Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Hurricane Katrina: Which way forward for the working class?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

An Action Program to organize a working class response to the disaster. Issued by Socialist Alternative, the US section of the CWI * Full care and compensation for Katrina victims
All victims of this crisis should be fully compensated for all losses by the federal government. Free medical care for all those in need. Ensure that all affected people receive a stable income to get back on their feet after this tragedy. All those who have lost their jobs, have been displaced, or in need from the affected counties should receive a living wage of $500/week for up to 3 years. Immediate interest-free loans for workers, small businesses, small farmers who had their livelihood destroyed in the hurricane.

* Initiate massive public works program to re-build & re-employ the Gulf Coast
Immediately begin the construction of decent, affordable public housing in the safe areas for all those in need due to the hurricane. Employ the jobless victims of Katrina in public works programs to rebuild the counties affected. All rebuilding and relief workers must receive a living wage with union rights and benefits. Ensure the homes, workplaces, schools and streets of New Orleans are cleansed of the toxic contamination caused by the flooded sewage and oil and chemical spills.

* Stop racial and class discrimination in relief, compensation, rebuilding, and policing
All relief money received through government and charity should not be put in the hands of big business politicians and bureaucrats. Instead, oversight committees elected from the affected communities, refugees, and relief workers should control the funding and administration of relief and rebuilding efforts. Don’t bankrupt state and local budgets for the relief. The federal government should hand over billions for the relief effort. Don’t cut social service funding like healthcare and education to pay for relief and rebuilding efforts.

* Stop profiteering off tragedy!
We need prices controls on gas and other products to protect consumers. Construction should be done for the public good, under democratic community control, not for the profits of a few corporations.

* Pay for rebuilding by ending the war in Iraq and taxing big business
This disaster is the direct result of the Bush administration de-funding levy strengthening and other disaster prevention programs to pay for the war in Iraq, and tax cuts for the rich. Bring the troops home and redirect military resources to rebuilding. This disaster results from decades of corporate tax-cuts by the two major parties, and the resultant under-funding of infrastructure and inner cities. Make the rich and corporate America pay for reconstruction.

* This disaster has shown the inequality, poverty, racism and social deprivations that capitalism breeds. We need a new, socialist society based on human needs.


The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare many of the problems with capitalism. The Socialist strives to explain the systemic causes of this crisis, and reports about the issues that are important to working people. We also help to organise struggles against the powers that be.

We don’t receive a cent from big business or governments. Our work is fully funded by our supporters. Even if half the people who read our website every month donated a few dollars each we would raise thousands to help our work!

We need organisations of struggle now more than ever, so if you support what we do please consider making a donation.

One-off or regular donations can be made securely HERE.