The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Trashed by Oil Giant Total

Oct 24, 2022

This article is translated from the September 23 issue #2825 of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group of that name active in France.

TotalEnergies, the French oil company, plans to exploit an oil field on the shores of Lake Albert in Uganda. The plans include building what will be the largest heated petroleum pipeline in the world, running over 900 miles through Uganda and Tanzania. The European Parliament has expressed its concern.

They criticized what activist groups have denounced for years. One hundred thousand people are at risk of being displaced. Expropriated farmers have been pressured to sign documents thrust on them by Total representatives. The parliament denounced human rights violations, arrests, and acts of judicial harassment against activists and NGOs. The parliament demanded that those arrested be released and expropriated farmers be properly compensated—they have waited months for this.

The parliament also warned of threats to the environment and to water resources, as oil spills are inevitable. Beginning this December, 400 oil wells will be drilled, including 132 in an environmentally protected area. The project could emit up to 34 million tons of CO2 per year, 30 times the current emissions of Uganda and Tanzania combined.

Despite these serious accusations, the parliament’s resolution is “non-binding.” It only asked Total to postpone the start of construction for a year, in order to study whether another pipeline route is possible.

This will hardly convince Total to abandon such a lucrative project, especially since it has the support of French President Emmanuel Macron, the French and Ugandan armies, and Uganda’s oil police. All these powers work hand in hand with Total’s own security forces. The fight against global warming is good for electoral speeches, but that’s all.