#1
livin in the second great age of monopoly capital. monsanto-bayer given the go ahead: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/justice-department-approves-bayer-monsanto-merger-in-landmark-settlement/2018/05/29/25d56ec8-6358-11e8-a69c-b944de66d9e7_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.2c79b06b2cc4

brief history of the last 20 years of bayer. bayer, a chemical conglomerate, trades back and forth with volkswagen and daimler for claim to the largest german manufacturing company. in the early oughties it split into 3 divisions: cropsci (pesticides), healthcare (pharma), and material science (polymers). it split because pharma laid a rotten egg in the form of Baycol, which killed around 100,000 people. Baycol was supposed to compete with other statins and succeeded in the sense that indeed fewer patients died from cardiac arrest than from kidney failure. it tanked the stock so hard late-2002 that there was fear that the whole company would get swallowed up. to limit liability it split itself into those 3 divisions, with a small corporate engineering team handling shared functions.

a few years ago bayer spun off polymers as covestro, its major plants in wuppertal, leverkusen, baytown texas, new martinsville, and some spots in china. all of these are environmental sacrifice zones destined to be rare, non-military superfunds. the baytown site is consistently ranked the #1 polluter in the whole baytown-la porte gulf chemical corridor. if you drive I-10 or US-146 thru this industrial cluster, its cylinder skyline of distillation columns, flare stacks and scaffolds, all linked together in pipeline and rail networks, remember that there's a biggest polluter and it is bayer. the pesticide division, now spun off to BASF according to WaPo, is another huge liability. it's got major sites in institute, WV, KCMO, and davis CA. what polymers and pesticides have in common is high energy, high pressure, high risk, commodity chemistry. because of the technology's age and TRPF they live on the razor's edge of profitability. after 150 years in basic chemistry, bayer is now banking on pharma and GMOs, trading the old capital for monsanto's glyphosate GMO line.

the WV cropsci site nearly bhopal'd the capital of west virginia. i mean it literally: the site was a duplicate union carbide acquisition, they had an explosion that killed 2 workers right next to a methyl isocyanate reactor. the reactor didn't go, like in bhopal, but the community wasn't taking it and got a judge to shutter about 3/4 of the site. the KCMO site is responsible, along with agriculture land transformation, for the death of the bee and other insect life, as part of one of earth's largest mass extinctions of invertebrates, manufacturing neonicotinoid pesticide (under the trade name Poncho). i almost died like 3 times at that site: 1000# chlorine gas leak, followed a week later by a 3000# carbon disulfide leak (more explosive than hydrogen gas! the wind was blowing away from the plant center that day, otherwise i'd be dead. a rat's fart can ignite a cloud of CS2, then set off the plant-wide explosion chain), and then another chlorine leak. those are gas leaks, but there are plenty of liquid leaks too, which flow into a 4' moat-trench surrounding the site, which flows into the blue river, which flows into the missouri river. cropsci is a total duct tape and baling wire operation and if OSHA 1910.119 was actually enforced they'd have had to pay BASF to take them. the plants are bombs without visible timers. they're metal predators with secret mouths that spray workers with exotic digestive fluids, before consumption.

before the 90s, bayer, because it was hitler's #1 campaign contributor and ran kamps for labor and medical experimentation, was restricted in the use of its trade name. it linked up with monsanto in the 70s-80s as 'Mobay' to co-construct some polymer plants down in the chemical corridor. it made good use of this brand feint and in pharma, with cutter labs, it got by with deliberately spreading the AIDS virus into the 3rd world. when they want to get out of paying settlements to survivors they claim their name wasn't on the building at the time. there's a cottage excuse that they did it for profit, except they stood to gain almost no money (equivalent to a few hours production) by selling that AIDS blood, forcibly drawn from arkansas prisoners. who could say why a company with bayer's eugenics history would want to shrink an otherwise very profitable consumer base suffering recessive genetic problems.

the broader chemical industry is consolidating. like WaPo deigns to notice, Mobay now competes with Dow + Rohm and Haas + DuPont, and ChemChina + Syngenta, which all merged in the last decade or so. they also compete with the vertically-integrated major oil+gas petrochem operations, from which they buy their raw material, mainly methane and ethane gas, and coal for their boilers. what we're seeing in the chemical industry, cross-imperial merger (US-EU, etc) bolsters the basic theoretical division between global north and south. global north ownership and cooperation, to squeeze as much as it can from the global south -- raw materials (natural gas, salts, steel), labor in the plants, and through FDI, land destruction. if you look around the room you're in, take note all the colors from dyes, the variety of plastics, the paints, the liquid crystal molecules in your screen, medications... chemistry has become a foundational, department 1 industry within the past century. with these M&A's it presents a united front to the rest of the bourgeoisie. it's not gone unnoticed that the chemical industry is responsible for nearly every major earthly challenge to class reproduction, from the nitrogen-suffocating dead oceans to climate change to acid rain, to loss of topsoil and pesticide loading, to microplastics, to all the ones we haven't discovered yet. the working class is in strategic position to recognize and act on this too, leave the plants, and let them rust. there is no future for either class with these machines in operation. chemical production must be fundamentally re-thought, de-commodified, and re-built, through socialist construction and the scientific creativity of the masses.

Edited by drwhat ()

#2
nuremberg for insanely brutally murdering hundreds of millions of bees with chemicals warfare because it would have slowed profits to come up with a better way

Edited by tears ()

#3
dang i had never heard of the charleston thing and i got folks up there. or the aids thing fuck, i had a whole other list of reasons to despise thses agglomerations of capital but those seem reall high profile
#4
there needs to be a "killing hope" for capital-sponsored health and environmental disasters
#5

c_man posted:

there needs to be a "killing hope" for capital-sponsored health and environmental disasters


Rhizzone Project

#6
putting this on the front page

(edit 3: done)

Edited by drwhat ()

#7
Speaking of German companies who worked for the Nazis, I used to interact with a lot of ThyssenKrupp elevator technicians. Elevating Device Technicians make about as much money as you can make in Canada while still being blue collar (definite worker elite territory, six figure salary and union benefits, all white guys).

I would tell every tech I met that Krupp was a major heavy industry player for the Nazis. I stopped telling them when I realized they all already knew that, and they really didn't like to talk about it.

I guess the money was too good to have a conscience about it. Apparently some Jewish owned buildings refuse to install Krupp elevators
#8
re: elevator service companies, tk is often the only game in a given town. if you feel you have a calling to enter the elevating device technician profession there may not be any other options but to hunker down with nazi profiteers and just follow orders
#9
ok do you need anything from me? i didn't capitalize for instance.

for pics i would suggest media from bayer's comprador scientist "bee care" center, creating fake research to accelerate their neonicotinoid insect apocalypse, out in monheim: https://beecare.bayer.com/media-center/photos maybe the 3rd pic

their major line is that some mite is the cause of colony collapse. they're correct in the narrow sense that it is caused by a parasitic entity

they spent tens of millions on that place btw
#10
never capitalise
#11
#12
finally got the front page working again. the group SumOfUs made and released a cool image that i used as the header. this is me attributing it to them.
#13
Ok what does socialist construction in the chemical industry look like. What use are the skills of, say, operators in a refinery. And what form of struggle could really proceed against refineries and chemical factories that actually includes workers in them?
#14

toyotathon posted:

comprador scientist "bee care" center


#15

tears posted:



this looked like a picture of people jumping out of the wtc at first

#16

Parenti posted:

this looked like a picture of people jumping out of the wtc at first


the fast and the furious: 9/11 drift

#17

stegosaurus posted:

And what form of struggle could really proceed against refineries and chemical factories that actually includes workers in them?


I have a limited perspective on this (as told to me by someone else.) Some chem industry mass production depends on supply chains of small quantity rare components and equipment produced in specialist labs that only a small handful of people know how to operate let alone maintain or repair. (some of this scarcity is artificial: entire labs full of expensive equipment are often shoved into pits and bulldozed rather than moved or resold when labs close)

Organized wildcat strike action or principled mass refusal to allow the production of unethically applied components by a small number machinists and chemists in some fields could threaten disproportionately huge amounts of high investment product and they wouldn't be easily replaceable by scabs. Alternatively, some genuinely useful scarce materials (especially in medicine) could easily be made much more readily available if the artificial scarcity manipulation constraints of the capitalist production mode were removed.

Too bad lots of the real big nasty shit that one might want to organize around stopping, white phosphorus for example, is comparatively trivial to manufacture and doesn't have this specialist bottleneck problem.

#18
i know nothing about chemical manufacturing but i know that's exactly how it works at any company with regards to the core of their IT / software, even at the gigantic supercorporations, there is a tiny, tiny, tiny core of people who know how the whole thing works, so that all adds up.

luckily software megagurus are really known for their communist sympathies
#19
Chemical manufacturing has this cool public-private partnership trick in which specialist equipment, technicians, and scientists at universities are contracted out to produce tiny amounts of difficult to obtain niche materials for industry in exchange for a tiny fraction of what they're actually worth on the market. It's kind of like girl guide cookies: the department treats it as "fund raising" but it a) is a use of valuable time and resources that could be directed at actual science, you know, the alleged purpose of the department b) makes dramatically more money for the companies they sell to than the department. So chem companies get the materials they need without having to invest long term in the necessary equipment and specialist workforce, and a huge profit margin on the produced materials, and the universities get uh, a pittance. Real clever stuff.
#20
How come the universities don't realize they're holding the shit end of the stick? Corrupt administrators?
#21

Belphegor posted:

How come the universities don't realize they're holding the shit end of the stick? Corrupt administrators?



speculating here but i think that students/faculty are super thirsty for "authorship" on publications and want a hot ass cv. also people might believe in monsanto or at least what they could do for them, ripped off not. monsanto site promises:

"It is not uncommon for Monsanto scientists and university scientists to serve in leadership positions in these associations and to plan conferences, meetings and other events together. These interactions promote the exchange of information and ideas that advance scientific knowledge for all. Sometimes (lol), if we invite or request an academic to speak at a particular meeting, we will cover the speaker’s travel expenses or provide an honorarium. This is a standard procedure for speakers at most events, regardless of the field or topic."

and

"Our scientists are recognized experts in their professional fields as well, and many of our scientists routinely publish peer-reviewed papers in academic journals. Our scientists will collaborate and co-author papers with university researchers on topics of mutual interest. In addition, Monsanto scientists frequently serve as peer-reviewers or sit on the editorial boards of such publications."

"Recruiting the best and brightest to work in agriculture"



#22

jansenist_drugstore posted:

Monsanto scientists frequently serve as peer-reviewers or sit on the editorial boards of such publications."



is there anything left that isn't corrupt beyond satire

can i still pet a cat without it being a capitalist scam

are you sure

#23
you say that like there's no multi-billion dollar pet-industrial complex
#24
Erin Brockovich's Killing Hope would be a sick book
#25

drwhat posted:

jansenist_drugstore posted:

Monsanto scientists frequently serve as peer-reviewers or sit on the editorial boards of such publications."

is there anything left that isn't corrupt beyond satire

can i still pet a cat without it being a capitalist scam

are you sure


idgi.. do people expect chem faculties to be untainted because it's supposed to be a 'pure' science? do you think electrical engineering is swimming in military bux only because it's not 'pure' science? there is a common denominator here, which i wont spell out except to say yes you can still pet your cat in peace

#26

Belphegor posted:

How come the universities don't realize they're holding the shit end of the stick? Corrupt administrators?


here's an off the cuff example about the integrity of universities: http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/campus-notes/2012/02/university-alberta-vs-nestl%C3%A9-controversy-and-honorary-degrees

"Water is, of course, the most important raw material we have today in the world. It's a question of whether we should privatize the normal water supply for the population. And there are two different opinions on the matter. The one opinion, which I think is extreme, is represented by the NGOs who bang on about declaring water a public right. That means that as a human being you should have a right to water. That's an extreme solution. And the other view says that water is a foodstuff like any other and like any other foodstuff it should have a market value."



they gave this man an honorary degree for "the preservation, distribution and management of one of humanity's most vital resources: water"

#27

Petrol posted:

idgi.. do people expect chem faculties to be untainted because it's supposed to be a 'pure' science? do you think electrical engineering is swimming in military bux only because it's not 'pure' science? there is a common denominator here, which i wont spell out except to say yes you can still pet your cat in peace


I don't actually have any expectation of that no, i was uselessly wringing my hands on an internet message board

#28

drwhat posted:

I don't actually have any expectation of that no, i was uselessly wringing my hands on an internet message board