July 1, 2023 will fall on a Saturday. In Jackson, Mississippi, it’s likely to be a very hot day, or a rainy day, or both. It’s also the day when House Bill 1020 will take effect, and that the whole of the City of Jackson will be no more — at least with respect to the administration of its criminal legal system. Instead, the city will be partitioned into unequal halves: a Capitol Complex Improvement District (CCID) and an unnamed nowhere land. The bill was introduced and shepherded by Rep. Trey Lamar, a Republican and chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, assisted by the house speaker who, exercising his prerogative, sent the bill there instead of to the Judiciary Committee.
Jackson, Mississippi - Jackson, Mississippi made international headlines last summer when from August 30 to September 5, water stopped flowing entirely for over 150,000 residents. In the past seven months since then, the Mississippi capital’s water system has been plagued with crisis after crisis. And yet, the crumbling water infrastructure remains largely unchanged. Why is this? The answer lies in the antagonistic and racist attitude that majority white state leadership has towards the Black officials of Jackson, which has one of the largest Black populations per capita of any city in the US.
Jackson, Mississippi - A white supermajority of the Mississippi House voted after an intense, four-plus hour debate to create a separate court system and an expanded police force within the city of Jackson — the Blackest city in America — that would be appointed completely by white state officials. If House Bill 1020 becomes law later this session, the white chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court would appoint two judges to oversee a new district within the city — one that includes all of the city’s majority-white neighborhoods, among other areas. The white state attorney general would appoint four prosecutors, a court clerk, and four public defenders for the new district. The white state public safety commissioner would oversee an expanded Capitol Police force, run currently by a white chief.
Jackson, Mississippi — The freeze of early 2021 wasn’t the origin of Jackson, Mississippi’s water system collapse. But the winter storm introduced the country to Jackson’s aging and improperly maintained pipes and water plants, which failed and left residents without clean water for over a month. The crisis surged back in the summer of 2022, leaving residents without clean water for two months and drawing comparisons to Flint, Michigan’s lead-poisoning scandal, another banner example of America’s ruinous infrastructure systems. Here, as in Flint, the federal government stepped in: In November, The Department Of Justice Appointed A Federal Manager to take control of the beleaguered utility, and less than a month later, Congress approved $600 million exclusively for the city’s water system. But the rescue effort is already running up against the realities of local politics, reflecting historic tensions between Jackson and the rest of the state.
Jackson, Mississippi - In August, clean water stopped flowing from residents’ taps in Jackson, Mississippi. The crisis lasted more than six weeks, leaving 150,000 people without a consistent source of safe water. The catastrophe can be traced back to a decision by a credit ratings agency four years ago that massively inflated the city’s borrowing costs for infrastructure improvements, most notably for its water and sewer system. In 2018, ratings analysts at Moody’s Investor Service — a credit rating agency with a legacy of misconduct — downgraded Jackson’s bond rating to a junk status, citing in part the “low wealth and income indicators of residents.” The decision happened even though Jackson has never defaulted on its debt.
Residents of West Jackson are in the midst of a severe water crisis due to the failure of a water treatment facility and don't know when they will have clean water in their homes again. The state is failing to get water to everyone, so many local groups are organizing mutual aid efforts. The governor refuses to access federal funds to fully repair the city's water infrastructure, which has been failing for decades. Clearing the FOG speaks with Kali Akuno, a co-founder of Cooperation Jackson, about the current crisis, including how the wealthy residents were spared, how it fits into the bigger picture of systemic racism and the drive to privatize, and what you can do to support efforts to build water sovereignty.
The City of Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, is in crisis. Its 150,000 residents lack access to safe drinking water. Many have not had enough water to bathe or flush their toilets. Those with enough water pressure are being instructed to shower with their mouths closed. Public schools have been closed. The immediate crisis was brought about by severe flooding, which caused a water treatment plant to fail. But the problems with Jackson's water supply date back decades. The integration of public schools in the 1960s prompted an exodus of affluent whites from Jackson, eroding the city's economic resources. Jackson's declining economic fortunes also prompted the departure of middle-class Blacks, causing an overall population decline. The city went from over 200,000 people in 1980 to less than 150,000 people today. More than a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line. Mississippi is the poorest state in the nation, but Jackson is even poorer than the state as a whole. Per capita income is just $21,906.
Jackson, Mississippi - Jackson, Mississippi Is Currently Suffering Through An Unprecedented Water Crisis. After Decades Of Systematic And Intentional Neglect Due To Environmental Racism, Capital Flight And Deindustrialization, The City's Water System Has Collapsed. This Collapse Didn’t Have To Happen. As A Result Of The City’s Declining Tax Base Over The Decade, It Cannot Pay For The Repairs By Itself. Nor Should It Have To. Jackson Is The Capitol Of The State Of Mississippi, Which Means It Is The Base Of State Government And Resources. In Addition, It Is Also Where The Federal Government’s Administrative Resources In The State Are Concentrated.
Reports reveal that people of color are especially impacted by environmental disasters. Jackson is 82.5% Black, and has been hit with multiple water crises in recent months. As of September 2, the vast majority of the residents of the city of Jackson, Mississippi—over 150,000—still have no access to safe drinking water. The Jackson water crisis began on August 30 when flooding caused the pumps at the main water treatment facility, O.B. Curtis, to fail. This left most residents without clean water and many with no water at all due to low water pressure. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves warned residents on August 31, “Do not drink the water from the pipes if you can avoid it.”
By Bill Quigley. A federation of local cooperatives and mutual aid networks, Cooperation Jackson, has many concrete forms including an urban farming coop, a food coop, a cooperative credit union, a hardware coop, and a cooperative insurance plan. They plan to be an incubator for more coop startups, a school, a training center, a cooperative credit union, a bank, a community land trust, community financial institutions like credit unions, housing cooperative, childcare cooperative, solar and retrofitting cooperative, tool lending and resource libraries, community energy production. They are also working to build an organizing institute and a workers union. Cooperation Jackson is an economic movement, a human rights movement and a movement insistent on environmentally sustainable progress. They work for clean air and water, zero waste, and against toxic industries.
By Kate Aronoff for In These Times. The city of Jackson, in the heart of staunchly Republican Mississippi, might seem an unlikely place for a municipal revolution. Yet Jackson’s radicalism has been forged in the crucible of massive disinvestment, both by private industry and by a conservative state legislature. Led by the Black nationalist organization Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, organizers in Jackson have backed experiments in everything from worker-owned businesses to participatory, neighborhood-by-neighborhood democracy. A leader of this movement, Jackson Councilman Chokwe Lumumba, helped start people’s assemblies in the city, inviting residents to hash out the kinds of changes they want to see. He was elected mayor in 2013, only to pass away months later. In an effort to carry on his father’s legacy, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, 33, ran to succeed his father and lost. Now, with his second run, he hopes to continue the work his father began.