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

Editorial:
Oil Company Profits Are Weapons of Mass Destruction

Nov 7, 2022

U.S. oil and gas companies raked in more than 200 billion dollars in after-tax profits over the last six months, according to an analysis published by the Financial Times. It was the most profitable six months on record and puts these companies on course for a record-breaking year.

These companies aren’t keeping that money. As Exxon CEO Darren Woods explained, “There has been discussion in the U.S. about our industry returning some of our profits directly to the American people. In fact, that’s exactly what we’re doing in the form of our quarterly dividend.

Although, in many working peoples’ 401(k)s, they may get a few dollars out of this, about 99% of the dividends that the Exxon CEO is talking about will go to a tiny minority, the biggest owners of oil company stock, the capitalist class. These companies are turning all those profits over to the capitalists in order to enrich them ever further.

It’s no secret how these companies got those profits. They did it by ripping off the working population in the U.S. and the rest of the world.

The major oil companies are among the biggest, most powerful companies in the world. Their operations and the resources under their control span the entire globe. All that sheer power and muscle is being used to impose big price increases. And not just on oil, but on natural gas and other forms of energy.

Executives blame these price increases on shortages caused by the war in Ukraine and other supply disruptions—as if price increases are outside their control.

What lies!

The big oil companies themselves are deliberately strangling supply. They have slashed investment in oil production by two-thirds, guaranteeing a drop in production in the near future. And those cuts go well beyond oil production. Over the last two years, big energy companies permanently shut six oil refineries in the U.S., cutting fuel production by one million barrels per day. And they are planning even more oil refinery shutdowns over the next two years!

In other words, it is the oil companies that are deliberately reducing supply in order to impose big price increases. And it’s all to profit that tiny minority of bloodsuckers, the capitalist class.

Price increases on oil and other forms of energy have been like a tidal wave. Energy is a basic part of all production and distribution. So, higher energy prices have driven up all other prices worldwide. Food prices for billions of people shot up, and so did hunger as well. In this country, the price of electricity is rising at the highest rate in history. From Pakistan to Paris, billions of people are suffering a cost-of-living crisis fueled in large part by high energy costs.

And given how the oil companies have restricted productive investment, these shortages will get worse, which they will use to justify further price increases into the future—with catastrophic results at every level.

For the big energy companies are not only making inflation worse. They are not only impoverishing big parts of the global population. Their explosive price increases are destabilizing the economy even further and contributing to worsening economic and social chaos—which no doubt will also fuel more wars.

These oil companies might make use of some advanced science and technology on a massive scale. But under the control of the capitalist class, out for its own enrichment, all that technology and science are turned into nothing but weapons of mass destruction.