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Re: <nettime> A Progressive Response to Katrina
E. Miller on Thu, 8 Sep 2005 23:18:26 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> A Progressive Response to Katrina

Hi Michael (and Nettime),

I'll keep this relatively short after my epic email earlier this week.  Just
a few points:

-- By no stretch of the imagination would I assert that FEMA and the Bush
administration shouldn't be held accountable.  As bad as some of the local
failures were, the Feds were the only ones in a position to really make a
difference.  They failed miserably.  And their failure was even more
egregious given that it wasn't that they didn't have the resources (like the
local officials) but that they bungled planning, management, initiative,
response, you name it.  Absolutely inexcusable, and we can definitely lay
the blame for that on the Bush administration and what they've done to FEMA
through spending cuts and ideology.

-- I would differentiate between the act of rebuilding community and
restoring the built environment.  I absolutely agree that we owe it to those
underprivileged communities to do the former, especially given that we had
essentially abandoned those communities to fend for themselves for decades.
My point was that the built environment that housed these communities was
ecologically unsound, dangerous, and was part of the segregationist
infrastructure of New Orleans.  I think that we have to realize that exact
replicas of many pre-hurricane New Orleans neighborhoods would simply be
re-creating institutions of southern poverty and racism.

-- And finally, on the appropriate response from the progressive left.  My
apologies for the flippant 'study groups' comment, it was a bit much on the
rhetorical side.  I would just say that we need to put forth clear and
authoritative ideas that inspire, that show leadership, that give the
electorate and the citizenry some intellectual traction so that they can
believe that we are able to lead the nation in the right direction.  Not
half measures, not negative complaining, not equivocating, not just Lakoff's
framing debates semantically, not lamenting Carter-ish 'malaise', not
calculated Clinton-ish triangulation, not wallowing in the grey areas on
every issue.  Lead.  And we need to do it now.

Nettime is full of incredibly smart people.  I'm regularly amazed by what I
read from you folks.  So that's my challenge to this group: help give us
progressives a framework, a clear articulation of ideals, a clear and
pragmatic progressive vision unrestrained by dogma, that we can contrast
against the clearly articulated vision of the conservative movement.  Give
us the vision of JFK, not the muddle of Foucault.  We need it now.



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