Disaster has a name: capitalism
Published Oct 13, 2005 2:27 AM
None of it
can be hidden any more, not after Katrina. Not the blatant racism, not the
failure of the richest county in the world to have a plan to save people in a
major disaster, not the feeding frenzy of big corporations when they smell blood
in the water.
And not the mounting dangers facing the whole world from
global warming. Even cautious earth scientists are warning that warmer sea
temperatures are fueling the intensity of hurricanes and also contributing to
heavy rain, flooding and landslides.
After Hurricane Katrina came
Hurricane Rita, which hit Southern states along the Atlantic coast. Then came
Hurricane Stan, which caused such severe flooding and mudslides in Central
America that over a thousand people were buried alive. In Asia, too, typhoons
have recently hit China and Vietnam with unusual intensity.
global warming come from? A huge buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere
is trapping the Earth’s heat. These gases come from a tremendous increase
in the burning of coal, oil and natural gas. Scientists predict the
“natural” disasters will get much worse over this
None of this can be solved or even dealt with on an individual
basis. It takes social planning to organize relief and evacuation when disaster
hits. It takes social planning to figure out how people can have adequate
housing, heat, cooling and transportation without degrading the
environment—and to implement those findings.
The U.S. government
plans many things. It plans wars—often on the other side of the world,
like in Iraq and Afghanistan. It plans tax cuts for the wealthy. It is now
planning a trip to the moon.
Big corporations plan. They have plans to
expand their sales, to open factories where wages are cheaper. They plan
expensive advertising campaigns to convince people to buy more. Big business
works out its plans jointly with political insiders, so that the laws and
policies of this country will promote its interests.
But both the
corporations and the government, which belongs to the super-rich despite all its
talk of democracy, are dead-set against any planning that could give priority to
people’s needs over profits.
In fact, they are incapable of it. They
are of, by and for capitalism, and the drive of the capitalists for profits
influences everything they do.
Why don’t most areas of the U.S. have
adequate public transportation systems? Because the auto, tire and oil companies
decided more than half a century ago to gut them so workers would have to buy
automobiles—a major source of global warming.
There was no public
transportation to get the poor out of New Orleans, or out of Houston a few weeks
later when Rita hit. If you didn’t have a car, you were
sunk—literally. And even if you did have a car in Texas, you
couldn’t get anywhere on the clogged highways.
disasters call out for planning—socialist planning, the only real kind.
The kind Cuba has, where hundreds of thousands are evacuated from the coastal
areas every time a hurricane hits that Caribbean nation. Its disaster management
plan has been cited as a model by the United Nations. Everyone is part of the
preparation, from school children to medical personnel to bus and truck drivers.
No one falls through the cracks.
Big corporations have no power in Cuba.
The land, the factories, the farms, the hotels—everything belongs to the
whole Cuban people, not to a white elite. This so enrages the wealthy in the
U.S.—who used to love playing with their money in Cuba’s casinos
before the 1959 revolution—that they’ve tried for 45 years to
destroy the Cuban Revolution and bring capitalism back. But they haven’t
What future is there for the world’s people without
planning based on justice and equality? But capitalism will never bring either
one. This profit system has created an unimaginable gap between rich and poor,
on a global scale. It promotes racism to justify inequality along with sexism
and LGBT oppression. Yet poverty doesn’t have to be. Every reasonable need
can easily be satisfied with today’s level of science and technology. And
there still could be a profound reorganization of economic life to once again
live and work in harmony with nature and its laws.
The capitalist class
can’t do it—they’ve proved that. Workers’ organizations
need to lay out the agenda for profound social change. Most of all, this has to
happen in the United States, where the reactionary, racist, super-rich few are
holding back the revolutionary changes needed by all the peoples of the world.
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World.
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Email: [email protected]
Subscribe [email protected]
Support independent news DONATE