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Today the dominant narrative is that of market fundamentalism, widely known in Europe as neoliberalism. The story it tells is that the market can resolve almost all social, economic and political problems. The less the state regulates and taxes us, the better off we will be. Public services should be privatised, public spending should be cut, and business should be freed from social control. In countries such as the UK and the US, this story has shaped our norms and values for around 35 years: since Thatcher and Reagan came to power. It is rapidly colonising the rest of the world.
On December 1, 2012, while protests were being brutally repressed in the streets, Enrique Peña Nieto addressed Mexico for the first time as the country’s newly-anointed president. He outlined the five main goals of his administration and announced ten “presidential decisions” to achieve them. To reach his third goal of “quality education for all,” Peña Nieto stated he had decided to pursue a program of educational reform requiring the modification of the constitution and the establishment of a national evaluation system for teachers. And in doing so, Peña Nieto — the Butcher of Atenco and the signed, sealed and delivered choice of the ruling elite — made clear his intention to target education and take on Latin America’s largest union, the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE).
The United States might well be the most powerful nation on earth in terms of military muscle, and wield economic clout despite being severely humbled by the financial crisis. The country of business and capital is not bound to fall off the historical stage too soon. Its poor, however, might. Little is known about the huge swath of poverty that prevails in the country, other than an unhealthy sense that the existence of wealth presumes the existence of poverty. The United States remains transfixed by a gilded age, obsessed, as William Dean Howells suggested, by inequality. The Founding Fathers were less interested in the essence of a democratic impulse than a republican order, one of neat balance rather than levelling justice.
It has always seemed that Mexico has a special spot in the Empire. Some many things that seem representative of globalization and Empire seem to converge there...as does the autonomous resistance. The Zapatistas are probably the best known example of the new forms of resistance, but they aren't alone. In Mexico, campesinos fight the Mexican state, the multinationals and all the rest...for their land. In Mexico, communities rise up against huge mining companies and the local police, acting as the company cops, shoot them dead. In Mexico, poverty, Empire, neo-liberalism, globalization, repression and narco cartels combine into a swirling mass of subjective history and objective chaos.
This article is a photo essay of the direction, motivation, and consequences of the profound and fast-paced changes happening in the CBD and lower mid-city in New Orleans. Since Katrina, the re-colonization of the city by rapacious Capital has accelerated to a head-spinning pace. The neighborhood documented is not unique, the same kinds of activities are taking place city-wide. When colonization occurs on such a massive scale, only a total revolt can change the dystopian future the present developments are creating.