As described in a recent Naomi Klein article, disaster are not only disasters because of the immediate havoc and destruction they wreak, but also because of the strategic opportunity they provide for well-prepared people in positions of power to force undemocratic policy changes on a population during the disaster’s ensuing state of shock.
These two dimensions of disaster – the primary or direct disaster and the auxiliary or imposed disaster – may be similar in the disastrousness of their felt effects, but they differ in our ability to anticipate them. The imposed disaster that comes from opportunistic policies shoved through in a time of population-wide shock are now possible to anticipate with fairly high certainty.
Naomi Klein has documented the pattern extensively in her book “The Shock Doctrine,” and the favorite policies of the wealthy and powerful are eye-rollingly predictable and even clichéd: privatizing education and infrastructure, imposing states of emergency to supersede democratic processes, and austerity measures to curtail public spending and cut corporate taxes. So this stuff should be even easier to ‘disaster-plan’ for than storing supplies, practicing emergency drills and scenario-planning for weather events that happen at relatively random intervals and locations. How could communities be ‘disaster-planning’ more strategically for the imposed/auxiliary disasters that regularly follow in the wake of primary/direct disaster?
To me, it is preparation for the onslaught against community autonomy when faced with a catastrophic disaster that prompts our fore fronting of survivor-driven community recovery.
My next post will discuss the same article’s connection between colonial violence/land theft and the violence of current racial hierarchies.