top
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Sat Apr 7 2007
Rust Belt Ruckus: Inhabiting Industrial Collapse
Sat Apr 7 2007
Rust Belt Ruckus: Inhabiting Industrial Collapse
Staring off of my porch toward the river I see dozens of buildings: dilapidated, sinking into the river, being demolished, and wasting away. I scan the horizon, and through the blizzard I see a huge city, a once bustling metropolis, now eerily silent. I look down my street, and on either side are vacancies; some in bad shape but the majority are inhabitable. I stand on the porch of the biggest one I could find and smile, and then I go back inside and stoke the fire. Life is good to me, and I feel invincible. There is an old Earth First! slogan that comes to mind: “visualize industrial collapse.” Not only can I visualize it by looking out the window, but I am living here—right smack dab in the midst of it—like a king.

The Great Lakes region is an economic phenomenon. In its heyday, the Rust Belt’s economic activity formed a significant sector of the American economy including manufacturing and the automobile industry. In 1900, Buffalo rivaled New York City as one of the country’s most populous cities. By the 1920s, with the steel industry at its peak and the Erie Canal opening up the Great Lakes to trade, Buffalo was bursting at the seams.

But when the Great Depression set in, the steel industry took a dive, setting the stage for the economic growth of other Great Lakes cities such as Cleveland, Chicago, and Milwaukee. Buffalo’s economy slowed and slowed as the bulk of industrial jobs disappeared to South America and Canada.

The population has been in steady decline since the 1950s. The infrastructure is in place for the functioning of a major city but it is so spread out and under-funded that this once ‘all American city’ is now the ideal reeding ground for squatters. Everything is abandoned everything is falling apart—and we are dancing in the ruins and making out like bandits.

There is a serious housing crisis here in Buffalo. PUSH (People United for Sustainable Housing) has estimated that there are 100,000 abandoned houses and 20,000 awaiting demolition. According to the Buffalo News, there is an overwhelming 40 percent vacancy stretching out to the suburbs where a ‘plague of vacancies’ is sickening an already hurting economy. Many of them are in limbo due to utilities lines and mortgages, and tens of thousands of houses are held as assets by private creditors such as our very own ex-governor George Pataki. In parts of our neighborhood, there are two or three un-maintained houses on every block. In fact, in 2003 the city issued a state of financial emergency and created the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority to handle the collapsing economy.

Taking What’s Ours, and the City Conceding



Read More
08/29/16 Teo Valencia Family Files Federal Lawsuit Against City of Newark and Conrad Rogers Front Page | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice | East Bay | Government & Elections08/24/16 Filthy & Dehumanizing Santa Rita Jail to Improve Treatment of Women In Custody Front Page | Police State and Prisons | Womyn | East Bay08/20/16 Tribes Push Back Against Yet Another Threat to Clean Water Front Page | Environment & Forest Defense | Racial Justice | U.S.08/20/16 Grand Jury Releases Report on 2015 Jail Death of Krista DeLuca Front Page | Police State and Prisons | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Santa Cruz Indymedia08/20/16 Nationally-Coordinated Prisoner Work Stoppage on Anniversary of Attica Prison Uprising Front Page | Police State and Prisons | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism | U.S.08/19/16 Renter Protections on the November Ballot for Six Bay Area Cities Front Page | Health, Housing, and Public Services | East Bay | Peninsula | California08/19/16 Bulletproof "Shoot First, Ask Questions Later" Training Relocated to San Jose Church Front Page | Police State and Prisons | South Bay | East Bay | California08/18/16 The PR Campaign to Uplift Police & Demonize Those Who Call for Accountability Front Page | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice | Indymedia | San Francisco | California | U.S.08/14/16 California Coastal Commission Upholds Public Access for All Police State and Prisons | Environment & Forest Defense | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Government & Elections | Santa Cruz Indymedia08/14/16 Santa Cruz NAACP Plans Peace Party with Local Police Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice | Santa Cruz Indymedia08/11/16 Residents Look for New Places to Live Following Chinatown Homeless Sweeps Front Page | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Government & Elections | Santa Cruz Indymedia
Related Categories: U.S. | Fault Lines | Health, Housing, and Public Services
Dentists Unsure of Fluoride's Safety, FOIAs ReveaL nyscof Wednesday Aug 31st 8:42 AM
Nuclear Shutdown News August 2016 Michael Steinberg Tuesday Aug 30th 3:28 PM
Report: Sea Turtle Nesting Beaches at Risk due to Climate Change Joanna McWilliams Monday Aug 29th 10:21 AM
Generation Y Doesn't Fulfill Expectations Thorsten Schroeder Monday Aug 29th 4:34 AM
September 9th National Prison Strike The Ex-Worker Thursday Aug 25th 11:51 AM
1.8 Million Acres of Sierra Nevada Habitat Protected for Imperiled Frogs, Toads Center for Biological Diversity Thursday Aug 25th 10:18 AM
Winnemem Wintu Tribe supports the Standing Rock Sioux Protectors Winnemem Wintu Tribe Tuesday Aug 23rd 4:21 PM
Grazing in National Forest Restricted to Protect Rare California Frogs, Toads Center for Biological Diversity Monday Aug 22nd 4:23 PM
Louisiana Floods: in their own words, stories and how to help WTUL News & Views Monday Aug 22nd 6:08 AM
California Mission Foundation Tries to Declare El Camino Real a UNESCO World Heritage Site via Amah Mutsun Tribal Band (1 comment) Monday Aug 22nd 2:25 AM
Citizen Reporting of Great Louisiana Flood of 2016 WTUL News and Views Thursday Aug 18th 8:51 AM
No Dakota Pipeline - tribes push back against yet another threat to clean water Corina Roberts (1 comment) Wednesday Aug 17th 2:35 PM
Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment Continutes to Help Medical Marijuana Defendants in Federal Court Americans for Safe Access (1 comment) Wednesday Aug 17th 2:12 PM
Hearing in Lawsuit Compelling USDA to Pull Foie Gras From Shelves via Animal Legal Defense Fund Tuesday Aug 16th 6:20 PM
Nationally Coordinated Prisoner Workstoppage Prisoners from across the United States (2 comments) Tuesday Aug 16th 10:26 AM
The Digitalization of Labor Patrick Stary Monday Aug 15th 7:07 AM
Ashlei Mason Burns an Innocent Animal Alive AnimalJustice890 (1 comment) Sunday Aug 14th 8:19 AM
New Orleans Drug Policy Update August 2016 WTUL News & Views Sunday Aug 14th 7:52 AM
Dr Sylvia Earle at ASIH New Orleans 2016 wtul news and ASIH (1 comment) Friday Aug 12th 7:38 AM
Feds’ Approval of GE Mosquito Release Doesn’t Account for Risk via Center for Food Safety Thursday Aug 11th 5:48 PM
COINTELPRO action, not "Anonymous" video. Silas Weatherby Thursday Aug 11th 2:36 PM
Public Records Sought Over Federal Surveillance of Climate Protesters Center for Biological Diversity Thursday Aug 11th 1:54 PM
Basic Income: 80% of New Jobs are Low Wage Andrew Stern Tuesday Aug 9th 8:02 AM
More News...