The working class responds to Hurricane Harvey


The working class responds to Hurricane Harvey

31 August 2017

The official preparation for and response to Hurricane Harvey have been characterized by a stunning level of incompetence and indifference, from the lack of a coordinated evacuation and emergency housing plan, to the completely ad-hoc character of rescue operations. As Houston and other parts of Texas drown and the death toll mounts, various government officials, from the White House on down, have spent much of the past several days patting themselves on the back. “You have been terrific,” Trump told the governor, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other officials in Texas on Tuesday, hoping that no one would notice what was happening around him.

The flooding, however, has produced an overwhelming response from workers in Texas and throughout the region, who have rushed to volunteer for rescue operations, using their own equipment and receiving nothing in return.

The New York Times, which generally refers to the working class only to disparage it, wrote on Wednesday that “the response to one of the worst disasters in decades has been, in many ways, improvised.” The article continued: “Recreational vehicles—airboats, Jet Skis, motorized fishing boats—have rushed to the aid of people trapped in their homes, steered by welders, roofers, mechanics and fishermen wearing shorts, headlamps and ponchos. The working class, in large part, is being saved by the working class.”

Perhaps thousands have participated in these efforts to save those stranded in their homes, often traveling great distances. Many of these rescues have been coordinated by means of an online map,, put together early this week by a local software developer. Individuals and families needing…

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