government abandoned the poorest of the
American people in thier hour of need
when Hurricane Katrina struck. The question
is why, and what do we do about it?
didn't start the government's war on the
poor; that war had been under way for
years. Katrina just ripped the covers
off a system that has no use for people
it cannot exploit to make a profit.
live under a government run by and for
the giant corporations and the wealthy.
They create the laws, institutions and
policies they need to guarantee their
profits. The government can only do the
bidding of the rich and the corporations,
because it is their government. We also
live in a society where electronic technology
and globalization is doing away with more
and more jobs and driving down the wages
of those who can still find a job. No
matter what color your skin or your collar,
nobody's job is safe, and nobody is safe
from poverty. This system no longer
needs the labor of a growing mass of workers,
and poverty is growing by leaps and bounds
as a result.
is why the government has torn up the
social safety net. Why provide a safety
net for workers you don't need? The poor
on the Gulf Coast were left to the mercy
of Katrina because the corporate-controlled
government didn't give a damn about them.
And when they finally were "rescued,"
they were ordered around at gunpoint and
then shipped out all over the country
so there was no angry mass of poor people
in one spot, demanding their rights.
is about more than Bush and the Republicans.
The ripping up of the social safety net,
the privatizing of public goods and services,
the criminalizing of those in poverty
began under Democratic administrations
and has been carried out with the support
of Democratic politicians. The problem
isn't just Bush; we have been abandoned
by a whole system that no longer needs
us. And both the Democratic and Republican
parties are part of that system.
has opened a door in American politics.
All kinds of politicians are suddenly
talking about poverty now, and debating
government's responsibility for the poor.
The Democrats are obviously hoping to
get the poor and the rest of the working
class to flock to their banner. We, the
people, should be on our guard. We should
seize the opportunity to educate ourselves
and those around us, so we can choose
a path in the interests of the people.
need a government that represents the
people, not the corporations. And we must
build our own political party to help
organize the struggle for such a government.
the broader question is, what kind of
society are we going to have? Today a
handful of corporations and wealthy investors
own society's productive property and
they decide what gets produced and how
much, who will work, and who will have
health care, housing, education and everything
else. They decide who lives and who dies.
doesn't have to be this way. Society's
productive technology, owned and controlled
by the people, could guarantee a decent
life for every one of us. We need much
more than a new set of politicians. We
need a new society, owned and controlled
by the people, where no one goes without
the necessities of life. This is possible
today, and necessary if the majority of
us are going to survive.
must convince those around us that it
is not just individual politicians, but
an entire system that has turned against
us and intends to destroy us. And we can
have a new society. The opportunity is
right in front of us, if we have the courage
to seize it.
tore the fig leaf off and exposed the
heartlessness of this system for the whole
world to see. Those of us who are committed
to building a new society free of poverty
must seize the opportunity to bust the
debate wide open and steer it where it
needs to go.
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