The Shock Doctrine is a short film by Alfonso Cuarón and Naomi Klein based on Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. It is a severely disturbing look at the rise of free markets and corporate hegemony on the shoulders of disaster. What Klein says is this: people are in a childlike state when in shock. In the aftermath of a disaster — natural or otherwise — large masses of people are in shock. Governments use this to their advantage to push policies through, policies which in normal times would have been rejected.
Here is the video.
Link via Usha.
In related thoughts, I just got back from meeting KP Sasi for a story I am writing on his new film, Resisting Coastal Invasions. The film explores the struggles of India’s fisherpeople communities to save their homes and livelihoods from the invasion of big business. One of the things talked about in the film is how the government prevented fisherfolk from going back to their homes after the tsunami. It was a convenient method of eviction. It ties in with the fact that the government is also trying to open up previously regulated coastal zones to big industry. It would be very convenient for a lot of parties concerned if the fisherfolk packed their meager possessions, gave up their homes and moved miles inland so that the fishing industry, sand miners, aquaculture farms and holiday resorts could take over the coast.
On my recent visit to a fishing hamlet called Urur Kuppam in Chennai, this was corroborated by the people there as well. The people whose homes were destroyed by the tsunami received no aid or relief to build new houses. One of the women I spoke to told me that they were urged to move to the settlement camps provided by the government. They won’t give us money to build houses, she said with a sad little smile. They want us to move. Her family, among others, chose to stay and struggle because they didn’t want to lose their traditional livelihood. I wrote a story on this for the Fida website which I can’t reproduce here but do read it there.
Anyway, more on coastal invasion later. For now, do try to get your hands on Sasi’s film if you can. For all those who fervently support unabashed capitalism, it may be an eye-opener.