When the winter storm hit a few weeks ago, all eyes were on Texas. Many were left without power, without heat, and without water for days at a time in the midst of freezing temperatures. The winter storm, too, was a direct result of capitalist-made climate change. The damage created a financial burden on the working class and exacerbated the economic conditions of already vulnerable communities.
This was true not only in Texas, but also in other parts of the south, particularly in Jackson, Mississippi. There, thousands of residents have been without water for weeks, and their plight has largely been overlooked by national media. We know contaminated drinking water and water system breakdowns are most likely to affect areas made up heavily of BIPOC residents, as we have seen play out nationally in places like Standing Rock and Flint, Michigan. Jackson’s population is more than 80% Black, the capital city of the state with the largest Black population in the country, and boil water notices like the one they are currently under have been a regular occurrence for years.
As socialists, we maintain that utilities are a public good and that they should be sustainably built and managed democratically. It’s why we support a Green New Deal, and why priorities like the PRO Act will go a long way in ensuring that failing infrastructure can be addressed with green union jobs.
Water is a human right and solidarity is the only way we can keep the fight alive. In support of our new Jackson chapter and all people experiencing water crises, we encourage members to donate to the Mississippi Storm Rapid Response Fund.
While these funds will make a difference in the lives of countless Mississippi residents, they are insufficient to address the decades-long infrastructure problems in Jackson and in rural parts of the state.
We must continue to fight for the resources that majority Black communities require and end the environmental racism and corporate greed that plagues this country! We will fight until the working class lives with dignity, not desperation!