Updated: Apr 27
Logique de Profit Logique de Mort
Logic of Profit / Logic of Death
Fédération Anarchiste made this poster 16 years ago to protest large corporations' prioritization of profits over the health of people and the environment. While this poster protested agribusiness claims that GMOs are safe and beneficial, its death knell warning is echoed in this past month's news--as corporations persist in prioritizing profits over people's health and the environment.
Toxic chemicals continue to spread into the air, soil and water in East Palestine, Ohio, since a 150-car train owned by Norfolk Southern derailed on February 3, 2023. These include carcinogens such as vinyl chloride. When burned, more toxins form including dioxins and phosgene, a poisonous gas often used in chemical warfare. Ohio residents have shared photos of the gigantic black cloud that filled the sky as Norfolk Southern burned these chemicals.
An environmental catastrophe was exacerbated with the intentional burn-off of the toxic materials into the air and a “controlled release” of toxic chemicals into the ground, which are now contaminating local water sources including the Ohio River. Thousands of fish have died.
Norfolk Southern and the government of Ohio are insisting there are “no signs that the air or water quality is unsafe” and that East Palestine is safe to live in again. But residents are reporting alarming health reactions to their changed home environment, including headaches, persistent coughs, skin rashes, and nausea.
Days after the World Trade Center Attacks in 2001, the government insisted the air was safe; we now know that nearly 10,000 first responders and people who were nearby have been diagnosed with cancer. If you lived in East Palestine, who would you believe?
This environmental disaster should not be a surprise, as union rail workers have been warning of the ticking time bomb for months. As recently as June 2022, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) which represents Norfolk Southern, lobbied against safety regulations. These regulations would have required rail cars carrying toxic and flammable materials to be equipped with modern electronic braking systems called Electronically Controlled Pneumatic (ECP).
Instead, Norfolk Southern and other railroad companies in recent years have cut rail staff and spent billions on stock buybacks, only further lining their pockets and endangering communities with the presence of “bomb trains,” or trains carrying highly explosive fossil fuels, some of whom carry the same energy as the Hiroshima bomb.
Last Thursday, February 16, another Norfolk Southern train derailed in Michigan, causing more than two dozen cars carrying liquid chlorine to pile up – the corporation has again insisted there is no threat.
While East Palestine has been one of the worst environmental disasters of this kind, in 2022 alone there were 1,044 total train derailments in the United States. The deregulation of worker safety and environmental laws will only lead to more environmental catastrophes, worker deaths, and future diseases. Safe infrastructure, safe workplace, and environmentally safe practices cannot be implemented soon enough.