Gentilly Girl- a part of the 99%

September 7, 2007

The “Shock Doctrine” in New Orleans

Well just bugger me with a tuning fork: I thought the B/S surrounding the “rebuilding” of the Gulf Coast in general, and New Orleans in particular, was just the Moron-In-Charge and the Corporate Capitalists’ way of having things their way down here. Sadly, I see that the Prophet, the architect of this insanity down here is Milton Friedman, the creator of the Chicago School of Capitalism.

Here’s some snippets from the Guardian UK in their extract of Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine”. (Read the whole thing please.)
“One of those who saw opportunity in the floodwaters of New Orleans was the late Milton Friedman, grand guru of unfettered capitalism and credited with writing the rulebook for the contemporary, hyper-mobile global economy. Ninety-three years old and in failing health, “Uncle Miltie”, as he was known to his followers, found the strength to write an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal three months after the levees broke. “Most New Orleans schools are in ruins,” Friedman observed, “as are the homes of the children who have attended them. The children are now scattered all over the country. This is a tragedy. It is also an opportunity.”


“In one of his most influential essays, Friedman articulated contemporary capitalism’s core tactical nostrum, what I have come to understand as “the shock doctrine”. He observed that “only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change”. When that crisis occurs, the actions taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. Some people stockpile canned goods and water in preparation for major disasters; Friedmanites stockpile free-market ideas. And once a crisis has struck, the University of Chicago professor was convinced that it was crucial to act swiftly, to impose rapid and irreversible change before the crisis-racked society slipped back into the “tyranny of the status quo”. A variation on Machiavelli’s advice that “injuries” should be inflicted “all at once”, this is one of Friedman’s most lasting legacies.”


“Most people who survive a disaster want the opposite of a clean slate: they want to salvage whatever they can and begin repairing what was not destroyed. “When I rebuild the city I feel like I’m rebuilding myself,” said Cassandra Andrews, a resident of New Orleans’ heavily damaged Lower Ninth Ward, as she cleared away debris after the storm. But disaster capitalists have no interest in repairing what once was. In Iraq, Sri Lanka and New Orleans, the process deceptively called “reconstruction” began with finishing the job of the original disaster by erasing what was left of the public sphere.”

I’ve always been a Keynesian type of spirit: a Free Market with checks and balances on certain activities that affected the whole of Society. I never saw this one coming, but thanks to Ms Klein, mine eyes have been opened to Reality. That economic forces would be so brutal to an old culture just to play out their games, to justify their philosophy. My heart hurts, and mainly it hurts because we here in New Orleans may just lose this battle and become as banal a place as almost every other locality in the country is.

“This desire for godlike powers of creation is precisely why free-market ideologues are so drawn to crises and disasters. Non-apocalyptic reality is simply not hospitable to their ambitions. For 35 years, what has animated Friedman’s counter-revolution is an attraction to a kind of freedom available only in times of cataclysmic change – when people, with their stubborn habits and insistent demands, are blasted out of the way – moments when democracy seems a practical impossibility. Believers in the shock doctrine are convinced that only a great rupture – a flood, a war, a terrorist attack – can generate the kind of vast, clean canvases they crave. It is in these malleable moments, when we are psychologically unmoored and physically uprooted, that these artists of the real plunge in their hands and begin their work of remaking the world.”

Sorry you “Creators”, I don’t wish to be a part of your freakin’ experiment. I want our City back.

Fuck you Chicago School capitalism. Fuck you to the Nth degree. I don’t desire your kind of “purity”.


  1. I hate to admit it, but I agree with a lot of what he has to say. Why do so many of us have this allusion that prior to the storm everything here was so wonderful? We were in the bottom five of just about every quality-of-life statistic you can think of. Our education system was in the toilet, our crime was pandemic, our politicians were possibly LESS corrupt than they are now.

    We ARE slipping right back into status quo.

    We’re letting our politicians go back to business as usual, using and abusing us, and yet all we do is demand our city “back.”

    Fuck that.

    I want it better than it was before.

    I want equality.

    I want better standards.

    What is so wrong with that?

    We loved it here, even though the city barely functioned DESPITE being a shit-hole of corruption and ignorance before the storm.

    Let’s not go back to that. Let’s move forward instead of looking back. I’m not saying let’s turn the city into one big Metairie, but it’s CERTAINLY time we get fresh ideas that don’t involve the good-ol-boy club.

    PLEASE bring in some carpetbaggers – maybe they’ll stick Nagin in the bag when they go home. :)

    Comment by Vincent — September 11, 2007 @ 1:47 am

  2. Vincent, though I understand your concerns and desires, you must understand what Friedman’s philosophy basically is: coercion.

    Coercion is the forcing of a pattern, a form of “Power over” that one or a Society, or a clique feels that they have the right to perform over another. It is a bullshit thought pattern and a damned sin against Humanity.

    What if the subject of said coercion was a lesbian, and the desire was to make her “right”? Could you accept this as a good thing?

    Fifty years ago this month my little infant self laid upon an operating table surrounded by doctors completely taken by this Xtian, Patriarchal, polar-defined culture seeking to alter the freak to fit their worldview. They cut me apart and sewed me up several times.

    I spent the next thirteen years in pain and horror, and then the next thirty coming to despise, nay!… hate a worldview that decided that they HAD THE RIGHT TO DETERMINE THE COURSE OF MY LIFE!

    Determine the course of my life? What fucking deluded pieces of christian, patriarchal, polarites had the right to screw my life up? Upon what freakin’ grounds? What did it gain for the social slaves to screw me up?

    Nothing, they just goose-stepped to the call of the common drum. They prayed to their worthless god that I would be “okay” in their world. No thought was given to what my life-path was or what I may have desired for my life, or what the Goddess planned for me. (And just maybe that “safe” culture furthered Her intentions…)

    The only true mechanism for change in a person’s life is the finding of the “power from within”. You cannot force that at the point of a gun, or enforced poverty, or the threat of banishment. It IS what the spirit is capable of, and it doesn’t function well when faced with threats.

    Yes we have had many problems concerning Race, economics, opportunities in the culture here, but tightening the thumbscrews will not work. Rounding up all of the “bad ones” and shipping them off to another place can not end the cycle that many folks live with down here. Clean ‘em up, and you just get new recruits.

    No, all must learn to utilize the power from within and walk their paths.

    Now all of the above is an answer to the surface statements you made, but you missed the real demon in what the “Shock Doctrine” is really about: it is about the homogenization of Human Culture. The taming of the beast (as they see it) of Society. It is about the destruction of the soul and the muting of the power from within. Lock-step or free will.

    In modern sci-fi concepts, the philosophy is as that of the Borg, and the “we are to be assimilated” poop.

    Doesn’t work for me on this day or any other. Society tried that once and they fucking failed. I will not stand idly by and watch that happen to another, no matter the context.

    A homogenized culture is one that is completely at odds with the Human spirit. It has no soul, and in the fullness of of time it shall die as it must. It is a form of living that has no Life.

    The whole jist of this post was to illustrate what the PTB wish to do here: a grand Social Experiment, and it includes ALL OF US!

    This is about Social controls and models. You and I will be “assimilated” just like the factors you don’t like here.

    My query is: are you willing to give up yourself, your life and liberty in order to be “safe”, or are you willing to face the work ahead and see an entire native culture move forward as one in building a better social construct?

    For myself, I prefer Life and building things… had enough of the mental and spiritual rape that modern American Society offers.

    (And yes… when we chase the carpetbaggers out of town, Nagin will be in one of their duffle bags.)

    Comment by Morwen Madrigal — September 11, 2007 @ 4:17 am

  3. I’ve always had a problem with this mentality of “disaster = opportunity.” Granted, Americans have never been great on foresight, but sometimes it’s almost as if the Moneyed Ones are waiting in the wings for something horrible to happen to their underlings so that they can jump out onto the stage at the right moment and exclaim “And now my Money will save you! See how Glorious is the Free Market!”

    Somehow their professed magnanimity is muted by the fact that they throw money while standing on the backs of the Unfortunates — usually the dead.

    Comment by Farrar Hudkins — September 11, 2007 @ 8:00 am

  4. So true Farrar!

    The “Free Market” MUST find a way to show itself in a good light since most of it’s existence is due to destroying lives.

    Comment by Morwen Madrigal — September 12, 2007 @ 2:05 pm

  5. Maybe I’m confused but what exactly does rebuilding New Orleans have to do with the free market. It’s a government program, IMHO a totally unjustified one.

    This seems to be a common problem in Klein’s book, sure shock has an effect, but in no way does it promote the free market. Just the opposite really.

    Comment by Andy — October 30, 2007 @ 4:19 am

  6. Andy,

    Sorry Darlin’, but the Free Market died the moment Reagan swore the Oath of Office.

    Your seeing of a fault in Klein’s book reflects this fact: No Free Market, but a “free” ride for corporations to gobble up the taxpayer’s largesse.

    It is an anti-Robin Hood concept that re-distributes the wealth to the 3% that owns almost 95% of this country.

    I’m sorry, but this little witch doesn’t play their game.

    Comment by Morwen Madrigal — October 30, 2007 @ 5:55 am

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