Stormy Weather Katrina and the Politics of Disposability
"By far the single most important account and analysis of the Katrina catastrophe." David L. Clark, McMaster University In his newest provocative book, prominent social critic Henry A. Giroux shows how the tragedy and suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina signals a much larger crisis in the United States-one that threatens the very nature of individual freedom and inclusive democracy. This crisis extends far beyond matters of leadership, governance, or the Bush administration. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart of democracy and must be understood within a broader set of antidemocratic forces that not only made the social disaster underlying Katrina possible, but also contribute to an emerging authoritarianism in the United States. Questions regarding who is going to die and who is going to live are driving a new form of authoritarianism in the United States. Within this form of "dirty democracy" a new and more insidious set of forces-embedded in our global economy-have largely given up on the sanctity of human life, rendering some groups as disposable and privileging others. Giroux offers up a vision of hope that creates the conditions for multiple collective and global struggles that refuse to use politics as an act of war and markets as the measure of democracy. Making human beings superfluous is the essence of totalitarianism, and democracy is the antidote in urgent need of being reclaimed. Katrina will keep the hope of such a struggle alive because for many of us the images of those floating bodies serve as a desperate reminder of what it means when justice, as the lifeblood of democracy, becomes cold and indifferent.
“Henry Giroux here presents a powerful portrait. Read this book, and join its encomia to think and to act!”
—Lewis R. Gordon, author of Disciplinary Decadence: Living Thought in Trying Times
“Henry Giroux’s Stormy Weather provides a brilliant study of how Hurricane Katrina unmasked the Bush administration’s “politics of disposability,” showing how its policies are anti-life in the deepest sense while maintaining a pro-life rhetoric. Strongly argued and well-documented, Giroux provides a rigorous analysis of growing authoritarianism, militarism, hypocrisy and un-benign neglect in US politics, counterposed to an oppositional biopolitics aiming to enhance human life and struggle towards a more robust U.S. democracy and global cosmopolitanism.”
—Douglas Kellner, UCLA
“It takes a shock, like Katrina, to tear up the veil that on ‘normal’ days hides from view the deep wounds carved upon our society by poverty, humiliation, and denial of human dignity. It takes another, no lesser if not yet greater shock, like reading Henry Giroux’s cool, thoroughly researched and meticulously balanced account of what Katrina has unveiled and brought into view, to grasp the enormity of pain and the magnitude of misery suffered by the wounded; and to shake off the slumber so that Katrinas be no longer needed to stay awake to the wrongdoing and its victims.”
“Henry Giroux is one of the country's most astute social and cultural critics. In this meditation on the Katrina catastrophe he takes us beyond that event to give us a brilliant analysis of what Katrina reveals about our society and how we might change the way we live in the world. His book is profound, disturbing, provocative. I hope it will be widely read.”