While watching The Yes Men’s coverage of the effect Hurricane Katrina had on specifically working-class, black residents of New Orleans. They explained how after Katrina, the HUD shut shut up houses and privatized housing, which was to allegedly reform it, consistent with the “free market” ideology of Milton Friedman. However, the Yes Men made the case that in a free market, businesses “make a profit out of total disaster,” rather than cleaning up the disaster they made.

I thought of how this could be compared to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, an act of violence that, like Hurricane Katrina, disproportionately targets black and working-class residents. Looking at recent news from Flint, criminal charges have been filed against Gov. Rick Snyder, who denies he has committed a crime and has hired lawyers paid for by taxpayers. The irony in this is that researched emails, public records, and public testimony have “documented a pattern of neglect and indifference [. . .] even as evidence mounted that the water was contaminated” (Smith, 2016), yet the taxpayers who are affected by this negligence are paying the lawyer fees, as well as their own well being, for a man with a huge amount of responsibility for the crisis.

How do you all think The Yes Men-style “hoaxes” would look to intervene for the Flint Water Crisis? Beyond charging the people responsible for the crisis, should company heads also be held responsible? What could companies do in this situation to use their economic and political power for the residents who have been shown they have none?

Smith, Mitch. “Flint, and Michigan, Brace for More Charges in Water Inquiry.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 28 Oct. 2016. Web. 7 Nov. 2016.

 

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