Texans urge boycott of ExxonMobil

DALLAS, Texas – ExxonMobil held its annual shareholders conference outside the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center here May 28, and the North Texas faction of Jobs with Justice was on hand to protest the oil giant’s corporate greed and its role in the ongoing occupation of Iraq.

Demonstrators arrived at roughly 8 am and immediately were confronted by numerous officers of the Dallas Police Department who lined up along metal barricades. Three other organizations were represented: Consumers for Peace, the Dallas Peace Center, and Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Demonstrators unveiled a large banner which read, “No Oil War. Boycott Exxon Mobil,” and then we quietly stood behind it as the first of the Exxon Mobil shareholders began to arrive.

One activist with Consumers for Peace said that Exxon Mobil was attempting to establish oil contracts with Iraq but that in order to operate under fair and ethical business practices, Consumers for Peace is asking that Exxon Mobil not do business with Iraqi oil companies until the U.S. occupation has ended.

Numerous other activists held signs which read, “How Many Lives Per Gallon?” “Expose Exxon,” and “Mobillions Mo’ Problems,” to name a few. The Dallas Peace Center contingent was by far the largest. With roughly 50 or so activists present, the protesters began chanting such slogans as “Exxon Enough!” “Record Prices! Record Profits!” and “Exxon’s Killing America with Corporate Greed!”

At one point, a shareholder walked by and asked, “So did you guys drive your SUV’s to get here? Or did you ride a bike?” To which an activist replied, “I took the bus. Ever heard of public transportation?”

But the fact that the majority of Americans rely on gasoline was hardly the issue. Compare the shareholder’s statement to mocking a thirsty person for drinking overpriced water. Getting to work or going to the grocery store are essential parts of every working American’s life, and if there were alternatives, then by all means we would definitely use them. To put it simply, America is a gas and oil reliant society because of the need to transport quickly, whether it’s a ride on an airplane or a trip in a Ford Escort to the other side of town. The oil companies have taken advantage of this reliance, and it’s hurting working class citizens everywhere.

After roughly two hours of standing in front of the Meyerson, all the activists moved over to a stage set up by the Dallas Peace Center for a press conference. A member of the Southern Leadership Christian Conference who had marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a speech, invoking his own knowledge of working-class Americans by saying that he had talked with people in Alabama who can only work three days a week because they can’t afford to fill their tanks. He went on to say that the greed and corruption in the big oil companies (such as the $400 million retirement packaged awarded to ExxonMobil’s CEO in 2006) will eventually shut America down to where nobody can go to work, nobody can go to the store, and even the stores won’t have anything to sell if the Teamsters can’t afford to transport goods.

But gas prices are not the only reason to be disgruntled with Exxon Mobil. Exxon Mobil has repeatedly stated that they are an oil and gas company and not a renewable energy company and activists have decreed their efforts on the green front to be nothing more than mere “junk science.”

Exxon Mobil is currently locked in disputes with both Venezuela and Nigeria over billions of dollars of oil revenue that both countries are trying to redistribute to their country’s own struggling economies instead of into the bank accounts of wealthy American capitalists.

Although there are no direct ties currently to Exxon Mobil and the deaths of over 4,000 U.S. troops, it is evident that Exxon Mobil is attempting to use America’s presence in the region as leverage and intimidation to broker business deals with the Iraq oil companies- and this is completely unacceptable.

No Oil War. Boycott Exxon Mobil.