the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist
“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx
Oct 10, 2022
We are not all in the same boat when it comes to natural disaster. It goes without saying that natural disasters like Hurricane Ian have the worst impact on working class and poor people. Wealthy people hear a hurricane is coming to town and they can just walk away. They have other properties they can go to. They can afford to stay in a luxury resort far away from the path of the storm. As individuals, workers, on the other hand, face insurmountable problems. Where do they evacuate to? How do they get there? With what money?
Under capitalism, these social problems are left up to the individual. Luxury resorts, hotels, even school dormitories outside of the danger area were not made available at no cost to potential storm evacuees. No buses were organized to remove people and their pets from a life-threating storm. In this society you need money, a car, gasoline, and a place to go. And it is left up to the individual, regardless of if they have the resources or not. There is no collective solution organized.
Another huge impact comes in the aftermath of Ian. What happens to people who lost everything? Their homes, their cars, all their possessions and their jobs may have been shredded or soaked in the hurricane. While most people may have some property insurance, they don’t have flood insurance. These people are facing homelessness. This not something the wealthy have to worry about in the least. Florida is one of the most expensive states to live in, even though there is no individual income tax. In the wake of the Ian disaster, affordable housing will be even harder to come by.
Yes, a hurricane caused the destructive winds, rain, and storm surge. But it is the way this society is organized that led to over 100 deaths and to working class people not having good answers to how they are going to live now that they have lost everything.
Right now, society is organized so that the wealthy are in power. They make decisions about our lives, like deciding it’s OK not to evacuate people to safety even if it means people will be killed. Society could be organized differently. The people who do the work and whose labor creates the wealth could be in power. That will require an organized fight by the working class. A fight that is now more imperative than ever.