2002 Poverty Report (New Brunswick, NJ)
by Tym A. •
Tuesday November 19, 2002 at 10:42 PM
With the 2002 election bought by Slumlord Republicrat Jim Cahill in New Brunswick, NJ, a new plot twist in the City's history must be written or citizens face even more heartless conditions in their future!
2002 POVERTY REPORT IN NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ :
ARE YOU AWARE OF THE POVERTY
IN OUR COMMUNITIES ?
Present Mayor and recent Mayor-elect – the businessman Jim Cahill - boasts a lowered unemployment rate to 7.1%, but the fact remains that 27% of New Brunswick lives in poverty!
That’s right, 27% of New Brunswick’s population 16 years and older lived below the poverty level according to the most recent census of 20001. This amounts to 11,454 out of 39,748 people. We must also keep in mind that the census does not include undocumented individuals within the city limits. Considering the enormous level of poverty, a lowered rate of unemployment does not mean an increased quality of life, especially for those of us not paid a living wage.
16.9% of New Brunswick’s families live in poverty! Almost one-fifth of families in New Brunswick live in poverty. That is a total 1,243 out of 7,359 families. 84.6% of these impoverished families have children below 18 years of age. That makes 1,055 families with children living in poverty within New Brunswick.
Now, let’s take a step back. In contrast to New Brunswick, only 6.6% of Middlesex County’s population lived below the poverty level in 1999 according to Census 2000. In the same census, 8.5% of New Jersey’s population lived below the poverty level. Why is it so much higher in New Brunswick?
Why does New Brunswick have over 3 times the poverty rate of New Jersey, and over 4 times that of Middlesex County? There are several related reasons. Let’s take a closer look…
1) THE ELECTORAL PROCESS IS MORE LIKE AN AUCTION OF THE ELITE THAN A DEMOCRACY.
The most relevant example is the recent election in November of 2002 where the voter turnout was less than 5,200. In a city of over 40,000, voter apathy is at an alarming high in New Brunswick. The Mayor Jim Cahill is an extremely rich and privileged silent partner in a large landlord business called Bishop Investors, owning many properties within the city. He has many rich friends such as other landlords and even investment CEOs who helped him buy the 2002 election. They, of course, support their own kind. New Brunswick will not be brought closer to a democracy because the capitalist control by the rich and privileged will consistently override any attempts at electing genuine leaders from our communities or enacting a true democracy.
2) DevCo SERVES MAINLY A FEW RICH WHITE BUSINESSMEN AT VERYONE ELSE'S EXPENSE.
Cahill backs the New Brunswick Development Corporation (DevCo) 100%. Between the years 2000-2001, DevCo and its schemes forced several hundred of the poorest New Brunswick residents from their homes in The New Brunswick Memorial Homes and the Monument Park Hotel. Many of these gentrified residents are of African and Latino/a backgrounds, which supports the theory that a handful of rich white men have an extremely heavy hand in DevCo to gain even more profits at the expense of working people’s lives. DevCo is an anti-democratic institution that primarily tries to kick the poor people out of the city and bring in the rich, for the sake of even more profit-making power. When the poor cannot find homes outside of New Brunswick and have nowhere else to go, they stay and become even more impoverished and sometimes homeless.
3) THE COPS, COURTS, AND JUDGES KEEP THE POOR IN THEIR PLACE.
Make no mistake; New Brunswick has many striking characteristics that make it a police state. The police are not accountable to the people; they only have to answer to the rich and privileged. The constant threat of police intimidation, brutality, and unaccountable abuse of power keeps the most oppressed – those in poverty – at bay. Our siphoned tax dollars fund the city’s unspoken policies of making the poor poorer, and the rich richer. We live in a society of capital punishment in which, a man named Mumia Abu-Jamal once said, “…if you ain’t gots the capital [dollars], then you gets the punishment!” Without the checks and balances of community accountability, police serve as nothing more than an iron fist for the rich men’s exploitation of the poor, where the courts and judges serve as both jury and executioner.
In New Brunswick, poverty is systematic! This means that it is not the fault of impoverished individuals themselves, but the fault of the basic institutional forces like government of the rich, for the rich, and by the rich, which cause the alarming 27% poverty rate in New Brunswick. Any recent attempts at electing genuine leaders from our communities into political office have been thwarted by well-financed businessmen politicians, backed by their rich landlord and big businessmen friends. The city machine is a very complex and streamlined one. We live in a time where chiseled businessmen battle on their sky-high podiums for political positions. The title of “elected” goes to the highest bidders. Those elite capitalists want to steal away our money and human rights. It’s time to let those fatcat politicians, those lazy slumlords, those racist cops, those dishonorable judges, and those corporate crooks who are responsible for our oppression know that we won’t allow our lives to be stolen from us! We will not stand idly by and watch our hardworking communities get yanked out from under our feet to be sucked bone dry of life!
It’s time to take our bodies and our voices to the streets! Every citizen has the right to adequate shelter, food, clothing, healthcare, and education. We are all humans who will be treated with dignity and respect. We are Food Not Bombs, and call for an end to the root causes of poverty in New Brunswick - an end to profits over people, and an end to this subtle yet barbaric police state. It’s time to make some fundamental democratic change. You! Come join us so we can put our words into action!
How you can participate:
Come out to a public Food Not Bombs weekly meeting on Friday evenings which begins at 6:30PM in 211 Hamilton St., or swing by our weekly food sharing Saturday mornings at 11:00AM in Monument Square Park, where Livingston Ave. meets George St., both in the wonderful city of New Brunswick, NJ.