Dirty South Bureau

October 13, 2010

Breaking down what is meant by colonialism

Filed under: Uncategorized — christian @ 10:38 am

Its funny how some times situations in your personal life interact with larger phenomenon in the world. In my case, I’ve been observing a lot of what went on in Post-Katrina New Orleans, particularly the influx of well-meaning outsiders (like myself, though I lived here before the storm), many of them from the Northeast (not like myself) to the region. I’ve also noted how a lot of people just don’t seem to be able to grasp certain power dynamics and their consequences – particularly those in a position of relative privilege or power.

Which intersects with the work that I am doing on Longite Petro-Populism. My co-author Brian Marks and I argue that the formation of the state’s economy around mineral extraction results in under-development. But all of these terms and concepts around under-development and colonialism seem to be simply more intellectual gobbledy-gook to most people.

This morning I tried to sit down and sketch out the basic tenets of this system. I left the framework general, but feel free to substitute specific terms, like North and South, whether we are talking about the United States North and South, or the global North and South.

1. Why is it that not only classes of people, but some regions of the world are wealthy and others are poor?

2. Could it be because some regions physically remove the wealth from other regions?

3. Could it be that this removal of wealth, and the formation of an economy and a society around the export of wealth, results in long-term retardation of the economic and societal development of these regions?

4. Could it be that this removal of wealth is accompanied by attitudes on behalf of the extractors, a certain paternalism, and an attitude of intellectual and moral superiority?

5. Could it be that the residents of these extracting regions are also divided by classes of exploiters and exploited? Could it be that even the exploited in the privileged regions benefit from the wealth of the regions that have been exploited? Could it be that the exploited in the privileged regions also identify with their region, and carry the attitudes of their exploiters?

6. Could it be that later, when residents of the extracting regions arrive in the under-developed regions, believing that they are assisting with those regions’ development, that the residents of the privileged regions carry with them the same attitudes? Could it be that this is why such “assistance” rarely results in meaningful improvement for the residents of the under-developed regions?

September 1, 2008

Waiting (Evacuation part II)

Filed under: Uncategorized — christian @ 12:53 am

So how does one spend a Hurrication? By tomorrow when many of my readers will be viewing this, we will likely still be waiting to find out if the levees hold. In the mean time, for those who have not had the pleasure of experiencing a Hurrication, here are some of the things that we do compulsively.

1. Watch news on anything having to do with the storm. There’s a level of information junkie-dom that can only be reached by those who are waiting in another city to see if their home and their city will be destroyed. CNN, NBC, CBS, nola.com, BBC, National Hurricane Center models – everything. Watch wind speeds. Weather patterns. Measure three day cones. Second-guess the experts.

2. Contact everyone you care about. This second process is actually appears to be the most time-consuming and important, at least for my friends, during a Hurrication. It is a warm and wonderful process, tinged with terror. The strange and desperate attempt to hold together all the social fabric that you wove on the street, in bars, at work, in your neighborhood. Because all of this is threatened, there is an extra emotional pull. She is in Arkansas. He is in Memphis. She is in Pensacola. Baton Rouge. Birmingham. But most importantly, they are OK. And each successful phone call is a brief narcotic moment of elation, which is repeated over and over again. As long as you can find them.

3. Drink

4. Take long walks or do anything else repetitious and physical to keep from losing your mind.

And wait. Which is the hardest part.

Just ran across this – suspicions about the inadequacy of the city’s 311 line system were verified on Friday by tests conducted by the New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice, courtesy of Maitri.

April 19, 2006

let there be sound

Filed under: Uncategorized — christian @ 3:04 pm

Ok, I’ve worked out the bugs and will now be posting audio files to this blog. If you have Quicktime or a similar program, you can listen to audio clips by clicking on the links (or download them if you do not).