RCP: Three Fundamental Lessons of Katrina




Statement by the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

On Hurricane Katrina: Three Fundamental Lessons

Three fundamental things to be learned from what has been happening, including
the role of the government, in relation to hurricane Katrina:

1. The real nature of those who rule over the people, and real
weaknesses of this ruling class, have been further revealed before the
world. The “superstitious awe” that people are conditioned to have toward
the powers-that-be and their state—their whole machinery of rule, and of
repression—has been dramatically shaken through these events and in particular
through the actions of the government itself. In the eyes of large numbers of
people, the ability to rule as well as the right to rule of this current regime,
and indeed of the ruling class as a whole, has been called into question in
significant ways. Things which this ruling class attempts to keep hidden, to
deny or to distort and misrepresent—including the oppression and the extreme
poverty of large numbers of Black people in the U.S. itself—has burst through
the “normal” web of deception and the iron hand of suppression. What does
and does not matter to the powers-that-be—and in particular their complete
lack of concern for the masses of poor and oppressed people, and indeed for the
people in society in their great majority—has stood out for all to see,
throughout the U.S. and all over the world. At the same time, it has been
graphically illustrated that, even though they remain very powerful, the rulers
of the U.S., and their armed forces and other machinery of oppression, are not
all-powerful.

2. Not only the need but also the possibility of revolution, and
of a radically different society, shows through in these events—once they are
understood in their true light. Masses of people, in the areas most immediately
affected, were being left by the government to suffer, day after day, in
conditions not fit for human beings, yet they showed their humanity in many ways
and put the lie to the slanders that portrayed them as criminals and animals.
Where they took matters into their own hands, the great majority did so with
right on their side, in the attempt to meet needs that could be met no other
way. Overwhelmingly, the people trapped in these conditions have responded by
supporting and helping each other, especially those in most desperate need,
while expressing outrage at the indifference and inaction of the government; and
in this they have been supported and assisted by people all over the country. In
all this can be seen the potential for masses of people to be mobilized to bring
into being a society in which relations among people are radically different
than the daily dog-eat-dog that this capitalist system pushes people into. Yet
what has also stood out very clearly is that the masses of people are not fully
aware of and organized on the basis of an understanding of how the whole
operation of this system is in direct and deep-going conflict with their real
and fundamental interests. When they gain that understanding, and are organized
to act on that basis, then a revolutionary struggle of millions and millions of
people, combined with the development and sharpening of certain objective
conditions, could make it possible to break the hold of the class of
cold-blooded capitalist exploiters who rule over this society (and much of the
world) and to bring into being a new society and a new state which would put the
interests of the great majority of the people at the foundation and at the
center of everything it stands for and everything it does. But for this to
happen, the masses must have revolutionary leadership. And that points to a
third and final crucial point.

3. There is such a revolutionary leadership—the Revolutionary Communist Party,
USA, and its Chairman Bob Avakian. But to put things squarely and honestly,
while the Party has been exerting real efforts to take up its responsibility in
relation to the events surrounding hurricane Katrina, the ability of the Party
to actually lead in these dire and urgent circumstances has been far short of
what it needs to be. If the influence of the Party and its organized ties with
masses of people had been much greater, leading into these events surrounding
hurricane Katrina, the Party would be able to play a far greater role in raising
the understanding of the masses of people as to what was happening and why: why
the government and the whole ruling class reacted the way they have—with the
loss of thousands of lives, and terrible suffering for hundreds of thousands
more, much of which could have been prevented or significantly lessened—and
what this says about the nature of their system and why we need a radically
different system. The Party could have been playing a far greater role in
enabling masses of people, in the areas immediately affected and throughout the
country, to be organized to respond to these events and to wage organized
political struggle, on a much higher level and in a much more powerful way, to
force steps to be taken immediately to save hundreds and probably thousands of
lives that have been, and are still being, needlessly lost. And all this
could be having the effect of raising the consciousness and the organized
strength of masses of people to a far higher level, with the necessary goal of
revolution more clearly and sharply in view. These events surrounding hurricane
Katrina and all that has been forced into the light of day in connection with
this, has shown the great need for the Party to rise to its responsibilities and
play its leadership role in this way, on a whole other level, and for masses of
people to rally to, to support, to join and build, and to defend—this
necessary and crucial revolutionary leadership, as embodied in the Revolutionary
Communist Party and its Chairman Bob Avakian.


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