BP Lays Waste to the Gulf. Corporations Lay Waste to America
by Dave Stratman

First published by Axis of Logic
Friday, Jun 11, 2010

This aerial photo was taken on May 10, 2010. In the subsequent 32 days 608,000 barrels of oil have surged into the Gulf of Mexico if we are to believe the upper limit of 19,000bpd reported by the US government.1

Could there be a clearer demonstration than the Gulf oil disaster that the corporations will do anything for a buck, no matter the consequences? Could there be a clearer demonstration of the gap between the money-grubbing, selfish values of the corporations and the values of ordinary Americans? We can't go on like this, with corporations and bankers controlling the government.

This wasn't an unforeseeable accident. BP was drilling at a depth they had never drilled before–through 5,000 feet of water and through 18,000 more feet of ocean floor to get at the oil. BP personnel lacked expertise for this dangerous drilling. BP was cited by OSHA for 760 "egregious willful violations" in the previous year; its nearest competitor was cited for 1. BP continued drilling even after the blowout preventer had failed. BP did not have on hand basic equipment such as oil booms which it was required by law to have. Meanwhile reports on the rate of oil flowing into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico have been reported to be as high as 120,000 barrels of oil1 into the Gulf a day with no end in sight. Eleven men died in the rig explosion. (That same week, 29 Kentucky coal miners died in an explosion because Massey Energy refused to use basic safety measures–to save money.)

Meanwhile the lives of tens of thousands of fishermen and shrimpers and tour guides and irreplaceable millions of birds and fish and thousands of square miles of beach and wetland and ocean are being destroyed. Experts predict that the Gulf of Mexico may be a vast dead zone for decades to come. Gulf currents have already deposited tar balls on Key West beaches and are likely to carry the oil up the Atlantic Coast, perhaps to the North Atlantic fisheries and beyond.

We can't continue to live like this. The Gulf catastrophe is a dramatic instance of the poisoning of our environment that takes place every day. How much of our world is already despoiled by toxic chemicals pumped out by industries that treat our land and air and waters like their garbage dump? How many workers have contracted cancer from chemical solvents? How many birth defects have come from chemical wastes? How many of our bodies have absorbed dangerous chemicals through the food supply? How many millions have contracted cancer because of our toxic environment?

This is not the way we would choose to live if we the people had power in society. The land and air and waters are our common inheritance, to be used for the good of all. We would not destroy our bodies and environment and the birthright of future generations. We would not give free rein to the corporations to do as they please. But the government is not our government. It is owned by the big banks and the corporations. It answers to Wall Street, not to Louisiana fishermen or Boston teachers or Florida parents or you or me.

We have different values than corporate executives and bankers. We don't believe people or the planet should be sacrificed to grab everything for ourselves. We believe in supporting each other, in people having their fair share and no more. We believe in real democracy–not the fake democracy we have but a society where ordinary people make decisions according to their best shared values.

We can only make society the way we believe it should be in one way: by revolution to break the death grip of Wall Street and corporations on our lives. Let’s spread discussion of what revolution would mean and what a society based on our values would look like and how we can get there.