Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Squatter Rights and Wrongs

UP FRONT News January 8, 2007
Published by Tom Weiss Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittingham
“The paper that can’t be bought and can’t be sold.”


It is not surprising that in a country that faces the possibility of the mother of all lesser-of-two-evils presidential races (e.g. Hillary Clinton vs. Rudolph Giuliani) in 2008, and recoiling at a slew of corrupt politicians, Republican and Democratic, that invades other nations for oil profits and that allows people like Robert L. Nardelli to literally steal $210 million in getting fired by Home Depot, anarchism might start to look good. Indeed, anarchism might look even better when one considers the fact that so-called third party or “independent” politics have been hopelessly contaminated, at least in politically pivotal New York, by a Green Party that is run by people using the tactics, strategy and the once again “left” ideology of mega-fascist Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. via surrogates like the racist Lenora Fulani, et. al., some of whom are disguised as “anarchists.”
The Lower East Side/East Village area of Manhattan is among the communities with
a relatively high number of people sympathetic to “anarchism” and has therefore not sur-
prisingly for decades been one of the centers of the squatter movement. One of the most recognizable names among Lower Manhattan squatters is Frank Morales. Morales, with whom I’ve been politically acquainted since the 1990’s, has used his cachet a “radical”
and as a street preacher to become Assistant Pastor at the St. Mark’s in-the-Bowery Church in Manhattan. He is seriously misusing that position.
Morales has become one of the self-appointed non-elected de facto leaders of the so-called “9/11 Truth” group based at St. Mark’s. Along with his non-elected co-boss Les Jamieson, he has run “9/11 Truth” meetings with a combination of free speech suppres- sion, threats, lies and subtle message-delivering for none other than the aforementioned LaRouche. When I raised a question about the propriety of withholding from the “9/11 Truth” membership the fact that guest speaker Webster Tarpley is a major LaRouche ideologue, their response was to threaten and harass me. It appears that the failure of St. Mark’s Senior Minister Julio Torres to address my complaints about Morales machine- tions, some of a criminal nature, may have cost Father Torres his job, as he was recently involuntarily “resigned.”
It now emerges that there are some very serious drug related skeletons in the Morales closet, a development with political implications, certainly in Lower Manhattan. One
of the few downtown squatter residences to survive Rudolph Giuliani’s real estate
industry-backed invasion of the squats was the one housing Morales and some of his reportedly drug-ridden friends. Giuliani’s very well publicized raids on the squats of East 13th street, guns and all, left a number of squatters homeless. The story is that the most vulnerable included squatters, such as “John the Communist”, who resisted the drug trafficking operation run by Frank Morales. According to reports, compliance was enforced by threats, some perpetrated by druggies such as the recurrently knife-wielding Lower East Side resident wacko Carl Rosenstein, who has several times tried to assault me. It was Rosenstein who came to a “9/11 Truth” meeting at St. Mark’s with his friend guest speaker and psychopathic demagogue Geoffrey Blank with a club concealed in his pants leg - for use on me. “John the Communist”, according to a sympathizer, was more of a grass roots share-the-wealth-and-free-speech small “d” democratic anarchist than a “Communist” and ultimately left New York City for his own safety.
Among the Morales-connected clique was, and apparently remains, self-proclaimed “anarchist” Fran Luck, with whom I’ve crossed paths all too often. Fran Luck, some of whose antics at community meetings draw eye rolls even from very expression-tolerant
New Yorkers, is the person who almost killed ABC No Rio, a well known radical and squatter-friendly art collective on the Lower East Side. To summarize, squatter-hating Giuliani planned to evict ABC No Rio from its space at 156 Rivington Street so that the building could be “developed” into the euphemism known as “affordable housing.” A developer with reported connections to real estate interests in Communist China was found. The compliant City Council granted the developer a “variance” to convert the
Building. And Fran Luck, at meetings I (and Frank Morales) attended at ABC No Rio, called for armed revolt against the Giuliani police regime. Luck was among those
suggesting a defense based on revolutionary rhetoric and throwing rocks at Giuliani’s
armored police - no kidding! And when I learned from ABC No Rio Executive Director Steve Englander that there had been a politically motivated procedural irregularity in the City Council’s awarding of the variance, I suggested that we contact Peter Vallone, Sr., then the very powerful Council Speaker. Luck denounced me as a sellout. Mr. Englander took my advice and accompanied me to City Hall where we met with an aide to Mr. Vallone. Fortuitously, while we were there who should pass by but then Councilmember Virginia Fields, the real estate-compliant Committee Chairperson responsible for the irregularity. I took the opportunity to tell her of her ABC No Rio mistake and its possible consequences. I told her of my conversation with Mr. Vallone’s office and introduced Steve Englander. A few days later Mr. Englander told me about a call that he received from the NYC Department of Housing, Preservation and Development (HPD) advising him that the City’s eviction efforts against ABC No Rio had been stopped and that ABC No Rio could stay. With “anarchists” like Fran Luck you don’t need enemies like Rudolph Giuliani.
There is every reason to believe that, just as is the case with much activity on what is called the “left”, that what is becoming (perhaps somewhat ironically) organizationally-based “anarchism” is seriously compromised by politically motivated criminality with the free speech suppression that always accompanies corruption. Indeed in recent days, following my sending out a January 2, 2007 e-mail to the list-serve of the New York Metro Association of Anarchists (NYMAA) expressing some support for (at least relatively) progressive Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and expressing opposition to the LaRouche/Fulani-influenced Greens and a possible Green candidacy by Ralph Nader, I received something of a flood of e-mailed responses, some of them abu- sive. When I responded by e-mail I was accused of over-burdening their list-serve and
“unsubscribed”, NYMAA’s word for censored. Among the crimes I was accused of having committed was to have “attacked” NYMAA member Ben Maurer. Indeed, after Geoffrey Blank toadie Maurer publicly libeled me as a “government agent” on several occa- sions at the formerly Geoffrey Blank dictatorship-run No Police State Coalition Union Square speakouts, I replied by email and in UP FRONT News. NYMAA didn’t like that. Also involved were some of the thought-control people connected to the Northeastern Federation of Anarcho-Communists (NEFAC). NEFAC is a group whose view is that elections are useless but that after their from-the-streets insurrection leads to “Anarchist-Communist” system in America some folks will just have to be repressed. Just what Americas needs, a left wing Big Dick Cheney.
What passes for the “left”, certainly in New York, is in bad shaped indeed. While there are many truly progressive activists around, many of whom are involved in the peace movement, in anti-gentrification, and civil rights battles, much of the left is stuck in too well paid academia and much has been co-opted and fractured by those who talk left but are working for the other side. Even in the squats.
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