Iraq war veterans sent into New Orleans

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Chairman NORMAN CANDY (CWU London Divisional Committee) opening the mass rally against privatisation in central London yesterday
Chairman NORMAN CANDY (CWU London Divisional Committee) opening the mass rally against privatisation in central London yesterday

YESTERDAY 300 Arkansas national guards were sent into the hurricane hit city of New Orleans, after having just returned from Iraq.

The Governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco, said of them: ‘These troops are fresh back from Iraq, well trained, experienced, battle-tested and under my orders to restore order in the streets.

‘They have M-16s and they are cocked and loaded.

‘These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will.’

The slogan of a war on two fronts which originally sought to illustrate that President Bush was attacking both the Iraqi people and the US workers has now become a burning reality.

This war is now raging in New Orleans. Before the thousands of national guardsmen went into the stricken city the police were told to stop their rescue work and start their shooting work, to stop the looters.

The looters, in the main, are workers whose families desperately need food, shelter, water and medicines, and who did not have the luxury of being able to ‘be patient’, as they were instructed to by President Bush, and go quietly into a watery grave.

After the rich and the middle class left the city, days before the tornado struck, the working class and the poor – those without insured, well constructed homes, without good jobs and without health cover – were left behind to face the hurricane.

Now, they are to bear the brunt of the ‘Iron Fist’ of the capitalist state, which tells them that their lives are worthless and that if they harm bourgeois private property, in order to live, they will be executed by troops ‘who know how to shoot to kill and are more than willing to do so’.

The message of the US ruling class is the same in the US as it is in Iraq – the lives of the working class and the poor come very cheap, it is bourgeois property that is sacred.

Now the city has been hit by a series of massive explosions along the waterfront to complement the flooding, with toxic clouds above the area.

But still killing the ‘looters’ is the priority of US capital, with any aid effort and evacuation of the city held off until private property has been secured.

The New Orleans Superdome is now surrounded by troops and police, while those who are being kept there liken it to a concentration camp.

The message from the entire debacle is that US capitalism, the model society as far as New Labour’s Brown and Blair are concerned, cares only for the rich and the super-rich.

The price for their massive tax cuts from the Bush regime was that the flood defences of New Orleans were left to degenerate to nothing.

As well, up to $200 billion was put into the war and occupation of Iraq, that is enslaving the Iraqi people to steal their very valuable oil.

The Bush regime has carried on from where Clinton left off, and has comprehensively screwed the working class and the poor.

It has driven up productivity and cut wages. It has brought in measures to get rid of overtime payments and is set to privatise what social security there is.

It has exported millions of workers’ jobs, and now it is murdering the poor and the oppressed of New Orleans in a frenzy of oppressive ruling class violence.

There is no doubt that such a society deserves to perish. There is also no doubt that its grave digger will prove to be the American working class which is already up in arms at the spectre of Bush with arms folded telling the people of New Orleans to be patient. Their massive class anger will be transformed into revolutionary action in the days ahead.