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Harvey-Texas-Louisiana: Capitalism's Addiction to Profit is to Blame!

By Sean O'Torain - Facts for Working People, August 31, 2017

Catastrophic flooding is now hitting Texas and Louisiana. the area affected is home to 11 million people and includes over 300 smaller cities and towns.  This catastrophe is not an "act of god" or some unfortunate accident. It is the result of policies carried out by the US and international capitalist class. This is what, this is who is to blame.

Climate Change/Global Warming has increased the temperature of the world's oceans. The result is increased rain and storms. It is a world wide problem. The United nations says that 41 million people have been directly affected by flooding and landslides in South Asia, with homes and crops destroyed. Floods from heavy rainfall have also tore across Britain, Ireland, Sudan and Uganda. In one day, August 14th, floods swept through Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone and left 1,000 people dead or missing.

Climate change/global warming is causing massive flooding in some parts of the planet and drought in other parts. The international capitalist class know this. But they are addicted to their profits and so will not change their ways. And so the future of life on earth as we know it is under threat. Capitalism is to blame, the capitalist class and in the case of Texas and Louisiana the US capitalist class and their two political parties the Republicans and Democrats are to blame. And of course the predator in chief in the White House leads the charge. Pulling the US out of the albeit weak world climate change agreement is one example of this. The profits of the fossil fuel industry capitalists must not be touched. They must be allowed to carry on polluting and heating up the planet. Please do not miss who is to blame for the Texas and Louisiana flooding. It is the US and world capitalist class and their mad addiction to profit.

The authors of (Facts for Working People) have continually explained that we live in the time of a vicious capitalist offensive. That is, capitalism has been stepping up its efforts to make more and more profits. It does so by attacking wages and benefits. This is obvious to just about everybody. But what is not so obvious is that it also seeks to drive up its profits by attacking what is referred to as regulation. Put simply regulation is where when capitalism shows its utterly destructive force as it drives for profit and where this threatens to provoke mass opposition then the capitalist state itself steps in and tries to  "regulate" the system. Part of the capitalist offensive of the past decades has been the removal of this regulation so that capitalism can do what it likes. This profit driven deregulation along with the profit driven climate change and global warming is what lies behind the catastrophe in Texas and Louisiana.

Cutting back on regulation is taking place on all fronts, it is part of the capitalist offensive. In places like the Houston area there has been the unregulated building by capitalist profit mad building outfits. They like to be called "developers". Yes Trump likes to call himself a "developer". (Of what is the question) The New York Times describes Houston as having a "fierce "aversion" to regulation. It would be more accurate to say that Houston's capitalist class has a "fierce aversion" to regulation. Building America's fourth largest city, the centre of its space program, the capital of the world's petroleum industry on lowland areas which anybody with a brain knew were prone to flooding, this was insane. Part of this building was the paving over of acre after acre of what had previously been open land which could absorb rain fall. On top of this there is the building of dangerous chemical plants in areas which are now flooding. We already have had the two explosions. So we have the disaster that now unfolds in Texas and Louisiana. Tens of thousands of homes gone, hundreds of thousands of people displaced, tens of thousands of jobs gone. And who knows what yet lies ahead. Maybe more explosions, more chemical pollution.  In case anybody thinks this pointing the finger at the capitalist class and their deregulation is not correct look at this.

Phil Bedient is a civil and environmental engineer at Rice University. Referring to building projects with insufficient open and green space to absorb flood waters he is quoted in the New York Times as saying: "There could have been ways to have more green space more green infrastructure. Its been known for years how to do it, it just costs the developers too much money. And so the building just went rampant, and there weren't many controls. We had no zoning. It was like the wild west, and you just built housing subdivision after housing subdivision up close to the bayous, up close to the channels. The green space that could have absorbed much of the water from a big storm was now paved over with parking lots, houses churches and malls".  This is correct. Only Mr. Bedient poses it the wrong way. It was not that "you just built housing subdivision after subdivision etc." It was that the capitalist class, they like to be called "developers" that did not care if the development was safe or not. As long as they made profit that was okay.

There was an effort to check this mad capitalist drive for profit and irresponsible building. In 2010 Houston voters, overwhelmingly working class people, passed a major mechanism "Rebuild Houston". This was to improve roads and an out of date drainage system. The profit addicted developers attacked this measure with at least two lawsuits. In 2015 the Houston Chronicle examined a sample of permits issued to these so called developers and found that more than half of them had failed to carry out the directives of the Army Corps of Engineers meant to mitigate the destruction of wetlands.  It is this drive for profit, this addiction to profit, this opposition to regulation that has the people of South East Texas and South West Louisiana washed out of their homes today.

The other side of this capitalist made catastrophe is the role of working class people. There are long lines of working class people waiting to be assigned jobs to help the people made homeless. The New York Times, not usually a publication that recognizes the role of the working class, even the existence of the working class, wrote about the multitude of people lining up to help: "It is the working class, in large part being saved by the working class". This is correct. In times of tragedy the "every person for him or her self" consciousness that is pushed by capitalism gets thrown to the one side and the solidarity of working class people rises to the surface. Yes working class people. There are no millionaires or billionaires in these lines to help. No millionaires like the owner of the mega church who tried to keep it closed, only opening it for displaced people when he came under the lash of mass opinion. In contrast, Mosques were opened as shelter without being asked.

However once again while working class people act we have the trade union leaders missing in action. Their inaction is enraging.  It is criminal. The union leaders should be mobilizing their members to go to the South East Texas and South West Louisiana area to help. Instead as usual the trade union leaders do nothing. These leaders have to be removed.

Then think about it another way. There are tens of thousands of US military people, working class people, fighting in wars in the Middle East and based in different countries of the world. Why are they there? They are there to protect the US corporations resources and profits. These thousands of working class personnel would be better used helping in the flooded areas here in the US and some helping the poverty stricken people in the areas in which they are fighting.

The catastrophe of South East Texas and South West Louisiana is caused by capitalism's mad drive for profit and its politicians who assist it in its mad drive for profit. The finger must be pointed at those responsible. And they must be made to pay.

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