The Earthquake and Capitalism

Yossi Schwartz, ISL, the section of the RCIT in Israel/Occupied Palestine, 11.02.2023

On February 6, massive earthquakes struck southern Turkey and northern Syria, inflicting ghastly damage across a geographic region that has already borne a great deal of earthly devastation in recent decades. The ongoing war in Syria has produced millions of refugees, many of whom have now found themselves victims of seismic activity in the Turkish south. An untold number of people remain buried beneath the rubble. Traumatized survivors contend with frigid temperatures and aftershocks; refugees contend with the loss of any semblance of refuge” [1]

The majority of the people hit by the earthquake are the poor who live in unsafe buildings. “To be sure, the dwellings inhabited by the have-nots of the earth can be structurally less reliable and potentially more vulnerable to tectonic tumult – as was seen, for example, in the Peruvian earthquake of 2007, when homes collapsed across poor neighborhoods in the province of Ica. But in a world structured upon capitalist foundations, precocity goes much deeper than shoddy construction materials or disregard for building codes” [2]

“For starters, capitalism’s insistence on acute inequality and the tyranny of an elite minority means there are major global fault lines between rich and poor – ones that are becoming ever more pronounced in the era of climate change and attendant ecological calamity. And while aid pledges inevitably come pouring in after high-profile disasters, they often only exacerbate the divide by lining the pockets of the aid industry rather than benefiting the disaster-stricken themselves” [3]

Three days before the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria “a Dutch researcher predicted that an earthquake would hit the region, highlighting with almost exact precision the epicenter of the quake that would soon strike. Dutch seismologist Frank Hoogerbeets, who works for the Solar System Geometry Survey (SSGS) in the Netherlands, predicted the earthquake in Turkey on February 3 . On his Twitter account, the Dutch researcher wrote: “Sooner or later there will be a magnitude 7.5 earthquake in this region (South-Central Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon).He even attached an aerial photograph and marked the area where the disaster would happen.” … After Hooogerbeets’ prediction went viral, he reacted to the earthquake and said: “As I stated earlier, sooner or later this would happen in this region, similar to the years 115 and 526. These earthquakes are always preceded by critical planetary geometry, as we had on 4-5 February.” [4]

Thus, the governments of Turkey and Syria had enough time to prepare for the disaster and did nothing. Nor did other capitalist states that could send heavy equipment if requested by Turkey and Assad. Thus, the capitalist system is responsible for the thousands of people who died.

Even worse is the fact that the capitalist governments around the world have not sent delegations of experts with heavy equipment to Syria after the earthquake. “With hundreds of people trapped, rescuers have lamented the lack of international humanitarian assistance desperately needed after the devastating earthquake that killed thousands in northwest Syria”…” While rescue teams and volunteers from around the world have made their way to Turkey, medical volunteer Obaida Rannoush called out the inaction of the global community when it comes to his country. “More than 60 hours after the quake took place, there are still hundreds trapped under the debris. We cannot rescue them because of our meager resources. We need heavy machinery, humanitarian and medical aid,” he said” [5]

“The lack of response has prompted dozens of Syrian journalists to stage a sit-in at the Bab al-Hawa crossing. Mazen Alloush, head of media relations for the Bab al-Hawa border, said millions of Syrians have been affected by the earthquake and its aftershocks. “The crossing has been closed since the earthquake took place,” he said” [6]

“Madevi Sun-Suon, spokesperson for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said on Tuesday that aid flows from Turkey to northwest Syria have temporarily stopped because of the fallout from the earthquake. “Some roads are broken, some are inaccessible. There are logistical issues that need to be worked through,” she said” [7]

“But Alloush rejected these claims, saying the roads are open. “Every half hour or so we see cars carrying the bodies of Syrian people who died in the earthquake in Turkey crossing the border into Syria,” he said. “So how can the roads be closed for aid but open for funeral convoys? “We know that the UN aid is stored in the Turkish city of Reyhanli, which is just one kilometer away from the border crossing,” he added” [8]

As our comrade Juan Giglio wrote “Capitalism kills more than any earthquake or tsunami, much more now, when it is going through the period of greatest decline! It must be changed quickly and effectively by another system, based on democratic planning, that allows a true increase in the quality of life of the majority, a perspective that includes avoiding this type of situation. For that to happen, the General Staff of the Revolution must be built, the national and international party that organizes the decisive battles against this murderous system.” [9]

Thus, for humanity to live capitalism must die and be replaced by socialism!



[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid



[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8] Ibid


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