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Vol. 76/No. 43      November 26, 2012

Emergency gov’t relief, jobs now!

The Militant joins with working people demanding restoration of power and emergency government aid for those bearing the brunt of the social catastrophe unfolding in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, a disaster which is magnified a hundredfold by social relations under capitalism.

Two weeks after the storm hit, tens of thousands are still lacking some basic necessities, such as housing, food, power, water and gas. Immediate relief should address these social needs.

Government politicians say they are doing all they can with available resources. This is the biggest lie of all. Human labor is both what is needed and what is not being brought to bear.

This underscores the need to fight for a massive, public works program to provide jobs, both to lessen the competition among workers bred by high unemployment and address the physical devastation and social dislocation left in the hurricane’s wake.

Such a program could focus now on rebuilding and constructing new housing, medical centers, schools, child care centers; on repairing neglected infrastructure such as public transportation, roads, bridges, tunnels and power grids; on taking the measures to be prepared for future storms; and on providing services working people need.

The starting point of the propertied rulers and their government has been to minimize what the storm costs them and put the needs of working people last.

Millions have been kept in the dark both literally and figuratively. Keeping people in the hardest hit areas informed about what is going on, or even where they are being taken seems too much to ask.

For those burdened without a place to stay, the response is to minimize the “burden” on private property—treating evacuees like a nuisance, or like criminals, as some told the Militant. Hundreds have been forced to live under a tent, as schools and other more comfortable accommodations shut their doors. Making hotels and motels in the region available free of charge is not even considered. These establishments are instead jacking up their prices to match rising demand. The rulers feign “empathy,” but they have no sympathy. This stands in contrast to numerous examples of solidarity and efforts by working people to help each other through the situation. Think of what could be unleashed if these steps were backed and organized by massive government resources.

This is what is taking place today in revolutionary Cuba, which was even harder hit by the hurricane. There work brigades from all across the island have been mobilized to aid in Santiago and other devastated cities, backed by resources from a government that represents the interests and political power of the island’s workers and farmers.

This is what workers in the U.S. need—a revolution to take the power out of the hands of the capitalists and replace it with the political power of the working class, which will prioritize the needs of the vast majority, not the profits of a tiny handful.
Related articles:
Workers stand on dignity in Hurricane Sandy wake
Protests demand restoration of power, gov’t aid  
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