Saturday, January 8, 2011

Socialism, Capitalism & Natural Disasters

By Stephen Millies
Published Jan 8, 2011 7:37 AM

It almost never snows in beautiful Cuba. The country’s tallest mountain, Pico Turquino, was last covered with the white stuff in 1864 and 1900.

Cubans would probably rather have a series of blizzards instead of the terrible hurricanes they’ve endured. Capitalist climate change is making things worse. In 2008 alone, Hurricanes Gustav, Ike and Paloma ravaged the Caribbean island. Gustav and Ike struck 10 days apart and did $5 billion worth of damage. Ike destroyed 840,000 acres of sugar cane fields.

But because millions of Cubans were evacuated, just seven people were killed in the 2008 hurricanes. (

What a contrast to President George W. Bush letting Black and poor people drown and starve in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Bush refused offers from Cuba and Venezuela to send help to New Orleans.

Despite a 50-year U.S. economic blockade of their country, Cubans can organize themselves so well because they live in a socialist society. Every member of the Cuban Communist Party is an organizer.

The capitalist party that runs the United States can’t even deal with two feet of snow in New York City. Billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg was useless in the aftermath of the Dec. 26 snowstorm.

Socialism beats capitalism in dealing with cold weather. Throughout the Soviet Union, central heating stations were built that kept people warm in their homes. This sort of social organization is impossible under capitalism, in which housing, heating oil and natural gas are just commodities to be sold at a profit.

Central heating stations were a prime NATO target when socialist Yugoslavia was bombed for 78 days in 1999. President Bill Clinton wanted to freeze people into submission.

Socialism hasn’t been able to prevent earthquakes yet, although Chinese scientists are working at making more accurate predictions.

When Tashkent, the capital of Soviet Uzbekistan, was struck by a huge earthquake on April 26, 1966, every nationality in the Soviet Union pitched in to help their Central Asian sisters and brothers. Within four years, 100,000 new housing units were built and a new subway system was started.

Capitalists actually profit off disasters. They gamble at the Chicago Board of Trade and other such casinos on crop failures. The British East India Company doubled its profits as 10 million people starved to death in Bengal in the 1770s.
Articles copyright 1995-2011 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

No comments: