From the Editors: Climate Disasters: The Corporate State Versus Humanity
Climate change disasters are intensifying the ongoing economic polarization of wealth and poverty in U.S. society. These are not “natural disasters,” as ruling class propagandists claim. These are corporate-made disasters and there is nothing natural about them. Environmental polluting causes global warming and its ongoing negative environmental consequences. Environmental pollution today is caused by a dying capitalist economy and a ruling class that must protect its private property at all costs.
Heat waves combined with record high temperatures this year have caused wildfires, scorching more that 8 million acres of land across the country. And dozens of wildfires continue to burn and spread throughout the western U.S. Within the span of six weeks, warm ocean water temperatures produced four hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate) that made direct landfall on the U.S. and its territories, wreacking havoc on the lives of tens of millions of people. Combined, these super-storms hit the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Sea to the East, to the Gulf Coast states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. Those worst hit were the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and southeastern Texas by Hurricane Harvey.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) rushed into the Houston area to get oil refinery production back online, following the unprecedented flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. Production returned to pre-hurricane levels within 3 weeks. And now two months later, Houstonians by the tens of thousands remain housed in shelters, motels and hotels. Corporate privatizers are on the scene to take over whatever public services they can convince city and surrounding county governments to sell for pennies on the dollar.
True to its interests as a corporate government agency and its purpose to protect ruling class private property, FEMA’s response was slow to none in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Both U.S. territories were absolutely devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, but neither had major corporate private property investments threatened, requiring a FEMA rapid response. More than a month following the super-storms, tens of thousands of the 100,000 U.S. Virgin Islanders have no drinkable water and a majority have no electricity. And in Puerto Rico, which remains a direct colony of the United States, inhabited by 3.4 million U.S. citizens, millions are without water and electricity, while food and medicine remain scarce throughout the island. Over a 100,000 homes were destroyed by Hurricane Maria. Day-to-day life for millions of people on the island remains an hour-to-hour struggle for survival.
We are living in a world where the corporate private property interests of the few are dictating the terms of life and death for the many. A small corporate ruling class continues to destroy the environment, causing record-breaking wildfires and super-storms that are becoming the “new normal.” Then, in the name of disaster relief, the corporations and the federal government float loans to local governments for the corporations to reconstruct devastated regions.
The government and corporate investors then impose terms that include corporate privatization of public services and austerity measures on the local victims to pay back the loans. This disaster reconstruction process is not confined to the U.S. or to human-made systemic disasters. It is the same process used by global capitalism around the world. The same thing is happening in Mexico today, following the two major destructive earthquakes that hit there in September.
Either human society will take over the corporations, or the corporations will continue to destroy human society. These environmental catastrophes are making it increasingly clear that there is only one way forward for the vast majority of people around the world. The people must exercise the political will to take over the corporations and make corporate private property the public property of society, to be used for the common good of society as a whole.
November.December 2017 Vol27.Ed6
This article originated in Rally, Comrades!
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The age-old vision of a world without scarcity, without exploitation, class domination, organized violence, and stultifying labor has been the dream of millenia. The new completely socialized labor-eliminating means of production ... sets the basis for its realization. Now human history can begin, the light of the individual shining in the full brightness of liberated life, that can only be realized within true equality and cooperation: communism, a cooperative society.'Without Vision, the People Perish'
Rally, Comrades ! May/June 2011