More ecosocialism from brother Mumia!
read him, blog...spread the word from a cell in the USA across the globe, creative commons applies I guess.
HOW THE FORCES OF CAPITAL GOT US WHERE WE ARE
(OR 'GLOBAL WARMING II')
[Col. Writ. 1/14/07] Copyright 2007 Mumia Abu-Jamal
Quite recently, I offered some thoughts on the startling warm winter
weather we're having.
While I talked about the probable impact of global warming (greenhouse
gases), I didn't directly address the sources of much of it.
Let's be clear. Much of it, perhaps most, is cars. Some folks may be
thinking -- 'uh oh -- here he goes again with that back-to-nature, John
Africa talk again. He actually wants us to give up our cars!'
But how many of us know that in the good old days -- say, in the
19-teens, and the '20s, cars were electric cars -- run on batteries?
In the early third of the 20th century, most American mass transit was
an electrical affair -- relatively quiet, with far fewer pollutants
being belched into the air.
What happened? Greed happened. Corporate crime happened. Then mass
Writer and researcher Mark Zepezauer, in his brilliant 2004 book, *Take
the Rich Off Welfare* (Cambridge, Ma.: South End Press) tells the story
with brevity and clarity, as he writes:
"The extent to which automobiles dominate our lives didn't just happen
by accident -- at least part of it was the result of a criminal
conspiracy. Back in the early 1930s, most people living in cities got
around on electric streetcars. Concerned that this wasn't the kind of
environment in which they could sell a lot of buses, General Motors
(GM), using a series of front companies, began buying up streetcar
systems, tearing out the tracks, buying buses from itself, and then
selling the new, polluting bus systems back to the cities -- usually
with contracts that prohibited the purchase of 'any equipment using
fuel or means of propulsion other than gas.' Sometimes the contracts
required that the new owners buy all their replacement buses from GM.
"GM was soon joined by Greyhound, Firestone Tire and Rubber, Standard
Oil of California (also called Chevron), and Mack Trucks. In 1949 --
after these companies had destroyed more than 100 streetcar systems in
over 40 cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San
Francisco, Oakland, Baltimore, St. Louis, and Salt Lake City -- GM,
Chevron, and Firestone were convicted of a criminal conspiracy to
restrain trade. They were fined $5,000 each, and the executives who
organized the scheme were fined $1.00 each." [p. 139]
Boy -- what does that tell you about 'equal justice under law?'
(Speaking of John Africa, I'm reminded of the opening words of his *The
Judges Letter*, which reads, "The courts are the tools of industrial
plague, granting big business privilege to poison our earth.")
There are some 520 million cars in the world today; 200 million (38.5%!)
are driven in the U.S. The U.S. has only 5% of the world's population,
and drives nearly 40% of the cars.
When we are faced with the chilling spectacle of global warming, with
the rising of the oceans along with temperatures, and with the very real
threat to coastal cities and populations all around the world, there's a
reason for it.
And some big U.S. businesses made plenty of money off it. The pollution
in our lungs, the warming air currents melting the arctic snow and
creating rising sea levels, the very same man-made temperature changes
that have spawned stronger, more destructive hurricanes was translated
into billions of dollars in U.S. corporate coffers, amassed over
decades. It is the very essence of capitalism.
It didn't have to be this way. It could've been very different.
Only people, awake and aware -- and determined to build a new world, can
begin to change it.
Time is running out for over 1/2 a billion people, whose living space is
seriously threatened with flooding.
It's not too late to reverse this monstrous trend. But, it can't be
kept for later.
Copyright 2007 Mumia Abu-Jamal
[Mr. Jamal's recent book features a chapter on the
remarkable women who helped build and defend
the Black Panther Party: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.
"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is
just, yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die.
And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about
justice." - Mumia Abu-Jamal
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