The Spark

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

The latest traffic jam is brought to us by Exxon Mobil

Aug 15, 2005

News commentators tell us we're driving more – despite higher gas prices. As if it is our fault that gasoline prices are so high: we won't give up our supposedly "selfish" driving habits!

What nonsense! Most of us have to fight our way through traffic every day to get to work or school. We have no other choice. In most metropolitan areas, there is no mass transit system. Or it is woefully inadequate, with not nearly enough routes and schedules and frequency to cover the real needs of the population. Neither do we have any other way besides the car nor an expensive plane ride to travel between cities and regions of the country. As a result, on Interstates in the middle of nowhere, there are more and more absolutely ridiculous traffic jams stretching forever.

This whole rotten situation has been brought to us by those friendly sounding oil and auto companies, that throughout the last half century have systematically opposed mass transit systems of all sorts, even dismantling them in cities like Detroit and Los Angeles after they were built. This is because for these companies, the more people drive, the more money they make. For them, every traffic jam is simply a profit-maker.

These companies advertise incessantly about the "freedom" to drive – and sure, sometimes driving does make sense. But all too often, what we need is to be liberated from the enslavement and the enormous waste of time, money and pollution that comes from being stuck in the car. But that will only come when people begin to fight to organize society around our own collective needs, instead of the drive for profit by a few gargantuan companies.