Socialist Party USA: BP Oil Spill a Crime not a Disaster

by the Socialist Party USA National Action Committee- May 9, 2010

Language matters, especially at times of crisis. The explosion on BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig that released hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico has been called a “disaster” by many. It isn’t a disaster. It is a crime. Early estimates are that the spill will cost more than $14 billion to clean, will devastate local fisheries for generations and will result in untold damage to all parts of the ecology in the Gulf region. Corporations are the criminals here – British Petroleum (BP) and, a company that is no stranger to corporate crime, Halliburton. This massive spill highlights both the need for an immediate transition to clean energy sources and the need to apply democratic controls to inherently criminal multinational corporations.

The clean up of the area must begin immediately, it must be conducted with the consultation and best interest of local fishermen and environmentalists and it must be entirely paid for by BP. In addition, BP should be made to pay into a public fund that would be used for the continued clean up and preservation of the local ecology. Any failure to meet these demands should result in the seizure of the US holdings of BP and its banning from conducting business in this country. Anything less than this should be considered as a betrayal to the best interests of residents of region and the broader international community.

This massive oil spill demonstrates the urgent need to transition to clean renewable energy forms. Such a transition will not likely take place inside of a capitalist system where short-term profiteering dominates the allocation of capital funds. BP has fought the federal government on safety procedures that might have minimized the impact of the most recent spill for more than a decade. CEOs do not get bonuses based upon ensuring future generation’s access to resources, clean air, or a hospitable climate. The purpose of corporations is not to oversee the welfare of the people of the world, but to make money. Environmental damage is not factored into the corporate calculations of costs and profits. Instead, environmental damage is viewed as the collateral damage of the free market in operation.

Not surprisingly, BP had a partner in this crime – Halliburton. Fresh off their stint bilking US taxpayers during the war in Iraq, the company was contracted by BP to cement the drill, oil well and pipe into the ocean floor. The Los Angeles Times reports that this task was completed a mere 20 hours before the well exploded. Not surprisingly, Halliburton has also been accused of being responsible for another oil spill in the Timor Sea last August after completing a similar cementing job. Here was see the logic of capitalism in full display. BP wants to take the cheapest bid for the job and Halliburton wants to pocket the most money with the least costs. All with no mind paid to the environment, local fishermen, or the future of the planet.

Meanwhile, politicians from the Democratic and Republican parties serve as willing accomplices to the corporations. In 2008, the McCain/Palin ticket was run on the suicidal slogan of “Drill Baby Drill!” The campaign of now President Barack Obama softly dismissed these claims, but once in office, designed a plan to allow oil exploration off the coastline of North America. The current spill exposes the bankruptcy of Obama’s drilling plan and the futility of his cap-and-trade market based proposals to address carbon emissions. Corporations will continue to pollute the environment as long as they have political partners who will allow them to evade the desires of the vast majority of people in this country for clean energy and a safe environment.

The Socialist Party USA offers a clear eco-socialist alternative to the proposals of the two parties. By establishing a system of public ownership and democratic control over our natural resources, we will ensure that corporations are prevented from exploiting and spoiling our environment. By creating strong enforceable laws regarding endangered species that focus on habitat-centered protection, we propose to begin repairing the damage done by capitalist production. Finally, we intend to bring the United States back into line with the world by signing on to international environmental treaties and participating and supporting grassroots environmental justice efforts. In short, our goal is to create a cleaner, more democratic future where environmental preservation, instead of profit motive, becomes a primary part of economic decision-making.

Capitalist profit-motive will be the death of our planet. Democratic socialism, operating on an international basis, can save our fragile ecosystem and our health by defending the rights of future generations to clean water, clean air and a democratically run society.

13 thoughts on “Socialist Party USA: BP Oil Spill a Crime not a Disaster

  1. Philip Tortora

    As this environmental disaster of epic proportions drags on – with the dire consequences yet to be fully determined and realized – the U.S. government needs to take a more urgent and heavy-handed approach to the clean up. And not publicly designate a company already being accused by many as grossly negligent and incompetent as the primary organization responsible for saving the environment.

    Sure, some of this is posturing and our government is letting BP know it has a lot of liability in the matter.

    But this oil spill has already spun way too far out of control, and it’s starting to seem like nobody knows what to do or how to stop it.

  2. Ann

    This crime will also have repercussions on the health of humans, not just wildlife, of those who live in the vicinity of the spill and who depend even indirectly on the Gulf waters. And, it adds to environmental crisis already occurring in the Gulf long before the spill.

    Socialist Party is a party, first and foremost the party of the people. I wish people would understand that. It is hardly a party of Obama or any of Obama’s intentions or anyone else in Washington D.C. If anything, Obama is more capitalist, more right-wing, than any other previous Democratic president.

    Socialist Party USA – thank you for your courage and for your thoughts of us.

  3. The Lone Ranger

    Why haven’t we seen the owners, managers, directors of the companies involved in chains?You know, like they parade the ultra criminal pot smokers caught going too slow on the freeway? Why haven’t we seen SWAT teams tear up the board rooms of BP, Hallitburton? Why no mace, stun guns, water boarding?

  4. robertsgt40

    We have more than enough oil on the North Slope of Alaska to run the U.S. for the next 300yrs. Sadly, BP controls the lion’s share of it and 80% goes to ASIA. This is about reed. BTW, Socialism doesn’t work after you run out of taxpayer money.

  5. CalDre

    A crime because a corporation was involved? Let me remind you that (a) drilling is already regulated by the government, clearly indicating that government is not necessarily a solution, and (b) many socialist and communist countries have had oil spills, most particularly the Soviet Union.

    Wow, I’m actually responding to a first-grade analysis of a current event ….

  6. Thebes

    So called “democracy” is what got us into this mess. We are actually NOT a democracy, but rather a Republic, voters elect representatives rather than voting on issues themselves. State representatives voted to allow Corporations to be exempted from previous requirements that they exist only for a specific duration and for the public good. It was in the representatives interests to throw the public in front of the bus.

    We need to Abolish Corporate Person-hood. Governments are inherently corrupt, and ours is worse, historically, than most. There is a revolving door between the regulators and the hierarchy of these multinationals. To think that our government would actually protect the public in a meaningful fashion is hopelessly naive.

    Throw the beltway bums out. End “special rights” for corporations. Reduce the Federal government to a size befitting its constitutional role. Hold the criminals accountable.


    Hey, Amer’ka, suck it up! You all insist on your SUV’s and your exhorbitant energy useage over the rest of the world. Suck up that sh*t, go down and gobble up a couple tar balls, it’s good for your complexion!!

    and, thank your corrupt politico’s for the lack of a meaningful plan to deal with it!

    after all, it’s the WORST DEMONOCRACY a gang of war mongering, mass murdering scum can buy, right?? You betcha!

  8. Pingback: Darryl Perry of the Boston Tea Party: Where’s the Accountability in the Gulf of Mexico? | Independent Political Report

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