Saturday, September 03, 2005

Why I Support Socialism: The Ultimate Democracy

Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath: from natural disaster to national humiliation

Statement of the World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board
2 September 2005

The catastrophe that is unfolding in New Orleans and on the Gulf coast of Mississippi has been transformed into a national humiliation without parallel in the history of the United States.

The scenes of intense human suffering, hopelessness, squalor, and neglect amidst the wreckage of what was once New Orleans have exposed the rotten core of American capitalist society before the eyes of the entire world—and, most significantly, before those of its own stunned people.

The reactionary mythology of America as the “Greatest Country in the World” has suffered a shattering blow.

Hurricane Katrina has laid bare the awful truths of contemporary America—a country torn by the most intense class divisions, ruled by a corrupt plutocracy that possesses no sense either of social reality or public responsibility, in which millions of its citizens are deemed expendable and cannot depend on any social safety net or public assistance if disaster, in whatever form, strikes.

Washington’s response to this human tragedy has been one of gross incompetence and criminal indifference. People have been left to literally die in the streets of a major American city without any assistance for four days. Images of suffering and degradation that resemble the conditions in the most impoverished Third World countries are broadcast daily with virtually no visible response from the government of a country that concentrates the greatest share of wealth in the world.

The storm that breached the levees of New Orleans has also revealed all of the horrific implications of 25 years’ worth of uninterrupted social and political reaction. The real results of the destruction of essential social services, the dismantling of government agencies entrusted with alleviating poverty and coping with disasters, and the ceaseless nostrums about the “free market” magically resolving the problems of modern society have been exposed before millions.

With at least 100,000 people trapped in a city without power, water or food and threatened with the spread of disease and death, the government has proven incapable of establishing the most elementary framework of logistical organization. It has failed to even evacuate the critically ill from public hospitals, much less provide basic medical assistance to the many thousands placed in harm’s way by the disaster.

What was the government’s response to the natural catastrophe that threatened New Orleans? It amounted to betting that the storm would go the other way, followed by a policy of “every man for himself.” Residents of the city were told to evacuate, while the tens of thousands without transportation or too poor to travel were left to their fate.

Now crowds of thousands of hungry and homeless people have been reduced to chanting “we need help” as bodies accumulate in the streets. Washington’s inability to mount and coordinate basic rescue operations will unquestionably add to a death toll that is already estimated in the thousands.

The government’s callous disregard for the human suffering, its negligence in failing to prepare for this disaster and, above all, its utter incompetence have staggered even the compliant American media.



Entire Statement here>>>

2 Comments:

At 9/08/2005 8:37 AM , Blogger halcyon67 said...

This is an excellent article. I read it a few days ago.

How can we expect this Administration and their corporate-driven allies to prepare in the event of a terrorist attack and initiate first responders when they cannot even do this.

I think they made the relief effort slow so they can milk it, and milk it, just like they did 9/11.

Well move over 9/11, Hurricane Katrina is here.

 
At 11/07/2005 2:26 PM , Blogger James said...

3,000 people vs 950 people... HARDLY worth "milking" if that is the case.

 

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