Summary: The severe water contamination in Flint, Michigan, which has already impacted the health of the population, especially the youth, stems from the poisonous legacies of both racial oppression and capital accumulation — Editors
According to Democracy Now! 52 percent of African American Michigan residents live in areas overseen by emergency managers, who were directly appointed by the Governor from 2013-14; conversely, only 2 percent of white residents live under these same emergency managers.
The water is so bad that General Motors, a company that for more than a century has largely contributed to the water contamination that now afflicts the people of Flint (and, of course, let’s not forget a century of exploitation of Flint’s working class population), no longer uses the water because they see the water as too corrosive for its own plumbing system. No need to wait for the long term; already the young are being impacted in terms of their cognitive skill as well as their overall health. Clearly a situation that is inexcusable under any circumstances, in the richest, most powerful nation on earth, this can’t be seen as merely criminal.
What the full facts of this particular crisis in Flint, Michigan make clear is that this same fate awaits us all. Removing a governor would only be half the job. More importantly, it is crucial that we see that the current state of degeneracy in the political arena is a direct outgrowth of the current state of degeneracy of capitalism itself.
Importantly as well, this particular crisis in Flint, Michigan is not separate from the one that continues to unfold in Los Angeles, California, where a natural gas leak has caused residents of whole neighborhoods to evacuate their homes.
Whether we are talking about the private or public sector of our economy or our government–whether local, state, or national–the more important question to ask ourselves is: What is needed to develop an alternative to a system so bent on the accumulation of wealth and technology and yet fails to provide people so basic a need as clean water or clean air?