The Spark

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

Looting, Yes—But Why?

Sep 12, 2005

In the first several days after the hurricane, the media focused on looters, rapists and violence in New Orleans.

Violence? When you throw people already living in poverty into such inhumane conditions, it isn’t surprising to see violence.

But the violence the media talked about so much was only a tiny part of what happened. So why was there so much focus on it?

Why–if not to excuse the criminal negligence of the government? There were 20,000 people trapped in the Superdome and another 10,000 in the Convention Center. With no food or water, and no way to keep themselves and their babies clean, what’s amazing is how disciplined and orderly they were.

In the desperate situation people faced, the stores should have opened their doors and given things away. The government should have provided food, water, and medicine. Instead, people at the Convention Center had to break through the steel doors of the food service to get what they needed to stay alive.

Did people take food and water? They damn well did–and they had every right to do it!