Allowing myself to be swept along in the frenzy of the emotional declarations which constituted the discourse on the cause of the tragedy in New Orleans I offered in fora "incontrovertible" evidence of the racist motivations of the US government in occasioning the horrific destruction of New Orleans and in compounding the suffering of the inhabitants of the "Big Easy" in the wake of the storm. Said "incontrovertible" evidence took the form of a picture of a slate-black reptile lying dead on the grounds of a hurricane ravaged compound. In the spirit of the prevailing discourse, and in the stark and telling absence of a white reptile in said photo or any other photo that has come to my attention, I have become convinced, unshakeably so, that the neglect and the hardships occasioned thereby was the consequence of racist contempt for black skin. I present the evidence for my conviction here, once again, for all to consider :

I should add in passing that since I have come to this profound realization that, based upon the aforementioned evidence, New Orleans represents a racial tragedy, I have noticed that neighbors and acquaintances appear to be avoiding me. The upshot of it is that, in my household, which is populated by black-skinned beings, no one will abide the discussion about this racial tragedy, even based upon the incontestible visual evidence I present. Everyone keeps telling me that there has to be more to it than that. Look, they say, even Jesse Jackson is indicating another dimension!

See : http://www.blacknews.com/pr/jesse201.html

Every tragedy harbors in its shadow a medley of farces. My presentation above, pathetic as it is, is one such rendition. In my striving for theatrical effect I aspired to join the noble company of Comrade Fidel, His Bolivarian Eminence, Don Chavez, Herr Busch & Co. and those who echo their spiel.

The aftermath of the hurricane "Katrina" has occasioned countless expressions of sympathy and countless offers of assistance. Comrade Fidel, in the observance of diplomatic propriety, has made the very generous offer of 2000 doctors and 34 tons of medicine to the US government in the interest of the sufferers of the tragedy. This offer has stoked the ongoing diplomatic battle which has raged unabated for over forty years between the two countries. Cuban sympathizers have chided the Bush administration for ignoring the offer pissing on the gesture of goodwill of a hemispheric neighbor in the face of a tragedy of such magnitude. Cuba's offer is a coup de grace for in a country where almost 40 million workers have no access to health care the service of 2000 doctors free of cost plus medicine carries the most monumental implications. Socialism suddenly took on a profoundly humanitarian countenance in the view of the communist-hating citizens of "God's own country." Yet, representatives of the US administration stubbornly stood their ground and even managed a feeble poke at the armor of the near invincible Cubans, declaring in the most off-colored fashion that the administration hoped that Castro would offer "freedom" to his people. One can only submit that this is as farcical as things can get.

Now, as with all things political, the essence of the matter is concealed in matters economic. The hurricane, Katrina, battered New Orleans and uncovered, as the European media so eloquently and gleefully described, a festering sore of neglect and poverty beneath the pristine dress of the worlds only super-power. Now, a festering sore under pristine clothing is as nasty a condition as any one can imagine. The imagery is shocking. People were shocked and dismayed. Many were outraged.

Enters Lil Joe.

With our eyebrows still raised at the offensiveness of America’s stinking sore Lil Joe perceived a similar stench wafting on the Caribbean wind. The spectacle of the indigent left behind to die in the sewage contaminated water of New Orleans conveyed an imagery of an unwanted population - the representation of an economic category, labor, in it surplus manifestation. Lil Joe’s subjection of the Katrina-wrought tragedy to critical analysis revealed the most profound contradictions in the system of capitalist production and appropriation including all manifestations of the capital formation. The discarded population of New Orleans, suffering in the wake of the hurricane, has revealed its complement in the army of surplus doctors in Cuba, proving that chaos reigns under capitalism even when it is called ‘socialism.’

It was in the course of his economic analysis, also, that Lil Joe uncovered further evidence that Hugo Chavez's crude (as in sweet crude) 'socialism' is a thinly veiled marketing strategy for PdVSA and its joint venture partner Exxon Mobil Corporation. Read his presentation, "Business is Business [...]" following my comments.

Chavez's role as glorified oil sales man for PdVSA and Exxon Mobile Corporation has allowed him to flaunt the spirit of the compact between Bolivar and Petion of Haiti and to offer aid, in the form of oil and energy assistance to the puppet government installed in Haiti by the Franco-American expedition, which regime is at this very moment conducting the most brutal repression against the heroic workers of Cite Soleil and Bel Air. He countenances this as perfidy as the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America (ALBA). Latin America will be damned for it.

Read Lil Joe's profound analysis!




Business is business: Venezuelan helps U.S. Partner Exxon Mobil

by Lil Joe

People ought to penetrate appearances to apprehend the essences. All the political posturing and Brouhaha of Chavez and Bush, scoring political points against each other was bullshit - IS bullshit. It all comes out in the wash.

Politics is a masque, and politicians are the costumed actors wearing those masks: professional demagogues acting out roles on the World Stage.

Masked political showmanship manipulates the gullible, taken in by these shows. For the penetrating, critical thinking workers and intellectuals it is important that they recognize demagogy and show - defined by Hegel as the inessential masquerading as essential - and are not bamboozled by political chicanery.

The scripts are written by economic powers behind the scenes.

It would appear that, all the demagogic rhetoric and verbosity mouthed by Chavez on behalf of Venezuelan oil managers, about giving under priced oil to America's poor was just that - demagogic rhetoric. Thus political chicanery was masked in the language of 'anti-imperialism' to cover the behind the scenes deals being made between the Venezuelan and EXXON/MOBIL representatives of Capital.

Overproduction of oil in Venezuela will result from excess of supplies over demand relative to American markets, which motivates the drive to make deals with Caribbean island nations such as Jamaica and Cuba ostensibly as "Bolivarian solidarity", to mask the economic realities:

Heads of government and missions representing 16 Caribbean countries last night concluded a one-day summit in Montego Bay, which established an agreement for Venezuela to supply them with oil on concessionary payment terms. According to Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, under the PetroCaribe Agreement, Venezuela will not be able to sell oil below market prices because it must sell the commodity in accordance with OPEC conventions.

"Under the PetroCaribe Agreement, beneficiaries will not be receiving oil at concessionary prices," Mr. Patterson stressed while speaking to delegates during his opening address at the second PetroCaribe Summit at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.


"Within the framework of OPEC, Venezuela is not permitted to sell below world market price. We have to buy the oil from Venezuela at prevailing world market price," Mr. Patterson explained.

Capitalists cannot sell commodities below what is paid to have them produced: the prices of production – the means of production = Constant Capital: raw materials and machinery, on the one hand, and Variable Capital: labor power on the other.

Labor is externalized value of labor power that is objectified in the product by work. The products must cover the prices of production - the price of labor power, raw materials, machinery and so-called 'overhead' which cost-prices reflects the values now congealed in the commodity as value. This is true, whether we are talking capitalist commodity production taking place in America's private capital, Cuba's state capital or Venezuela's nationalized oil fields.

The values of the productive forces (congealed labor) is transferred by the labor process to the products in proportion to the wear and tear of these productive forces, and the value of labor power alienated from the worker by purchase (wages)is congealed value in the product: thus the value of the product.

The capitalistic mode of production and appropriation, notwithstanding the various and sundry historical forms assumed, is driven by capital self-expansion appropriations of variable capital into constant capital, the value of the producer into the products. But capital can only expand by appropriating fresh labor, thus it's werewolf hunger for surplus value.

"Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks. The time during which the labourer works, is the time during which the capitalist consumes the labour-power he has purchased of him." (Marx Capital Vol. I ch. 10 http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch10.htm)

It doesn't matter whether the productive forces is the property of the free enterprising bourgeoisie, or the bourgeois state.

"But the transformation, either into joint-stock companies, or into state ownership, does not do away with the capitalistic nature of the productive forces. In the joint-stock companies this is obvious. And the modern state, again, is only the organisation that bourgeois society takes on in order to support the general external conditions of the capitalist mode of production against the encroachments as well of the workers as of individual capitalists. The modern state, no matter what its form, is essentially a capitalist machine, the state of the capitalists, the ideal personification of the total national capital. The more it proceeds to the taking over of productive forces, the more does it actually become the national capitalist, the more citizens does it exploit. The workers remain wage-workers – proletarians. The capitalist relation is not done away with." (Engels Anti-Durhing Chapter 24 http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/ch24.htm)

Bureaucratic-state-capitalist commodity production by wage labor, whether the Venezuelan oil industry, state-capitalist commodity production by wage labor in Cuba's state industries, China or the former Soviet Union makes no difference: the managers overseeing production of commodities are personifications of capital driven by the laws of self-expansion.

Thus the function of economic managers of capitalist commodity production by wage labor is the same, whether private enterprise or state owned:

"Within the process of production, as we have seen, capital acquired the command over labour, i.e., over functioning labour-power or the labourer himself. Personified capital, the capitalist takes care that the labourer does his work regularly and with the proper degree of intensity. Capital further developed into a coercive relation, which compels the working class to do more work than the narrow round of its own life wants prescribes. As a producer of the activity of others, as a pumper-out of surplus-labour and exploiter of labour-power, it surpasses in energy, disregard of bounds, recklessness and efficiency, all earlier systems of production based on directly compulsory labour." (Marx Capital vol. I chapter 11 http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch11.htm)

"The grouping of the various value portions of a commodity which only replace the value of the capital expended in its production under the head of cost-price expresses, on the one hand, the specific character of capitalist production. The capitalist cost of the commodity is measured by the expenditure of capital, while the actual cost of the commodity is measured by the expenditure of labour. Thus, the capitalist cost-price of the commodity differs in quantity from its value, or its actual cost-price" (Marx: Capital Vol. III chapter 1 http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/ch01.htm)

Among the social gains by the Cuban Revolution in the late 1950s and early 60s were universal free health care and universal compulsory free education. This was made possible because of Cuba's economic interconnections with the economies of the bureaucratic -state-commodity production by wage workers in the Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe. These relations enabled Cuba to sell overpriced commodities and have an extended market for its sugar and sugar related commodities on one hand, and able to buy cheap oil and oil products from Soviet Russia on the other. This resulted in benefits that enabled money available to build and sustain free education including university and the free health care system.

The Russian and Cuban economies were variations of state capitalism masquerading as "communism" and "socialism". Both states and economies were managed by "Communist" Parties and state's chief bureaucrats called themselves "Marxists". They were nothing of the kind.

Yet, due to its propaganda value in the World – especially the 3rd World - the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe 'traded' with Cuba at artificially deflated (low) and inflated (high) prices. Thus, oil and other commodities produced in the Soviet bloc were sold (in this instance) at their cost price independently of supply and demand's higher average prices of oil in the world market on one hand, and sugar and other exports were purchased at above market prices on the other. The Cuban economic 'model' was subsidized and to that extent artificial - a lie.

But it was a beautiful lie. This economic infusion of money enabled Cuba to circumvent the artificial barriers imposed on its economy by the US blockade and sanctions regimes. Thus, the Cuban Revolutionaries were able to keep their promises of free, universal health care and education, 100% literacy.

What occurred, by design or by accident was that large numbers of Cubans majored in the medical sciences. Cuba ended up with an over supply of doctors: a surplus population. The West exports its surplus capital and commodities; Cuba will export its medical doctors to much needed 3rd World countries. They therefore have a pool of surplus medical doctors that are available to be sent to New Orleans following the collapse of that city, responding to the needs of its uninsured destitute population.

There was no 'Socialist Revolution' in Cuba, any more than the Soviet bloc were 'Communist countries'. That, I think is Aduku's point in these polemics.

"Just as one does not judge an individual by what he thinks about himself, so one cannot judge such a period of transformation by its consciousness, but, on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained from the contradictions of material life, from the conflict existing between the social forces of production and the relations of production. (Marx: Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. Preface http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1859/critique-pol-economy/preface.htm )

That of course doesn't mean, in my opinion that Socialists in America, and the world should not defend Cuba with our lives if necessary, against the U.S. attacks.

The social gains of the Cuban revolution, having a priority of its policy 100% literacy, brought into the educational system millions of children of Cuban workers and peasants - as did the United States in the 1950s and 60s.

As today in the United States, there are over productions of college graduates and PhDs tossed into the ranks of the surplus population, also in Cuba -- the Revolution making good its promise of literacy and educated population has an over production of trained professionals, MDs for instance. The Cuban government decided to both advance a diplomatic offensive, and practical economic social policy is sending excess of medical doctors to developing 3rd world countries.

Walter is right: it is the task of working class > socialists and communists in every country to overthrow its own bourgeoisie. But, Aduku is also right in distinguishing what socialistic revolutions objectives are, and in opposing the false view that Cuba is 'socialist', let alone the socialist model. Free health care and education exists in the Social-Democratic countries of Capitalist Europe, where wages and standard of living are higher than in both the United States and Cuba.

I don't know the technical meaning of the phrase "Bolivarian revolution", but the Market economy in Venezuela is just as much the capitalistic market economy as the American economy. The article below shows the cosmopolitan character of capitalist commodity production and exchange, and no matter how 'humanitarian' or 'revolutionary' a head of state might be - in this case Chavez of Venezuela - the material laws of capitalist commodity production by wage labor are determinate.

Aduku is right: the objective of proletarian communistic revolution is the economic self emancipation of the working class from wage slavery: the expropriation of the productive forces from the capitalist class by which workers self-management of production and distribution does away with capitalist commodity production, wage labor and exploitation.

---- End------


Exxon Diverts Venezuela Oil While Louisiana Refinery Down

By Peter Millard
September 7, 2005 12:16 p.m.

CARACAS -- Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) is finding new clients for oil produced
at the Cerro Negro heavy crude joint venture in Venezuela until the
Chalmette refinery in Louisiana is brought back on line, said a company

Cerro Negro, a joint venture between Exxon, BP (BP) and Petroleos de
Venezuela S.A. (PVZ.YY), has a contract to supply the 183,000 b/d Chalmette
refinery, which is jointly owned by Exxon and PdVSA, as the state oil
company is known. The spokesman gave no time frame for when Cerro Negro
would begin supplying the Louisiana refinery again.

"Each partner is exporting their own part to their international
distribution system," said the spokesman.

"We're putting it where it is most convenient," added the spokesman, who
provided no further details on where the Cerro Negro crude would be lifted.
Cerro Negro produces 120,000 barrels a day of extra-heavy oil in the Orinoco
tar belt, which it upgrades into 108,000 b/d of marketable synthetic crude.
Venezuela, the world's fifth largest oil exporter, is a major supplier of
crude oil and products to the U.S. President Hugo Chavez has promised to
send an additional 1 million barrels of gasoline to the U.S. in September
to help mitigate the impact of Hurricane Katrina.

Venezuela's embassy in the U.S. said the additional gasoline will be taken
from storage and diverted from other customers.

A manager at Venezuela's largest domestic refinery, Amuay, said the plant
will send an additional two cargoes of diesel fuel to the U.S. this month,
bringing the total number of cargoes of products headed to the U.S. to six
for September. The manager said that it will be easier to send gasoline to
the U.S. this month after U.S. authorities temporarily relaxed
environmental regulations in an effort to guarantee gasoline supplies.


Exxon Team Begins Assessment of Chalmette Plant

By Jessica Resnick-Ault
September 7, 2005 6:55 p.m.

[Updates with comments from Exxon Mobil statement, the company's efforts
to place crude supplied from a joint venture with PdVSA]

BATON ROUGE -- Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) has begun to assess the situation
at its jointly owned refinery in Chalmette, La., the company said in a
statement late Wednesday.

"A team is on the ground at the Chalmette refinery beginning the task of
making a thorough assessment of the plant," the statement said.

The statement followed an earlier estimate from a spokeswoman that the
assessment would take "several weeks."

The company has offered no estimated restart date for the 183,000 barrels
a day refinery.

"When the assessment is complete we will be in a better position to
provide an estimate of when the refinery will be able to begin operations," the
statement said.

On Tuesday, the company had said it was too soon to conduct a thorough

The revised timetable follows a similar estimate from the other oil
refinery in St. Bernard's parish, Murphy Oil Corp. (MUR).

A Murphy spokesman said Tuesday that it will take a "couple of weeks"
to do a full damage assessment at its Meraux, La. refinery and months before a
restart. An Exxon Mobil spokeswoman said the majority of the refinery's
employees had been contacted, but she didn't know how many remained at
large. According to a copy of an internal ExxonMobil memo obtained by Dow
Jones Newswires, 90% of the company's workers have been located so far.

The company is still advertising in the area in its attempt to track down
employees, urging them to call a toll-free number.

Floodwaters had been a problem, inflicting water damage at the refinery.
As of late last week, the area was under about three feet of water but the
water table receded "quite a bit" over the weekend, Louisiana Department
of Environmental Quality spokesman Darrin Mann said Tuesday.

After the hurricane the government of St. Bernard Parish set up its
emergency headquarters in the refinery administrative building, one of the
driest points in the area.

Operations at the Chalmette refinery have posed a "particular challenge,"
ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond said in a letter to employees published on the
company's Web site.

"Restoring basic infrastructure in the New Orleans area, including access
and a stable supply of electricity are essential to being able to repair
and operate the refinery," Lee wrote.

Curt Hebert, Entergy Corp.'s (ETR) head of external affairs and a former
chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said Friday on CNBC
that it will be two to three weeks before the utility is able to restore
power to three refineries, including Chalmette, presuming they are ready
to receive power at that time.

ExxonMobil co-owns Chalmette with state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela
(PVZ.YY), or PdVSA.

As Chalmette advances its efforts to repair and restart operation, Exxon
Mobil is finding new clients for oil produced at the Cerro Negro heavy
crude joint venture, according to a PdVSA spokesman.

Cerro Negro, a joint venture between Exxon, BP (BP) and PdVSA, has a
contract to supply the Chalmette refinery.

The spokesman gave no time frame for when Cerro Negro would begin
supplying the Louisiana refinery again.

"Each partner is exporting their own part to their international
distribution system," said the spokesman.

"We're putting it where it is most convenient," added the spokesman, who
provided no further details on where the Cerro Negro crude would be lifted.
Cerro Negro produces 120,000 barrels a day of extra-heavy oil in the
Orinoco tar belt, which it upgrades into 108,000 b/d of marketable synthetic

[Andrew Dowell in New York and Peter Millard in Caracas contributed to
this article.]


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