What we think
Wealthy few wrecking lives
CHEVRON AND Texaco, the second and third largest oil companies in the US, announced a $43 billion merger plan this week. Bosses of the new company immediately said they would make "cost savings" of $1.2 billion, slashing thousands of jobs.
This merger is one in a series which is concentrating huge power and wealth in the hands of a tiny number of super-rich individuals. In the oil industry alone Amoco, Arco, Elf, Mobil, Petrofina and YPF have been swallowed up in the last five years to make the five top oil companies-BP, ExxonMobil, Shell, TotalFinaElf, and now Chevron/ Texaco.
The merger between America Online and Time Warner is pressing ahead. The Barclay brothers, right wing Tories who live in Monaco and stash their millions away in Jersey, are grabbing control of more and more media outlets.
Such giant corporations wreck lives, murder the planet and shore up brutal regimes in the interests of profit. The new Chevron/Texaco corporation will unite with all the other giants to insist upon "modernisation", on flexible working, on longer hours. It will lobby hard against even tiny initiatives to try to halt global warming at next month's international conference on the issue in Holland. It will do so even as global climate change is producing devastating floods across large swathes of Europe.
It will develop further its lucrative investments in Africa, particularly Angola and Nigeria. One example of the cost was the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others almost exactly five years ago by the Nigerian regime because they had dared to campaign against Shell.
The oil mega-corporations will also continue their deadly role in the Middle East. They put profits before the lives of any of the ordinary people in the region. To back up these firms the US government stands ready to unleash war-as it has done repeatedly against Iraq. And it supports Israel as a watchdog defending oil profits.
The oil giants do not care that one consequence of this is the repression of the Palestinians and the use of mass terror by the Israeli army. But the other side of the power and greed of these huge corporations is that increasing numbers of people realise the brutality and injustice that inevitably flow from capitalist globalisation.
We should celebrate that feeling that exists worldwide and do all we can to strengthen and deepen it.