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Disaster Capitalism

This phrase was coined by Naomi Klein. Two recent examples of disaster capitalism: Hurricane Katrina provided an opportunity to close down housing projects in New Orleans; and the chaos in Iraq has made it possible to ram through an oil privatizatio n law.

As Klein puts it: “The window of opportunity opens up, and it is deliberately exploited. Her newest book is called The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.

For years, global corporations have been thriving on national economies that are in meltdown. And to complete the circle, these meltdowns are often created or exacerbated by the IMF and the World Bank.

Using Katrinagate as an example, Klein says: “I was in New Orleans when the city was still flooded. I was interviewing lobbyists who were already camped out at the state legislature building in Baton Rouge, talking about all the tax cuts they were going to get, and the new labor flexibility, and what a great opportunity this was…There was a great deal of excitement.

The term “reconstru ction” is just a euphemism for a war on the public sector. In present-day New Orleans: “The public housing projects are boarded up and stand empty. You have condo developers circling. Their largest public hospital, Charity Hospital, is empty. This was the hospital that was treating the uninsured. The New Orleans public education system is now the country’s leading laboratory in the charter school model…All of that happened, not because there was a community consensus for it, but because the disaster was expertly exploited by politicians, think tanks, and lobbyists to push through radical policies in the chaos after the disaster. That’s disaster capitalism.

She continues: “New Orleans is a laboratory for the corporatizat ion of disaster response. You had Carnival Cruise ships providing housing. You had the big contractors from Iraq such as Bechtel building privatized trailer parks guarded by private security. What we’re seeing is that, first, disasters are used to push through the radical privatizatio n of hospitals, schools, roads, and so on.”

And the parallels between Iraqmire and Katrinagate: “Many of us in New Orleans who had been to Iraq felt that the Green Zone had just been lifted out and moved to the Gulf Coast…The parallels were very striking. There were the same contractors — Blackwater-H alliburton-B echtel. The point of this is that disaster zones are laboratories . They’re testing grounds. In the chaos of this moment, you have these leaps forward for the privatizatio n agenda. What was Blackwater doing there? They claim that they had just seen the disaster on television and wanted to help, right? But this was an extraordinar y incursion into what we think of as a core state function. Why wasn’t the National Guard there? Where were the local authorities? ”

And referring to the “reconstru ction” in Iraq, she says: “The dream of building a model state in someone else’s land is a deeply dangerous and racist dream, and a violent dream.”

So it appears.

Here are some more links to Disaster Capitalism.

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7 Responses to “Disaster Capitalism”

  1. Leftist bullshit. New Orleans and Louisiana were already examples of failure due to corruption in the nanny-state public sector by local and state politicians.   That city and state governments need to be rebuilt from scratch, and have needed it for a long time. You ever notice how leftists like Klein always ignore that part? Leftists like Klein are exploitative liars in their own right, who have no shred of dignity as they hypocritical ly criticize others in order to make a dollar themselves peddling their garbage.

  2. I would call Katrinagate “racist politics.” If you look at the history of New Orleans, and why it was so poor and black, you’d see why the sleazy cons felt that “God did in 5 minutes what we’ve been trying to do for a generation.”   New Orleans, way back when, was a safe haven for fleeing slaves and freemen. For that reason, it was cut off from the rest of the South, and after the Civil War, segregation ensured it’s poverty and isolation. It’s no wonder the federal government, the primary responsible party for natural disasters and maintaining ocean and river levees, ignored New Orleans. They were happy to see what happened. MEanwhile, geniuses like SteveIL blame the state and local governments - for what? Who knows.


  3. MEanwhile, geniuses like SteveIL blame the state and local governments - for what? Who knows.

    I can imagine that you don’t know. Because you don’t. But that’s alright. Actually understandin g Louisiana and New Orleans politics goes against your agenda. Supporting corrupt Democrats is second nature to leftists who take no responsibili ty for the damage they cause.

    By the way (and OT), New Orleans was cut off from the rest of the South during the Civil War because it was a necessary port to be used to help split the Confederacy and bring in supplies, not because of any altruistic notion you think. It was easy to capture because the Confederates completely abandoned the city. And if you remember, those female practioners of the “safe haven for fleeing slaves and freemen” used to dump filled chamber pots from second-story balconies on occupying Union soldiers. Gen. Ben Butler issued a decree that stated that any woman caught doing this would be jailed for “plying her trade”, a reference to being a prostitute. Women all across the South were outraged, and Butler was given the name “The Beast”. These “citizens” no more cared about New Orleans supposedly being a “safe haven” as they were slavery-supp orting Confederates through and through. And by the way, no more filled chamber pots were dumped on Union soldiers.

  4. Jersey loves to throw the word “racist” around like it’s the reason for everything that happens.

  5. SteveIL, I never mention “during the Civil War.” Jeez man.

    The point is that NO, being a “black” city for many years, was neglected by the white powers that be. Anyone who doesn’t know that is a blind fool.


  6. The point is that NO, being a “black” city for many years, was neglected by the white powers that be. Anyone who doesn’t know that is a blind fool.

    And the white powers that be were all hugely corrupt “liberal” nanny-state Democrats (remember the Long family, especially Huey?). Now the city is run by black powers that be who are all hugely corrupt “liberal” nanny-state Democrats. The equalizing factor has nothing to do with race, but the fact that NO has been run into the Gulf by hugely corrupt “liberal” nanny-state Democrats.

    Bobby Jindal for Governor of Louisiana to end the Democratic Culture of Corruption!

  7. Yeah right. Man, you are one blind partisan. The only thing racist Jindal will do is make sure the black people of NO never return. Then maybe people like you will and settle down, eh?


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