From: Marxist-Leninist Translations
“Drill, baby, drill!”
– Mob cheer led by Sarah Palin,
Vice-Presidential Candidate, 2008 Republican Party National Convention
BP’s Greed Unchecked by U.S. “Republicrat” Government
When the $600 million dollar Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing eleven workers, on April 20, 2010, the British Petroleum Corporation (“BP plc”), was unable to dodge its responsibility for the disaster. Unashamedly, however, BP, the United Kingdom’s largest company and the third largest energy company and the fourth largest company in the world (according to Wikipedia), deliberately concealed vital information; it covered up the extent of the damage to its well along with the true massive amount of oil and gas actually pouring out into the Gulf, and thus the potential extent of the catastrophe. In this way, BP sabotaged all early efforts to restrict, contain and mitigate the subsequent massive oil spill.
Despite a multimillion dollar public relations propaganda assault by BP, it is crystal clear that single-minded and shameless pursuit of maximum private profit, the very motivation which drove BP and its partners in crime, including Halliburton Inc., to “cut corners” on safety, to ignore “best industry practices,” etc. continued to dominate its conduct in the disaster’s aftermath. In its ruthless effort to minimize its criminal liability, BP continued (and still continues!!) to fuel the hellhole it had created.
Thus, when Texas Republican Congressman Joe Barton revealed his total subservience to his capitalist masters by “apologizing” to BP (!) for President Obama’s insistence that the thoroughly exposed BP fund a Gulf Coast relief effort, the outrage of the people of the Gulf Coast, in particular, forced Barton to apologize for his apology!
It is not surprising that it was another Texas Republican, President George W. Bush, who, in 2008, had lifted the two decades-old ban on offshore oil drilling which paved the way for London-based BP, whose U.S. headquarters are in Houston, to inflict the current catastrophe on us all. Nor is it surprising that “W.” would have the enthusiastic support of his Vice President, since Dick Cheney had come to the Bush II Administration from his job as CEO of Halliburton, Inc., which became BP’s corporate partner in crime in the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Subcontractor Halliburton’s job in BP’s Deepwater Horizon project was to seal the three plus miles of the initial drilling hole, the well casing, so that the four inch pipe was surrounded in concrete and protected from gas leaks. BP made decisions to cut costs, including the use of inadequate components and skipping tests of the integrity of the seal. Such decisions led Gordon Aaker, a failure analysis consultant with Engineering Services LLP in Houston to characterize one such decision as “unheard of,” calling BP “horribly negligent.” While BP rejected the recommendations of Halliburton, seriously reducing the safety of the job Halliburton did, Halliburton went along with BP and took the money. And the Department of the Interior’s Mineral Management Service (MMS), instead of being more strict in its enforcement of existing safety regulations in dealing with deepwater oil drilling, became even more lax the deeper the well!*
* Former Halliburton CEO and U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, one of the most outspoken promoters of the U.S. war against Iraq, certainly helped BP, still today the top energy supplier for the U.S. military under the Obama Regime. Indeed, despite the fact that BP’s responsibility for the Gulf Coast catastrophe is undeniable, it continues to retain its $2 billion plus dollars in annual contracts with the Pentagon uninterrupted. Of course, Halliburton itself has been the biggest recipient from the U.S. military of infrastructure contracts in Iraq, just as its current subsidiary, Kellogg Brown and Root had been during the period of the U.S. war in Vietnam. The BP/Halliburton corporate connection and the complicity of its U.S. government stooges in the Gulf Coast disaster underscore the deep truth contained in the phrase “the U.S. imperialist war at home and abroad.”
More surprising for those who retain illusions about the Democratic Party and/or about alleged U.S. “democracy” is the fact that the Democratic-controlled Congress did not extend its own ban of offshore oil drilling in 2008, when Bush-Cheney lifted the presidential moratorium. Such people will be even more surprised to learn that, in March 2010, President Barack Obama went a step further than Bush when he announced his readiness to consider leases for new deepwater oil exploration!
Even after the catastrophic BP oil rig disaster, despite Obama’s promise of better safeguards for offshore drilling, his Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) has signed off on at least five new offshore drilling projects since June 2, when the agency’s acting director announced tougher regulations for drilling in the Gulf. Three of the approved projects were provided the same “categorical exclusions,” exempting them from detailed studies of their environmental impact, just like the waiver given to BP for the well that has been poisoning the Gulf and beyond for the past two months. Furthermore, in mid June, environmental groups filed a lawsuit in Alabama challenging the MMS approval of 198 new deepwater leases in the central Gulf since the BP spill began!
Such lease sales, a step prior to the oil companies’ submission of their drilling plans, line the corporations up to immediately launch their projects when moratoria are lifted. Furthermore, the 198 new lease approvals have already made the U.S. taxpayers liable for compensation payment to the oil companies, in case the projects are ultimately blocked! So business-as-usual continues between the Obama Administration and BP which owns at least 10 of these 198 new leases.
Furthermore, the Democratic Party’s own strategist James Carville, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and other representatives of the monopoly capitalist ruling class have themselves expressed shock and outrage that, more than two months after the fact, the Obama/Biden Regime has continued to allow BP to remain in control of the clean-up effort of the disaster this profit-mad corporation created and which it has strong motivation to cover up rather than clean up!!
As we write these lines, Boston Globe columnist, Derrick Z. Jackson, an enlightened Afro-American writer, exposes President Obama’s duplicitous “two-faced” treatment of BP. (“The harder they should fall,” Boston Globe, 6-29-10) Jackson points out, “In his June 15 national address, President Obama declared BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to be ‘the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced’ ... The very next day, he … extracted a commitment of $20 billion from BP to settle damage claims. However, Obama also affirmed his confidence that ‘BP will be able to meet its obligations to the Gulf Coast and to the American people. BP is a strong and viable company and it is in all of our interests that it remains so.’” Jackson observes that “Obama’s advance blessing to BP… amounts to a political bailout.” (ROL emphasis)
Why is the Obama Administration so kind and deferential to BP? Remember that Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin, the candidates of the two monopoly capitalist and imperialist political parties in the USA, both received their largest campaign contributions from JPMorgan Chase and the other Wall Street giants. Accordingly, during the campaign, both Obama and McCain agreed with Republican President George W. Bush and his Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson as well as Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi on the initial $700 billion dollar bailout for the banking and financial giants of Wall Street. JPMorgan Chase was one of the bailout’s chief beneficiaries. JPMorgan Chase is the No. 1 holder of stock in BP. According to BP’s ownership stats, “Chase holds 27.74% of total ordinary issued shared capital.”
“Drill, baby, drill!” had been the loudest and most energetic rallying cry at the Republican Party’s 2008 National Convention. From the above, we can see that this “Republican” platform has been implemented by the current Democratic Administration.
Also, despite its markedly different rhetoric from that of the Bush/Cheney regime, the Obama/Biden Regime has continued its predecessor’s policies on most of the major issues of our time – from ongoing war in Iraq and expanded war in Afghanistan and Pakistan and increased militarization of the U.S. government, to diminished civil liberties and rights of U.S. citizens as well as immigrants; from protection of the bankrupt private corporate U.S. healthcare “system,” to the continual federal government bailout of the Wall Street and international finance capitalists principally responsible for the world capitalist economic crisis.
The “Republicrat Party” is clearly the two headed political representative of the U.S. monopoly capitalist and imperialist ruling class. So where can the people of the USA turn for political relief?
Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Movement
Sarah Palin emerged as a major political voice immediately upon her selection to be John McCain’s vice presidential running mate. And her first message of substance had been to promote the oil companies’ agenda for unchecked and widespread drilling for offshore oil all along the coastline of the USA. While the Republican duo of McCain/Palin lost the election, their campaign effort on behalf of the oil companies to unleash a new round of offshore oil drilling has been successfully realized with the Democratic Obama/Biden Administration.
It is not the U.S. government that has changed under Obama, only the perception about the government and its intentions. In the year and one-half since the election, the right-wing Tea Party Movement has emerged, with Sarah Palin as its political darling, as a key player in the effort to keep mass democratic illusions about the Obama/Biden Administration alive in the face of the overwhelming evidence that it represents merely a more clever and effective steward (than the Republicans) on behalf of the interests of U.S. monopoly capitalism and imperialism in the midst of this capitalist economic crisis. Even more importantly, Palin and the Tea Party movement provide a “safe” pro-imperialist, semi-fascist and white supremacist channel for the frustrations of a large sector of the U.S. population that is now experiencing a sharp decline in its standard of living and diminished prospects for the future.*
* The Tea Party Movement and the Republican Party are not identical. In fact, there has been a conscious effort by clever forces such as Karl Rove, George W. Bush’s chief presidential adviser, to keep a degree of separation between them. In this way each can support the other while providing each other the opportunity to advance without each other’s baggage.
With all the diverse streams of the tea party movement, Sarah Palin is one of a few people almost universally recognized as their leader. Palin’s outright lies and deceit cover up a lot. But “drill, baby, drill” is a classic example of where Palin is leading the masses of the people of the USA and the world, that is, to catastrophe.
In this light, the April 20th BP oil rig disaster on the Gulf Coast provides a strong context for evaluating other major pronouncements of Sarah Palin. In particular, Palin has repeatedly declared that “Obama is a Socialist,” and that “Now is no time to be experimenting with Socialism.”
Palin’s assertion that “Obama is a Socialist” taps into two cornerstones of U.S. imperialist culture: white supremacy and anti-communism. It is exposed as a “Big Lie” by Obama’s role as the savior of Wall Street, BP, the medical-industrial complex, etc., as the skillful chief helmsman of U.S. monopoly capitalism and imperialism at this time when the USA and the world capitalist system are in serious crisis. Nevertheless, Palin’s lie has proved effective thus far in building mass resistance to “socialism,” at a time when it would be logical for the people of the USA to demand socialism in health care, on Wall Street, etc.
Thus, Palin’s lie about Obama complements her other slogan: “Now is no time to be experimenting with Socialism.” With millions of workers forced into unemployment and millions of families losing their homes to bank foreclosure, while the banking industry itself has been bailed out by the capitalist government, using the tax monies of the working class, this entire period of acute capitalist economic crisis and collapse, cries out for “experimenting with socialism.” Now, the criminal conduct of BP and its CEO, Tony Hayward, with the criminal collaboration of the U.S. government, both in the lead-up to the oil rig disaster and in its aftermath, makes clear that “experimenting with (fighting for) Socialism” is an increasingly urgent task for the international working class to take up in defense of the survival of the human species!!
Revolutionary Strategy and Tactics in the Current U.S. Crisis
Strategically, the fight in the U.S. (North) is for socialism. However, tactically, the Revolutionary Organization of Labor (USA) and the proletarian revolutionary movement in the USA need to unite those who retain illusions about Obama and the Democratic Party with those who have no illusions about the current chieftain of U.S. imperialism to demand, in opposition to the government’s current conduct, that the Obama government meet the needs of the U.S. working people, including organized labor, and the Afro-American and documented and undocumented Latino masses. Such a tactical approach enables the proletarian revolutionary movement to win, on the basis of their own experience, these currently non-revolutionary masses away from the Obama/Democratic Party forces to the socialist banner.
This tactical approach also enables the proletarian revolutionary movement to win to the socialist banner some frustrated white working people, including a section of organized labor and others, away from the white supremacist, great nation chauvinist tea party movement, whose “Republicrat” leaders, including Sarah Palin, remain, along with the Obama/Biden Administration, an integral part of the strategic defense of the capitalist system in crisis in the USA.
The tactical demand for the Obama Administration to compel BP to fully indemnify all current and future victims of this massive oil spill and to nationalize all offshore oil wells is on the order of the day. As the oil spill continues to pour into the Gulf and despoil our land, let’s get behind this effort!