The Spark

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

The Great Mississippi River Disaster of 2011

May 16, 2011

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been deliberately flooding big areas along the Mississippi River. To reduce the risk of flooding in Cairo, Illinois, the Army blew up a levee releasing water that inundated hundreds of square miles of farm land and destroyed about 100 homes in Missouri. Then the Army opened the floodgates of the Bonnet Carre Spillway 33 miles upriver from New Orleans. Now they are proposing to open more and more of the 125 gates of the huge Morganza Spillway more than a hundred miles above New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

An estimated 3,000 more square miles of land in Cajun country could be flooded by water from the Morganza Spillway with 2,500 people directly in the water’s path and 25,000 more subject to some level of flooding. Thousands of those fleeing Cajun country will find nothing at all to live in when they return. And hundreds of millions of dollars of their crops and more than 10,000 of their homes, barns, shops and stores are being destroyed.

Politicians claim the only choice for the Corps is to flood these vast, mostly rural areas in order to lower the level of the Mississippi by a few feet to reduce the risk of even more disastrous flooding in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and other heavily populated urban areas.

In fact, if levees had been properly maintained and improved over the years, and development had been discouraged on some parts of the river’s flood plain, there would be much less damage from this flood.

But the idea that top politicians and officials care about saving the population in urban areas is ridiculous. Look at what happened during Hurricane Katrina! The reason the Army Corps is flooding other areas to lower the Mississippi near Baton Rouge and New Orleans is to maintain shipping operations and save the pipelines, tanks and refineries of the oil and chemical companies located in the area. The investments and profits of these big corporations are being protected.

Damn their profits! Save workers’ homes and jobs! Save farmers’ houses, barns, crops and lands! Save the shops, stores and other property of small business people!