Tag Archives: Hurricane Katrina

The Mobilizing Powers of Collective Traumas: A Role for Moralities and Emotions

By Stephen F. Ostertag

Scholarship examining the role of trauma, moralities, and emotions in explaining mobilizations is undergoing a renaissance (e.g., Goodwin, Jasper, and Polletta 2000, 2001; Goodwin and Jasper 2006; Flam and King 2007; Jasper 1998, 2011).  New questions on how people experience, understand, and [re]act to traumatic events and the role of morals and emotions in these developments will help uncover some of the dynamic and nuanced social processes that underscore mobilizations (Kurzman 2008).

David G. Ortiz and I have spent the past four years examining a variety of digitally-mediated mobilizations and civic participations that people organized and took part in in the wake of hurricane Katrina (Ortiz and Ostertag 2014). Continue reading

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Filed under Essay Dialogues, Social Trauma and Activism

Occupy, New Orleans, and the Vast Security State

By Elizabeth Cook

It is my belief that in order to understand where the occupy movement is headed, it is important to remind ourselves of where we’ve been these last several years. Here in New Orleans, we witnessed the imposition of disaster capitalism in the form of demolition of public and affordable housing after Katrina. HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson said there would be fewer black people in New Orleans after Katrina, and he set about to make it so by keeping most of the 5000 units of public housing closed. Iberville public housing residents, located next to the French Quarter, reopened their own development, and several hundred units, by returning on their own, cleaning their units, and living without electricity for a time. Activists and residents of public housing valiantly fought back against demolition plans for 2 years after Katrina. It was pepper spray, tasers and a vote by the city council to demolish, all occurring on December 20th, 2007, that finally ended the movement effectively. The council chambers were shut down before the seats were filled, keeping out activists, who staged a protest of their own and were pepper sprayed and tasered for their efforts; some were badly injured and tasered more than once. Inside council chambers, activists started a chant, “Let the people in”, and were violently evicted with the use of tasers. When I showed that video to a national blog, one person remarked, in so many words, “look at how valiantly you guys fought; this is our future.” Even then it was clear, at least to some, that we were headed for a showdown with the ruling class. Continue reading


Filed under Essay Dialogues, Outcomes of OWS