Activists campaign for relief following Gulf Oil Spill, United States, 2010

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Timing
Time Period:  
11 May
2010
to
18 June
2010
Location and Goals
Country: 
United States
Goals: 
Convince the government of the United States that it must seize BP and freeze its assets, and place those funds in trust to begin providing immediate relief to the working people throughout the Gulf states whose jobs, communities, homes, and businesses are being harmed or destroyed by the criminally negligent actions of the CEO, Board of Directors and senior management of BP.
 

On April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon, a drilling rig located in the Gulf of Mexico, exploded. The explosion killed 11 individuals who worked on the rig and resulted in an underwater oil leak which authorities were unable to plug for three months. The oil washed ashore across the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, threatening wildlife and local economy alike.

During the duration of the oil leak, a number of protests arose in opposition of BP, the company for whom the oil was being drilled. Many citizens called for a boycott of BP; however, members of the ANSWER coalition had different ideas in mind.

ANSWER, which stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, is a coalition generally devoted to anti-war and anti-racism campaigns. Following the explosion of Deepwater Horizon and the subsequent oil leak, they launched a new campaign: Seize BP.

According to the leaders of the Seize BP campaign, merely boycotting BP would not be enough. The boycott would not make a significant dent to BP's assets, and the efforts of the boycott would do nothing to benefit those harmed by the results of the oil spill. Instead, Seize BP stated that "the government of the United States must seize BP and freeze its assets, and place those funds in trust to begin providing immediate relief to the working people throughout the Gulf states whose jobs, communities, homes and businesses are being harmed or destroyed by the criminally negligent actions of the CEO, Board of Directors and senior management of BP."

Seize BP launched a website and began gathering electronic signatures to petition the government to seize BP's assets. Seize BP declared May 12, 2010 to be the Seize BP National Day of Action. Campaigners organized protests in front of BP locations in 20 different cities across the United States on that day. The leaders of seize BP uploaded placards to their website so that protesters could download them for use at the protests. The placards had phrases on them such as "BP: Unsafe for children, animals & other living things."

Although the individual protests did not have a huge turnout, the wide spread of the events caught the attention of the media, and reports of the protests appeared in local news media across the country. Seize BP soon declared a follow up event, the Seize BP Week of Action, which ran from June 3 to June 10. Campaigners organized more than 50 local protests across the United States during that week.

The Seize BP campaign began to gain more national attention. Shortly after the Seize BP Week of Action, Rosie O'Donnell went on a radio show, and although she did not mention the efforts of Seize BP itself, she declared her belief that BP's assets should be seized by the government and distributed to those harmed by the oil spill.

Although this campaign experienced quite a bit of growth and national attention, it never achieved it's stated goal and BP's assets remain under the control of BP. Although the campaign was never officially dissolved and the website still exists, the group is now inactive.

Research Notes
Sources: 
"ANSWER Coalition." ANSWER Coalition: ANSWER - Redirect to National Home Page. Web. 31 Mar. 2011. <http://www.answercoalition.org/national/index.html>.

"BP Buys Google Ads for “Seize BP” Searches « Seize BP Blog." Seize BP Blog. 10 June 2010. Web. 31 Mar. 2011. <http://blog.seizebp.org/2010/06/10/bp-buys-google-ads-for-seize-bp-searches/>.

"Gulf Oil Spill: Environmentalists Stage Protests around the Country | Greenspace | Los Angeles Times." LA Times: Environment. 12 May 2010. Web. 31 Mar. 2011. <http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/05/gulf-oil-spil-environmentalists-stage-protests-around-the-country.html>.

Kiely, Kathy. "Liberal Allies Pressure Obama on Oil Spill - The Oval: Tracking the Obama Presidency." News, Travel, Weather, Entertainment, Sports, Technology, U.S. & World - USATODAY.com. 15 June 2010. Web. 31 Mar. 2011. <http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2010/06/liberal-allies-pressure-obama-on-oil-spill-/1>.

Mann, Jenna. "Small SD Group Protests BP Oil." KDLT.com South Dakota News. 12 May 2010. Web. 31 Mar. 2011. <http://www.kdlt.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2629&Itemid=57>.

"Protesters Gather Outside BP Station In Atlanta - News Story - WSB Atlanta." WSB-TV. 6 June 2010. Web. 31 Mar. 2011. <http://www.wsbtv.com/news/23805203/detail.html>.

"The Rosie O’Donnell BP Solution –." Glenn Beck. 9 June 2010. Web. 31 Mar. 2011. <http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/41683/>.

SeizeBP.org. Web. 31 Mar. 2011. <http://seizebp.org/>.

Zabarenko, Deborah, and Dan Whitcomb. "A Groundswell against BP on Facebook, Twitter." The Washington Post. 6 June 2010. Web. 31 Mar. 2011. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/05/AR2010060500677.html?wprss=rss_nation>.

Additional Notes: 
Listen to Rosie O'Donnell state that BP's assets should be seized: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMyo8jH-4lI
Name of researcher, and date dd/mm/yyyy: 
Ashley Banks, 31/03/2011