The city of Camden, New Jersey is on the river that separates New Jersey from Philadelphia. Camden is a city like so many in the US, divided down racial and economic lines. The black and Latino part of Camden is appallingly impoverished.
Yet the waterfront of Camden is the pride of both New Jersey and the Republican Party, so much so that the Camden waterfront was the site of the opening gala cocktail party of the Republican National Convention held last night. Residents from the other side of Camden were subject to full police searches before they were allowed to protest outside while the Republicans inside sipped their cocktails, only a few miles away from one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country.
This is a tale of two cities. In 1998 Camden’s water services were privatized. Now residents in the poor part of Camden cannot drink the contaminated water that comes out of the old, rusted pipes. Youth unemployment is widespread and increasing. And now New Jersey Governor Christina Whitman is attempting to pass legislation through the Republican controlled state legislature that would effectively make the democratic voice of the residents of Camden a commodity, giving more power to a Governor appointed CEO than the locally elected city council.
- Luis Morales, from the Concerned Citizens of North Camden and organizes around Vieques.
- Councilmn Ali Slon-Eel, the Councilman for Camden, New Jersey.
- Ivan Foster, the President of Democracy for Camden, NJ.