Below is the text of an appeal from an activist group, SumOfUs, seeking to increase support for one of their actions against a huge corporation:
On April 20, 2010, the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig led to 11
deaths and injured and killed hundreds of marine animals, making it the
worst oil spill in U.S. history.
The long-term effects of the
reckless oil spill have been even worse. Just recently, a new scientific
study from Florida State University showed that sediments settling on
the ocean floor from the spill will contaminate the entire food supply
for years to come.
BP caused the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, but it only wants to pay a tiny fraction of the price. In 2014, the oil giant was ordered to pay $18 billion for the devastating Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. This January, its executives appealed the figure claiming it “can’t afford” to pay.
But not having enough money is the least of BP’s problems. Last year alone, BP made a profit of $23 billion, making it one of the 10 most profitable companies in the world. It’s also distributed a whopping $19 billion in dividends to investors since the spill. If it can share its huge profits amongst its shareholders, it can afford to pay to clean up this devastating environmental disaster.
This isn't the first time BP has tried to avoid responsibility for this tragedy. Back in 2010, a BP executive blatantly lied: he told the US government that just 5,000 barrels of oil a day were being released, even though he knew that number was much higher. Now, it has lost an appeal to the U.S. Supreme court asking to pay less than what is required to. It's clear, BP is doing everything and anything to wiggle out of this responsibility.
Time and time again the SumOfUs community has stood up to Big Oil's destruction of the environment. Hundreds of thousands of us joined forces to stop Shell from drilling in the Arctic and almost 200,000 of us came together to demand that Chevron pay for its crimes in the Ecuadorian Amazon. And together with allies, we’re holding back climate-destroying fossil fuel projects like the Keystone XL pipeline.
Worthy as these aims may be, to protect the environment and public health from further damage, they need to be viewed in perspective. All around the globe there are groups of people acting together, reactively, struggling against what they perceive to be crimes against the planet and/or crimes against people. We should not forget that capitalism, as a system, is focussed on accumulation with the primary goal of making profit. For the vast majority our function has necessarily become reactive because the rhetoric of 'democracy' has failed us. We have no democracy without input. We are not invited to the table to join in making the major decisions that affect our lives. We are neither represented nor consulted by our so-called representatives because they work to protect the global capitalist system on behalf of capitalists. We may manage to win a battle here and there but to win this war to gain real democracy and gain the status to be proactive, to be a part of the decision-making process, we first have to replace the established system with socialism.