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Malik Rahim May Run For Mayor Of N Orleans

Just when you thought the folks of New Orleans couldn't do any worse than Ray Nagin, along comes Mother Sheehan's " bright spot."

Pretend Moslem, pretend Rastafarian, pretend philanthropist, pretend activist — but a real felony ex-con, police shooter, ex-Black Panther, race-baiter and con artist, Malik Rahim (neé Donald Guyton).

From self-proclaimed "National Black Newspaper of the Year," the San Francisco Bay View :

Self-reliant Malik Rahim rests his weary bones upon some pilfered government hand outs.

Malik Rahim: Community organizer eyes New Orleans’ top office

The Rock Report by CC Campbell-Rock

Riding out Hurricane Katrina and observing the aftermath of the biggest catastrophe in American history has convinced community organizer and activist Malik Rahim that the city should be cleaned from top to bottom.

To that end, Rahim is running for mayor of New Orleans. The primary election is set for February 2006.

The community activist made an unsuccessful run for a City Council seat, on the Green Party ticket, a few years back. He lost the race but won several thousand votes from progressive voters. Among them were Blacks weary of a Black bourgeois, who held elected office and did nothing to help their own, and from whites tired of corruption in a city seemingly stuck in the 1950s.

“I’m running for mayor to make sure that what transpired during this hurricane doesn’t happen again and to make sure that New Orleanians play a part in the rebuilding process,” Rahim explains.

Rahim has been an activist and organizer throughout his adult life. He started organizing the Ninth Ward, doing community service as a founder of the New Orleans chapter of the Black Panther Party. The shoot-out between the Panthers and police back in the 1960s set the tone for a lifetime of challenging the actions of those in authority.

Running against the slave syndicate

The city narrowly escaped a full-scale race war, says the activist. “ Martial law was imposed only on Black people. It was ‘shoot to kill,’” he continues. The anger in his voice belied his calm telling of the racist and immoral act of Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson Jr., who ordered deputies armed with guns and police dogs to stop Blacks fleeing from the hurricane from entering his predominately white town, population 17,000, in Jefferson Parish.

Lawson’s action made national news after the mainstream media picked up the story from a socialist newspaper. (Learn more about Chief Lawson on his official website at http://www.gretnapolice.com.)

“Basically, we had people thrust at our doorstep, and we were unprepared,” Lawson told reporters. “If the city of New Orleans was unprepared, how can we, in a city of 3.5 square miles, be prepared?”

“It was a situation that was hostile and volatile because people in New Orleans were given misinformation. And when they got there, after being in the water and walking all the way from across the river and found out they were lied to, they weren’t happy,” Lawson said. “Our community has been painted unfairly.”

However, no one disputes that Lawson’s action was, if not immoral, certainly a racist slap in the face of New Orleans ’ Mayor C. Ray Nagin, who allowed New Orleanians to cross the bridge for shelter, as a way of downsizing overcrowded conditions in city facilities.

“When we allowed people to cross the Crescent City Connection because people were dying in the convention center, that was a decision based upon people,” Nagin told reporters. “Now, if they made a decision based upon assets, to protect assets over people, and to have attack dogs and armed people with machine guns, then they’re going to have to live with that.”

“Gretna stopped allowing people from New Orleans to enter. Why didn’t Mayor Nagin stop people from Jefferson Parish from coming into New Orleans?” asked Rahim, who is clearly displeased with the way the mayor handled the whole Katrina disaster.

“I’m running against the slave syndicate,” Rahim adds. Card-carrying members of this group include both Black and white elected officials and capitalists who regularly exploit the poor while enriching themselves.

“If we see exploitation, racism and corruption, we are going to shut them down. I don’t care if they’re Nagin cronies or Morial cronies,” says Rahim, who equates the office holders and their administrations with “house negroes” on the plantations during America’s slavery period.

The only way the slave syndicate is going to end is when people get up the courage to expose this injustice. It took Mary and Willie Ratcliff, the publishers of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper to come up with the courage to say what’s really going on.”

Forced evacuation opened door to gentrification and exploitation

“There was no reason for anyone to leave New Orleans. Marrero, Algiers and Bridge City were not flooded. We didn’t have to send people out of this state. Why didn’t the governor come down here and force Jefferson Parish to shelter New Orleans residents?” Rahim adds.

He says people stood outside the Superdome for five hours because everyone had to be searched. “If you searched everyone, how can you say a group of armed thugs were running through the Superdome raping and stealing? But they (media) always characterize us like that; especially Black males.

Texas made out like a bandit. It pitted one group of poor people against another. So now, Texans who were waiting for government assistance are complaining about what their state is doing for the evacuees, but the state is getting paid for what it is doing for both groups. We spend more money to build a tunnel under Boston than to save our entire wetlands.

That’s why I’m running against the ‘plantation syndicate,’” says Rahim of the racists with power who couldn’t care less about what happens to people of color.

Rebuilding not rocket science

Protecting New Orleanians from future hurricanes is not rocket science, according to Rahim, who says rebuilding New Orleans without restoring the wetlands first is crazy. “Why not just spend the $14 billion to restore the wetlands? It’s crazy to talk about rebuilding an area that will remain vulnerable until you restore the wetlands.”

The levees should be rebuilt to withstand a Category 5 hurricane like Katrina, instead of the pre-Katrina Category 3 levees that congressional Republicans want. Houses should be re-built 12 feet off the ground, he adds.

Creating a Common Ground

While the leadership of other disaster relief groups are holding meeting after meeting, Rahim is beyond talking.

Malik Rahim, Scott Crow, Sharon Johnson, Robert King Wilkerson and another friend, Jackie, sat in his bedroom two months ago and discussed how to help New Orleans’ residents, many of whom couldn’t evacuate, and those who were returning to find nothing. Most lost everything in the disaster.

Rahim lives on the west bank of New Orleans in Algiers, the last neighborhood before entering Jefferson Parish’s Gretna. Like Gretna, Algiers remained dry and intact, in spite of Katrina’s brutal speed and winds. The east bank of New Orleans caught hell when the levees broke, as Katrina passed and the city became the lake with water up to 20 feet in some areas, covering roofs and taking the lives of more than 1,000 New Orleanians.

Rahim is no stranger to injustice. He’s seen it all before: disenfranchisement, broken promises, racist elected officials who couldn’t care less about what happens to people of color.

Katrina left a void in grassroots leadership, as the few activists who claim New Orleans as home fled for safety.

Algiers residents get a much needed delivery of food and water. (Original caption.)

A new paradigm shift in activism was needed, one that would unite caring and compassionate people everywhere together on a common ground for a common cause: to provide direct services to Katrina victims and to combat the injustices that are cropping up daily in post-Katrina New Orleans.

As the executive director of the Common Ground Collective, Rahim is putting action behind the collective’s visionary solutions and organizing the organization’s massive volunteer effort.

Clinician Rahim displays one of his medical center's “emergency kits,” which includes a bar of hotel soap, a handy wipe, a toothbrush and toothpaste.

Today the Common Ground Collective and the Common Ground Health Clinic operate 12 hours daily, seven days a week. More than 300 volunteers have served New Orleanians with compassion and dignity through the collective. They have tarped roofs, cut down and removed trees and debris and created a brain trust for future action.

Additionally, more than 100 medical doctors and professionals have treated at least 3,600 people at the Common Ground Health Clinic located in Algiers at 331 Atlantic Ave. All services are free.

Much like Cindy Sheehan's crowds, these "thousands of patients" apparently cannot be photographed by today's technology. In this picture, for instance, Rahim's "anarchist medics" queue up in front of Rahim's mosquemedical center to make it look like he has patients.

“Common Ground was developed on Sept. 5, ‘Day 6’ after the hurricane,” Rahim confirms. We’re not looking at the differences we have, only the things we have in common. In eight short weeks, the two organizations have united people across the racial divide and from around the world.

Felony ex-con and former Black Panther, Malik Rahim, and his wife Sharon display the tremendous stockpiles of supplies they used to feed and treat the suffering multitudes.

The collective’s volunteers have come from 40 states across America, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and France, and from various career paths. From doctors, lawyers and engineers to environmental scientists, they have come to donate their time, resources, money and services.

One of Rahim's " anarchist medics."

“There was a group of kids from Boulder, Colorado, who drove all the way here just to deliver supplies, only to drive right back,” Rahim relates.

“They’re not missionaries and we’re not offering charity but solidarity. That’s what’s transforming the whole situation. We have an Eviction Defense Committee, a Legal Aid Assistance Program, and we’re starting a skills training program,” he adds.

What Rahim has learned from the collective, he says, is “Not all blacks are for us and not all whites are against us. People call me an Uncle Tom for working with whites, but I’d rather be an Uncle Tom than an old Black militant who is talking loud and doing nothing.

“When I got death threats for speaking out against injustice, two white men sat on my porch with shotguns to protect me. And three white medics walked the public housing developments to see if anyone needed medical services.”

Not one to rest on his laurels, Rahim and the collective are also reaching out to the first nation tribes in Louisiana. “We were one of the first relief organizations to help the Houma Nation. Now they’re asking how they can help us.”

The collective is planning to acquire three buses to bring exiled New Orleanians back home for a big Thanksgiving celebration. “Watch us light up the Ninth Ward for Thanksgiving and Christmas; watch us for Mardi Gras. We’re taking our city back. The plantation syndicate will not take over this city again.”

Rahim is one of the guest speakers for the “Katrina Teach-in: Rebuilding on a New Foundation of Justice” to be held at San Francisco State University from noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15.

Regular readers will recall our coverage of Rahim's pretend "medical clinic," which is staffed by pretend doctors, in his pretend mosque, where they claim to have treated more than 100 people a day with supplies almost certainly pilfered from the Red Cross.

The local police and Red Cross officials are still investigating the theft of a large amount of medical supplies which occurred just as Rahim was setting up his "clinic." Moreover, one of Rahim's "suppliers" has been questioned by police, after having direct contact with the suspected perp.

Readers may also recall Rahim's many helpful comments during the Katrina aftermath about the "white vigilantes" from Texas that apparently only he could see. And how Mr. Rahim claimed whites were responsible for most of the deaths in his hallowed hood, as he does again here for his fan base at the Socialist Worker :

“Most of them were killed by the police, or by these vigilante groups, when they were around,” he said.“There wasn’t any flooding. Most people killed over in Algiers were killed either by the police or by vigilante groups. Because if you’re Black, and you have a weapon, you’re dead. They would literally shoot you down.

Yes sir, Malik Rahim is just what the doctor ordered for the people of New Orleans.

I guess living below sea level surrounded by three bodies of water in hurricane alley isn't suicidal enough.

(Thanks to reader, John, for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, December 3rd, 2005. Comments are currently closed.

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