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

Get the Vultures’ Claws off the Oil We Need

Apr 30, 2007

Gasoline prices are nearing their all-time highs, hitting over $2.95 on average, and much higher in some West Coast states like California and Washington.

The oil companies, attempting to shift blame, point to higher prices for crude oil.

That’s like a thief trying to blame his split personality for clearing out your wallet.

The oil companies that profit handsomely from the high price of crude oil and the refining companies that profit just as handsomely from the high price of gasoline are one and the same: the five big oil cartels, which set prices around the world for both crude oil and gasoline.

And set prices they do, taking advantage of everything that happens, in order to push the price higher still. Around the time of the 2004 presidential elections, the average price was running at about $1.90 a gallon. Since then, these thieves latched on to every bit of bad news to justify one more price increase after another: news from Afghanistan, news about Katrina, news from Iraq, etc.

You would have thought these oil companies were being battered right and left by news so bad they could barely stay in business. But stay in business they did, raking in a level of profits never before grabbed by a single industry. 2004 was a record high year for oil company profits–only to be bypassed in 2005, which in turn was passed by in 2006. And 2007 is starting out with higher profits still.

Bad circumstances? No just business as usual by an industry that sets the profit standard high for every other industry.

An analyst for one of the big brokerage houses declared: “If prices remain this high, the oil industry won’t be in the oil business much longer. It will be in the money business.”

In fact, they’re already in the money business–and they’ve been in it for years. They pump oil and gasoline only to be able to produce more money still.

Our lives today are determined by companies just like this, dominating every industry, using the necessities of life to make more money, while we have to shave back our standard of living.

Do we need cheap electricity and natural gas? Too bad. The energy companies are in business to make money. Reasonably priced food? What a shame–big agriculture is in the business of making money. Do we need medical care or pharmaceutical products? Well, we know what big pharmacy is in business for–and it’s not meeting the health needs of the population. Even the schools–as big companies rake in enormous profits off contracts awarded by the public school systems–are run to make money for someone.

There is no reason today for anyone not to have good medical care, a comfortable home, adequate and healthy food, many years of schooling, cheap transportation, etc.

No reason–except that all these necessities of life are held today in the greedy clutches of a parasitical capitalist class.

Today capitalism controls incredible productive forces–enough to feed, clothe and house the whole world’s population more than adequately; and to give everyone all the years of schooling they could follow and the medical care they need. It doesn’t do that. Instead, it uses all the energies of the world’s population to serve only the grasping after profit by a tiny capitalist class.

Capitalism is a failure, a monumental failure. It’s already had more than four centuries to prove itself–and it’s only getting worse.

Working people could throw off the capitalist hold over the necessities of life, replacing that with a system that serves the interests of the whole population.

Why not? There’s wealth enough to do that. The only question is who controls it. The laboring population, which created the wealth, has every reason to put their hands on it.