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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Birmingham BP Protest

If you needed proof that a seismic shift in the public conception of corporate personhood is underway, just watch this video of a protest against British Petroleum in Birmingham, Alabama yesterday. In comparison, last year in this same city I could only find two health care protesters at a Sarah Palin book-signing.

Southern society frowns on public protest; that's partly an artifact of the Civil Rights Era and partly the social impetus of conformity. My own attempts at visible public protest have been met with wonder, disdain, and fascination, but never a lot of honking. So it was with some surprise that I saw only support from people driving and walking through Five Points:



The center has shifted. A supermajority of Americans opposes bailing out BP, indeed they oppose the continued existence of BP as long as tar balls continue to wash up on Alabama's sugar-white beaches and sea life gets cooked in a deep-fryer combination of sunshine and black oil. Americans are mad as hell and have every right to be.

What would we do with a person who poisoned a sea? What would be the punishment for destroying 100,000 livelihoods? For killing eleven of their workers through criminal neglect, what would our punishment be? The answer, of course, is that we would put such a person in jail, deny them bail, and never let them see the light of day again.

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