I know that many radicals, in particular anarchists, advocate a bioregional economy and local, participatory democracy as a more ideal, certainly more egalitarian form of societal arrangement. Many also would agree that the national state apparatus needs to be dismantled.
But, in the wake of such large-scale catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina, where local and regional resources are overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the destruction, we see many calling for, in fact demanding federal assistance.
My personal opinion at this stage is that, because we DO, at this particular moment in history, have the form of political arrangement that we have, and because the federal government DOES wield such disproportionate share of societal resources, it is therefore obliged to assist in such cases by mobilizing those resources for the rescue of the victims of the hurricane, for the rebuilding of the region and of people's lives, etc...
Of course, the conservative argument is that this was not the federal government's responsibility, that we don't need "big government" intruding into regional affairs, that "big government" inhibits freedom, and so on...
Of course, the conservative hypocricy is blatantly evident when we look just a little more closely at what, exactly, they mean by "big government." What they mean is "we don't think the federal government ought to help citizens in need." Of course, a BIG MILITARY is no problem. BIG powers of intrusion and encroachment upon its citizens' rights is no problem. BIG subsidies to major agribusiness, airline, oil, and other industries is no problem either.
So, I guess my question, after all this rambling, is: What Would Anarchists Do? How would mutual aid and voluntary cooperation and self-organization work in a disaster situation like this? DID this actually go on in New Orleans? I'm sure it did, though I know you wouldn't hear about it in the media, which prefers to rehash the old racist myth of the "white man's burden."