The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

New Weather Emergencies, Old Government Inaction

Feb 15, 2010

The recent blizzards in the Mid-Atlantic states created disastrous conditions for millions of people. Cities like Washington D.C. and Baltimore weren’t prepared for three feet or more of snow on the ground that rarely, if ever, happens. But there are steps public officials could have taken to provide relief to the population.

First of all, they could have ordered every business, service and government office – other than essential ones – to stay closed so people could safely get away. Disciplinary action for workers’ failure to show up for work could have been prohibited. Transport by emergency vehicles for all workers required to show up for their jobs to maintain essential services could have been organized.

Officials could have mobilized military units to distribute food, medical supplies and other items desperately needed by the population. They could have used military vehicles to plow out all residential streets. Local governments could have assisted neighborhood associations to check on the well-being of all residents, and to organize the shoveling of side walks, paths and parking spaces.

These things could have been done – but weren’t. Capitalist society is not organized to respond to the needs of the population.