U.S. Supreme Court Opinion, Concurrence and two Dissents in the landmark (no pun intended) Kelo case on opening the floodgates to total property takeover by the financial elite. For clarity, check out Dissent-1, by Sandra Day O'Connor.
The prestigious Fitch Ratings website contains a report showing how the Kelo decision now forces competition to offer eminent domain abuse giveaways to high finance, or suffer punishment on the crucial bond markets. Follow this link, type kelo into the search slot at top of home page. Registration required to read report.
"The use of eminent domain for private development may benefit district communities, but it blights the overall economy."
by Phil Davies
in FedGazette, published by, would you believe(?), the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis, MN.
The Castle Coalition: Citizens Fighting Eminent Domain Abuse.
The New Jersey Coalition to End Eminent Domain Abuse.
San Francisco Bay View - National Black Newspaper of the Year. Heavy emphasis on Eminent Domain Abuse.
Develop, Don't Destroy (Brooklyn, NY): Fightinng the Atlantic Yards Project, also known as Ratner Stadium, a gentrification uprooting a working class and racially oppressed community.
Minnesotans for Eminent Domain Reform: Stop Private to Private transfers of property!
Create definitions for blight!
Compensate property owners fairly for any property transfers!
Make elected officials accountable for condemnations!
UNITE TO END
EMINENT DOMAIN ABUSE!
The official, judicial unleashing of eminent domain abuse has provoked an all-across-the political-spectrum resistance movement, uniting many constituencies that have not been on talking terms, bridging seemingly the gaps between irreconcilables. And this is a necessary beginning if eminent domain abuse is to be ended.
The breadth of the revolt is a sign that the broad public will not stand to have the ground cut out from under its feet, and may well rise to defend itself and resist through direct action including civil disobedience, if the only other choice is to be crushed. Such resistance is almost a dead certainty, to the extent that no legitimate governmental remedy is offered.
How broad is the opposition? The formerly powerful House Republican Whip, ultra-conservative Tom Delay of Texas and the ultra-liberal Democrat Maxine Waters of California formed an unprecedented alliance for legislation banning Federal subsidies to any project involving private-to-private eminent domain.
Mercifully, the courts only invited states and localities and the Federal authorities to ignore the public use clause, but did not prohibit voluntary Constitutional compliance. But, who knows? That may be only one lawsuit away!
For the time being, the banning of such subsidies could stop most eminent domain abuse in its tracks. Today's big money people can help themselves to subsidies from the public till, and often are not really even true risk-taking "investors".
Incidentally, it may not be accidental that the courts began criminal prosecution dethroning Tom Delay immediately just after these efforts threatening the real powers-that-be. One means by which the financial elite can control politicians is to force them into corrupt competition for campaign funds, then threaten to expose and prosecute them if they fail to fully serve their paymasters' interests.
Since Delay's ouster, the legislation, for all its broad Congressional support, under the pressure of enraged public opinion, has bottled up.
Eminent Domain Abuse is the road to economic slavery for most and political tyranny for all.
A tiny financial elite is claiming authority to confiscate everybody else's property.
This is the real meaning of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. New London, imposed by a narrow 5-4 liberal bloc. Forcing such a tyrannical measure down our throats required resorting to the courts, where judges do not stand for election, and are appointed for life. This is a check and balance against popular sentiment. A proposal to allow eminent domain abuse would be laughed out of any elected legislature.
Ordinarily, a Supreme Court decision can only be overridden with a Constitutional Amendment, an arduous and usually protracted process. But in this case, the absurdity is that the Fifth Amendment, with its Public Use Clause, has already been part of the Constitution since the founding days of the republic. The Kelo Decision is breathtaking in its violation of both the letter and spirit of the law.
Despite superstitions to the contrary, a Supreme Court decision does not end an issue forever. For the most famous example, the Supreme Court endorsed segregated public school systems in "Plessy v. Ferguson", but was forced to reverse itself in "Brown v. Board of Education", though only after more than half a century of the Civil Rights movement and new emerging forces around the world, and the new needs of the financial elite in the tentative industrialization of the South. The Kelo decision is itself is a reversal of traditional rule of Constitutional law, and can be re-reversed the if resistance to it generates sufficient pressure.
While Liberalism imposed this particular, crucial betrayal, Conservatism paved the way for this catastrophe over the preceding years. Consistently putting profits and greed ahead of human need, Conservatism worked itself into a frenzy for privatization and deregulation. In the name of states' rights, they subverted Federal protections by encouraging circumvention and violation of the Federal Bill of Rights, in issues ranging from military and school desegregation to abortion rights. The small property and business owners, the Conservative base, do not enjoy it, however, when The Kelo decision simply applies the same "states' rights" doctrine to privatize and deregulate eminent domain, threatening to strip away their own guaranteed protections.
Once the Bill of Rights holding corporate greed back is shredded, how can a state government, let alone a municipality or a community board district stand up to the demands of corrupt "partnerships" of City Hall and Wall Street and their kept stable of rubber mouth "experts", who can promise to distribute, or threaten to withhold, pieces of the action, from affraudable real estate, to jobs, to bureaucratic privileges, as well as immediate bribes, especially after policies creating mass unemployment, homelessness and one-pay-check-away-from-homelessness.
The financial elite will put a pretty feather, even spend on a real worm, on the hook, whatever it takes. Once you bite, they will reel you in, they calculate.
Even worse, the release from any constraint of eminent domain abuse will actually force communities into competition in a bond market that will tend to patronize communities that allow uninhibited exploitation, and will shun those which ban eminent domain abuse, unless all communities and states hold the line, band together, and effectively ban eminent domain abuse on a statutory level.
The interests of the financial elite were served by the conservatives, whose small property and business owning social base were bought off by the promises of privatization and deregulation, not to mention the favorable business atmosphere resulting from dismantlement of social programs which benefited the poor, racially oppressed and working class aligned with liberalism.
The financial elite, on the eminent domain issue, has now temporarily switched over to the liberal base, to transfer the lion's share of small property and business owners into the pockets of the super-rich on high. The liberals delight in helping the super-rich expropriate the middle classes. The liberal base is in frequent conflict and day-to-day suffers unpleasant experience interacting directly with those just above them, while the real high-finance types are insulated and hidden in the economic stratosphere. Out of sight, out of mind, the saying goes. So it is not difficult for professional liberals to point rank-and-file against the squeezed middle class, while collaborating with the top layer promising concessions which would bankrupt the middle class.
Faced with gentrification erasing communities comprised of their own social base, they will organize delivery of support, as long as some small percentage of "affordable" housing and minority hiring are promised to accomplish this. In addition, professional liberalism will get further ensconced in the not-for-profit sector, where grants ultimately originating from Rockefeller, Ford or Soros types, will provide something of a gravy train. These heirs of the old financial royalty and the robber barons are willing to pay such a pittance, in exchange for control over and defeat of these potentially resistant or rebellious strata.
Just as the financial elite strategically turned to the liberal alliance to open the floodgates, high finance will again swing back to a conservative alignment in order to renege on their promises to the liberal dominated social base.
Gentrification, under this system, involves the elimination of the middle stratum, so that the top billionaires can rule supreme, without competition.
While there are partisan zealots on both sides of the manipulative liberal-conservative rivalry, each of which takes seriously the appeals to respective social bases, in the backrooms there is more cynical wheeling and dealing than you can shake a stick at. The convergence leads to politics like Atlantic City, whose oldest public school was recently demolished to make room for a gambling casino parking lot! It is no accident that Atlantic City is the original stomping ground of gangster-lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Land grabs create the condition for real genocide. When the ground on which a community lives is taken away, what happens to the people? Should we be surprised at eminent domain abuse after what happened to the Native Americans, the Irish at the hands of the British nobility, the victims of the Nazi quest for Lebensraum ("living space" for "Aryans"), what is happening with the Palestinians? All suffer mass murder after overlords stole their lands.
Whatever someone's opinion of socialism in the Soviet Union, private property rights were suppressed for public use rather than for profiteering and marketeering. Only with the Russian turn-around has a financial-commercial oligarchy and criminal mob been allowed to convert public use property into a real-life Monopoly game, and that caved-in facilitates parallel eminent domain abuse around the world, including in the U.S.A.!
The financial elite strategy is to alterenately kick the bulk of the population with its right and left legs, and then at election time ask us to vote for a critical choice of how we supposedly want to be kicked.
When it comes to eminent domain abuse, the time has arrived to break out of the liberal-conservative division by label, and unite the social bases of both into an unstoppable coalition, representing the best of both often conflicting constituencies. The battle is between a truly overwhelming majority, and a tiny handful who have turned the world into their oyster, in both meanings of that word.
We'll still have plenty of issues on which to fight each other, but let's unite as much as possible, to resist eminent domain abuse, in the legislatures, in the courts, in our homes and on the streets.