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Katrina's aftermath reveals fight for a New America without poverty

By The People's Tribune

At the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and as the midterm congressional elections approach, it's more clear than ever that the Democrats are no different than the Republicans when it comes to representing the interests of the poor.

Problems persist up and down the Gulf Coast , but New Orleans remains the glaring example. The poor are still locked out of New Orleans , and the National Guard has been brought in to make sure it stays that way. Tens of thousands of people languish in FEMA trailer parks that the residents describe as being like prisons. Plans to redevelop New Orleans without the poor are proceeding with the blessing of both Democratic and Republican politicians. And as the author of the report "Big, Easy Money: Disaster Profiteering on the American Gulf Coast ," states:

"The devastation of the Gulf Coast is tragic enough, but the scope of the corporate greed that followed, facilitated by government incompetence and complicity, is downright criminal. Sadly, disaster profiteering has become commonplace in America . Well-connected corporations are growing rich off of no-bid contracts." (see

The Labor Day holiday typically signals the final stretch toward the midterm congressional elections. Each party will spare no cost or effort in presenting itself as champion of "the great American middle class," as a staunch defender of freedom and the pocketbooks of "working people." At the same time, each will spend equal effort vilifying the other. Millions will be spent in attack ads mounting personal attacks against the opponent.

The point of the whole exercise is the attempt by both parties to hoodwink John and Jane Q Public into believing that they do indeed have a real choice; that there are real differences between Democrats and Republicans.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The only real distinction between the Democratic and the Republican Parties are the kind of differences that exist among pirates and thieves; differences over how to divide up the loot they have stolen from others.

In fact, both parties faithfully serve the same master -- the large global corporations -- and do so at the expense of the needs of the overwhelming majority of Americans, especially the poor.

In the past the fact that the two major political parties served the economic and political interests of the ruling capitalist class could be effectively hidden by campaign rhetoric and a few window-dressing reforms. This was the case in the 1960s when the Democrats could masquerade as the "party of the common man" and of labor and civil rights.

Today such a charade cannot work. Today the rapid polarization of wealth and poverty resulting from globalization and robotic-based production renders reform under capitalism impossible. The labor of millions of workers is no longer needed, and the only "reforms" the corporate government will support today are those that reduce the cost of doing business and make the rich richer. The corporations won't take care of workers they don't need. Thus Democratic president Clinton's welfare "reform" threw millions off of public aid and into poverty-wage jobs or unemployment with no safety net. And ask the senior citizen on Medicare if Republican president Bush's prescription drug "reform" has reduced the cost of medications they desperately need. The Democrats and Republicans are defending a dying system that is steadily impoverishing most of the working class. That's why neither of these parties can represent the working class.

Does this mean that the workers must forego participation in the electoral process? NO! It means the workers must build their own political force, independent of the Democrats and Republicans, that can lead the fight to build a new, cooperative society free of poverty.

This article originated in the People's Tribune
PO Box 3524 , Chicago , IL 60654 , 773-486-3551, .
Feel free to reproduce unless marked as copyrighted.
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