Ireland: Socialist MP condemns Bush administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina

"Poverty stricken residents were left abandoned and in desperate circumstances"

As I write, it is four days since the hurricane hit the Southern USA, but the horrendous scale of the disaster in New Orleans, and the coastal areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, are still unfolding. It seems to me that this disaster can spark a major crisis for US capitalism, in general, and the Bush Administration, in particular. There will be severe economic repercussions, including the effect on oil prices but more so perhaps there can be a sharp political backlash.

What the crisis has thrown up in the most dramatic way is the rotten underbelly of the richest country in the capitalist world. It is glaringly obvious that New Orleans has a huge swathe of poverty stricken residents who had no means to flee the approaching storm. They were left stranded and abandoned and in desperate circumstances. Four days into the disaster, and people still felt abandoned and in desperate need of shelter, food and water.

If one were to see the television pictures for the first time and not be aware of the disaster that struck the United States, one might easily think that yet another disaster had befallen the population of a very poor African country. Yet this is the United States, whose government has managed to move 140,000 soldiers and massive resources half way around the world to invade Iraq for its imperialist interests. Many sharp questions will be asked of Bush and his administration in the weeks and months to come, and this increasingly unpopular government seems destined to lose even more support.

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September 2005