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Hurricane Katrina and Bernie Sanders: From Neoliberal Disaster to 'Political Revolution'


Hurricane Katrina and Bernie Sanders: From Neoliberal Disaster to 'Political Revolution'

Michael C. Francis, Adolph Reed, Jr., and Steve Striffler

The 10th anniversary of the devastation of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has been an occasion for reflection on that horrific event and the state of the city’s recovery. Much of that commemoration, especially locally, has centered on the theme of resilience. This is understandable; in many ways the city has recovered, and many people have sacrificed much to make that recovery happen.


As a scientist/engineer/educator, I routinely saw that true solutions to many (mainly environmental & safety in my case) problems could be well defined and reasonably afforded, if properly amortized over time. So many more times than not, profit and pollution producers stepped into the mix and wormed their way through the system too maximize both. It was enough to drive me to abject despair. Only through true political change can the pendulum even begin to swing toward the side of sanity.


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This is an important article; however, it returns to the WE-frame when clearly it IS those powerful elite interests that are the orchestrators of policies that indeed DO decimate very real lives.

This paragraph moves back and forth between the all-inclusive WE premise (as purported designers or enablers of systems devised and implemented by Shock Doctrine proponents) and the ACTUAL empowered players.

Why is it so difficult to ADMIT that the WE, arguably identifying the major body of "The People" is not the active agency behind these policies? The equivalent is arguing that it is the BLACK community that is responsible for white-on-Black police violence.

This is NOT a functioning Democracy. Big Money is finagling moral human walking excrement (masquerading as human beings) into government positions and these "things" then do their paymasters' bidding.

This paragraph shows the strained way by which acts taken by a few are again generalized to (somehow comport with the will of) the many:

"And yet, if Hurricane Katrina delivered a hard lesson about the consequences of gutting public investment, we certainly did not apply this wisdom to the recovery. Instead, we doubled down. Dismantling the public sector has been the guiding mantra for those who have controlled the post-storm recovery. The chaos of Katrina not only provided cover for powerful interests to slash public services at a much faster rate but allowed them to pass off such policies as much needed “reform” (and then sell it as a “model” for the rest of the country). This sleight of hand has had disastrous results."

So was it "we" who didn't apply this lesson and doubled down? Or this more accurate explanation (also taken from the article):

"Like cities across the country, New Orleans has been controlled by powerful interests and ideologies that have slashed public services and investment while insuring that local, state, and federal governments serve profits over people. The consequences of these so-called reforms have been devastating. Cities have become home to unprecedented inequality. The affluent acquire ever-greater wealth through tax-breaks, subsidies, and political access while enjoying high-end restaurants, a lively entertainment scene, and upscaling neighborhoods—what in New Orleans is often referred to as “the recovery.”

Big Oil has slashed up the wetlands and jeopardized New Orleans in the process. The Disaster Capitalists were salivating over Katrina's destruction of that colorful city and many in THIS forum predicted it would become another play land for the rich as indeed is the case.

The 1% own the politicians with rare exceptions; and through them (and the legalized bribery that constitutes the system of lobbying in D.C.) THEIR will IS done. This is not about WE!


Somewhere in the annals of Disaster Capitalists' playbooks is the decided ambition to condition American working citizens to lowered expectations.

Citizens are constantly told that the economy has recovered. But who has it "recovered" for?

The following statements can apply to the overall metrics of the U.S. economy (and resulting socio-economic system), it's to, for, and about the "rights" and privileges of the 1%smile

"And, when exuberant “innovators” and marketizers exult in New Orleans' fabulous recovery and tout it as a model for other cities, it is that logic of ever deepening inequality and ever intensifying upward redistribution they laud and wish to replicate elsewhere."

THIS is the ethos--and protocol--that corporatists are vigorously pursuing and it's apparent--albeit rendered invisible--in binding anti-Democratic treaties like TPP and TIPP.

The BASTARDS want it all. For them, only feudalism makes sense! They have the money--hot off the Q.E. printing presses (that means WE, the taxpayers and workers paid for this series of unregulated bailouts)--to purchase their own private armies to enforce their goals!


Is someone paying you to constantly undermine Mr. Sanders with lots of specious accusations? As I said a day ago, it would be FAR wiser for the GREENS to get behind Mr. Sanders and use his political momentum to spur more interest in weaning this nation from fossil fuels. And by the way, with oil under $40 a barrel, lots of oil and fracking operations are losing money big time. Could be that the beginnings of a wholesale global fiscal contraction will do more for reducing conventional Energy Usage than Bill McKibben can inspire.

In fact, if the GREENS worked with Mr. Sanders, together both could devise a "back to work" plan that would employ the countless individuals seeking work in work that redesigns our nation's infrastructure along Solar and Wind and Geothermal energy "lines." THAT is doable!

I voted for Jill Stein a few years ago but as strong as her stands are, she gets virtually NO media time and NO exposure. Sanders does. THAT is why it makes sense to support what he's doing.

And to push the LIE that because Obama and Clinton sold out, that necessarily means likewise for a politician who worked as an independent and OUTED Socialist over the course of his political career is disingenuous and borders on slander. It's of apiece of that which suits the P.R tactics of outfits PAID to discredit political opponents.

When a poster is up at 9 a.m. on a weekend and continues to post the same species of commentary, there is EVERY reason to suspect that he is paid to do so.


You are an idiot, but apart from that... as has been shown and published in POLL after POLL... the label is meaningless because HIGH majorities POLL PROGRESSIVE on most topics of interest.

Most want a higher minimum wage.

Most want less power in the hands of corporations.

Most want less funding to the MIC and less foreign wars.

Most want women to retain their right to choose.

Most favor gay marriage these days, too.


Representative government needs to go because it leads to dictatorship of the rich and powerful. Why won't any candidate mention direct democracy?


I guess you are referring to that collective they? That rhetorical they that is the equivalent of the collective we and they rhetorical we?

Some clarification on the point might be constructive SR?


In the 2012 Presidential Election 58.2% of eligible voters exercised the right to vote. Of those votes cast 126 million went to either Obama or Romney. The Green Party was not even a factor. If politics is defined as " the art of the possible " then the Green Party is simply practicing the " art of the impossible ", in 2016 electoral politics. Much more than being merely a " fool's errand " it could possibly physically endanger our country's struggling working classes and poor. So, in essence, " pipe dreams " become " pipe bombs " lobbed at the least of us for ideological sake, and little else. The 47% of which Mitt Romney talked about in 2012 want to thank you enablers, in advance, for what you could do to us in the future. With friends like you, instead of a friend like Sen. Bernie Sanders, who needs enemies? And, I've been to NO several times and it has been well documented the Army Corp of Engineers, like the EPA, has been " captured " for a long time. The results of Katrina were obvious to anyone listening to engineers and scientists for a long time, too. Just another example of criminals running our country. Please explain to me how the Green Party expects to change a thing in Louisiana or Washington D.C. when they can't even get 2% of the popular vote? So it goes.....


Are you a history teacher by any chance? Your current fiction won't sell, and I hope you didn't quit your day job, to start writing it. Gore won the popular vote, btw.


In 2012 the Green Party received less than 7000 votes in the state of Louisiana. I rest my case for not entering into discussions with kamikaze pilots for Jill Stein.


There was a young man, in the area I grew up in, who insisted on going 90 miles an hour through a very curvy and winding road, in a " souped up " 1958 Chevy. The first time he had an accident he broke his back and neck, etc. The second time he tried they renamed that stretch of road, Dead Man's Curve. So, yes, the Green Party has true believers and I think you see them here, defending their right to go through Dead Man's Curve over and over again, hoping for a different result. wink BTW- look at my posts; I've never linked to Sen. Sander's website. Mainly because I don't want to be associating him with people who are clearly looking to take yet more people through Dead Man's Curve, as it were. sunglasses Just kidding. I started in the politicking along time ago at the age of 12. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, but it sure gives you a great life lesson, in fiction writing and our gov't. smirk One of which pays very well and the other, not so much for the 99%. I'll let you guess which one it is.


President Obama in New Orleans congratulating himself on a job well done,but he is such a rebel because he mentioned climate change. On DN a writer discussed how his parents who lived in the 9th ward received $400. from allstate for their destroyed home-they had been paying insurance on the home since the 50's. Obama could have played such an important role as federal money went to this area-lifting people up and making a real difference. Maybe BLM should have confronted Obama on the structural racism that occurred in New Orleans-or is it a class issue?-----And the other day Hillary announced that she has the nomination rapped up-no need to vote! O'Malley and Sanders called for more debates-O'Malley saying in effect that the debates schedule is rigged-a commentator on Chris Mathews show stating O'Malley is such a weak candidate he has no pull in his own party. I would challenge Sanders,O'Malley and Web to have their own debates-wonder how the corporate media will react?


I think Sheldon Adelson would beg to differ with you on whether there's a difference between Dems and Repubs. However, the Dems are a coalition party, for real, so they're not goose stepping to the same tune, like the Republicans usually do. For $$$$$ obvious reasons but the Repubs fight sometimes, too. They use to fight a lot more before 1994.. If there was public funding of elections we'd likely have four good-sized parties in the U.S. But Frank Farhenkopf Jr. and his bunch put an end to that. Just google the people " hanging out " at the NED or who's running legal gambling in this ol' world. Politics makes strange bedfellows, indeed. And, people die all the time for it. It really doesn't have to be this way. angry


Actually the Green Party did not even receive even 1% of the vote in the last election. They only received 0.3% - 1/3 of 1 %.

Jill Stein said at the time that it was their best showing.


Well the fact remains that people who aren't familiar with the Green Party are being give a false impression of their popularity. They got omly 0.3% of the vote - less than 1%. That is what the history books show. Don't blame me those are the facts.

It is probably what they will get this time around, if they even get that much. If they had the support that some people are pretending that they have, they'd have gotten on more state ballots and receive more votes but they don't. It is a sham and while I think they are decent folks, they only show up at each election and serve to drain off a 100,000 progressive votes. To insist that they are a viable alternative to Bernie as certain people are doing on CD is utter deceit and rather pathetic. To lie so much to people calls into question the ethics and motivation of some people. That is the point. The Green Party is a fringe group not a realistic third party and to give people any other idea is simply crappy and probably a big joke for some people somewhere.


We're truly living in an Orwellian country. The last few days there's been a parade of politicians hitting New Orleans--Obama, Bush, Bill Clinton--crowing about how the city's come back, when what seems to mostly have happened is a massive gentrification and displacement of the poor as this article points out.

Good to see academics like these three co-authors backing Bernie Sanders' wide-ranging platform, rather than rooting around his record for every possible shortcoming that seems to be the sport of the day in this CD comment section, Truth Dig and others.

Sanders is in the fight of our lives to overturn establishment politics in his fight for the poor, marginalized, and the earth itself. The first word that comes to my mind when I think of him is heroic.


Anyone who runs as a Democrat is evil.
Sanders is running as a Democrat therefore Sanders is evil.

Anyone who runs as a Green is good.
If Sanders was running as a Green Sanders would be good.

Since party affiliation is the only determining factor in determining if a candidate is good or evil, the candidates history and positions will be evaluated through the lens of party affiliation.

So a candidate who voted against the Iraq war and supports the Iran Nuclear deal will be accused of war mongering. A candidate who spoke up for the right of Palestinians to statehood and spoke against Israel's actions during Operation Protective Edge will be accused of supporting genocide.

Thus does logic fail those who make the a priori assumption the all running as Greens are good and all running as Dems are bad.


Progressive commentators are so used to being critics of the powers that be that they have simply forgotten what it would be like to actually support someone. They can't help themselves but to pick apart even someone most of them have liked and respected. Lol I truly think that they no longer know how to be interesting when writing positively about a political figure unless that person is in another country. It is as if they write positively about an America politician that 'it doesn't feel right somehow'...Lol.

To show support for an American politician is almost heresy ...lol

I'm laughing because you know...I really think what I am saying is true. Sometimes I feel it too. Progressives just are't used to trusting our polticians...Lol