Union members and academics from all over the world can now lend their names to the fight to make The Dow Chemical Company accept its liabilities in Bhopal by signing our online petitions. By submitting your name you’ll not only help to make it impossible for Dow to continue with its intransigence towards Bhopal, you’ll also be showing to Bhopal’s survivors that communities and individuals everywhere stand in solidarity with their longest struggle.
Dow habitually depicts advocates for justice in Bhopal as ‘professional activists’, conveniently ignoring the protests of Bhopal survivors and their representatives, international citizens, shareholders, elected politicians, Unions, students, ethical investors etc. In this way it seeks to undermine the legitimacy of the objections mounted against its behaviour. It will now have to try to ignore the objections raised by each and every signatory of these petitions.
But it is not only by dismissing its critics that Dow attempts to obscure its moral and pending legal and environmental liabilities in Bhopal: in has other methods also.
By continually reasserting that Union Carbide is a separate legal entity, Dow obfuscates the fact that, under merger law, as 100% buyer and owner, it is anyway the inheritor of Carbide’s liabilities – as demonstrated by its taking on of $2 billion dollars worth of Carbide’s US asbestos liabilities. Also, the corporate veil Dow has placed over it’s relationship to Carbide is entirely transparent: the board of what remains of Union Carbide is made up of Dow employees such as Carbide CEO John Dearborn, also Dow’s vice president of technology licensing and catalysts; listed as a director is Luciano Respini, President of Dow Europe; and the registrant of Carbide’s SEC submissions is Frank H Brod, Dow’s Vice president and Controller. Union Carbide today exists as a business to supply Dow alone.
Secondly Dow makes itself a denialist by refusing to acknowledge the outstanding liabilities it inherited through its digestion of Carbide. Massive contamination in Bhopal created and abandoned by Carbide, the polluter, is anybody but Carbide’s responsibility according to Dow. The unresolved charges of culpable homicide against Carbide are simply never mentioned by Dow.
Even now Dow believes that it can wholly mislead its stakeholders over its Bhopal liabilities, as demonstrated long before, during and after the 2003 AGM, where CEO Stavropoulos denied before the assembled stakeholders that Union Carbide was actually indicted in the criminal case ongoing in Bhopal. Dow management’s attitude to its own shareholders therefore appears almost as contemptuous as the one it holds towards those people in Bhopal being progressively poisoned by its deliberate inaction over the deadly toxins left by behind by Carbide.
Dow’s position on Bhopal flouts both moral and legal conventions, in the apparent hope that the issue of Bhopal will simply evaporate. 150,000 chronically ill survivors, another 20,000 victims of the contamination, the Indian and US courts, the approaching 20th anniversary and a growing international recognition of Bhopal as central to the unstoppable movement for real corporate accountability means that Dow’s hope is a forlorn one.
One of the hundreds of sacks of poison Dow refuses to clean up. Help make them.