Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Militant: Vol. 75/No. 32 September 12, 2011

The latest online issue of the Militant newspaper [US SWP, my former party] begins with an excellent front page article skewering ruling class self-congratulation over the "handling" of last weekend's Hurricane Irene on the East Coast.

The true face of capitalism

....In the view of the capitalist rulers and their political spokespeople, in fact, workers are so stupid, so recalcitrant, that it was necessary to twist facts and fuel fears in order to coax them to evacuate. “Nature is dangerous. Pay attention,” Bloomberg scolded on Sunday. The news article in this issue cites other examples.


As Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said August 30, the operations carried out by Washington in connection with Irene “reflected a lot of training, preparation, exercises, equipment, provisions, all of which by the way came in part out of 9/11.”

Perhaps it was one of those “exercises” that had to be aborted in New York when, as reported elsewhere in this issue, repeated statements by Bloomberg and Metropolitan Transit Authority chief Jay Walder that subway service would not resume until long after rush hour Monday morning suddenly gave way to the announcement that trains would be running well before rush hour. Behind-the-scenes arm-twisting by employers and businesses facing another day of lost sales, labor, and profits seemed to trump further “training.”

The ruling families and their government can and do try to prepare for the wars and class battles they know are coming. But no social plan to defend the interests of the big working majority of the population is possible under capitalism.

Imagine what would have happened if Irene had maintained hurricane-force winds that hit New York City. Look at what is happening to hundreds of thousands of working people devastated by flooding in towns and small cities across the Northeast. Remember the deaths and destruction inflicted on hundreds of thousands in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama in 2005 due to the social crisis in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

This is the true face of capitalism.

It is a powerful argument for why the working class and its allies must build a revolutionary social movement able to conquer workers power and overturn the dictatorship of capital.

It is a powerful argument for workers using that state power to nationalize the land and housing, so working people are no longer evicted, foreclosed, or made to bear the burden on their own of rebuilding or repairing homes damaged or destroyed by flooding or by winds. And no longer forced to live on floodplains and river banks, while high-income professionals and other middle-class and bourgeois layers have their homes in safer locations.

There is one country in the world today—Cuba—where workers and farmers made a socialist revolution half a century ago and brought to power a government of their own. As a result of the organized and disciplined social solidarity made possible by that proletarian revolution, only 30 people have died in 16 major hurricanes there over the past decade, while more than 40 died in the United States as result of Irene alone.

By emulating that road in the United States, not only will working people no longer be “on our own” in face of natural disasters. We will have in our hands the necessary political instrument to fight to end, once and for all, the imperialist wars, exploitation, racism, oppression of women, and destruction of the earth’s environment that capitalism inevitably produces.

Another article lays out the broader 'what is to be done today' issues taken up in the September 13 special election for the 9th Congressional District.

The newspapers write about an economic recovery, “but this is not a recovery for working people,” [SWP candidate] Hoeppner said. “We are in a depression.” The Socialist Workers Party, he said, demands a massive, government-funded program “to create jobs for the unemployed, rebuilding infrastructure, schools, hospitals, firehouses. This is the only way we can stop the capitalists from putting their crisis on the backs of working people.”

....Asked how he would have voted on the “debt ceiling” .....Hoeppner said he would have voted no. “The only issue debated in Washington was how far to cut Medicare and Social Security,” he said. Medical care “should not be run on a profit basis,” the socialist candidate said. “When you go to the hospital, the first question is your insurance card, not taking your pulse.” Obama’s health care plan is “just a boon to the insurance companies.”
Well, put Chris!

Among Militant Labor Forums listed around the country, I thought this one looked most promising:

What's Behind the Civil War in Libya and the Fall of Moammar Gadhafi?
Speaker: Angel Lariscy, Socialist Workers Party.
Fri., Sept. 9, 7:30 p.m. Donation: $5.
4800 W 34th St., Suite C-50L.
Tel.: (713) 688-4919.

It is too bad the party does not do podcasts or videos of these events, like WWP does.

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