America Can't Solve Crises Because It's a Company-Owned Town

United States can no longer engage effectively in "nation-building" in
the one place on Earth it has a right and duty to do so: at home. These
are the lessons of the 2010 Gulf oil catastrophe, the 2008 financial
meltdown and the 2005 Katrina horror -- disasters that history will
rightfully conflate as symptomatic of the fundamental crisis of the
rule of Capital. The U.S. has become a company town of speculative and
extraction enterprises whose social and physical geography the rulers
relentlessly appropriate, monetize and despoil - all with obscene

At the core of the100 or so activists that gathered in New Orleans for an Emergency Summit to Stop the Gulf Oil Catastrophe,
last weekend, were veterans of the ravages of Disaster Capitalism
following Hurricane Katrina. They had seen up close how Capital and its
servants at all levels of government organized themselves as a
public-private mob to drive Black and poor people from the city. They
were witnesses to the crafting of a corporate consensus that the exiled
poor should have no rights that conflicted with the imperatives of
Capital -- no right to return, no right to reclaim their lives, no
rights that cannot be superseded by the claims and ambitions of the
oligarchs. They had watched as finance Capital's urban gentrification
agenda was near-instantaneously put on fast-forward in New Orleans to
ensure the permanent purging of the poor. A kind of perverse anthem
seemed to rise from each corporate celebration of the city's imminent
and profitable rebirth: "Free the land -- of Black people!"

the land and bayous and sea are made hostile to all life by the
depraved indifference of voracious extractors who monetized,
securitized and derivitaized the Gulf's most deeply buried oil deposits
years before the accursed Deepwater Horizon rig made its last, fatal
thrust. The super-deep reservoirs of the Gulf were sold and their oil
futures already leveraged to finance yet more assaults on man and
nature, even before President Obama's flip-flop on off-shore drilling
in August, 2008, when he had the Democratic nomination in the bag.

Such world-shaping dealings have nothing to do with you and me, nothing to do with notions of democracy, because democracy does not exist in the United States,
where finance capital and its extracting, hoarding, manipulating energy
cousin, rule. There is no evidence of democracy anywhere that counts --
not in the $14-plus trillion transferred directly to Wall Street,
mostly by the quasi-public Federal Reserve, while the real economy in
general and Black America in particular were stripped and gutted. No
notions of an American social compact could deter the ruling class from
acting out its pathologies on its own citizens when Katrina presented
the opportunity. And no amount of public disgust at BP has moved Obama
to behave as if he is beholden to the majority that elected him -- for
the simple reason that he is not.

element of the American political process is firmly in the hands of the
oligarchy. The public only became aware of Barack Obama's existence
after he had been thoroughly vetted by corporate mechanisms of all
kinds, including but by no means limited to the corporatist Democratic
Leadership Council (see Bruce Dixon, Black Commentator, June 5, 2003).
Obama's informal -- but quite binding -- "contracts" with the oligarchs
were concluded before he set foot in the U.S. Senate. The public was
the last to know that the obscure politician Obama had become a
"viable" prospect by corporate acclimation in the only "race" that
counts -- the early, business fund-raising contest. (The corporate
consensus included BP, which gave Obama more money than any other
candidate, and Wall Street, which was even more generous to the
Nation's First Black President.)

U.S. government is divorced from the people because it is a creature of
Capital. The three recent mega-crises are both the products and the
illuminators of that wholly corrupt relationship. It is, therefore,
quite logical that the activists of the Emergency Summit to Stop the
Gulf Oil Catastrophe appear to direct their demands to both BP and

Stop oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Full compensation, retraining
and new employment, including public works, for all affected,

The government and entire oil industry must allocate all necessary
resources to stop and clean up the spill, prevent oil from hitting
shore, protect wildlife, treat injured wildlife, and repair all
devastation. Full support, including by compensation, must be given to
peoples' efforts on all these fronts and to save the Gulf.

No punishment to those taking independent initiative; no gag orders on
people hired, contracted, or who volunteer; those responsible for this
crime against the environment and the people should be prosecuted.

Full mobilization of scientists and engineers. Release scientific and
technical data to the public; no more lying and covering up.
Immediately end use of dispersants; full, open scientific evaluation of
nature and impact of dispersants. Fund all necessary scientific and
medical research.

5) Full compensation for all losing livelihood and income from the disaster.

Provide necessary medical services to those suffering health effects of
the spill. Protect the health of and provide necessary equipment for
everyone involved in clean up operations. Full disclosure of medical
and scientific studies about the effects of the oil disaster.

No Nation-Building, Here

are living in the late stages of overwhelming dominance (hegemony) of
finance capital -- and, secondarily, the oil and gas money-machines. It
is a period characterized by destruction of the domestic manufacturing
base and frenzied predation of the public sector. The mission of
Capital's servants in government is, therefore, to assist Wall Street
and the energy sector in the fastest possible conversion of natural and
social resources to private exploitation.

among the public and media that still harbor the illusion that
government is there to serve the people, despite seeing so much
evidence to the contrary, speak of a national "malaise," a loss of
purpose, a temporary failure or flaw in the national character. What
nonsense! What we are witnessing is the destructive behavior of a
predatory class that sees its future in trillion-dollar derivative
bets; commodification of every conceivable resource (food, water, air?)
and manipulation of every commodity market; privatization of every
possible state function (schools, safety nets); constant expansion of
the "market" in the maintenance of empire; and the "primitive
accumulation" of the spoils of war.

such a class, there is no room, rhyme or reason for anything resembling
domestic nation-building, and they will not assign their servants in
government to any such project. Worse than simply being on their own,
the people face the same oligarchic enemy at the commanding heights of
both the public and private sectors: the Democrat and the banks, the
Republican and Big Oil, and vice versa - and all of them aligned with
the military complex.

The pace of disaster-making is quickening in America, which indicates something very much like "the end is near."

these overlapping pyrotechnics of horror -- Katrina, the Crash of 2008,
the Great Gusher in the Gulf -- are necessary to teach Americans the
nature of class war, that it is, indeed, hell. At any rate, the
oligarchs can be counted on to accelerate the processes of their own
demise. It is up to the people to save themselves, through organizing;
there are no guarantees.