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

The Jackson Water Crisis:
An Attack Against All Workers

Sep 12, 2022

On August 29, daily life for the 160,000 residents of Jackson, Mississippi, a majority-black city, screeched to a stop. Governor Tate Reeves announced that the municipal water system had broken down completely. The main water purification plant is so decrepit and poorly maintained, it was overwhelmed by flood waters.

For almost two weeks, people couldn’t do all the simple functions that everyone takes for granted: fill a drinking glass, flush the toilet, take a shower after a day of hard work, often in terrible heat and humidity. Everything had to be done with bottled water.

For Jackson residents, this crisis is nothing new. For many years they have had to buy huge amounts of bottled water with money they don’t have. That’s how contaminated the water is with lead and dangerous bacteria.

And it’s only getting worse.

Other black-majority cities and towns have been hit by similar crises. Flint, Michigan got the most attention when angry residents protested against all the lead in the water. For the last four years, people in Benton Harbor, Michigan have been forced to use bottled water for all their daily functions!

These attacks are a product of institutional racism. But they are also the leading edge of a much broader attack against the working class. In the state of California, for example, one million residents risk cancer, liver, and kidney problems because they get drinking water from systems that don’t meet water quality standards.

Children are not spared. More than 40% of U.S. public schools have dangerously high levels of lead contamination in their water fountains.

The working class can’t wait on the politicians and public officials to supposedly “fix” these water crises.

Working people have to get together and fight to assure that our needs are met. We as workers have to come together and fight to stop this. And not just the people in the neighborhoods and schools now hit by this crisis. Everybody! Because the crisis is spreading, getting worse, and coming to every neighborhood in one form or another.

We already pay extremely high taxes, water bills and fees that are being diverted and stolen. Instead of going to pay for vital infrastructure and services, this money is paying for ever higher tax breaks and subsidies for big business. It’s being used to make millionaires into billionaires—so they can buy another yacht!

And they will take ever more until working people draw a line and stop them.

The working class needs a class-wide answer to the water crisis. Just like it needs a class-wide answer to the decline in the rest of the infrastructure, such as the roads, bridges, parks, as well as vital public services, like public education and health care.

It’s all part of the same fight.

That’s why the workers need their own political party. Workers need their own voice and their own separate organization to help bring workers together to fight in their own interests.

That party does not exist today. But working people in Michigan, Maryland and Chicago can send a message in the upcoming election that they support the construction of that party.

In those places, vote for the candidates running on the Working-Class Party slates!