Conjure up your ecological nightmare. What is now happening in the Gulf might just scare your nightmares away. And with the Federal response being led by Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who vehemently opposes any attempt by the government to remove BP from control over the situation (because, apparently, only the private sector has the technical ability), the nightmare can’t but continue. Amazing. The US government has the technical ability to destroy damn near everything on the planet, but not deal with this? We can bail out the banks and auto companies, but not the environment?
Oh no, that would be too much meddling in the private affairs of private companies. I bet there’s already a derivatives market in insurance claims over this. Never mind that the oil now slopping and sludging its way through the Gulf seems to be effecting the public writ large, indeed the very territory of the United States (not to mention the rest of the nations in or straddling the Gulf) is under threat. Nearly forgotten already, 11 workers lost their lives on that damnable rig. Nothing will ever return them to their families. Their names added to a list too long to conceive of: Those Who Died For Oil. Obama’s (BP’s single largest donor recipient in twenty years) urgency makes it look like Brownie was doing a heck of a job. And where’s the outcry over his reversal of campaign pledges on offshore drilling announced just days before the present disaster? Obviously the right won’t complain, but the progressives? They offer Obama yet another pass.
Ahh, the priorities of the corporate state; the sovereignty of the capitalist enterprise is paramount (even though it couldn’t exist without the support and intervention of the capitalist government on its behalf). A contradiction that confuses progressives and libertarians alike, but seems not to confuse the monopolies, trusts, banks, etc. All and sundry they may whine about regulation, but that is hardly the only role of the state. They know that a big part of their power, and a guarantee of their future power, lies in their control over the state (the lobbyist-government revolving door is just one manifestation of this control). After all, they’ve had the state since – oh, the Grant Administration – and it has worked out remarkably well for them.
Unfortunately that nightmare is only the logic of global capitalism’s reliance on fossil fuels and the power of the energy sector of the economy. A capitalist state can hardly be relied on to limit the power of capital., though it may be forced on occasion. Hell, even if we went to solar power tomorrow I have a feeling we’d see wars for the Sahara sands, Caribbean beaches or that last little bit of the polar ice-cap left; all of that sunlight to accumulate along with the profits necessary to make it ‘efficient’. Yes, probably for democracy too. An Inuit will become the new Saddam, we’ll be greeted with flowers. I don’t mean to be glib about what is happening in the Gulf; it is a horror show and has left me a little speechless. For a some background on the present corporate control of the ‘neutral’ state readers are directed to Billy Wharton’s article ‘How Big Oil Bought The Interior Department’