Norman Street, Poverty and Politics in an Urban Neighborhood

Norman Street, Poverty and Politics in an Urban Neighborhood

Norman Street, Poverty and Politics in an Urban Neighborhood

Norman Street, Poverty and Politics in an Urban Neighborhood

Synopsis

Based on a three-year study conducted in Brooklyn's Greenpoint/Williamsburg section, this book is an in-depth, detailed description of life in a multi-ethnic working class neighborhood during New York City's fiscal crisis of 1975-1978. Well-written, intelligent, and full of sensitively drawnportraits, it demonstrates the impact of political and economic changes on everyday lives.

Excerpt

In the face of the deterioration of city services, budgetary cutbacks, and the 1975 fiscal crisis in New York City, this book documents the implications of broad political and economic changes for the lives of working-class people. It describes the struggles of a community confronting overwhelming incursions on its resources and economic stability. The combined disasters of industrial decline and fiscal policies leading to service reductions have assaulted this beleaguered population, as they now threaten to assault millions more of our nation's citizens. And far from being apathetic, these residents have responded to their plight with energy and anger, fighting political holding actions for the survival of their neighborhood in the face of almost certain defeat.

The study is set in a predominantly white working-class community -- the Greenpoint-Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn -- during the 1975 fiscal crisis and its aftermath. It demonstrates that politics is an integral part of community life and examines forms of political expression as reactions to changing conditions. It is in this context that conflict over neighborhood resources can be seen as class conflict, for it represents the demands of working-class people as members of a class in the face of declining industrial employment and corresponding declining political influence.

When I chose Greenpoint-Williamsburg, I was looking for an industrial white working-class community. I suspected that many of the characteristics that have been attributed to blacks in com-

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