Monday, January 30, 2017

Disaster Capitalism

This is an article published in the Intercept last week by Naomi Klein.
Ten years ago, I published “The Shock Doctrine,” a history of the ways in which crises have been systematically exploited over the last half century to further a radical pro-corporate agenda. The book begins and ends with the response to Hurricane Katrina, because it stands as such a harrowing blueprint for disaster capitalism.

That’s relevant because of the central, if little-recalled role played by the man who is now the U.S. vice president, Mike Pence. At the time Katrina hit New Orleans, Pence was chairman of the powerful and highly ideological Republican Study Committee. On September 13, 2005 — just 14 days after the levees were breached and with parts of New Orleans still underwater — the RSC convened a fateful meeting at the offices of the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Under Pence’s leadership, the group came up with a list of “Pro-Free-Market Ideas for Responding to Hurricane Katrina and High Gas Prices” — 32 policies in all, each one straight out of the disaster capitalism playbook.
We are such resilient innovators in New Orleans; always on the cutting edge. Or being cut by it as the case more often has been.   And yet, to hear our local leaders tell it, the past ten years here have been an unmitigated success story.  And sure, the successes they revel in, the dislocation of residents, the privatization of schools, the rampant gentrification have all been big wins for our leaders and their wealthy patrons.  In any case, the city has clearly played a central role in fostering our nation's emerging fascist governing philosophy. 

Anyway here is a statement from MACCNO on the mayor's $40 million French Quarter "security" scheme.
We fail to see what much of this plan has to do with crime reduction at all—rather it looks to be a form of ‘disaster capitalism’, using the fear of crime to force through policies that will be widely unpopular.  We haven’t forgotten, just one year ago, when several businesses used the ‘fear of terrorist attacks’ to justify an attempt to end the 45 year old Royal St. Pedestrian Mall, which would have been devastating to the income of many buskers—some of whom are prominently featured in tourism campaigns.  Despite being included in a ‘safety plan’, we know that limiting amplification by street performers, for instance, will have exactly zero impact on violent crime. 

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