Friday, December 21, 2007

Disaster capitalism in New Orleans

I've been listening to Democracy Now this week, and have stumbled across the current issue of public housing in New Orleans. Or rather, the demolition of public housing in New Orleans. Here is an exerpt from the interview Amy Goodman did with community activist Kali Bruno, which, as Naomi Klein confirms, is an example of her "disaster capitalism" theory in action:

Now, in terms of myself being there, my interest is basically trying to—you know, for lack of a better term, Amy—stop this neoliberal destruction that we see taking place in New Orleans and the complete privatization of all of the different services within the city, housing being, I think, the most critical of them, public housing being kind of the cornerstone of that. But there’s an affordable housing crisis in New Orleans, of which the public housing is just one particular element of it. It’s the most critical element, because public housing will stabilize rents in New Orleans. And folks should know their rents have gone up three times since the storm, and it’s basically pricing, you know, working people and African people, on the whole, out of the city. But this is just one particular piece of this whole program.

Public hospitals are also being shut down and set to be demolished and destroyed in New Orleans. And they’ve systematically dismantled the public education system and beginning demolition on many of the schools in New Orleans—that’s on the agenda right now—and trying to totally—excuse me, totally turn that system over to a charter and a voucher system, to privatize and just kind of really go forward with a major experiment, which was initially laid out by the Heritage Foundation and other neoconservative think tanks shortly after the storm. So this is just really the fulfillment of this program.

And I think—you know, I always want to call people’s attention back to the statements that Baker made shortly after the storm, that we finally cleaned up public housing; you know, we couldn’t do it, but God did. This is just really the fulfillment of that program.

Here also is a link of original source documents on New Orleans that Klein's team has put up on her site.