Bosses’ Profits Caused Mudslide, Not ‘Act of God’
After a massive mudslide wiped out dozens of homes in Washington State’s Snohomish County, officials lined up to write the event off as an accident of fate. “It was considered very safe. This was a completely unforeseen slide. This came out of nowhere,” said the head of the county Department of Emergency Management. The County Executive and Public Works Director concurred: “A slide of this magnitude is very difficult to predict. There was no indication, no indication at all.” (Seattle Times, 3/24)
Of course these statements were all lies. County officials had known since at least 1950 that this hill — known in government documents and local lore as “Hazel Landslide” and “Landslide Hill” — posed a constant danger of landslides. Landslides struck the hill in 1949, 1951, 1967, and 2006. Geomorphologist Daniel Miller, who wrote a report on the hill in 1999 for the Army Corps of Engineers, told the Seattle Times, “We’ve known it would happen at some point. We just didn’t know when.” Indeed dozens of reports have been filed with the county regarding the growing instability of a hill whose slide zone had increased dramatically over the last fifty years.
So why did the county keep granting building permits to developers? After the 2006 mudslide, Miller revisited the area and was “shocked” to see a new development being built there, “We’ve known that it’s been failing. It’s not unknown that this hazard exists.” In the last days of the housing boom that came before the current economic depression, the desire of the county to give over land to pad the enormous profits of real estate developers was greater than the concern for any of the people who might live in the homes on Landslide Hill.
Now 41 people are dead and two are still missing. The body count will most assuredly rise as more of the area is uncovered. Why did these people die? To increase the profits of the capitalist class. Yet the lack of class consciousness in this country has forced residents to accept this fate with a cynical fatalism. As one resident whose house was destroyed noted, “Nobody was warning anybody” but it was “an unrealistic expectation” to think the county could have done anything to prevent the disaster.
“That’s like saying the river is going to flood. If the hillsides are going to slough away, they were going to slough away. That’s kind of what happens around here.”
The working class deserves better. This disaster could and should have been avoided. No homes should have ever been built on this unstable ground. The Snohomish mudslide is proof that capitalism cannot and will not provide for the working class.
PatRIOTism: Rulers’ Poison that Kills Millions
What gives you a feeling of patriotism?
Patriotism: devoted love, support, and defense of one’s country, national loyalty.
Internationalism: a policy of cooperation among nations.
Internationalism: a policy of cooperation among workers of all nations.
I prefer the latter.
There is a RIOT in the middle of Patriotism.
As an anti-war fighter for most of my adult life, patriotism is not one of my strong points. I always feel uncomfortable standing up in public for the National Anthem. All countries need patriotism in order to fight wars. Bosses need blind obedience from their youth to lay down their lives. Many wars are fought to control the oil or the pipelines. The beneficiaries of these wars are big oil companies like Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, BP and others on Wall Street.
In the beginning of a war, patriotism is a mile wide in all directions but it is only a fourth of an inch thick. At the sight of hundreds of body bags, the patriotism evaporates quickly. So the rulers of all countries must build up nationalism constantly.
Our children in schools are taught the Pledge of Allegiance very early on. In high school and college, we hear the National Anthem before sporting events. If you do not stand, you risk being ostracized. At professional sporting events, we are subjected to the same things.
Even at the Stockton Symphony, many stood up when patriotic music was played. The song may have been “Stand up for the USA.” Then the performers “The Texas Tenors” wanted to recognize all the veterans who had fought in the wars to make “our country free.”
Many social gatherings are turned into nationalistic propaganda gatherings. There is no mention of innocent workers and women and children worldwide being slaughtered for oil. We are fighting in an imperialist war for the rulers to control the assets of other countries. Imperialism sees the working class, foreign and domestic, as the enemy.
It is very hard for me to be patriotic, to view myself as an american in the same boat with other americans such as bank presidents, Wall street executives, and generals who plan wars executions and evictions every day.
I identify with bus drivers, construction workers, teachers and other workers in Egypt, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Israel/Palestine. I view myself as a member of the international working class.