Ida’s disaster – capitalism and what the movement needs to do – workers world
The author is a member of the Workers Voice Socialist Movement of New Orleans. Here she describes Ida’s ravages, government aid failure, and her ideas on how working class organizations should respond to the crisis.
September 12 – Sitting in my “living room”, piled up with items from other rooms where water was coming from a damaged roof, I am furious at the media coverage of all the help we are allegedly receiving. But the reality on the ground for workers, above all the low paid, is completely different. Despite hundreds of millions of dollars for Ida’s recovery, little goes to those in need now. Most of the recovery funds go to institutions, not directly to people. And other storms are coming quickly.
The $ 500 FEMA cash is delayed, if it ever arrives. As if $ 500 was enough everywhere. Many do not have a bank account. Hours were spent on the phone waiting for FEMA, only to be turned down. You are refused if you have stayed in a large non-designated hotel. Denied if you have insurance. FEMA is done online, and at least a third of New Orleans does not have internet access. And September 19 is now the filing deadline.
Entire towns in the parishes of the bayou, especially Terrebonne and Jefferson, have been declared uninhabitable. The indigenous nations of these parishes are also devastated. The workers have no job, no money, no home; 13,000 died from COVID; tests are hard to find, but hey, Saints play.
Insurance is about collecting money from us, not paying it to us. If you even have insurance, there is often a hurricane franchise of thousands of dollars. Louisiana is an economic low for workers, but it has the highest home and auto insurance costs in the United States. – on only wealthy people.
Licensed contractors cannot be found; and if you do, they rip you off and double their prices. But urgent repairs like leaks, drywall needing demolition, or the demolition of an entire house can’t wait months to get an amount that insurance decides on their thrones, even if their adjusters report the damage. precisely.
What is needed now is money
It takes money now to make repairs, to live elsewhere, to find a car, a job or pay the rent. Invoices arrive in the mailbox and Entergy asks for a 38% rate increase. The working class, especially communities of color and lower paid white workers, is being ground. We join the global ranks of climate change refugees.
This disaster has revealed its workers who are important. Bankers, real estate developers are useless. Workers in sanitation, electricity, sewage and water, hospitals and retail businesses really keep us going. Garbage is piling up in the city’s mountains, but sanitation workers need to triple wages and the city must hire hundreds more.
The city has announced that construction projects are starting again, so they can continue their relentless gentrification, making New Orleans look like Johannesburg under apartheid. The white capitalist ruling class is the hidden hand of it all, empowered by upper middle class black politicians with the support of legions of nonprofits.
$ 21 trillion since September 11
Militarism and war profiteers are not politics; it is capitalism. Since September 11, 2001, $ 21 trillion has been plundered from the treasury for wars in which workers have no stake. . It is such a large amount that it could cover all of our needs here and around the world.
We cannot continue to wage small fights, each separate issue as the ultra-right gains strength. We need to unite the left and bring the issues together in a massive movement to involve workers. By working together, we can take the difficult but necessary road for a militant mass movement that unites the needs of the people with anti-militarism.
We don’t need endless webinars with great facts; we have to go to the workers. Simply and with altruism.
Election politics alone is dangerous
It is the power of a united movement which can inspire and stimulate the broad working masses that is the urgency. Capitalism must go, but we must first look within our own strengths, reorient ourselves, organize with class consciousness and simply, and have political demands for transition, and not rely on politicians like Biden.
Capitalism is at the root of all misery and must be completely uprooted. Only the working class, with all its nationalities, can accomplish this, end imperialist wars and deal decisively with saving the planet, peoples and all species.