The aftermath of Sandy is complicated. The storm affected many different communities, and made climate change feel much more real. It also provided ways for the class divide to worsen. These big-picture effects can be hard to identify, but the Occupy Sandy Trainers group (who organize orientations and other popular education opportunities) has compiled a list of resources to help us understand Sandy’s real meaning.
This is a preliminary and living public service document that highlights the use of loans as the main form of assistance to help those affected better understand the choices being imposed on them. You are not a loan!
Inequality and Natural Disasters
“Sandy has uncovered yet another “Tale of Two Cities.”…The majority of districts that are the most affected by Hurricane Sandy via power outages, no running water and lack of access to food are the same that are affected by broad, systemic patterns racial and economic injustice.”
“Hurricane Sandy, the cliché of the moment goes, created a city of haves and have-nots; those New Yorkers with power and heat and the many other assurances of modern life, and those without. But the storm simply made plain the dividing lines in a city long fractured by class, race, ethnicity, geography and culture.”
“Either this crisis will become an opportunity for an evolutionary leap, a holistic readjustment of our relationship with the natural world. Or it will become an opportunity for the biggest disaster capitalism free-for-all in human history, leaving the world even more brutally cleaved between winners and losers.”
“disasters don’t simply flatten landscapes, washing them smooth. Rather they deepen and erode the ruts of social difference they encounter.”
Writings on Occupy Sandy
“As we struggle to meet basic needs, as we build power in communities, as we begin to recover the broken pieces of our city, we have to remember to confront the bulldozers on the way. We have to build our movement in places where power is felt — the Coney Island projects, the bungalows on Rockaway Beach, the blue-collar neighborhoods in Staten Island, and all the other neighborhoods ruined by Hurricane Sandy and so many other crises. But we also have to take the fight to where the power we oppose takes shape, where the decisions get made, where the powerful live and work, where the crisis began. We’ve got to go back to the real scene of the crime: to City Hall, to the fossil fuel companies and, yes, to Wall Street.”
“If we let things go the way they usually do, the coming weeks are likely to show a decline in community involvement in the relief effort….But volunteers and community organizers are not the only ones on the scene, not the only ones in motion. Already, an army of disaster-capitalist developers are plotting to use this opportunity to finally knock down the housing projects and replace them with the condos they’ve been drooling about for decades.”