Privatization and Winter Storms Kill Texans
*Midwestern Marx youth writer Sahil Siddiqi has compiled a list of links leading to mutual aid organizations in Texas. They can be found at the bottom of the article.*
An unprecedented winter storm has thrown the state of Texas into chaos. Texans have experienced freezing cold temperatures and multiple inches of snow. At face value, this may not seem like a big deal to a Midwesterner. To those of us accustomed to these conditions, winter weather simply means it’s time to break out the winter coat and boots. For most Texans however, grabbing the Winter apparel to protect from these conditions is not an option, as the storm they are currently experiencing is unlike anything Texas has seen in recent memory. 21 people have now died, and much of the homeless population is desperately looking for warmth.
Not only are people freezing, but the state’s infrastructure is completely unprepared to withstand a blizzard of this magnitude. Videos have spread around the internet of Texans filming their roofs caving in from buildup of snow. Reports from the Texas Tribune detail millions being left without power, and many now being forced to ration food. The storm, which scientists are telling us is climate change induced, is a warning of what’s to come if the US does not change course when it comes to production. Texas’ privately owned energy grid has failed millions, while continuing to rake in profits for their services. The crumbling homes are an example of how ill prepared US infrastructure is for the storms which will only increase as the climate worsens. The clear solution is to move to a system of planned production, and worker ownership of all major industries. Continuing to allow private companies to command production is suicidal for the working masses. Socialism and planned production must be implemented, or private interests will continue to destroy the planet, while apathetically watching us die in the climate storms of their own creation.
Local Texas news station KHOU 11 reports that the private utility company ERCOT met to discuss what should be done during this disaster. The conclusion was that electricity prices should be raised, due to an increase in the demand for power. There may have never been a clearer example of how little profit driven private entities care for anything besides profit itself. The very fact that companies are allowed to make a surplus profit off of something as essential as electricity, highlights the irrationality of a capitalist economy. However, in the face of an unprecedented storm, it becomes more clear than ever how the system incentivizes profit, and profit alone. Private companies like ERCOT look at a situation in which people are dying and being left without power, and see only an increase in consumer demand, which will allow for a hike in their prices. They care nothing for the human costs of their actions.
Privately owned utilities must be seized and made public. This is quite literally our only option. So long as private interests are in control of the major sectors of the US economy, they will continue to be apathetic towards the effect their production has on the climate, and they will continue to turn the climate change storms they create into profitable business opportunities. The solution is for the working masses to seize the major sectors of economic power, because workers are those who feel the negative effects of climate change. The capitalists are not struggling in Texas. On the contrary, they are thriving. Capitalists sit and watch the chaos of the storm on television from the comfort of million dollar electrified homes, plotting new avenues of exploitation, which can bring an increase in shareholder profits. Capitalism is, at its core, a system which incentivizes a group of greedy vultures to extract all they can from the masses of society. A fact which this storm in Texas has made apparent. It is as Rosa Luxemburg said many years ago, we must choose between socialism, or barbarism.
*Links to Help Texas Compiled by Sahil Siddiqi*
- North Texas Mutual Aid
- Austin Mutual Aid
- Ending community homelessness coalition (ECHO)
- get free lunches to homeless people
- Texas health and human services
- Texas COVID-19 Mutual relief
 Aguilar, Julián. “Texans Running out of Food as Weather Crisis Disrupts Supply Chain.” The Texas Tribune. The Texas Tribune, February 18, 2021. https://www.texastribune.org/2021/02/17/texas-food-supply-power-outage/.
 Staff, Author: KHOU 11. “ERCOT to Raise Texas Energy Prices, Blaming High Demand from Winter Storm.” khou.com, February 16, 2021. https://www.khou.com/article/weather/ercot-to-raise-texas-energy-prices-blaming-high-demand-from-winter-storm/285-76ea495b-b67b-4cb7-8f1a-47f0fb4b4234.
Edward is from Sauk City, Wisconsin and received his B.A. in Political Science from Loras College, where he was a former NCAA wrestling All-American, and an active wrestling coach. His main interest are in Geopolitics and the role of American imperialism with relation to socialist states, specifically China and Venezuela. He also worked for Bernie Sanders' campaign in 2020.