Jul 8, 2010 - Issue 383
BP Is In
Sitting on the beach on the fourth of July in southern New Jersey I could not stop thinking about the corporate oil criminal, BP.
The ocean is about a 90 minute drive from home. It is a very convenient and inexpensive day trip. We avoid beaches where a pass must be purchased because we oppose the idea that the beach can be owned by anyone, including a municipality.
I think about the fourth of July celebrations that now have corporate names and wonder how long it will be before the beaches and the beach tag business are sponsored or owned by a corporation. The great irony of the future may be in taking a trip to BP beach and buying a beach tag with the BP logo and some environmentally friendly slogan on it. This is not too far-fetched an idea. After all, we now attend sports and entertainment events in facilities promoting the names large companies.
As I look up at the Simpson-like clouds and observe folks enjoying the surf and sand and marvel at the wind surfers, I imagine what it would be like if the surf was loaded with toxic oil and dispersement chemicals. We usually go to the beach in the late afternoon in order to avoid the hottest part of the day and the rest of the day tripper traffic. The early evening provides an additional bit of entertainment in the form of gulls and terns who show up to begin feeding on clams. They dig a clam out of the surf, fly with it in their beaks about 20 or 30 feet up and drop it to break the shell. Frequently a squabble breaks as a bird that did not retrieve the clam tries to horn in on the meal.
The BP oil spill crime colors everything in front of me on the beach. I have seen tar balls on California beaches and know what a mess they are, aside from any health problem connected to them. I also know that tar balls are minor compared with the current mess. I shudder in horror, recalling the images of death and destruction of human life, animal life and plant life in the Gulf of Mexico. I find it very easy to imagine the birds in front of me unknowingly eating clams that have been poisoned by oil and dispersement chemicals.
I can also easily imagine the number of people of all colors and classes whose lives are being crippled by the crimes of BP.
My anger swells as the image of that house Negro in the BP commercial appears in my mind's eye. Do these advertising agency geniuses really think this message fools anyone?
Is the excuse by President Obama and his top political adviser, David Axelrod, that they were slow to work on the oil industry regulatory arm in the Interior Department because the economy was in turmoil, really acceptable? No, it is not. The MMS mismanagement was only the tip of the iceberg and changing the top manager was not a solution. The solution is changing the system and I don’t mean only the system that allegedly regulates the oil industry. I mean our entire system of government over which the corporations are in charge through their purchase of politicians and control of the corporate media through their advertising.
The meaning of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” should not be dictated by corporations and their advertising agencies. Too many people who might have had enough energy to fight for social justice, economic justice and peace have been turned into passive members of a bourgeoise consumer democracy. The corporate government is primarily concerned about citizens because they are consumers who have lost some of their zest for shopping and aren’t buy stuff at a satisfactory level.
BP is a corporate criminal. The United States should declare war against BP and take over the company. BP and other multinational corporations are a much bigger threat than the Taliban. Our military forces should be removed from Iraq and Afghanistan, returned to the USA and used to clean up the BP mess and work on other infrastructure projects. Additionally, we should terminate all contracts with any corporation providing mercenary forces in our military efforts.
If we are going to fight a war, a real draft must return. Some of the wealthy will always figure a way out of the draft, but a real draft that relies on more than just the poorest people will make it really easy for the average American to figure out if a military conflict is worth it.
Why not have a universal draft that would require all 18 year olds to put in two years of public service? Give them a choice of serving in a civilian service organization or the military. Also give them a choice of service after having completed their after high school education. The pay for this service would include a fund for later education in a trade school or college or money to pay off interest-free government loans used to pay the education already completed.
How frustrated are you that there seems to be no way for us to put an end to the corporate criminals in our midst? We have no leftist third party with any impact. Countless numbers who did fight for civil rights and peace in the past have been lulled into a stupor by the election of the first Black president.
We also have no organized method for having any way to control what the Democratic Party does. I long for the days of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. But back then, the presidential conventions of the Democrats actually had fights over who was seated and what issues were worth fighting for and included in a platform.
We on the left are not the only people who are angry and upset. We also have a growing number of people on the right who feel squeezed by the same hideous economic controls. The right wingers also get their anger tied in with their fear of losing political control to people of color because the President is Black.
The pigs of the power structure (POPs) think they know what they are doing. They love to keep the “little people” in a chaotic state. The more chaos we feel the less likely we are go get organized and beat them up. If the POPs are smart bullies they will pay attention to history and know the LP’s (little people) will become a real problem for them when they get pushed too far.
However, the POPs are more greedy than smart. They can never get enough. They are all like the BP managers who felt saving a couple of days of work was worth the risk of causing a disaster. They are no different than the upper class and religious establishment of the thirteenth century or the manufacturers of the industrial revolution.
They will keep pushing for more and more. We need a new movement. We must get organized, but I am in a quandary about which way to go or with whom.
Another uprising is coming. I know for certain that without organization and solidarity, the revolutionary change in the system that is inevitable will not be pretty and it won’t be televised.
I do still believe in the importance of contacting our elected representatives between elections. Taking part in a demonstration is best but it must also be done in addition to signing petitions, making a personal phone call, or sending a personal call, letter or email.
Here are links and phone number for you to use reach members of congress and the White House.
For the U.S. House of Representatives: http://www.house.gov/ (enter your zip code in the upper left corner of the page)
For the U.S. Senate: http://senate.gov/ (choose your state using the drop down menu in the upper right corner)
White House Comment Line - 202.456.1111
White House Switchboard - 202.456.1414
White House Website contact form: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
(Post Script: The last time I wrote I was being called to jury duty. I planned to serve and hoped to have an opportunity to either prevent someone from going to jail for a petty crime through jury nullification or hanging the jury. I did show up, but the case we were going to hear was settled the evening before. It was a disappointment.)
BlackCommentator.com Publisher and Chief Technical Officer Peter Gamble, is the recipient of a national Sigma Delta Chi award for public service in journalism and numerous other honors for excellence in reporting and investigative reporting. The “beats” he covered as a broadcast journalist ranged from activism in the streets to the State Department and White House. The lure of a personal computer on his desk inspired a career change in 1985 and an immersion into what he saw as the future of communications. The acquisition of computer programming skills made it possible for Peter to achieve an important level of self-reliance in the technology of the 21st century and to develop BlackCommentator.com. Click here to contact Peter.