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Shock Doctrine: 'Emergency Finance Managers' and the Right-Wing's Power Grab

Emergency financial managers are being put in place by democratically elected governors throughout the country.

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"...if an economic crisis hits and is severe enough--a currency meltdown, a market crash, a major recession--it blows everything else out of the water, and leaders are liberated to do whatever is necessary (or said to be necessary) in the name of responding to a national emergency.”

Klein made the link between that radical economic policy and dictatorships, usually violent ones, where a single person or small group used power consolidated by that same shock technique to control the population. Obviously, the same type of violence is not being used in the states that are considering emergency manager legislation, but there's no question that the “shock” of the ongoing recession is being used to push through policies that were quite different from the campaign-trail promises of the Republicans in power.

While the emergency financial managers are being put in place by democratically elected governors with the blessing of democratically elected legislatures, they represent a consolidation of power that may be unprecedented in this country and is certainly undemocratic.

Local groups are organizing against these measures on the ground, particularly in Michigan, but the real problem is figuring out just where the next copycat bill will arise. 


Sarah Jaffe is an AlterNet editor and a freelance writer.

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