Saturday, April 26, 2008


It turns out, they are striking in Nigeria, too -- at the Exxon-Mobil plant.

It's shell that's being blown up. The BBC article this morning quotes the militants' statement saying,

"Our candid advice to the oil majors is that they should not waste their time repairing any lines, as we will continue to sabotage them."

I am dissatisfied by the reporting. It says the the strikers are protesting wages and conditions. What are the wages? What are the conditions??

In Scotland they are protesting, from what I could gather, the drop in pensions that have resulted from the stock market. I wonder why the reporting is so bad -- I wonder if the unions are blacklisted -- if to get their side of the story is too volatile or if they won't talk to the press.

In 2003 the Times ran an article about a strike in Nigeria. Then,

"The oil workers are demanding more than a year's worth of back pay, including unpaid overtime, expenses and travel allowances. They are also demanding greater autonomy and better financing for the department, which they say is crippled by inefficient government bureaucracy."

Better autonomy and financing for a government department! These were the demands...

The following was:

by Marx in English, May 12th, 1869;

First published: as a leaflet, Address to the National Labour Union of the United States in 1869;
From: the minutes of the General Council meeting, May 11, 1869, as taken by George Eccarius.

Fellow Workmen:

In the initiatory program of our Association we stated:

"It was not the wisdom of the ruling classes, but the heroic resistance to their criminal folly by the working classes of England, that saved the west of Europe from plunging headlong into an infamous crusade for the perpetuation and propagation of slavery on the other side of the Atlantic."

Your turn has now come to stop a war the clearest result of which would be, for an indefinite period, to hurl back the ascendant movement of the working class on both sides of the Atlantic.

We are doing that now, aren't we -- the propagation of slavery...

In Nigeria, the working class must seem bourgois.
What are the conditions? In the villages their drinking water has an oil sheen. What are their work days like? What is their air like? What is their food like? Where do their babies play?

It seems to me that we should know these things. Nigeria is the fourth largest oil source for the US, according to the Energy Information Administration.

When I drive my gas guzzling Cross Country in order that I might protect my children, what are the conditions on which I depend?

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