The post below is a copy of my submission to the Planet Ark World Environment News Letter to the Editor Competition, entitled “The Separation of Reality and State”.
Below is my letter to the Editor in response to the article “BP will not be banned from offshore lease sale”, which can be found here.
What an outrageous statement!
“Do you administer the administrative death penalty based on one incident?” Michael Bromwich asks himself.
Perhaps he should ask Troy Davis!
But the State sanctioned destruction of human life is a matter for another context. The State sanctioned destruction of the biosphere is the alarm that imminently sounds.
Surely the imposition of capital venture over public land for the sole benefit of State and Multinational Corporation, to the dismay and despite the condemnation of the people, would have George Washington, and all those who have fought for the liberty of people from the wishes of an overarching power, turning in his and their graves respectively.
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon once proclaimed “property is theft!”
Indeed it is. And, indeed, it is destructive. And, indeed, such extensions of proprietary right to the company with the most capital to purchase it, regardless of the possible consequences to not only that which it has acquired but to all other land, all other fauna, and all other flora, is reckless endangerment of life.
But, with the increasing separation of the person from the State and the Corporation (both of which are figments of legal and historical imagination), increasing are the barriers to stop people, people who are connected to the land, to the sea, to the plants and to the animals, from being able to assert their own right.
The right to protect what they enjoy. The right to protect these elements of our world, not only for the benefit of human-kind, but for each of these elements to exist in their own right.
The vast majority of individuals have grave issues with the disaster in the western Gulf of Mexico, both for its environmental effect and its human death toll.
Not that an individual could cause such painful devastation, but should he or she do so, through his or her own negligence and the taking of short-cuts, the sanction imposed upon them through the mechanisms of State power would be crushing.
And yet, the corporate veil again exists to limit the extraction of retribution to a mere monetary one (both in sense of form and size) without any restriction of liberty that a natural person would have imposed upon him or her, let alone on their ability to partake in a similar activity again.
I admit that my first temptation on reading the article was to criticise the administrative decision to allow BP to participate in the lease sale.
However, the problem is far deeper than of just one administrative action.
It is a problem of societal systems.
Systems that allow decisions to be made, apparently on behalf of the governed but yet made whilst far removed from the governed, to allow companies to build private wealth and capital.
It is this system which willingly allows the destruction of the biosphere, to the detriment of all.