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Bill Templer, "The Uses of an Earthquake: Rereading Harry Cleaver"

Bill Templer writes:

"The Uses of an Earthquake:

Rereading Harry Cleaver"

Bill Templer

Harry Cleaver's extraordinary piece "The Uses of an Earthquake" (Midnight Notes 1988) on the response by Tepito (a barrio in Mexico City) to the 1985 earthquake and its aftermath — and the building of grassroots autonomous self-organization and militancy by the Tepitenos — is especially relevant in the wake of Katrina.

As Cleaver reminds us:

"In dozens of the poorer barrios of Mexico City, the movement of the earth sparked movements of people using the devastation in property and the cracks opened in the structures of political power to break through oppressive social relations and to improve their lives. […] For those of us outside of Mexico, the people of Tepito have an important lesson to teach, not only about the uses of an earthquake, but about the use of crisis more generally. […] We should always be ready to take advantage of any crack or rupture in the structures of power which confine us."

Have a look:

http://www.eco.utexas.edu/facstaff/Cleaver/earthqu ake.html

Rarely has the chasm between people and Power in America opened so wide. We need fresh left-green and libertarian argument about the whys and hows of people’s autonomy, far beyond what Naomi Klein sketches in "Needed: A People’s Reconstruction." Many eyes and ears have been opened, however momentarily.