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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 August 2005

Hurricane Katrina exposes: Bush's rotten capitalist system

THOUSANDS IN New Orleans and throughout the Gulf Coast have died of drowning, dehydration, starvation and lack of medical care. Refugee camps are packed with tens of thousands of victims. They have no secure shelter and no regular sources of food and water. Even more have been left behind to fend for themselves in a total hell-hole that was once known for its culture, art, food and hospitality.

Bryan Koulouris, New York City, USA

The US corporate media has portrayed as criminals the overwhelmingly poor Black residents left behind in squalor because they are taking food, water, clothing and other things to survive. However, the blame for the chaos in New Orleans should lie squarely on the shoulders of Bush, big business, and the system that values profits over lives.

The "American nightmare" of the living conditions faced in the US inner cities is now clear to the entire world. Before the storm, New Orleans had an illiteracy rate of over 40%. Nearly 20% of the city's residents lived below the poverty line. Just like thousands of homes on the Gulf Coast, the roof has been torn off of US society for all to see the rotten underbelly of the world's biggest economic and military power.

The absolutely revolting thing about this entire tragedy is that none of this had to happen. The flood prevention system in New Orleans has seen drastic budget cuts. Over the last five years, over $70 million have been taken away from disaster prevention in New Orleans. Compare that to over one billion dollars each week spent on Iraq. Now, New Orleans looks more like Fallujah, an entire city reduced to rubble with unimaginable conditions and dead bodies everywhere. This is the war at home. It's about time we started fighting back to win some battles.

US workers have been hit over the last 20 years with de-industrialisation, a falling rate of unionisation, and massive budget cuts. Millions have no access to healthcare. One-third of US citizens are in debt. Two million are in jail. There is no future for working-class youth, unless you like flipping burgers or dodging bullets (in Iraq or at home). And it isn't getting any better unless we do something about it.

Mass demonstrations are needed in solidarity with the victims of Katrina. Bush and corporate America won't give up anything without a fight, so we need to bring the fight to them. We need to demand decent jobs, a massive public works programme, affordable public housing, access to free healthcare and an end to the occupation of Iraq.

To win these demands, lobbying politicians won't get the job done. We need to wage a struggle that includes demonstrations, strikes, direct action, and ongoing labour and community organising.

The problem isn't just Bush; the entire system is designed to benefit a few and keep the rest of us living from paycheck to paycheck. Capitalism is a system responsible for war, poverty and environmental destruction. We need a socialist society based on workers' needs, not corporate greed.

Cash for relief not war and profit

AFTER HURRICANE Katrina Socialist Alternative - the US section of the Committee for a Workers' International which the Socialist Party is also affiliated to - is campaigning for mass demonstrations of the trade union movement and anti-war movement to demand:

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In The Socialist 25 August 2005:

Hurricane Katrina exposes Bush's rotten capitalist system

Hurricane Katrina: A disaster made worse by capitalism

Bush lashed over hurricane catastrophe

March against war and terrorism

Iraq 'Constitution' is no exit route for Bush and Blair

Book your ticket now!

TUC must turn defiant words into effective deeds

ISR backs Gate Gourmet workers

Poland 1980: The rise and fall of Solidarnosc

China/EU dispute: Crazy logic of the profit system


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