|Struggle against Chevron (Richmond, California)|
|Written by WORKER VOICE|
|Wednesday, 02 September 2009 00:00|
The economic crisis hits the Richmond community….
While the federal government is giving all the reserve funds to financial companies, thousands of families in Richmond, and in the rest of the country, continue to lose their jobs and their houses. The foreclosure crisis is increasing: in Richmond, 2,300 houses have already been foreclosed in a year and a half, 4.8 millions houses in the whole country.
In the meantime, instead of calling for an immediate moratorium on the foreclosures and for a mass plan of public housing, Pres. Obama wants to re-negociate a very small percentage of the mortgages, refusing to break the chains that suffocate working families.
But workers are not only losing their homes, they are also losing their jobs! The official rate of unemployment in California for June 2009 is 11.6%, but the real one is close to 15%. In November 2007, the official unemployment rate in the East Bay was 4.8%, today it has reached 10.4%!
…while Chevron war profiteers make billions and destroy human lives…
? Chevron, a California based company, is the 2nd largest oil company in the US and the 4th in the world. In 2008, it made $23.9 billion in profits, the highest in company history, in part because it does not have to pay oil taxes in California, unlike in other states (Alaska: 12.25%). This amount is almost equal to the California budget deficit!
?Chevron is a known major contributor for the Republican Party. It donated big amounts to both of Bush’s elections and gave $2.3 million to McCain. And since the Iraq war, Chevron has become a war profiteer, securing new oil resources and contributing to the US imperialist project of occupation.
? There are more than 38 toxic substances within the more than 2 million pounds of waste that the refinery produces every year. Among them: high percentages of benzene (human carcinogen) and ammonia (responsible of the exceptionally high rate of asthma in the city).
? And now that its expansion project has been delayed, Chevron wants to layoff 1,100 workers from the city!
…And the public authorities reduce social services but not corporate profits!
Instead of protecting Richmond jobs and education, the City Council is cutting the healthcare benefits of the teachers! The Mayor asked for $61 million in Federal Stimulus money to hire more cops, while lots of teachers and other public workers are been laid off. And he spent $87,000 on a “new logo” to improve the image of the city!
Meanwhile, Gov. Schwarzenegger is cutting $9 billion in public education funding but he refuses to impose taxes on oil companies. He is doubling the cost of the crisis for workers denying them the social services they deserve!
But the problem is not the workers. Every day more people realize that the problem is the way our society is organized. Capitalism is a system of increasing exploitation and oppression where production is for private profit, not to satisfy people’s needs. So, we need to change this system! And the first step is forcing companies to pay taxes!
We Continue The Resistance!
The first march against Chevron in Richmond, which brought out more than 200 people, happened on August 15th. It is important that we continue the mobilizations against the big multinational companies to demand social and environmental justice. We have to mobilize around fighting demands:
?Enforcement of Measure T!
?Forbid layoffs in any profitable corporation!
?Nationalization of companies in bankruptcy!
?Reduce GHG polluting emissions!
?Refund public education and protect teachers benefits!
?Enact a 9.9% oil severance tax!
?Increase taxation of corporate benefits until the budget deficit is resolved!
?Immediate moratorium on foreclosures!
?We need a Plan of Public Housing!