Beverly Bell on Disaster Capitalism in Haiti

Beverly Bell on Disaster Capitalism in Haiti
April 11, 2011 Christian Wisskirchen

Beverly Bell on Disaster Capitalism in Haiti. HSG from George Washington University, Washington DC, 11-04-2011 

To Foggy Bottom, the appropriately named river-edge area of Washington DC that houses the State Department to hear one of the best activists, organizers and thinkers on Haiti speak at George Washington University. Many of you will know Beverly Bell from her contributions to Huffington Post and activism in leading her campaigning group Other Worlds. It is a potent, compelling talk, at the heart of a city that exudes so much rubbish and lies on Haiti, a clearly defined argument rather than the series of vignettes that so often pass for a speech in the soundbite era. With the perspective of decades of experience and above all the voices of ordinary Haitians that are the starting point for all her observations and analysis, Bev has a number of key themes. It must be Haitian, its all about power, not buildings projects and money, and it, we, they, are all connected. From New Orleans herself, she knows of what she speaks when she says the disaster capitalism emerging in Port-au-Prince is the same as that in Louisiana post-Katrina — same cutouts, same processes, same companies. “Extreme poverty in this day and age does not happen by accident – it’s a policy choice,” she says. As such, we need to reverse what passes for development expertise, she argues. “Shut up and listen to Haitians. Enter the growing alternative development social movement in Haiti or anywhere else then take it home to wherever you live.”

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