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Heatwave exacerbated by capitalism

Published Jul 28, 2005 2:37 AM

While it is proving to be a blistering summer for U.S. imperialism, the exceedingly hot temperatures across the country are also leading to many deaths, especially for the homeless, and especially in the Southwest.

Farm workers in California and undocumented workers trying to cross the border have died as well. The arduous journey across the deserts of the Southwest is fatal for many migrants coming into the country to seek work year-round. Add to that temperatures soaring into the triple digits and it becomes that much more perilous.

Throughout the country there have been numerous heat warnings as temperatures have gone into the 100s. Over 200 cities across the West have recorded record high temperatures. Las Vegas has peaked at 117 degrees Fahrenheit. In Phoenix alone, 24 people have died because of the heat wave; most of them have been homeless. In California, four farm workers have died from heat-related injuries.

A global warming trend has been well documented over at least the last 10 years. It means that many, and especially the homeless and poor, swelter in the hot weather. Those who have air conditioning may escape, but they suffer through high utility bills. That many are left exposed to the elements any time of year can be attributed to capitalism.

It is indeed a shame that in the richest and most technologically advanced country in the history of the world, so many are homeless and without relief from the blistering heat. What’s more, the changing global climate is because of capitalist production. The capitalist class seeks to increase profits and cares nothing of the environment it is destroying.

Whether the destruction comes from corporate dumping of toxics into our water, air and land, or from imperialist war, the bottom line for the ruling class is the bottom line: profits must go up and costs come down, and its class must control the resources of the world.

In small socialist Cuba—poor in resources as it is—no one is left homeless and no one exposed. When nature ravages, as it will, Cuba mobilizes to move all from harm’s way, and when homes are destroyed and lives lost, Cuban society moves to rebuild and provide for all its citizens.

As the antiwar movement begins to reattain the momentum of two years ago, before the war started, the capitalist class must become more exposed for its brutality, because relief from the elements—from war and destruction of the environment—will come through the overthrow of capitalism.