HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Chris Hedges: Capitalism’...

Mon Dec 14, 2015, 03:11 PM

Chris Hedges: Capitalism’s Cult of Human Sacrifice

from truthdig:

by Chris Hedges

HOUSTON—Bryan Parras stood in the shadows cast by glaring floodlights ringing the massive white, cylindrical tanks of the Valero oil refinery. He, like many other poor Mexican-Americans who grew up in this part of Houston, struggles with asthma, sore throats, headaches, rashes, nosebleeds and a host of other illnesses and symptoms. The air was heavy with the smell of sulfur and benzene. The faint, acrid taste of a metallic substance was on our tongues. The sprawling refinery emitted a high-pitched electric hum. The periodic roar of flares, red-tongued flames of spent emissions, leapt upward into the Stygian darkness. The refinery seemed to be a living being, a giant, malignant antediluvian deity.

Parras and those who live near him are among the hundreds of millions of human sacrifices that industrial capitalism demands. They are cursed from birth to endure poverty, disease, toxic contamination and, often, early death. They are forced to kneel like bound captives to be slain on the altar of capitalism in the name of progress. They have gone first. We are next. In the late stages of global capitalism, we all will be destroyed in an orgy of mass extermination to satiate corporate greed.

Idols come in many forms, from Moloch of the ancient Canaanites to the utopian and bloody visions of fascism and communism. The primacy of profit and the glory of the American empire—what political theorist Sheldon Wolin called “inverted totalitarianism”—is the latest iteration. The demand of idols from antiquity to modernity is the same: human sacrifice. And our cult of human sacrifice, while technologically advanced, is as primitive and bloodthirsty as that which carried out killings atop the great Aztec temple at Tenochtitlán. Not until we smash our idols and liberate ourselves from their power can we speak of hope. It would have been far, far better for the thousands of activists who descended on Paris for the climate summit to instead go to a sacrifice zone such as Parras’ neighborhood and, in waves of 50 or 100, day after day, block the rail lines and service roads to shut down refineries before being taken to jail. That is the only form of mass mobilization with any chance of success.

Parras—who organizes protests and resistance in the community through Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (TEJAS), a local group he co-founded with his father, Juan—was standing in Hartman Park. He pointed out the array of storage tanks and other equipment clustered around refineries run by Valero, LyondellBasell and Texas Petrochemicals. The neighborhood, known as Manchester, is hemmed in by the Rhodia chemical plant; a yard for trains that transport tar sands oil, gas, coal and toxic chemicals; a Goodyear synthetic rubber plant; a fertilizer plant; a molasses plant; wastewater treatment plants; and tanks of liquefied chicken. There are numerous superfund sites here. The neighborhood is one of the most polluted in the United States. A yellowish-brown dust coats everything. The corporations, Parras said, are not required to disclose the toxic chemicals they store and use to refine or treat their products. The people who live in this industrial wasteland, who dream of escape but remain trapped because they are poor or because no one will buy their homes, know they are being poisoned but they do not know exactly what is poisoning them. And that, he said, “is the really scary thing.” ...................(more)


4 replies, 772 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 4 replies Author Time Post
Reply Chris Hedges: Capitalism’s Cult of Human Sacrifice (Original post)
marmar Dec 2015 OP
Gregorian Dec 2015 #1
Octafish Dec 2015 #2
marmar Dec 2015 #3
Octafish Dec 2015 #4

Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 14, 2015, 03:37 PM

1. It's a complex problem.

And it's exacerbated by increasing population.

There's a price to pay for both convenience and numbers. The price is paid, just one way or another. Human lives and the environment. Is it worth it? I'm warm. I have tea. A car.

Plus, out of sight, out of mind.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to marmar (Original post)

Response to Octafish (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 14, 2015, 04:20 PM

3. Thx for the links!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to marmar (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 14, 2015, 05:46 PM

4. You are most welcome, marmar!

Thanks for a must-read.

Money trumps peace straight outta Houston.

Same for cancer clusters.


I noted NPR Houston doesn't link to the report they mention:


Assessment of the Occurrence of Cancer in East Harris County, Texas - June 19, 2015 (Addendum - September 3, 2015)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread