All Fall Down: The Infrastructure Crisis in the United States

Socialism 2018

July 05, 2018

Infrastructure is crucial to our everyday lives, whether it’s getting to work, communicating with family and friends, pouring a glass of water, or turning on the stove. However, across the U.S. many of these systems are crumbling, putting the lives and health of countless people at risk. From the disastrous levee breach in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina to the Flint water crisis to this spring’s deadly bridge collapse in Miami, Florida, infrastructure failures can result in injury, illness, or even death, with communities of color facing higher proportions of these infrastructure-related consequences. Yet, there’s another side to infrastructure. These systems also undergird the capitalist system’s drive for profit and imperial dominance. Capitalists aim to shape and reshape the built environment to serve their own desires, even if they are in direct contradiction to the needs of poor and working people. Marx was keen to the role that various infrastructure systems played within the dynamics of capitalism. This talk will discuss what Marx and others have had to say about infrastructure under capitalism, explain why infrastructure in the U.S. is in a state of crisis, and offer some ideas about how we can fight for a world with safe, well-maintained infrastructures that are designed for the masses and not the rich and powerful.

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