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environment | katrina aftermath | political theory

Dec. 8th forum "Katrina - A Natural Disaster?"

A Natural Disaster? Anti-state perspectives on Hurricane Katrina, its social context and its aftermath. (Brief presentations followed by discussion.)



I.W.W. Hall, 616 E. Burnside


Sponsored by: Venomous Butterfly Publications, Communicating Vessels journal, Tarantula Distribution and surrealist individuals.

homepage: homepage: http://www.socialwar.net

can you tell us more 03.Dec.2005 01:15

pdxer twas in NOLA

I'm not in portland right now, but am curious what this is all about, since i spent most of the past 3 months in NOLA. I can't attend (I'm far far away at the moment) but would like to hear more details -- do you have a website (with info about this) or can you post more info here?

more details on forum 03.Dec.2005 21:48

d. / socialwar

To "pdxer twas in Nola" -

Thanks for your interest. I've been helping a bit with this event, so I can perhaps give you a few more details.

The event will consist of three brief presentations (10 - 15 minutes each) on different aspects of Katrina and its aftermath. These will serve as an introduction to the main part of the evening, which will be a broader discussion and sharing of information between those attending. In other words, those who attend will to a large extent shape the event; we're hoping for people to arrive if possible with some thoughts, questions or news to share with others, although of course folk just coming to listen out of interest is fine too.

Those putting on the event all strive towards a world without capitalism, and free of class society in general. We do not have a single, unified perspective - we're not a political group out to make recruits - but we do all consider social revolution to be necessary, and we see the state as an enemy. One idea we all share is the importance of "ordinary" people (not "militants," not politicians of any stripe) coming together to discuss the realities of our society, and taking action based on this understanding. The forum is an extension of such a shared conception.

In terms of Katrina, some questions we'd ask are: what is it about the functioning of our society that turned Katrina from "natural" phenomena to human, social and environmental catastrophe? Is it even possible to talk of Katrina as "natural" at all, given the probable contributions of industrial pollution to "natural" weather patterns? What can we learn from the self-organization of New Orleans folk immediately following Katrina, and from the attacks by the state on such self-organization? What does it mean when even the mainstream media starts talking about "class war" in relation to New Orleans? How do such seemingly different domains as class, technology, racial oppression and urbanism all fit together? What does it mean to live in a society of ever-spiraling disaster and precariousness, and how can radicals respond to such a reality? What is going on with the New Orleans "reconstruction," and what are the on-the-ground actions of the political-commercial-military nexus entrusted with said rebuilding?

A few provisional answers have been sketched out by one of the Thursday speakers here:

Of course, this is but one small contribution, and challenges and disagreement are welcomed. Again, the idea is not to "preach" one thing or another, or to make political capital from death and ruin. We want lively debate because the course of our society is not some abstract "issue," and because what we do or fail to do are, at base, matters of life and death.

There will be some more written bits and pieces available at the event; unfortunately, they are not online presently. Anyone unable to attend the event, but who would appreciate copies of the texts, may send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Tarantula Distribution (see socialwar.net) and I'll send them out by mail.

I'll try to take some notes summarizing the discussion on Thursday, and make them available online at  http://socialwar.net/board/ and perhaps a few other places following the event.

It's a shame you won't be able to make it on Thursday, as your observations and insight would certainly be appreciated. Of course, distances of hundreds of miles have a way of making such things difficult!

Hope this elaboration is helpful, and thanks again -

D. / Socialwar info