Editorial note: As we go to press, the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico is intensifying. Large parts of the island have no water or power. The US government is doing very little and very slowly for Puerto Rico or for the Virgin Islands. Below are stories the People’s Tribune received about the crisis the people face everywhere at the hands of the corporations. The first is a letter from a Katrina survivor to a friend in Texas, warning him about what’s coming: government abandonment of the people after the storm as the corporations swoop in to make profits.
From Ted Quant, Louisiana:
Hola Manuel! I am glad you are safe. We had rain and some flooding. Nothing like Texas and western parts of Louisiana.
My nephew sent me photos of the flooded houses of his elderly aunts in Raywood ,TX. They will need help from the family. Also, people from New Orleans who were displaced by Katrina live in Houston. I expect I will be learning of the fate of some of them. Another friend had an apartment in Galveston. She lost everything.
This is way bigger than Katrina. The fascist privatization of everything public is about to happen. Every fascist law that couldn’t be implemented before will be now. All labor laws will be suspended. The “hated” Mexicans (they are rapist and bad people says Trump) will be imported by major corporations like Halliburton. The corporations will be given billion dollar no bid contracts. Half the money will be taken off the top as profit, and half will be sub-contracted to the next level of capitalist. At the bottom will be the workers. They will get $7/hr. to do the dangerous and dirty clean up. The lowliest workers will be pitted against each other for who will work for less while the corporations laugh all the way to the bank.
Plans are being made now for how the future of Houston and the country will be shaped in the interest of the most reactionary political agenda. The “all of us are in this together love and happiness” moment of volunteers and support will change and get ugly real quick. Homeland security will take over and the people will be treated not as citizens but refugees.
Before the water went down in New Orleans, there was a meeting in Baton Rouge to make plans to ensure the displaced poor could never return. They made plans to turn where I live into a “green space” and a place for flood waters to go. They told us if we tried to rebuild we wouldn’t get insurance or city services—police, fire, water, etc. They privatized our school system and fired all the veteran teachers, busted the union, and brought in college students—“Teach for America”—to teach in the new charter school system.
Beware! This is the next stage of the process after the water goes down
From John Moran, California:
“In all my 70 plus years I have never seen this country in such a state of collapse. We are entering a very difficult time to stay alive. The government, national or local, is systematically failing to provide safe infrastructure to meet the needs of our nation. The military is mandated to protect the American people and it doesn’t. Look what is happening to our cities, where devastation looks more like a massive bombing than a storm. Our drinking water is unfit to drink, our highways and bridges are unsafe. We are told by the government gerrymandered, unelected politicians, that the cost of rebuilding must come from the domestic budget. We must rebuild and stop paying out billions of dollars to the military industrial complex that won’t repair a thing. The people of the Middle East did not destroy Houston or New Orleans. But we continue to bomb them. More weather issues are coming at us as of this writing and potential earthquakes like what just hit Mexico. Do we use the defense budget to pay for our defense against the environment and rebuilding of our infrastructure or continue the endless War? One thing is clear—its up to us to demand this insanity stops.”