Beginning of the End?

New Orleans and Katrina has been an amazing story. I got up early the morning it hit expecting to see NO having been wiped out and as we know it seemed to have survived in those first hours… But from then on it’s been a nonstop horror show. Other bloggers and journalists have written about this far more eloquently and with much more knowledge than I. Here are some really worthwhile pieces, things I’d call “must-read”: Tom Englehardt, Billmon (actually Billmon has been on a tear, and I heartily recommend reading through all his entries since Sept. 1. The ones that were posted after the one I just linked to are just as good), Jordan Flaherty (who continues to add more fantastic reports from the ground).

The obvious denunciations of long-term, systemic governmental malfeasance are covered in these pieces. The sensationalist news coverage at the expense of the African-American poor whose lives have been wrecked has been an ongoing shame. This morning on Democracy Now! first-hand accounts of average folks taking care of each other and doing the rescuing and real work finally started coming out.

I expect these stories of ordinary heroism and human grit to surface more and more in the days to come. The basic realities of mutual aid and cooperation vs. militarized governmental incompetence and brutality may actually resound. I’ve been wondering for several years what would be the “Chernobyl” for the Cheney regime and the U.S. gov’t. more generally. Maybe Katrina/New Orleans will be it, starting an inexorable process of unravelling and delegitimation that will really alter power relations in the world, perhaps even leading to the ultimate collapse of the U.S. empire. The nuclear accident in Chernobyl in 1985 pushed the Gorbachev reforms that finally brought down the Soviet Union (much more than anything Reagan did!); similarly, the 1985 or 86 earthquake in Mexico City also delegitimized an incompetent and ineffective PRI government, leading to the victory of Cardenas in the 1988 presidential election (stolen by massive PRI fraud), but again starting a longer term process that the Zapatistas pushed further when they emerged, that ultimately brought down the one-party state in Mexico.

Has the one-party state in the U.S. finally suffered a fatal blow (even if it takes months and years to fully reveal its mortality)? Let’s hope.

I found this on a telephone pole at 25th and Hoffman as I was riding up Twin Peaks yesterday. Bush has practically no support around here, not even in the rich uphill neighborhoods in SF…

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