from independent sources, such as foundations, private corporations, books, private papers, etc.

The search for and collection of this material began in August, 1979, when housing activists in Philadelphia first stumbled across the strangely-worded theory called "spatial deconcentration." A letter had been forwarded from the Philadelphia-area regional planning commission to activist attorneys in one of the legal service agencies, announcing a new "fair housing" program called the "Regional Housing Mobility Program." It might have all been Greek to housing activists, had they not already known that some type of sweeping master plan had already swung into effect to depopulate Philadelphia of its minority neighborhoods.The massive demolition operations in minority neighborhoods, which had been systematic, and the total lack of reconstruction funds from public or private sources spoke to that fact. Activists had fought pitched battles with the city administration over housing policies for some three years before "mobility" was ever mentioned among their ranks. In March of 1979, in fact, Philadelphia public housing leaders launched an attack on a city-organized and HUD-sponsored plan to empty the city's public housing high-rise projects. The question at that time had been: "where will all the tenants go?" When the mobility program was unearthed in August, the answer fell into place like a major piece of a jig-saw puzzle. The answer, naturally, was the suburbs. It seemed to fit perfectly into the "triage" or "gentrification" scheme, which froze inner city land stocks for returning suburbanites who were finding city life more economical than the suburbs. Focusing their attention on this phenomenon called "Mobility," the activists dug for more materials at the planning commission office. With new material available, they began to slowly understand that the Mobility Program was much more than met the eye. By late September, they only understood that the program seemed to be a keystone among federal housing programs and that HUD was making special efforts to avoid a confrontation over the matter.

It was tactically decided that the program was too massive to be fought on a local level. Activists in other cities would have to be sensitized to the program and encouraged to swing into action against it. Between early November and late December, such contacts had been developed in St. Louis, Chicago, and New York City, all key Mobility cities. All the information that had been collected in Philadelphia before November was distributed to community activists in these cities. This action helped uncover massive amounts of new information about the program, which would have been impossible to procure on the East Coast for various reasons, and which changed the basic nature of the struggle the activists were waging against the government.

The Philadelphia housing leaders had fought their campaign between 1976 and 1979 under the assumption that their struggle against land speculators and government bureacracy had an economic base. They understood "gentrification" perfectly, but thought it had developed because the speculators were slowly but steadily viewing the land as some kind of gold mine to be vigorously exploited at any cost. The information uncovered about the mobility program slowly taught them that they were entirely wrong, and perhaps this misdirection had prevented them from realizing any measurable amount of success in forcing the city or government to start-up housing construction projects in the city. It is now clear, in 1980, that instead of being economic, the manifest crises that plague inner-city minorities are founded in a problem of control. The so-called "gentrification" of the inner-cities, the lack of rehabilitation financing for inner-city families, the massive demolition projects which have transformed once-stable neighborhoods into vast wastelands, the diminishing inner-city services, such as recreation, health care, education, jobs and job-training, sanitation, etc...are all rooted in an apparent bone-chilling fear that inner-city minorities are uncontrollable.

Lengthy government-sponsored studies were conducted in the wake of the riots of the 1960s, particularly after the 1967 Detroit fiasco, which cost 47 lives and was quelled only after deployment of the 82nd Airborn paratroopers, flown in from North Carolina, which had been commissioned for duty on the emergency order of then-President Lyndon Johnson. Among intelligence agencies pressed into service to study this problem was the Rand Corporation. In late December, 1967 and early January, 1968, Rand was requested by the Ford Foundation to conduct a three-week "workshop" concerning the "analysis of the urban problem." It was "intended to define and initiate a long-term research program on urban policy issues and to interest other organizations in undertaking related work. Participants included scientists, scholars, federal and New York City officials, and Rand staff members."

Johnson also ordered a particularly significant study of the riots to be commissioned, which has led to the emergence of some of the most dangerous theories since the rise of Adolf Hitler. It was the National Advisory Commission Report on Civil Disorders, more commonly known as the Kerner Commission Report. Strategists representing all specialties were contracted by the government to participate in the study. Begun in 1967 immediately in the wake of the Detroit riot, it was not published until March of 1968. But only weeks after its emergence, Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated and the most massive wave of riots that was ever recorded in American history almost forced a suspension of the Constitution. Samuel Yette reported in his 1971 book THE CHOICE, that the House Un-American Affairs Committee, headed by right-wing elements, had put heavy pressure on Johnson to suspend the Constitution and declare martial law in the cities. Johnson resisted and instead ordered government strategists to employ the finest minds in the country to analyze the cause of the revolts and develop strategies to prevent them in the future.

The workshop participants were asked to prepare and submit papers recommending "program initiatives and experiments" in the areas of welfare/public assistance, jobs and manpower training, housing and urban planning, police services and public order, race relations and others. The papers were grouped into four headings, including two called "urban poverty," and "urban violence and public order."

The Kerner Commission strategists came to the conclusion that America's inner-city poverty was so entrenched that the ghettoes could not be transformed into viable neighborhoods to the satisfaction of its residents or the government. The problem of riots, therefore, could be expected to emerge in the future, perhaps with more intensity and as a more serious threat to the Constitutional privileges which most Americans enjoy. They finally concluded that if the problem could not be eliminated because of the nature of the American system of "free enterprise," then American technology could contain it. This could only be done through a theory of "spatial deconcentration" of racially-impacted neighborhoods. In other words, poverty had been allowed to become so concentrated in the inner cities that hopelessness overwhelmed their residents and the government's resolve to dilute it. This hopelessness had the social effect of a fire near a powderkeg. But if the ghettoes were thinned out, the chances of a cataclysmic explosion that could destroy the American way of life could be equally diminished. Inner-city residents, then, would have to be dispersed throughout the metropolitan regions to guarantee the privileges of the middle class. Where those inner-city residents should be placed after their dispersal had been the subject of intense research by the government and the major financial interests of the U.S. since 1968. In the Kerner Commission report, Chapter 17 addressed itself to this prospect. Suburbs was its answer; the farthest place from the inner city.

A high proportion of the commissioners for the Report and their contracting stategists were military or paramilitary men. Otto Kerner himself, chairman of the Commission, was the Governor of Illinois at the time of the Report but before that had been a major general in the army. John Lindsay, also a commissioner, Mayor of New York, had been the chairman of the political committee of the NATO Parliamentarians Conference. Herbert Jenkins, before becoming a commissioner, had been chief of the Atlanta Police Department and President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, a reputed anti-terrorist organization. Charles Thornton, the fourth of seven commissioners, was chairman of the board of Litton Industries at the time he accepted his commission, one of the country's chief military suppliers and, before that, had been general manager of the Hughes Aircraft Corporation - -another major military supplier -- a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, a trustee of the National Security Industrial Association, and a member of the Advisory Council to the Defense Department.

The Commission's list of contractors and witnesses was no less glittering in military and paramilitary personnel. No less than thirty police departments were represented on or before the Commission by their chiefs or their deputy chiefs. Twelve generals representing various branches of the armed services appeared before the Commission or served as contractors. The Agency for International Development, the Rand Corporation, the Brookings Institute, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Institute of Defense Analysis, and the Ford Foundation all played significant roles in shaping the Commission's findings.

A hardly-noticeable name listed among these intelligence and military giants was that of one Anthony Downs, a civilian. Unlike most of the other contractors, whose names were followed by lines of titles, Downs was simply listed as being from Chicago, Illinois. His name was to become very prominent among inner-city grassroots leaders around the country by the end of 1979. Philadelphia housing leaders had remembered Downs as having been the author of the so-called "triage" report of 1975, which led to a storm of controversy at the time.

In his HUD-sponsored study, Downs argued that the inner cities were hopelessly beyond repair and would be better cleared of services and residents and landbanked. The middle class should then be allowed to repopulate these areas, giving them a breath of new life. The activists, in their rush to uncover information about the Mobility Program, discovered to their surprise that Downs had written Chapters 16 and 17 of the Kerner Commission Report; the chapters devoted to demographic shifts in the inner cities and spatial deconcentration.

Housing activists studying theories of "mobility" and "spatial deconcentration" stumbled upon yet another "strategist," also, like Downs, out of Chicago, named Bernard Weissbourd. Weissbourd wrote two papers in Chicago in 1968 concerning the crisis of exploding minority inner-city populations. In one paper entitled "An Urban Strategy," he proposed a so-called "one-four-three-four plan. Inner-city minority populations represented such a growing political threat by their growing number, he argued, that a strategy had to be quickly developed to thin out their numbers and prevent them from overwhelming the nation's big cities. He proposed that this be accomplished through a series of federal and private programs that would financially induce minorities to migrate to the suburbs until their absolute numbers inside the cities represented no more than one-fourth of the total population. It is not clear if "An Urban Strategy" was written before the Kerner Commission Report was released, or before the end of the Rand Corporation "workshop." Around the same time, however, he wrote another paper entitled "Proposal for a New Housing Program: Satellite Communities." Weissbourd argued that the bombed-out inner-city neighborhoods should be completely rebuilt as "new towns in town" for the middle class. As in his "Urban Strategy" paper, he discussed the threat of explosive inner-city minority populations and their threatening political power. He suggested that this threat could be repulsed with the construction of new housing outside the cities for inner-city minorities. He also suggested that jobs be found for these people in the suburbs and that "...some form of subsidy" be developed to induce them to leave the inner-cities. It is not clear whether Downs knew Weissbourd or borrowed his theories in time for his Kerner Commission Report, if, in fact, the Report was finished after Weissbourd published his works, although it is likely, since both worked out of Chicago. It is clear that both strategists saw American middle-class lifestyles as being challenged by the same explosive, racially-impacted inner-city neighborhoods.

In the same year that Downs had completed his Kerner Commission Report chapters and Weissbourd published his theories, President Johnson requested the formation of a research network that could focus on analyses of inner-city evolution and area-wide metropolitan strategies. This "think-tank" is called the Urban Institute. Since its founding in 1968, the likes of Carla Hills, Robert McNamara, Cyrus Vance, William Ruckleshaus, Kingman Bruster, Joseph Califano, Edward Levi, John D. Rockefeller, Charles Schultze, and William Scranton have served as members of its board of trustees. The five blacks who have served, or are serving, are Whitney Young, Leon Sullivan, William Hastie, Vernon Jordan, and William Coleman, all prominent middle-class "yes-men." The board of the Institute has had an interlocking relationship with the boards of trustees of the Rand Corporation and the Brookings Institute, both close CIA affiliates. Rand's Washington office, in fact, is located in the same building where the Institute has its headquarters.

The Institute, to say the least, is a bizarre agency. It was supposedly founded in the spirit of harmony between the races, but has been dominated by a substantial number of presidential cabinet members and major U.S. corporations and universities, such as Yale and Chicago. Worse, the Institute has conducted a substantial portion of the research that has led to the development of Mobility programming techniques. Its president, William Gorham, recently described the agency as a HUD "testing laboratory." It is not only theoretically dominated by the likes of quasi-military strategists that dominated the Kerner Commission, especially one John Goodman, the Institute's major "Mobility" specialist. In terms of the type of experiments the Institute has conducted over its short history and the highly sensitive nature of its research work, it ranks on par with the CIA itself. Goodman, for instance, heading a team of strategists, developed between 1975 and 1979 a series of experiments to determine the best way to induce inner-city blacks and other minorities to leave the cities. A favorite ploy they developed was housing allowances and the so-called "subsidy" programs, whereby low-income families are supported in their rent payments or paid cash grants, if they first agree to move out. Heavy experimentation was also conducted by the Institute on tactics that could be used to shape the Section 8 Program into a counterinsurgency program against minorities.

In 1970, Downs wrote a little-known book called URBAN PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS, in which he more graphically detailed the theory of spatial deconcentration. He developed a bizarre concept in the book entitled "the theory of middle-class dominance." According to him, the dispersal of the inner-city populations to the suburbs could not successfully be completed unless and until a model of dispersal was developed, whereby the artificially induced outflow of minorities from the inner cities would be controlled and directed to the point that they would not be permitted to naturally reconcentrate themselves in the suburbs. This was the heart of the government theory of "integration maintenance." This type of control had to be exercised, according to Downs, because white suburbanites would not remain stable in their bungalows if they were led to suspect that the incoming blacks and other minorities were gaining power through their sheer numbers in the suburbs. The consistent theme of Down's PROBLEMS, Chapters 16 and 17 of the Kerner Commission Report, and Goodman's works at the Institute, was that of control.

The line of thinking about control found reinforcement in another book Downs wrote in 1973, entitled OPENING UP THE SUBURBS: AN URBAN STRATEGY FOR AMERICA. Downs' theories from the Kerner Commission Report crystalized, taking as their cue his arguments laid down in URBAN PROBLEMS. The theory of white "dominance" was carefully discussed in SUBURBS. Included here were ideas for "...a broader strategy," where "...a workable mechanism ensuring that whites will remain in the majority..." was produced. But Chapter 12 of this book showed a marked difference from his writings in either of the former two publications. Chapter 12 of SUBURBS carefully laid down a mechanism which could transform the theories of his former works into practical applications. The chapter was called "Principles of a Strategy of Dispersing Economic Integration," and laid down five basic concepts: 1) establishing a "favorable" political climate for the strategy; 2) creating "economic incentives" for the strategy; 3) preserving suburban middle-class dominance; 4) rebuilding inner-cities; 5) developing a further "comprehensive strategy." In outline format he analyzed each one. He noted that experiments should be conducted before the strategy was effectuated and that "...more effective means of withdrawing economic support..." should be developed for the inner cities to clear the way for landbanking inner-city neighborhoods. To the amazement of the inner-city housing leaders across the country, Downs' theory of "dispersed economic integration" was exactly reproduced in HUD's Regional Housing Mobility Program Guidebook, issued six years after SUBURBS, in 1979.

Also by 1977, a mysterious "fair housing group" in Chicago, the Leadership Council for Open Metropolitan Communities, was contracted by HUD to begin mobility programming experiments on black high-rise public housing tenants in the Southside and Westside. It was called "The Gatreax Demonstration Program" and achieved in two years the removal to the far suburbs of 400 families. Materials from HUD's 1979 review of the Gatreaux experiment are included in this anthology.

By 1974, the Congress had enacted the Community Development Act. The legislation fused together the Urban Renewal programs of the Johnson era and the Revenue sharing programs of the Nixon Administration. The title to the Act laid out its theory: 1) reduce the geographic isolation of various economic groups; 2) promote spatial deconcentration; 3) revitalize inner-city neighborhoods for middle- and upper-income groups.

It wasn't until 1975 that point four of Downs' theory in SUBURBS, rebuilding the inner cities, was fully analyzed. It was done in the form of the "triage" report, completed under HUD contract while he was still president of the Real Estate Research Corporation in Chicago, a firm founded by his father, James, some twenty years before. In this report, Downs made it clear that he wasn't projecting the inner-cities being rebuilt for its present residents -- the minorities -- but for the white middle class; the so-called urban gentry; a theory completely compatible with the Community Development Act of the previous year, Weissbourd's 1968 writings, and the Kerner Commission findings. Under point four in SUBURBS, Downs wrote that "...new means of comprehensively 'managing' entire inner-city neighborhoods should be developed to provide more effective means of withdrawing economic support from housing units that ought to be demolished." In his "triage" report, he wrote that Community Development funds should be withheld from inner-city neighborhoods so as to allow "...a long-run strategy of emptying-out the most deteriorated areas..." A city's basic strategy, he wrote, "would be to accelerate their abandonment..." The land having been "banked," it could be redeveloped for the gentry. He argued that instead of being given increased services, minority neighborhoods should be infused with major demolition projects.

After Patricia Harris became secretary of HUD two years after the enactment of the Community Development Act and one year after the Section 8 program replaced the Section 235 and 236 housing subsidy programs, the General Accounting Office, under the direction of Henry Eschwege, issued a stinging review of the Department's policies. Noting that the Section 8 Program was the "...principal federal program for housing lower-income persons..." the 1978 report suggested, in threatening language, that "HUD needs to develop an implementation plan for deconcentration..." The report argued that "...freedom of choice..." was supposed to be the Department's "primary intent," but that top HUD officials were confused about the policy. HUD, the GAO insisted, was continuing to offer "revitalization" projects in the inner-cities, which was concentrating poverty in the cities. This policy, it stressed, was "incompatible" with spatial deconcentration.

In 1979, on the heels of the GAO report came HUD's Regional Housing Mobility Program. The introduction of the program was itself bizarre, let alone the program. The emrgence of the program was kept so quiet that virtually no grassroots community organizations in the country knew of its existence. The activists in Philadelphia had not even been aware of its existence until August of that year. It still wasn't until November that grassroots leaders encountered an advisory council member to one of the planning agencies -- and that was in St. Louis -- who openly admitted that the program's success depended on its "invisibility." On August 3, 1979, the planning commission directors of 22 preselected regions in the country were asked by HUD to gather in Washington to be schooled on the mechanics of the program. They were given Guidebooks and asked to return to their respective jurisdictions and prepare from $75,000 to $150,000 applications for the program. The Guidebook made it clear that these regions had been specially selected because of their heavy concentration of minorities. They were instructed to contact major civil rights organizations and gain their "input" into the program. It was not coincidental that the National Urban League was one of the very few black organizations that knew of the program's existence. After all, Vernon Jordan, its president, sits on the board of the Urban Institute.

The Guidebook smacks of computer technology and is prepared with mind-control phrases, such as establishing "beachheads" in "alien" communities; initiating "...a long term promotion of deconcentration;" identifying "...homeseeker traits which operate...on a process of suppression not selection;" and banking on the "...target areas" that "...will require that natural inclinations be altered." True to the Downs model established in SUBURBS and URBAN PROBLEMS, the Guidebook carefully analyzes the financial inducements to be used by the government to force minorities out of the cities and to force uncooperative suburban landlords to accept the program. The Guidebook makes it clear that the program is intended for major expansion by 1982, when its funding base will be switched from HUD-Washington to an assortment of agencies, interestingly including the Community Development Block Grant funds, CETA, and the Ford, Rockefeller, and Alcoa Foundations. The CETA job component clearly traced its theoretical roots not only to Downs, but also to Weissbourd. The Guidebook also carefully lays out the use of the Section 8 program as a primary base for mobility operations.

Once it became clear to inner-city housing leaders that the Mobility Program was nothing more than the first in a set of mechanisms the government intended to use to effectuate the ideas discussed in the Kerner Commission Report, it was easy to organize concerned people around the issue. It was actually a relief to some activists that proof had finally emerged of a real master plan, and not merely another fictionalized account of some remote possibility. Less than one month after the Philadelphia leaders had made their final contacts in Chicago and New York City, a five-city conference was organized in Washington. Called the Grassroots Unity Conference, and held in January, 1980, it focused on driving the message home to the government, through HUD, that the master plan had been exposed and efforts were being organized in key regions of the country to stop it. An almost violent meeting was held between top HUD officials and activists from Washington, Chicago, St. Louis, New York and Philadelphia during the two-day conference. A busload of inner-city residents literally invaded the Urban Institute offices and persuaded its staff to hand over dozens of documents that further reinforced community leaders' arguments that a master plan existed, and that the Mobility Program was merely the first step in a new series of programs designed to systematically empty the inner-cities of their minority residents.

The friction slowly being generated between the government and the inner-city communities over this programming and its exposure has the potential of producing a major domestic crisis in the U.S. Housing and community activists have for years been confused about the nature of the deterioration of the inner cities. The confusion often led to disillusionment and bitter dissension that sometimes created malevolent situations within the inner circles of community leaders and groups. Many community leaders knew that the government was not an innocent party to the problems of the cities, but few imagined the close association between it and private market forces in systematically driving the poor and the black out of the cities. Fewer still realized that the government had helped organize the "control" strategy from its inception. Now that the master plan is being slowly uncovered by persistent efforts of grassroots leaders and the confusion within community groups is evaporating, it may not be possible to vent their anger in non-destructive ways when the tale is finally told.

Some elements of the black community, for instance, have argued for years that the government had declared a "secret war" on blacks in America. Now evidence exists which makes the point difficult, if not impossible, to defeat. At least an innocent observer must ask the question: "What kind of government would allow these types of strategies to develop and thrive?" Even more to the point, one must ask: "How stable can a government be with such information emerging?" It now seems evident that the Constitution, which the Kerner Commissioners and the Johnson Administration feared was in need of special protection, does not apply to all people in America, but only the white middle class. The only way the government can now disprove this argument is to abolish all types of mobility programming and the "think tanks" that shaped it.

Researchers in all parts of the country who believe the government is travelling a lethal path are now uncovering major pieces of evidence to show the elaborate workings of the master plan. Some of their arguments are enclosed in Part III of this book, under the title "The Minority Response." Other technical data are enclosed in Parts IV and V. Of particular interest in Part V are the listings offered by the Urban Institute under housing allowance programs. Section 8 experimentation takes up a good portion of the available listings. A cursory examination of some of these papers -- and in some instances a mere reading of the project titles -- plainly shows the determination of the government to manipulate the Section 8 Program as a key instrument to force inner-city residents to move into the suburbs through the Mobility Program. It aptly explains why these same researchers created the Section 235, 236 and Section 8 programs in the first place. Included in Part IV are lists of Boards of Trustees of the Brookings and Urban Institutes in Washington, D.C. Attempts were made, in preparation for this edition, to include a listing of the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations Boards of Trustees. These corporations, however, refused to release their Annual Reports.

The exposure of the Mobility Program's real intentions will hopefully change the direction of the government. If not, then the worst can be assumed for the future of the U.S. because no righteous people on the face of the Earth would or should permit the existence of such policy, even if its dismemberment means inevitable confrontation or conflagration.

Several aspects of this mobility programming have deliberately been avoided at this time. Cyrus Vance, for instance, was Deputy Secretary of Defense at the time of the Detroit riot of 1967 and the initiation of the Kerner Commission Report. By 1980 Vance was Secretary of State, directly responsible for at least one organization named in the report, the Agency for International Development, widely reputed for its CIA ties. He was also a trustee of the Urban Institute, along with Robert McNamara, chairman of the World Bank and former Secretary of Defense under Johnson. A reasonable question emerges at this point: "Why is the military so closely attached to this mobility programming?" Or worse, "What does the military intend to do in the event that this mobility-type programming fails, the black and other inner-city minorities remain in large part in the cities into the turn of the century, and riots create greater so-called threats to Constitutional safeguards?" After all, Downs himself stated in SUBURBS that he believed the mobility programming would fail. Is the recent history of Greece or Chile the logical answer to these questions? Did the military, in 1967, issue an ultimatum to the government to remove the blacks and other inner-city minorities to black suburban "townships" in knit-glove fashion with the option, in failure, being the iron fist? Further, how could it have been possible for the surgical demolition operations in the minority neighborhoods of the cities to be so identical in all American cities? Could any organization other than the Pentagon have done this?

These questions have been left unexplored because the weight of available documentation and the speed with which it is being collected and digested has been burdensome on anti-mobility forces. Further, this discussion about the military must be carefully explored by itself because of its obvious sensitivity. Also left for "Book II" is the discussion concerning the companion programs of the Mobility Program, one of which, the Areawide Housing Opportunity Plan (AHOP), literally dwarfs the Mobility Program. Their successful exploration and revelation may make Watergate look pale by comparison.
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Re: Spatial Deconstruction, by Yolanda Ward

Postby admin » Sun May 08, 2016 6:16 am

Spatial Deconcentration in D.C. -- Yulanda Ward
by The Yulanda Ward Memorial Fund
'Midnight Notes', Vol. II, #2
July, 1981

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Image
Cartoon by Ron Cobb

We begin with a murder -- that of Yulanda Ward in Washington, D.C. at 2 A.M., November 2, 1980. She was shot to death in what now appears as an assassination dis­guised as a street robbery. She was not robbed, but her head was pushed over the edge of a car and shot; her three companions were robbed but not otherwise harmed. The weapon of murder appears to have been a .357 Magnum, not exactly a street-crime weapon. According to the Yulanda Ward Memorial Fund and other groups, her murder has been followed by either thorough police incompetence or a systematic cover-up and non-investigation. Moreover, the police have attempted to stop the independent investigation of her murder, even though "grapevine" inquiries report that she was murdered by "out of town" hired killers.

Why be concerned with this one murder? Who was Yulanda Ward? She was a 22 year old black community activist involved with the Washington, D.C. Rape Crisis Center, the Black United Front, and other community groups, most notably the Citywide Housing Coalition. It is this last activity that could have led to her death, for she was a key activist in uncovering a U.S. government plan labelled "spatial deconcentration."

We reprint the following article on spatial deconcentration for two reasons. First, its information is valuable while its analysis begins to uncover many important political points about the organization of space under capitalism. Second, if Yulanda Ward was assassinated, we wish to alert others about it and urge them to assist the Yulanda Ward Memorial Fund in investigating the reasons for and perpetraters of the murder. In this way, we hope that our increased vigilance will help stop any violent state repression of the type suspected in this case.

This article focusses on Washington, D.C., but the spatial deconcentration program is nationwide. The precise patterns and plans may vary from place to place, but the essential operation is constant: to remove the threat posed to concentrated capital by concentrated masses of urban poor.

Yulanda Ward was murdered in D.C. In other cities, local organizers for the Grassroots Unity Conference, of which Yulanda was a member, and which has been combatting spatial deconcentration, have been attacked physically and verbally - ­burglaries, false arrests, threatening phone calls, and verbal attacks by government officials. Nonetheless, and necessarily, the struggle continues.

* * * *

SPATIAL DECONCENTRATION
by The Yulanda Ward Memorial Fund

Housing activists in Washington have long battled with indifferent city officials, in­dividual and organized, and the Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade, as we sought to halt the displacement of masses of Blacks and other poor or working class minorities from the inner cities to the suburbs. Since 1972, campaigns have centered around rent con­trol, condominium and hotel conversions, land speculators, and government bureaucracy. We clearly understood the process of gentrifica­tion (replacing poor inner city residents with middle and upper class "gentry"), and perceived the underlying economic basis on which the process rested with land speculators vigorously exploiting inner city neighborhoods. The displacement of Blacks and other minorities from the inner city was thought to be a product of the capitalist housing market, which provides housing only for those who can afford it. It was not until 1979 that we dis­covered and began to research a Federal gov­ernment program called "spatial deconcentra­tion", the hidden agenda behind the pheno­menon of displacement. We discovered that displacement had an economic base to be sure, but more importantly, it was a means of social control -- a means to break up large concentra­tions of Blacks and other inner city minor­ities from their communities. We have witnessed the forced evacuation of more than 50,000 poor inner city residents from the city each year, and their subsequent replacement by an affluent class. We understood the role of the government and its officials as it aided this process by creating laws that benefitted land­lords and speculators while impoverishing tenants, but it wasn't until Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) documents began to surface using the words "housing mobility" and "fair housing" that we began to understand the magnitude of the masterplan to rid the city of its inner city poor and working classes. To fully understand this program we had to examine its history, the atmosphere out of which it developed, and its objectives. After this, we had concrete answers for why 50,000 poor people a year are being driven into Prince Georges, Mont­gomery, Prince William, and other suburban jurisdictions increasingly further away from the inner city, while central city neighbor­hoods are allowed to decay until speculators and middle class whites move in to take them over.

The riots that rocked American cities in the 1960's provoked lengthy govermental studies to investigate the riots, and to make recom­mendations on what could be done to prevent civil disturbances by oppressed minorities. President Lyndon Johnson appointed a special commission, the National Advisory Committee on Civil Disorders (Kerner Commission) in 1968, composed of police and army specialists, FBI and CIA agents, and civilian consultants who worked at "thinktank" institutions like the Brookings Institute, the Rand Corporation, and the Urban Institute. The commissions, clearly connected with the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA and the FBI, felt that large concentrations of Blacks in the inner cities represented a threat to the security of the United States and had to be removed from the cities immediately. Thus, the Kerner Commission's recommendation was that low income housing projects and the Blacks that lived in them, should be relocated from inner city neighborhoods to sites outside the central city. This would break up the concentrations of Blacks within the central city, and thus disrupt their potential to erupt into violence in response to their economic conditions. The commission recommended that Blacks be systematically placed in outlying suburban counties and dispersed, so that the counties themselves remained white dominated, but the Blacks would be isolated and broken up, neutralizing their violent potential. The death this same year of Martin Luther King and the subsequent riots hastened the govern­ment's determination to control Black people in the inner city. The Federal government acted on the Commission's recommendations and began, in 1969, a program called "spatial deconcentration" which to date, has received a Federal investment of over 5 billion dollars.

The enactment of the program required the coodination and cooperation of many government officials and capitalists, and due to the large sums of money being offered by the government, received widespread development and support. Metropolitan areas in America have witnessed how banks and insurance companies have red­lined central city neighborhoods while real estate speculators have milked what profits they could from these communities, further hastening the deterioration as thousands of housing units were demolished, abandoned, or taken off the market for any number of reasons. As the artificially created energy crisis worsened, the inner city became an attractive option to the middle class that fled to the suburbs in the 50's and 60's. Redevelopers and banks began redevelopment or "urban renewal" projects which have caused the displacement of hundreds of thousands of inner city residents of Washington and other urban cities over the past ten years. Due to a housing shortage as artificially created as the energy crisis) the victims of urban renewal are forced to relocate in the suburbs, thereby eliminating their political presence within the central city.

The workings of the spatial deconcentration program are simple. First, the Blacks have to be driven out of a neighborhood and placed in suburban jurisdictions that are forced to take them, or co-opted with bribes of large Federal grants. In Washington D.C., in order to drive people out of a particular inner city neighborhood, the Federal government, along with the D.C. City Council and the Mayor, eliminated the housing in neighborhoods by giving landlords incentives to abandon their buildings, or remove rental units from the market by specially designed rent control and conversion laws. We witness this practice in action by the continuous loopholes found in all of our rent control legislation that allow landlords to abandon their buildings, convert them to condominiums, or generally remove them from the market. Second, the govrnment closes down all of the public housing it has sponsored since the 1930's, thus forcing the displacement of the poor people living in them. For low or fixed income homeowners in the community, property taxes are escalated and housing services are de­creased, thus also impoverishing this group of people. Once the housing is eliminated, then other services that support the com­munity are cut back -- the public transportation is rerouted or a subway is built that totally bypasses the community. Available schools for the children are closed down in the name of budget cuts; hospitals are relocated to 'improve health delivery systems'; jobs are taken away as businesses are offered inducements to relocate in other areas. The entire community is de­stabilized to force the people of that com­munity to want to move as their lifestyle deteriorates. Yet, poor people can't just pick up and move just because a neighborhood has gone down. Moving takes money, and this is where the government plays its most visible role.

In 1974, Congress enacted the Housing and Community Development Act, which revamped the Revenue Sharing and Urban Renewal programs. One section of the Act specifies that one of its main purposes is "spatial deconcentration" of impacted neighborhoods in the inner cities. The next year, the Federal subsidy program, Section 8, was enacted by Congress. The creator of the Section 8 program was a civilian member of the Kerner Commission called Anthony Downs who also developed the entire theory of spatial deconcentration for social control in his 1973 book entitled Opening Up the Suburbs. Section 8 was specifically aimed at the poorest of the poor, and was a rent subsidy program that allows tenants to pay a maximum of 25% of their monthly income for rent with the government picking up the tab for the rest. Of course, like most subsidies, the real estate interests are guaranteed profits while the tenants have to wait on long waiting lists to register for the privilege of guaranteeing these profits for landlords.

So when poor people are forced into a position of having to move, they are granted Section 8 certificates which appear to ease the burden of not having a place to stay. However, the catch to the Section 8 program is that by using it, you no longer have a choice in where you can live. The new "housing mobility" created through Federal subsidies actually eliminated freedom of housing choice because at the same time HUD is giving Section 8 certificates to the suburbs, they claim there is not enough money available to keep people in D.C. They will give Section 8 certificates to families in D.C. but allow them to use them only in specifically selected suburban counties, not allowing the people to stay in D.C. to be close to the jobs, the Metro, the culture or the human services. This forces them out to the suburbs where there is no way to join together to struggle. Of course, the people become even more impoverished as welfare assistance programs, like AFDC, provide even less income than allotted in D.C. This entire process paves the way for the upper classes to replace poor people in inner city communities, under the guise of increasing the tax base of the city to provide more services to the poor residents of the city. The whole program of physically moving the poor and working class population out of D.C. which is actually spatial deconcentration, is disguised as a "Fair Housing Program" called Areawide Housing Opportunities Program (AHOP). Simply put, you disperse the concentrations of Black and poor people in D.C. where they could erupt into a dangerous force to chal­lenge the ruling class of the city and form a political base to threaten indifferent and sold-out officials. The program creates small pockets of poor people, isolated in the sub­urbs, available to work when the economy needs them, but separated and alienated, like the South African Blacks who are forced to live in Bantustans that surround rich white settler cities.

The spatial deconcentration program has played a major role in the transformation of Washington, D.C. from a riot-torn, abandoned inner city to a fast growing executives' para­dise. Since Washington's primary industry has always been the Federal government, now more so than ever, a large executive class is being drawn into Washington by attractive real estate, the energy crisis, and the cooperation of Federal and city officials. Meanwhile, unemployment for the poor and working class escalates; the few of them who receive train­ing and jobs are limited to clerical or blue collar jobs with little or no upward mobility. Fewer and fewer jobs are available to the poor in the inner city, and to counter the effects of the program, the city government must create job programs (designed to fail) in order to pacify the remaining population. In addition, we have a city which is experien­cing record-breaking commercial construction (office buildings, the Civic Center, etc.), yet has a critical shortage in that basic human necessity, shelter. This condition was created by the fact that Washington was one of the original cities targeted for imple­menting the spatial deconcentration program in 1969. The program has been operating here for eleven years, and is the concrete basis for the advanced stage of displacement we are experiencing.

The implementation of the spatial deconcentration program for the Washington area (AHOP) required the authority and financing of the Federal government, the participation of private industry, and the cooperation of local governing bodies. The application of the program to Washington was undertaken by the Washington Council of Governments (WashCog) which is the inter­jurisdictional body for the metropolitan area, composed of elected officials from Washington, Virginia and Maryland and, again, consultants from thinktanks like the Brookings Institute and the Urban Institute. WashCog began administration of the program by enlisting the support of the District officials to create the inner city conditions that would force people to move. These officials ensured that neigh­borhoods that were already devastated by the riots were left to decay, and support services were cut. Next, WashCog had to per­suade suburban officials to accept the flow of Blacks who would be forced into their communi­ties. Most of the persuasion was accomplished through Federal bribes in the form of Community Development monies. The impetus for the persuasion came with the Fair Housing Laws passed by Congress. They ensured that under the mask of "integration," white suburban neighborhoods would have to accept poor Blacks from the inner city. Suburban com­munities were also granted other bonuses as they received more public transportation (the Metro), increased social services (from the Federal payments), and were assured that there would always be white dominance in the suburbs since the Blacks would be dispersed over large areas. Prince Georges' county was the first area country to buy into the program. We now see the county government moving to halt the flood of Blacks into the county, fearing Black dominance.

The next phase of the program requires the persuading of the poor people in the inner city that life is better in the suburbs. The Section 8 certificates now come into play, as housing counselors, usually springing from government-sponsored community groups, urge people to relocate wherever their Section 8 certificate placed them, which is always in the suburbs. Apparent community groups, like Metropolitan Washington Planning and Housing Association, support the object­ives of the program by assisting tenants in obtaining Section 8 certificates, and omitting to warn them of their loss off housing choice. In fact, MWPHA sponsored a HUD workshop entitled "Increasing Housing Opportunities in the Suburbs" in May 1980. The hidden punch line to the workshop was that to increase housing opportunities in the suburbs, you must first decrease them in the city, which is the essence of spatial decon­centration. The government has made increasing­ly larger grants available to train community housing organizers, so that they may learn to properly administer Section 8 programs. Many of the grassroots housing groups in Washington are dependent on Section 8 contracts for their survival, and will refuse to recognize and discontinue the role they play in the program.

The monetary benefittors of the spatial deconcentration program are the real estate interests. Land values in the inner city sky­rocketed, while suburban developers made tremendous profits from developing the com­munities which will house the Blacks being driven out. Owners of buildings who have Section 8 tenants are guaranteed profits that will be paid by the Federal government, and usually can obtain loans for renovation from the government at interest rates 5-8% lower than the regular market. For example, a large, sprawling apartment complex in Silver Spring, Montgomery County, Maryland recently accepted a large number of Section 8 tenants from Washington D.C. In return, the owners of the property were granted large loans to renovate the property. The owners only have to allow Section 8 tenants to stay in the building for five years. After that, they can convert to condominium, luxury apartments, or whatever they want, because they've tripled the value of the property with the renovations paid for by the government. How­ever, after the five years are up, the poor tenants who moved into the building will have to move again. They will not ultimately benefit from the renovations, and furthermore, will be forced even further away from the inner city.

An investigation is proceeding into Yulanda Ward's death. Assistance, inquiries and contributions to the investigation should be addressed to:

The Yulanda Ward Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 21005
Washington, D.C. 20009
[Address obsolete]
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Re: Spatial Deconstruction, by Yolanda Ward

Postby admin » Sun May 08, 2016 6:26 am

Robbers Kill D.C. Housing Unit Leader
by Thomas Morgan
November 3, 1980

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The address of a suspect, William E. Tate, charged in the fatal shooting of Washington housing activist Yolanda Ward, was incorrectly listed yesterday in late editions of The Post. The correct address, according to D.C. police, is 1113 Chicago St. SE.

Yolanda Ward, 22, a cochairwoman of the District's City Wide Housing Coalition, was shot and killed during a street robbery in far Southeast Washington early yesterday morning, D.C. police reported.

Police said Ward, of 1358 Levis St. NE, and three friends were walking in the 2800 block of Gainesville Street SE about 3 a.m. when they were approached by three men, at least one of them armed with a handgun. The three men robbed Ward and the others, and shot Ward. The amount taken could not be immediately learned.

Interviewed last night, several of the victim's friends said Ward and others active in the City Wide Housing Coalition had been harassed because of the group's efforts to stop housing displacement of the poor in the inner city. One friend said Ward's home had been burglarized and she had received telephone calls threatening her with bodily harm unless she halted her work.

Friends speculated that her death might have been linked to the harassment. Police declined to comment on the speculation.

"[Ward] complained to the police and the telephone company about the calls, but nothing ever happened," said Jimmy Garrett, the other cochairman of the housing coalition.

Early this morning, police announced that two men had been charged with homicide in the killing, but refused to say what evidence led to their arrests. They were identified as William Tate, 23, of 1112 Chicago St. SE and Sylvester Harrison, 37, of 2315 25th St. SE.

Garrett said that on Saturday afternoon Ward had met with students from Howard and other universities along the East Coast to form a student component of the National United Black Front, a newly organized national network of black community groups and activists.

Afterward, Ward took three male students visiting from New Jersey to a Halloween party in Southeast Washington, and the shooting occurred when the group left the party, Garrett said.


The assailants "didn't do any harm to the men," said Garrett, who was not present during the robbery, but who said he talked to the men who were with Ward. "[The robbers] didn't try to molest Yolanda in any way. They just pushed her over a car, put the gun to her head and just executed her."

Police said they are looking for several men in connection with the shooting.

Friends said Ward, a board member of the D.C. Rape Crisis Center, was a Howard University student who majored in communications. She had taken a year's leave of absence to do community work and was scheduled to return in January to complete work for a bachelor's degree.
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Re: Spatial Deconstruction, by Yolanda Ward

Postby admin » Sun May 08, 2016 6:41 am

"Brilliant" Howard Student Activist Slain by Gunmen in S.E.
by Miles White
The Baltimore Afro American
November 3, 1980

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A Washington community activist who was outspoken in trying to stop the displacement of poor blacks and other minorities from the inner city was slain last week in an execution-style shooting that some are speculating was a politically motivated assassination.

Yolanda Ward, 22, of the 1358 Levis St., N.E. was shot once in the head on Nov. 2 as she and three male friends she was escorting walked from a party near the 2800 block of Gainesville St., S.E.

Police have arrested two of four men being sought in the killing, which they say resulted from an apparent robbery. Arrested last Monday and charged with first degree murder and murder in commission of a robbery were William E. Tate, 23. of the 1100 block of Chicago St., S.E., and Sylvester Harrison, 37, of 2315 25th St., S.E.

Tate was charged and released while Harrison, a former mental patient, was held on a $5,000 bond. Police would not say what led to the arrests or whether or not witnesses had positively identified the two as the ones who participated in the killing.

Ward and the three men, who were visiting from New Jersey where they attended school, were returning from a Halloween party when they were approached by four men, two of them armed with .357 Magnum pistols.

Witnesses said there was "no panic" or scuffle throughout the incident. The killers searched and robbed the men but did not make any attempt to rob Ward. Instead they spread her over the hood of a parked car, put one of the Magnums up to her head and pulled the trigger while the three students looked on in shock.

Nkenge Toure, director of Community Education for the D.C. Housing Coalition, on which Ward served as a co-chairwoman, said she believes Ward's death was related to the fight over the displacement issue.

Ward was actively opposing a "spacial centralization" plan supposedly outlined in government documents obtained by the group earlier this year.

Toure said that War had received calls telling her that the housing issue was "bigger" than she, and that she should forget it. It was not long afterwards, Toure said, that Ward began getting threats, including attempts to break into her apartment.

"Housing is a big issue in this city," Toure said. "There's a lot of money and power involved ... I don't care what anybody else says, that was not a simple robbery."

The coalition plans to push for its own independent investigation into the shooting and said it will issue a "detailed analysis" of it soon. A police spokesman said Tuesday that "all our information indicates it was a robbery." But persons who knew and worked closely with Ward aren't buying that.

James Garrett, Ward's co-worker on the coalition and a former instructor of Ward's at Howard University, where she was on a leave of absence, said Ward began receiving phone threats and harassment soon after she began working to stop the program in the city. "Whoever threatened her didn't know her personally, but they knew her work," Garrett said.

Toure said that the persons who were working along similar lines in other cities were also harassed, including one in Philadelphia who was shot at and another in Houston who was beaten up. "It's not an isolated situation," she said, "it's impossible (for the shooting) to be a coincidence."

Memorial services for Ward will be held Thursday at Howard University's Rankin Chapel and on the following Sunday at Calvary United Methodist Church.

"She was very serious, very principled," Garrett said. "She was just a brilliant, brilliant woman."
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