Thursday, January 21, 2010

Follow up on Haiti--do people only self-organize on the internet?

This article asks a much better informed set of questions about why aid has been so slow getting to Haiti. The conclusion: that the US is much more concerned about command and control than about distributing aid.

Why? In part because we have asked our military to deliver aid, but the military is set up to do command and control, so that is what they do. And in part because the presumption of elites (argues Rebecca Solnit in A Paradise Built in Hell) that in these situations, poor people and people of color tend to panic and therefore security is more important than aid.

It is obvious to me that people self-organizing for their own well-being predates the internet (Democracy in America, anyone?) and takes place without needing help from the state. Why assume that people in their extremity will not turn to each other for help? And why not, then, help them?

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