Earthquake catastrophe fueled by capitalism

March 6, 2023

Under capitalism, earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters are turned into social catastrophes that fall in sharply different ways on different social classes. They strike workers and farmers with special ferocity.

Countless lives are lost because bosses ignore basic safety precautions — like reinforcing buildings constructed near fault lines — that cut into their profits. The bosses’ priorities and the living conditions they impose on us exacerbate death and destruction.

The social disaster after the earthquakes in Syria and Turkey is the latest example. The same class realities can be seen in every corner of the world, from the least developed semicolonial nations to the wealthiest imperialist powers like the U.S. The grim toll when hurricanes hit is a result of the fact that working people are forced to live wherever housing is least expensive, including on flood plains, and the capitalist rulers’ inevitable decision to leave us to fend for ourselves when a disaster hits.

Bosses and their government’s profit system gambles with our lives. They figure the odds. Is the chance of a catastrophe small enough — or the potential profits large enough — to make taking risks worthwhile? Can they pass off the death toll as an unfortunate but unalterable force of nature? Can they mask the fact that such disasters are a product of social relations based on class exploitation, and that the resulting losses can be sharply altered by a change in which class rules?

Dog-eat-dog morality is integral to capitalist exploitation. The rulers impose their values in workplaces and schools, and regurgitate them daily in their media. They are truly indifferent to the deadly impact of their system on our class.

Working people can only defend ourselves by turning toward one another and struggling together against the bosses and their twin Democratic and Republican parties. Through working-class solidarity and union struggles, we learn everything in society is class versus class.

Working people in Cuba face numerous hurricanes, as well as Washington’s punishing economic war aimed at crushing their socialist revolution. Despite mounting hardship caused by the U.S. embargo, no one in Cuba is left to fend for themselves when a storm hits. The lesson of the Cuban Revolution is that with communist leadership it is possible everywhere to organize the toiling majority to replace capitalist rule with a workers and farmers government.

It will take a socialist revolution to overturn the destructive social order that dominates the U.S. and the rest of the capitalist world, to prevent further social catastrophes. That’s a good reason to join with the Socialist Workers Party to fight for a future that unleashes the creative potential of humanity.