Natural disasters made worse by this unnatural system

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
8 February 2023

The devastating earthquakes which struck south-east Turkey and north-west Syria early on Monday morning, have killed more than 11,000 people. And the death toll is still rising.

    This region, located over the East Anatolian Fault in the earth’s crust, sees frequent earthquakes.  What’s more, these fault-lines are accurately mapped out.

    Given the impossibility of knowing in time that a quake is coming, the only way to prevent such human disasters is to ensure nobody lives on or near these fault lines.  And all existing dwellings - even whole cities maybe, as would be the case for San Francisco which lies over the notorious San Andreas Fault - would need to be moved.  But not only is this not done - due to the costs and the “profit before safety” mentality of the ruling classes of this world, but new buildings are constantly built in dangerous places.

    A less costly alternative (and which respects their sacrosanct private property!) is to build earthquake-resistant buildings.  So for instance Istanbul airport is (apparently) the largest earthquake-resistant building in the world.  But what about all the other buildings?  In Gaziantep, near the epicentre of Monday’s quake, savings made on building materials in constructing residential blocks meant they collapsed.  In Syria, after decades of war, there was no chance at all for any “safe building”.

    Instead, people are stuck in “natural” disaster zones around the world, by imperialist-imposed “unnatural” borders, controlled and patrolled by armies and police.  They prevent the free movement of people for any reason – even safety from death.

    Given the choice, people would leave.  Haitians are constantly trying to escape their constantly-shaking island (a quake in 2010 killed 220,000), where today, armed gangs rule at gunpoint.  But their boats are stopped by US patrols and returned.

    The poor are not permitted to escape their fate.  Not here in the English Channel, not in Syria, and not in the Caribbean.  Instead, the deadly effects of natural disasters are compounded by the effects of a system which is not natural, but even more deadly.