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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 October 2018

Indonesia tsunami - a disaster compounded by capitalism

Devastation in Indonesia, photo USAID/CC

Devastation in Indonesia, photo USAID/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Across the planet, ordinary people are feeling shock and profound sadness at the devastating loss of life in Indonesia from the tsunami.

But this horrific catastrophe also poses urgent questions over the failure of the Indonesian authorities to warn the population, and not to have a disaster relief plan in place.

21 tsunami-detecting buoys, donated to Indonesia a decade ago, were either not functioning or had been stolen.

A prototype sea-floor warning system hadn't been deployed because the government wouldn't pay for it.

A tsunami warning was issued by the country's meteorological and geophysics agency but withdrawn. Moreover, it completely underestimated the size of the waves.

Some survivors say they did not receive text message tsunami alerts because the phone network was not maintained.

How is it that the money can't be found for these essential safety measures when the rich in the cities live a life of luxury?

Locally, angry demonstrations have been taking place blaming the government for total incompetence in neglect of people's needs - and, as in the past, these can have big political repercussions.

Survivors will also want assurance that international relief funds and resources go straight to where they are needed.

Past experience warns us that unscrupulous politicians, officials and businesses can exploit tragedies like this to line their pockets.

If the system can't afford to look after people, then the people can't afford the system. Public ownership of big business, and democratic, socialist planning of the wealth society produces, could easily pay for proper safety and communications infrastructure - rather than more 'tax holidays' for multinational corporations.

And survivors and workers in Indonesia should have democratic control over the allocation of resources in the relief effort, and in the development of society as a whole.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 3 October 2018:


Labour Party conference

Labour conference shows: Blairites must be ousted

Socialist Party campaigns against the Blairites at Labour conference


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

'Tories must go' demonstration in Birmingham

Anti-fracking protesters jailed

Save Wirral NHS walk-in centres

More party than protest, but great response to socialist ideas at Leicester Pride


Socialist Party news and analysis

Zombie Tory government: general election now

Blood transfusion scandal

Shocking new data on declining life expectancy

NHS pay discrimination - militant union action can achieve fair pay for all

Maximus profitus: disabillity profiteering scandal

Tory Brexit Blues festival


Workplace news and analysis

Catering and courier workers strike together

Coordinated catering and courier strikes

York NHS workers strike against privatisation

Tube workers walk out

1,000 head teachers march on parliament

Camden - Unison members in pay fight


Socialist Party feature

Is this generation socialist?


International socialist news and analysis

USA: crisis follows Supreme Court justice nomination

Indonesia tsunami - a disaster compounded by capitalism


Socialist Students

Enthusiasm for Socialist ideas at the freshers fairs


Opinion

The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists: one-man show's new take on lively socialist classic

The Socialist Inbox


 

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triangleWest Papuans demand self-determination in London

triangleWhen the world economic crisis makes landfall in S Asia

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triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleHurricane Harvey: A tragedy made far worse by capitalism

triangleDisaster in Nepal - amplified by capitalism

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