By now everyone is aware of what is happening in Flint, Michigan with the recent coverage of the toxic water supply in the city. Virtually everyone has called for action by the governor to do something about the potentially deadly crisis. It would appear that there has been little to no effort by the government for some time to alleviate the suffering of many of the people in Flint with limited or no access to clean drinking water. It has been danced around by the mainstream media, who calls it a “catastrophe” or a “show of government negligence” at worst. However, none seem courageous enough to call a spade a spade, or in this case: a genocide, a genocide.

We cannot really begin to interrogate the nature of what is happening in Flint without first understanding what is happening in the united states as a whole. It may seem too extreme to liberals to call what is happening in the united states a “genocide,” however when you consider that it has disproportionately been the colonized people of this country which have suffered so enormously in crisis after crisis, it becomes a more than credible claim. It seems all too relevant that a city with a more than 56% majority Black population is ground-zero for another catastrophic disaster that has seen almost no national action to alleviate.¹ This would seem routine for a country that also left Black people to die on their roofs and in a stadium after Hurricane Katrina in 2005; it would seem “will amerikkka ever learn?” is the wrong question to ask at this point because the answer is decidedly “no.”

What They Can Never Learn

It is not simply a matter of attracting attention to the suffering of the colonized people in this country; it is not as if the powers that be are unaware. The problem with the liberal movements is that they have assumed that this was all some kind of misunderstanding, as if colonization and genocide were just instances of bad communication. There is no way to make progress in these avenues. No matter how many times we throw the facts in the face of the government and the colonizers, they will never care. It is not because they are uninformed, but it is due to their lack of understanding of non-white suffering as human suffering.

This is not unlike (from a structural point of view) the atrocities that occurred in Katrina, albeit on a smaller scale. You have about 100,000 people now without clean water and it is the government once again who is charged with the regulation of who can receive assistance; a government which has waited until irreversible damage has been done to over 8,000 children who have consumed the disgusting water.² Though you now find that the government, far too late to prevent the harmful fallout, has relied on the president himself to declare a state of emergency and send only 5 million dollars to deal with the situation as it unfolds. This was on the 16th of January, so for many, the assistance is now too little, too late.³

Though the government of Flint and the state of Michigan has had little positive to say on the situation, other than half-hearted apologies for a situation couched in euphemism and disturbingly offensive assurances of their “safety.” This first began with the assurances to the citizens that the water, although disgusting, was safe and simply the product of a transition in the water treatment system. They knowingly introduced the people of Flint to a terribly corrosive and highly toxic water source, and lied to cover their mistake. Though we can hardly consider it a simple mistake at this point. This has not been a problem just recently, but the result of a cost-saving plan to switch the city water source to the river back in April of 2014. This has, according to the citizens of Flint, caused periodic problems with their water including discoloration and bad smell.⁴

Official Advertisement by Flint City Water

Official Bulletin: City of Flint Water Plant

The government lied in order to justify their cost-saving plan, which endangered the lives of everyone in the city, which was deemed “justifiable” due to the majority of Black people who lived there, in a city which had been mostly abandoned by white people in the decades after closing the automobile industry there. Though it was the ghettoized and immobilized peoples who could not leave, and who were trapped in Flint while they are slowly poisoned. That is not to say that there is no concern for all the people affected by this catastrophe, however it would appear a deliberate cost/benefit analysis on the lives of the colonized people specifically. There is no way to look at this other than a deliberate poisoning of a majority Black city, because the cost of purifying their water was measured against the value of their lives.

Unfortunately it does not end there; the Flint government has still required up to 200 dollars per month from the residents to pay for their own deliberate poisoning.⁵ The government has refused to suspend payments to the bills during this crisis, and demonstrated a thoroughly unsympathetic attitude toward the people whom they have condemned to sickness and death. In fact, the state government has only just now decided to approve a 28 million dollar relief fund for the people of Flint, long after the most dire consequences are being felt and a tiny fraction of the 500 million dollar budget surplus earned by the state.⁶ There is no other view we can have of this situation but genocide, while the victims are expected to pay for their own protracted executions.

It is not enough to examine Flint on its own, it is part of a countrywide effort to exclude the colonized people from the primary benefits of imperialist parasitism in the Third World, through whatever means they have at their disposal. Through the elimination, incarceration or structural unemployment of the colonized peoples they have hoped to narrow the access to the vast stolen wealth of the united states; ensuring that a majority of the imperialist spoils remain under the control of the colonizers. This is why the colonized peoples are the primary victims of mass incarceration, police murders and structural unemployment. This is also why crises and catastrophes in nearly all cases disproportionately affect non-white people; this is the reason that we see this crisis in Flint, and not near-by Livonia which is 94% white.

How to Understand the Effects

The effects of this crisis will not be forgotten by the people in Flint in a few years, it will likely affect them for the rest of their lives in many cases. The more than 8,000 children who have consumed the water will likely continue to experience problems related to this incident indefinitely. The effects of lead poisoning can include a variety of dramatic health problems in children and is effective in very small amounts when ingested. The observed problems range from the various neurological disorders, loss of hearing/sight, organ failure and death. It is similar for adults, with the addition that pregnant women can also experience pregnancy loss.⁷ The impacts of this atrocity will be remembered in the routine hospital visits (assuming they even have access to a hospital) and gravestones of those whom it has affected.

This will certainly not be the end of the deliberate genocide going on against the colonized people in this country, we are doomed to a cyclical system of renewed violence against Black and Brown people by the united states government and the whole colonizing population so long as white power is allowed to exist. These incidents are not a misunderstanding. It was not a lack in communication when Black people were left to die on their rooftops during Katrina; when they were shot in the streets for traffic violations, shoplifting, or simply walking. The next instance like Flint will not be an “accident” or a “mistake” but another chapter in the ongoing genocide of Black and Brown people going on in the united states. And until a strong and capable left emerges to confront the great abattoir of amerikkkan internal colonialism, then atrocities like Flint will continue, with catastrophic consequences for the masses and the left.


Sources:

  1. US Census Bureau: Flint, Michigan Population Statistics
  2. INQUISITR: Flint Poison Water
  3. Independent: Flint water crisis
  4. CNN: Michigan governor’s emails shine light on Flint water crisis
  5. Independent: Flint water crisis
  6. CNN: Michigan governor’s emails shine light on Flint water crisis
  7. LEAD Action News: “Health Impacts of Lead Poisoning”

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. This cannot be in the hands of the “Left” to remedy. This situation needs to be handled by THE PEOPLE! We have nothing more to lose! This is our lives!

    Where is Black Lives Matter? Jesse Jackson? The media? But most importantly and effectively, where are the protesters? We’re in the streets about a few cop shootings but not THIS?

    Reply

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