Greenpeace shuts down 74 Shell stations in UK to protest Arctic drilling

By Laurie Tuffrey / The Guardian

Greenpeace activists shut down 74 Shell petrol stations in Edinburgh and London in a protest against the company’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic that saw 24 campaigners arrested on Monday.

The campaigners are attempting to shut off petrol to London’s 105 Shell stations and Edinburgh’s 14. Seventy-one have been closed in London and three in Edinburgh.

There have been 24 confirmed arrests, 18 in London and six in Edinburgh. The police in Edinburgh have reportedly parked cars outside all Shell stations across the capital.

Protesters have scaled the roof of the Shell station on Queenstown Road near Battersea Park in London and on Dalry Road in Edinburgh, with police and fire crews attending the scene in Edinburgh.

Activists arrived at the Battersea Park branch at 6.45am and used the station’s barriers to close down the forecourt. They have since covered the Shell sign with a Save the Arctic banner and positioned a life-sized polar bear model on the station’s roof.

The activists are shutting down the stations by using an emergency shut-off switch to stop petrol going to the pumps and then removing a fuse to delay it being switched on again. The organisation has since posted a picture of an activist posting one of the fuses to Shell’s head of Arctic drilling, with the message: “We’re being careful not to destroy property. Even the carefully removed components will go back to Shell.”

The protest is part of Greenpeace’s Save the Arctic campaign, which is aiming to prevent oil drilling and industrial fishing in the Arctic by having the region recognised as a world park. The organisation understands that Shell is going to begin drilling in the Alaskan Arctic in the coming weeks, with the Russian oil company Gazprom also due to work in the region.

The campaign group’s website is running a TV talkshow-style live broadcast covering the protest and showing interviews and videos about the Arctic campaign.

Sara Ayech, a campaigner at the Battersea Park station, said: “It’s time to draw a line in the ice and tell Shell to stop. That’s why today we’re going to shut down all of Shell’s petrol stations in the capital cities of London and Edinburgh. We’ve got dozens of people who will hit over 100 Shell garages throughout the day.”

Graham Thompson is another campaigner who helped shut down the station: “The staff were very pleasant and very reasonable. Obviously they’re not entirely happy about what’s going on but they’ve responded in a very civilised way.

“Obviously, we need to ratchet up the pressure, we need to let Shell know that this isn’t just a publicity campaign, we’re going to put pressure on them until they agree to stop what they’re doing,” said Thompson, commenting on future plans.

Read more from The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jul/16/greenpeace-activists-shell-petrol

Greenpeace protesters symbolically occupy North Carolina coal plant

By Huffington Post

Protesters from Greenpeace demonstrated against “the destruction and pollution caused by coal” at a North Carolina power plant on Monday, according to a press release.

Activists entered the grounds of the Progress Asheville Power Station in the morning and secured themselves to a coal conveyor belt, according to Greenpeace. They also scaled a 400 foot smoke stack and draped a large protest banner.

WSPA reports that the protesters’ banner, which is visible for several miles, reads “Duke Energy: The Climate Needs Real Progress.”

According to The Charlotte Observer, 16 protestors were arrested at the Asheville plant.

The plant’s owner, Progress Energy, said its goal was to protect the safety of “the trespassers to first responders, as this is large and dangerous equipment,” reported Fox Carolina. Interactions between protesters and local police were reportedly “very cordial.”

Greenpeace activist Robert Gardner said in a press release, “This plant runs on destroyed mountains, it spews out air pollution, it causes climate change and it poisons the water and the earth. If Duke merges with Progress, the new owners have a responsibility to the people of North Carolina to move to clean energy.”

Progress is currently in the process of merging with Duke Energy, although the consolidation has been delayed by federal regulators, according to to The Charlotte Observer.

Reuters reported Monday that the Obama administration is expected to unveil new rules limiting carbon emissions from new coal-fired power plants. An energy policy analyst told Reuters, “The proposed rule is certainly expected to send the message that coal is dead.”

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/13/greenpeace-progress-asheville-power_n_1274532.html

Approval of Deep Sea Mining Test Despite Concerns

Approval of Deep Sea Mining Test Despite Concerns

Editor’s Note: Deep sea mining is being pursued on the pretext of a transition towards a “cleaner” source of energy. This transition is being hailed as “the solution” to all environmental problems by the majority of the environmental movement. The irony of “the solution” to environmental problems being destruction of natural communities seems to be lost on a lot of people.

The International Seabed Authority has been criticized for a lack of transparency and corporate capture by the companies it is supposed to regulate. Given that the organization is expected to be funded from mining royalties, it may not come as a surprise that it has prioritized the interests of corporations above the preservation of the deep sea. Despite numerous concerns raised about Nauru Ocean Resources Inc. (NORI)’s environmental impact statement, the ISA gave permission to NORI to begin exploratory mining. NORI’s vessel, The Hidden Gem, is currently extracting polymetallic nodules from the seafloor in the Clarion Clipperton Zone. This exploratory mining will cause tremendous harm itself, but it is also a big step towards opening the gates to large-scale commercial exploitation of the deep sea. To help stop this, get organized, become a Deep Sea Defender.


By Elizabeth Claire Alberts/Mongabay

  • The International Seabed Authority (ISA), the intergovernmental body responsible for overseeing deep sea mining operations and for protecting the ocean, recently granted approval for a mining trial to commence in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the Pacific Ocean.
  • The company undertaking this trial is Nauru Ocean Resources Inc (NORI), a subsidiary of Canadian-owned The Metals Company (TMC), which is aiming to start annually extracting 1.3 million metric tons of polymetallic nodules from the CCZ as early as 2024.
  • The approval for this mining test, the first of its kind since the 1970s, was first announced by TMC earlier this week.
  • Mining opponents said the ruling took them by surprise and they feared it would pave the way for exploitation to begin in the near future, despite growing concerns about the safety and necessity of deep sea mining.

On Sept. 14, the Hidden Gem — an industrial drill ship operated by a subsidiary of The Metals Company (TMC), a Canadian deep sea mining corporation — left its port in Manzanillo, Mexico. From there, it headed toward the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), a vast abyssal plain in international waters of the Pacific Ocean that stretches over 4.5 million square kilometers (1.7 million square miles) across the deep sea, roughly equivalent in size to half of Canada.

The goal of TMC’s expedition is to test its mining equipment that will vacuum up polymetallic nodules, potato-shaped rocks formed over millions of years. The nodules contain commercially coveted minerals like cobalt, nickel, copper and manganese. TMC, a publicly traded company listed on the Nasdaq exchange, announced that it aims to collect 3,600 metric tons of these nodules during this test period.

This operation came as a surprise to opponents of deep-sea mining, mainly because of the stealth with which they said the International Seabed Authority (ISA) — the UN-affiliated intergovernmental body dually responsible for overseeing mining in international waters and for protecting the deep sea — authorized TMC to commence the trial.

It is the first such trial the ISA has authorized after years of debate over whether it should permit deep-sea mining to commence in international waters, and if so, under what conditions. News of the authorization did not come initially from the ISA, but from TMC itself in a press release dated September 7. The ISA eventually posted its own statement on Sept. 15, more than a week after TMC’s announcement. It is not clear when the ISA granted the authorization.

“We’ve been caught off guard by this,” Arlo Hemphill, a senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace, an organization campaigning to prevent deep sea mining operations, told Mongabay in an interview. “There’s been little time for us to react.”

deep-sea
A tripod fish observed in the deep-sea. Image by NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Mounting concerns, sudden actions

Several weeks ago, in July and August, delegates to the ISA met in Kingston, Jamaica, to discuss how, when and if deep sea mining could begin. In July 2021, discussions acquired a sense of urgency when the Pacific island state of Nauru triggered an arcane rule embedded in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that could obligate the ISA to kick-start exploitation in about two years with whatever rules are in place at the time. Nauru is the sponsor of Nauru Ocean Resources Inc (NORI), a subsidiary of TMC that is undertaking the tests. TMC told Mongabay that it expects to apply for its exploitation license in 2023, and if approved by the ISA, to begin mining towards the end of 2024.

The ISA subsequently scheduled a series of meetings to accelerate the development of mining regulations, but has yet to adopt a final set of rules.

The delay is due, in part, to the increasing number of states and observers from civil society raising concerns about the safety and necessity of deep sea mining. Some member states, including Palau, Fiji and Samoa, have even called for a moratorium on deep sea mining until more is understood about the marine environment that companies want to exploit. Other concerns hinge upon an environmental impact statement (EIS) that NORI had to submit in order for mining to begin.

NORI submitted an initial draft of its EIS in July 2021, as per ISA requirements, and an updated version in March 2022.

Matt Gianni, a political and policy adviser for the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC), a group of environmental NGOs calling for NORI’s testing approval to be rescinded, said that the ISA’s Legal and Technical Commission (LTC) — the organ responsible for issuing mining licenses — previously cited “serious concerns” about NORI’s EIS, including the fact that it lacked baseline environmental data. The LTC had also raised concerns about the comprehensiveness of the group’s Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan (EMMP), he said.

But then, “all of a sudden,” the LTC granted approval for the mining test without first consulting ISA council members, said Gianni, who acts as an observer at ISA meetings.

The fact that TMC announced the decision before the ISA did “reinforces the impression that it’s the contractor and the LTC and the [ISA] secretariat that are driving the agenda, and states are following along,” Gianni said.

Harald Brekke, chair of the LTC, sent Mongabay a statement similarly worded to the recent announcement made by the ISA. He said that the LTC had reviewed NORI’s EIS and EMMP for “completeness, accuracy and statistical reliability,” and that an internal working group had worked closely with NORI to address concerns. In response, the mining group adequately dealt with the issues, which allowed the LTC to approve the proposed testing activities, he said.

“This is a normal contract procedure between the [ISA] Secretary-General and the Contractor, on the advice and recommendations by the [Legal and Technical] Commission,” Brekke said in the emailed statement. “It is not a decision to be made by the [ISA] Council. According to the normal procedure of ISA, the details of this process will be [communicated] by the Chair of the Commission to the Council at its session in November.”

“I also would like to point out that this procedure has followed the regulations and guidelines of ISA,” Brekke added, “which are implemented to take care of the possible environmental impacts of this kind of exploration activity.”

Yet Gianni said he did not believe the LTC had satisfactorily reviewed the EIS for its full potential of environmental impact, nor had it considered the “serious harmful effects on vulnerable marine ecosystems” as required under the ISA’s own exploration regulations for polymetallic nodules.

Questions about transparency

Sandor Mulsow, who worked as the director of environment and minerals at the ISA between 2013 and 2019, said that the ISA “is not fit to carry out an analysis of environmental impact assessment” and that the grounds on which the ISA authorized NORI to begin testing were questionable.

“Unfortunately, the [International] Seabed Authority is pro-mining,” Mulsow, who now works as a professor at Universidad Austral de Chile, said in an interview with Mongabay. “They’re not complying with the role of protecting the common heritage of humankind.”

A recent investigation by the New York Times revealed that the ISA gave TMC critical information over a 15-year period that allowed the company to access some of the most valuable seabed areas marked for mining, giving it an unfair advantage over other contractors.

The ISA has also frequently been criticized for its lack of transparency, including the fact that the LTC meets behind closed doors and provides few details about why it approves mining proposals. The ISA has previously granted dozens of exploratory mining licenses to contractors, although none have yet received an exploitation license. While NORI is not technically undertaking exploratory mining in this instance, their testing of mining equipment falls under exploration regulations.

Mongabay reported that transparency issues were even prominent during the ISA meetings that took place in July and August this year, including restrictions on participation and limited access to key information for civil society members.

The ISA did not respond to questions posed by Mongabay, instead deferring to the statement from Brekke, the LTC chair.

A sea cucumber
A sea cucumber seen at 5,100 meters (3.2 miles) depth on abyssal sediments in the western Clarion-Clipperton Zone. Image by DeepCCZ expedition/NOAA via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

‘Full-blown mining in test form’

During the mining trial set to take place in the CCZ — which could begin as early as next week — NORI will be testing out its nodule collector vehicles and riser systems that will draw the nodules about 3,000 meters (9,840 feet) from the seabed to the surface. If NORI does begin exploitation in 2024, Gianni said the risers will be pumping about 10,000 metric tons of nodules up to a ship per day.

“That’s a hell of a lot,” Gianni said. “This is heavy duty machinery. This is piping that has to withstand considerable pressure.”

NORI intends to extract 1.3 million metric tons of wet nodules each year in the exploitation stage of its operation, TMC reported.

The Metals Company argues that this mining will provide minerals necessary to power a global shift toward clean energy. Indeed, demand for such minerals is growing as nations urge consumers to take up electric vehicles in an effort to combat climate change.

Mining opponents, however, have argued that renewable technologies like electric cars don’t actually need the minerals procured from mining.

Moreover, a growing cadre of scientists have been warning against the dangers of deep sea mining, arguing that we don’t know enough about deep sea environments to destroy them. What we do know about the deep sea suggests that mining could have far-reaching consequences, such as disturbing phytoplankton blooms at the sea’s surface, introducing toxic metals into marine food webs, and dispersing mining waste over long distances across the ocean — far enough to affect distant fisheries and delicate ecosystems like coral reefs and seamounts.

“Every time somebody goes and collects some sample in that area of the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, there’s a new species coming up,” Mulsow said. “We don’t know how to name them, and we want to destroy them.”

TMC has stated that the testing activities will be monitored by “independent scientists from a dozen leading research institutions around the world.”

However, Hemphill of Greenpeace, who also has ISA observer status, questions whether the monitoring process will be unbiased.

“We’re thinking there’s a high chance that these risers might not work,” he said. “But if there’s not a third party observer out there, then we just have to rely on The Metals Company’s own recording.”

“It’s going to be basically a full-blown mining operation in test form, where they’re not only using the [collector] equipment, but they’re using the risers to bring the nodules to the surface,” Hemphill added.

Nodule collection trials like the one NORI is undertaking haven’t been conducted in the CCZ since the 1970s, TMC noted in its press release.

When Mongabay reached out to TMC for further information about its operation, a spokesperson for the company said that they “believe that polymetallic nodules are a compelling solution to the critical mineral supply challenges facing society in our transition away from fossil fuels.”

“While concern is justified as to the potential impacts of any source of metals — whether from land or sea — significant attention has been paid to mitigate these, including by setting aside more area for protection than is under license in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean,” the TMC spokesperson said.

‘No way back’

Mulsow said he was sure that this trial would pave the way for exploitation to start next year, not only giving TMC’s NORI access to the deep sea’s resources, but opening the gates for other contractors to begin similar operations.

“[In June] 2023, we will have … the application for the first mining license for the deep sea,” he said, “and then there will be no way back.”

Hemphill said he also feared the move would set a process into motion for mining to start next year — but added that Greenpeace would continue its fight to stop mining.

“We’re not giving up just because the two-year rule comes to pass,” he said. “And then if things get started, we’re in this for the long haul.”

Gianni said he was hopeful that the dynamic could also change at the next ISA meeting scheduled for November, in which delegates will get the chance to discuss whether they’re obligated to approve the start of mining the following year.

“The fact that the LTC has done this … may finally get council members to start saying, ‘Wait a minute, we need to bring this renegade fiefdom [at] the heart of the ISA structure under control,” Gianni said, “because they’re going off and deciding things in spite of all the reservations that are being expressed by the countries that are members of the ISA.”


Featured image and all other images, unless mentioned otherwise, were provided by Julia Barnes.

Environmentalism is Being Mainstreamed at the Cost of Its Soul

Environmentalism is Being Mainstreamed at the Cost of Its Soul

By

David Roberts — a journalist who has written for Vox and Grist and now runs a popular green-tech newsletter — recently shared this on Twitter:

This idea is not new to Mr. Roberts. It actually reflects a decades-long push to make environmentalism mainstream by sacrificing its foundational biocentric values in favor of anthropocentrism.

The organization 350, for example, has released a ‘style guide’ advising activists to “Focus on people. Whenever possible, use visuals to emphasize that climate is a real, tangible human problem—not an abstract [sic] ecological issue.” A later version of the same guide edited the statement to read: “People are the heart of the climate movement … avoid photos of polar bears, icebergs or other images that obscure the real people behind the climate crisis.”

Some see this sort of thing as pragmatic thinking to address a crisis. Others — including me, and despite my love of people — see it as at best a profoundly dangerous mistake, and at worst as enabling colonization of the environmental movement by profit-driven interests.

Last year, me and my co-authors Derrick Jensen and Lierre Keith released our book “Bright Green Lies: How the Environmental Movement Lost Its Way and What to Do About It” (thanks to the wonderful folks at Monkfish Book Publishing Company) which we bookend with this topic. This is an excerpt from Chapter 2, which is titled “Solving for the Wrong Variable,” and from the conclusion of the book:

Once upon a time, environmentalism was about saving wild beings and wild places from destruction. “The beauty of the living world I was trying to save has always been uppermost in my mind,” Rachel Carson wrote to a friend as she finished the manuscript that would become Silent Spring. “That, and anger at the senseless, brutish things that were being done.” She wrote with unapologetic reverence of “the oak and maple and birch” in autumn, the foxes in the morning mist, the cool streams and the shady ponds, and, of course, the birds: “In the mornings, which had once throbbed with the dawn chorus of robins, catbirds, doves, jays, and wrens, and scores of other bird voices, there was now no sound; only silence lay over the fields and woods and marshes.” Her editor noted that Silent Spring required a “sense of almost religious dedication” as well as “extraordinary courage.” Carson knew the chemical industry would come after her, and come it did, in attacks as “bitter and unscrupulous as anything of the sort since the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species a century before.” Seriously ill with the cancer that would kill her, Carson fought back in defense of the living world, testifying with calm fortitude before President John F. Kennedy’s Science Advisory Committee and the U.S. Senate. She did these things because she had to. “There would be no peace for me,” she wrote to a friend, “if I kept silent.”

Carson’s work inspired the grassroots environmental movement; the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); and the passage of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. Silent Spring was more than a critique of pesticides—it was a clarion call against “the basic irresponsibility of an industrialized, technological society toward the natural world.”

Today’s environmental movement stands upon the shoulders of giants, but something has gone terribly wrong. Carson didn’t save the birds from DDT so that her legatees could blithely offer them up to wind turbines. We are writing this book because we want our environmental movement back.

Mainstream environmentalists now overwhelmingly prioritize saving industrial civilization over saving life on the planet. The how and the why of this institutional capture is the subject for another book, but the capture is near total. For example, Lester Brown, founder of the Worldwatch Institute and Earth Policy Institute—someone who has been labeled as “one of the world’s most influential thinkers” and “the guru of the environmental movement”—routinely makes comments like, “We talk about saving the planet…. But the planet’s going to be around for a while. The question is, can we save civilization? That’s what’s at stake now, and I don’t think we’ve yet realized it.” Brown wrote this in an article entitled “The Race to Save Civilization.”

The world is being killed because of civilization, yet what Brown says is at stake, and what he’s racing to save, is precisely the social structure causing the harm: civilization. Not saving salmon. Not monarch butterflies. Not oceans. Not the planet. Saving civilization.

Brown is not alone. Peter Kareiva, chief scientist for The Nature Conservancy, more or less constantly pushes the line that “Instead of pursuing the protection of biodiversity for biodiversity’s sake, a new conservation should seek to enhance those natural systems that benefit the widest number of people…. Conservation will measure its achievement in large part by its relevance to people.”

Bill McKibben, who works tirelessly and selflessly to raise awareness about global warming, and who has been called “probably America’s most important environmentalist,” constantly stresses his work is about saving civilization, with articles like “Civilization’s Last Chance,”11 or with quotes like, “We’re losing the fight, badly and quickly—losing it because, most of all, we remain in denial about the peril that human civilization is in.”

We’ll bet you that polar bears, walruses, and glaciers would
have preferred that sentence ended a different way.

In 2014 the Environmental Laureates’ Declaration on Climate Change was signed by “160 leading environmentalists from 44 countries” who were “calling on the world’s foundations and philanthropies to take a stand against global warming.” Why did they take this stand? Because global warming “threatens to
cause the very fabric of civilization to crash.” The declaration concludes: “We, 160 winners of the world’s environmental prizes, call on foundations and philanthropists everywhere to deploy their endowments urgently in the effort to save civilization.” Coral reefs, emperor penguins, and Joshua trees probably wish that sentence would have ended differently. The entire declaration, signed by “160 winners of the world’s environmental prizes,” never once mentions harm to the natural world. In fact, it never mentions the natural world at all.

Are leatherback turtles, American pikas, and flying foxes “abstract ecological issues,” or are they our kin, each imbued with their own “wild and precious life”?

Wes Stephenson, yet another climate activist, has this to say: “I’m not an environmentalist. Most of the people in the climate movement that I know are not environmentalists. They are young people who didn’t necessarily come up through the environmental movement, so they don’t think of themselves as environmentalists. They think of themselves as climate activists and as human rights activists. The terms ‘environment’ and ‘environmentalism’ carry baggage historically and culturally. It has been more about protecting the natural world, protecting other species, and conservation of wild places than it has been about the welfare of human beings. I come at it from the opposite direction. It’s first and fore- most about human beings.”

Note that Stephenson calls “protecting the natural world, protecting other species, and conservation of wild places” baggage.

Naomi Klein states explicitly in the film This Changes Everything: “I’ve been to more climate rallies than I can count, but the polar bears? They still don’t do it for me. I wish them well, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that stopping climate change isn’t really about them, it’s about us.”

And finally, Kumi Naidoo, former head of Greenpeace International, says: “The struggle has never been about saving the planet. The planet does not need saving.”

When Naidoo said that, in December 2015, it was 50 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal at the North Pole, above freezing in the winter.

##

I (Derrick) wrote this for a friend’s wedding.

> Each night the frogs sing outside my window. “Come to me,” they sing. “Come.” This morning the rains came, each drop meeting this particular leaf on this particular tree, then pooling together to join the ground. Love. The bright green of this year’s growth of redwood trees against the dark of shadows, other trees, tree trunks, foliage, all these plants, reaching out, reaching up. I am in love. With you. With you. With the world. With this place. With each other. Redwoods cannot stand alone. Roots burrow through the soil, reaching out to each other, to intertwine, to hold up these tallest of trees, so they may stand together, each root, each tree, saying to each other, “Come to me. Come.” What I want to know is this: What do those roots feel at first touch, first embrace? Do they find this same homecoming I find each time in you, in your eyes, the pale skin of your cheek, your neck, your belly, the backs of your hands? And the water. It is evening now, and the rain has stopped. Yet the water still falls, drop by drop from the outstretched arms of trees. I want to know, as each drop let’s go its hold, does it say, and does the ground say to it, as I say to you now, “Come to me. Come.”

In the 15 years since that wedding, the frogs in my pond have suffered reproductive failure, which is science-speak for their off- spring dying, baby after baby, year after year. Their songs began to lessen. At first their songs were so loud you could not hold a (human) conversation outside at night, and then you could. The first spring this happened I thought it might just be a bad year. The second spring I sensed a pattern. The third spring I knew something was wrong. I’d also noticed the eggs in their sacs were no longer small black dots, as before, but were covered in what looked like white fur. A little internet research and a few phone calls to herpetologists revealed the problem to me. The egg sacs were being killed by a mold called saprolegnia. It wasn’t the mold’s fault. Saprolegnia is ubiquitous, and eats weak egg sacs, acting as part of a clean-up crew in ponds. The problem is that this culture has depleted the ozone layer, which has allowed more UV-B to come through: UV-B weakens egg sacs in some species.

What do you do when someone you love is being killed? And what do you do when the whole world you love is being killed? I’m known for saying we should use any means necessary to stop the murder of the planet. People often think this is code language for using violence. It’s not. It means just what it says: any means necessary.

UV-B doesn’t go through glass, so about once a week between December and June, I get into the pond to collect egg sacs to put in big jars of water on my kitchen table. When the egg sacs hatch, I put the babies back in the pond. If I bring in about five egg sacs per week for 20 weeks, and if each sac has 15 eggs in it, and if there’s a 10 percent mortality on the eggs instead of a 90 percent mortality, that’s 2,400 more tadpoles per year. If one percent of these survive their first year, that’s 24 more tadpoles per year who survive. I fully recognize that this doesn’t do anything for frogs in other ponds. It doesn’t help the newts who are also disappearing from this same pond, or the mergansers, dragonflies, or caddisflies. It doesn’t do anything for the 200 species this culture causes to go extinct each and every day. But it does help these.

I don’t mean to make too big a deal of this.

One of my earliest memories is from when I was five years old, crying in the locker room of a YMCA where I was taking swimming lessons, because the water was so cold. I really don’t like cold water. So, I have to admit I don’t get all the way into the water when I go into my pond to help the frogs. I only get in as far as my thighs. But this isn’t, surprisingly enough, entirely because of my cold-water phobia. It’s because of a creature I’ve seen in the pond a few times, a giant water bug, which is nicknamed Toe-Biter. My bug book says they’re about an inch and a half long, but every time I get in the pond, I’m sure they are five or six inches. And I can’t stop thinking about the deflated frog-skin sacks I’ve seen (the giant water bug injects a substance that liquefies the frog’s insides, so they can be sucked out as through a straw). I’ve read that the bugs sometimes catch small birds. So, you’ll note I only go into the pond as deep as my thighs—and no deeper. Second, I have to admit that sometimes I’m not very smart. It took me several years of this weekly cold-water therapy to think of what I now perceive as one of the most important phrases in the English language—“waterproof chest waders”—and to get some.

What do you do when someone you love is being killed? It’s pretty straightforward. You defend your beloved. Using any means necessary.

##

We get it. We, too, like hot showers and freezing cold ice cream, and we like them 24/7. We like music at the touch of a button or, now, a verbal command. We like the conveniences this way of life brings us. And it’s more than conveniences. We know that. We three co-authors would be dead without modern medicine. But we all recognize that there is a terrible trade-off for all this: life on the planet. And no individual’s conveniences—or, indeed, life—is worth that price.

The price, though, is now invisible. This is the willful blindness of modern environmentalism. Like Naomi Klein and the polar bears, the real world just “doesn’t do it” for too many of us. To many people, including even some of those who consider themselves environmentalists, the real world doesn’t need our help. It’s about us. It’s always “about us.”

##

Decades ago, I (Derrick) was one of a group of grassroots environmental activists planning a campaign. As the meeting started, we went around the table saying why we were doing this work. The answers were consistent, and exemplified by one person who said, simply, “For the critters,” and by another person who got up from the table, walked to her desk, and brought back a picture. At first, the picture looked like a high-up part of the trunk of an old-growth Douglas fir tree, but when I looked more closely, I saw a small spotted owl sticking her camouflaged head out of a hole in the center of the tree’s trunk. The activist said, “I’m doing it for her.”

##

The goal has been shifted, slowly and silently, and no one seems to have noticed. Environmentalists tell the world and their organi- zations that “it’s about us.” But some of us refuse to forget the last spotted owls in the last scrap of forest, the wild beings and wild places. Like Rachel Carson before us, there will be no peace for us if we keep silent while the critters, one by one, are disappeared. Our once and future movement was for them, not us. We refuse to solve for the wrong variable. We are not saving civilization; we are trying to save the world.

[And this part comes from the conclusion of the book:]

… throughout this book, we’ve repeated Naomi Klein’s comments about polar bears not doing it for her. Not to be snarky, but instead because that’s the single most important passage in this book.

Although we’ve spent hundreds of pages laying out facts, ultimately this book is about values. We value something different than do bright greens. And our loyalty is to something different. We are fighting for the living planet. The bright greens are fighting to continue this culture—the culture that is killing the planet. Seems like the planet doesn’t do it for them.

Early in this book we quoted some of the bright greens, including Lester Brown: “The question is, can we save civilization? That’s what’s at stake now, and I don’t think we’ve yet realized it.” And Peter Kareiva, chief scientist for The Nature Conservancy: “Instead of pursuing the protection of biodiversity for biodiversity’s sake, a new conservation should seek to enhance those natural systems that benefit the widest number of people.” And climate scientist Wen Stephenson: “The terms ‘environment’ and ‘environmental- ism’ carry baggage historically and culturally. It has been more about protecting the natural world, protecting other species, and conservation of wild places than it has been about the welfare of human beings. I come at it from the opposite direction. It’s first and foremost about human beings.” And Bill McKibben: “We’re losing the fight, badly and quickly—losing it because, most of all, we remain in denial about the peril that human civilization is in.”

Do we yet see the pattern?

And no, we’re not losing that fight because “we remain in denial about the peril that human civilization is in.” We’re losing that fight because we’re trying to save industrial civilization, which is inherently unsustainable.

We, the authors of this book, also like the conveniences this culture brings to us. But we don’t like them more than we like life on the planet.

We should be trying to save the planet—this beautiful, creative, unique planet—the planet that is the source of all life, the planet without whom we all die.

We are in the midst of a battle for the soul of the environmental movement, and I, for one, will not forget the forests, the birds, the fish, the antelope, the bears, the spiders, the plankton — all those beings who hold the world together in their weaving, who share common ancestry with us. Nor will I forget the mountains whose minerals make up our bones, the rivers whose waters flow in our veins, the Earth itself who is our mother. These beings are family, and I will not turn away from them.

David happens to live in my hometown, Seattle. David – if you read this, I’d like to invite you to get a cup of coffee next time I’m in town. I’ll give you a copy of #BrightGreenLies and we can talk.

Postscript: The type of thinking being promoted by David Roberts has profound consequences for the living world. For the past two years, I’ve been fighting to “Protect Thacker Pass” — a beautiful, biodiverse sagebrush-steppe in the northern Great Basin of Nevada — from destruction for a lithium mine.

The Bright Green worldview sees lithium as a necessary resource to transition away from fossil fuels and save civilization from global warming, and so Bright Greens promote lithium mining, vast solar arrays in desert tortoise habitat, and offshore wind energy development in the last breeding ground of the Atlantic Right Whale. And if some endangered wildlife has to be killed, some water poisoned, and some Native American sacred sites destroyed, well, that’s just an acceptable cost to save civilization. And so vast subsidies (see the inflation Reduction Act, for example) are being mobilized to convert yet more wild land into industrial energy and mining sacrifice zones.

Around the world, nature retreats and civilization grows.


Featured image by Max Wilbert: a spring gushing from the rock high in the western mountains.

Musings on Organizing

Musings on Organizing

Editor’s note: This piece was written in 2018, and does not reflect DGR strategy. We are not a partisan organization along the U.S. Democrat-Republican divide. Rather, we view both of these political parties as tools of capitalist hegemony–two factions of the ruling class, battling for political and economic control.

However, it is rare to find organizers writing about organizing. This piece is valuable for the same reason that autobiographies of organizers and revolutionary leaders are valuable—not for sweeping statements or ideological platitudes, but precisely because of the unpolished reality they, at times, show. Organizing for change in our society is not simple, and revolutionary change on the scale Deep Green Resistance advocates is titanic by any measure. Any success we find will not play out smoothly like a Hollywood film. Essays like this remind us of the hard grunt work of grassroots organizing that is required for us to leave a better future for those who come after.


By

I haven’t had much time to write, hence the lack of essays. We’ve been organizing and I can never seem to get in a good writing groove when my schedule is filled with community obligations.

That said, one of the most frustrating things I’ve encountered over the years is a lack of organizing knowledge and information. Groups such as the Highlander Center or Greenpeace provide manuals, but I would guess that over 99% of the articles and essays produced on progressive media outlets focus on what’s wrong, not what people are doing about it.

Part of the problem is that many progressive media outlets aren’t interested in such articles. However, organizers and activists are also to blame as we simply don’t write as often as analysts, professors, or essayists.

Below is a lengthy and unstructured series of reflections on the sort of organizing work I’m currently doing in Northwest Indiana, where I live and work. I hope people will find some of my insights interesting and useful.

TRUMP’S INAUGURATION & LACK OF ORGANIZATION                     

Back in January of 2017, hundreds of people throughout the Northwest Indiana region and millions across the United States were regularly attending events, meetings and rallies. At the time, I recognized that such a pace was not sustainable, and for many reasons.

First, it’s hard to replicate large symbolic actions such as protests because those sort of events require a lot of time, resources and manpower. Plus, the utility of large-scale rallies is limited, especially if they don’t take place within the context of broader campaigns and political projects.

Second, it was clear from the start that many groups were quite inexperienced with regard to their basic organizing knowledge. I attended meeting after meeting where basic facilitation skills and meeting structures were completely lacking. People were confusing terminologies and misunderstanding the difference between tactics and strategy, vision and programme.

Of course, all of these things are fixable, but that requires a certain level of humility and trust. If organizations and organizers are insular, it’s difficult to provide advice. Toxic personalities play a discouraging role as well.

Third, many of the groups that popped-up after Trump’s inauguration were tied to groups such as Indivisible and Our Revolution. Both groups, however, have failed to garner serious support or provide a viable path forward. In my opinion, that’s the inevitable result of top-down organizational structures and ideas.

In Northwest Indiana (NWI), where I live, hundreds of people were showing up to town hall events where elected Democrats would essentially give marching orders to those in attendance: “Send more emails to your elected officials!” This strategy, if one could even call it that, has been a great waste of time and energy. Even worse, progressives missed a potentially fruitful political opportunity to immediately orientate thousands of first-time activists.

That said, many progressive groups have formed in NWI and throughout the state of Indiana since Trump’s inauguration. Without question, one of the biggest challenges we face is a lack of coordination between progressive organizations at the local, regional and state levels. Collectively developing vision, strategies and tactics is difficult work, but it’s also essential if we hope to build long-lasting institutions capable of addressing not only our immediate needs, but also our long-term ideals.

Right now, the Michigan City Social Justice Group (MCSJG), which is the organization I’ve been primarily working with since 2017, is going through an internal restructuring process. It’s a needed and welcomed step for an organization that’s existed for a little more than a year. Fortunately, many of the group’s members have embraced and welcomed the process.

As an organization, we’ve had successes and setbacks (as any political organization does), but we’re moving in the right direction and doing all of the necessary and sometimes monotonous tasks that lay a solid foundation for what should become a growing organization.

Should we become a 501(c)3 or a ‘Super Pac?’ If we want to raise money, we have to become more professionalized and that requires legal aid, loads of paperwork ,and serious accountability.

Political organizing work, while fulfilling and empowering, is very trying, stressful and at times, quite tedious. Filing paperwork with the IRS, obtaining state documentation, requesting municipal permits for events, sitting through two hour meetings about risk management and conflict resolution plans, creating websites, managing social media and crafting word documents isn’t exactly the most exhilarating work, but it’s absolutely necessary if people are interested in creating a serious organization that has the potential to grow and significantly change the political, cultural, economic and civic structures of our city, county and state.

The overall scope of such a project is daunting, which is why most people either remain at the level of engaged citizen (but not a member of an organization) or join a preexisting organization (because it’s much easier than starting one from scratch, especially if you’re a precarious worker trying to make ends meet).

For those reasons and many others, including how preexisting organizations treat newcomers, it’s rare to find a group of people who are willing to create something new. I’m grateful to have met such committed and serious folks.

TRUMP: DISTRACTION OR TARGET?

One of the primary challenges progressive organizations faced in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s victory, and still face, is how much time they should spend specifically targeting Trump, and how much time and effort should they spend on local and state-wide efforts. Of course, in an ideal world, all of these efforts would work with each other in a strategic manner, but that’s not always possible.

For example, most of the progressive groups that exist in the state of Indiana are not in contact with one another. Activists, for example, in NWI have very little idea of what’s happening in Fort Wayne or Bloomington. We have friends in those areas, and occasionally discuss ongoing organizing efforts, but not in a systematic fashion.

As I mentioned above, one of our primary challenges at the state level is increasing coordination between existing groups, especially those operating at the grassroots level. The major NGOs communicate with each other, but they’re not actively building independent organizations or coalitions in our state. To be honest, we don’t expect them to. We’re not looking to replicate the structures of existing NGOs — we’re trying to build an independent progressive organization and series of institutions whose primary focus is building power at the grassroots level. 

The question of whether or not groups should respond to each of Trump’s reactionary policy directives or statements cannot be understated. Back in January of 2017, people routinely blew up at meetings when we told them that we weren’t going to put a ton of energy into trying to keep Jeff Sessions from being the Attorney General, or that we weren’t interested in the Russia-Trump scandal.

It’s easy to see how liberal groups and the Democratic Party have been so unsuccessful in recent years: they focus on the issues the corporate media highlights, as opposed to focusing on the needs and interests of working-class, poor people, and the environment. Their focus is also very short-term. Many of these groups have a difficult time imagining politics beyond election cycles.

Without doubt, it makes sense to oppose (when possible) the Trump Administration and the GOP’s most damaging and reactionary excesses. However, it also makes sense to step back, reflect, and determine how we’re going to build the sort of organizations and movements that it will take to win. Trying to take down a president when your group can’t even hold regular and productive meetings is not only a waste of time, it’s laughable, and at worst, it’s a surefire way to burn people out.

On a tactical level, groups can use Trump’s vulgarity and brutish behavior as propaganda, but that’s a short-term outreach strategy. There are simply too many people and organizations who’ve built their ‘resistance’ on an anti-Trump platform, and it’s proven to be wholly inadequate. The tax bill, for instance, provided an opportunity to coalesce around an issue of great importance and one that resonated with ordinary folks (some polls suggest that over 70% of Americans were opposed to the bill). Progressives were unable to capitalize on this moment due to our internal disorganization, lack of vision and capacity.

To be fair, many millions of people are doing their best on a daily basis to stop Trump’s agenda, but they are disconnected, lacking organizational knowledge, and adequate resources.

LOCAL-STATE-NATIONAL-INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZING

We’re extremely limited in terms of what we can do at the municipal level in the state of Indiana. For instance, we can’t raise income, corporate or sales taxes (so much for the GOP’s mantra about ‘local control’); we’re also unable to put in place rent control caps or raise the minimum wage above the federal level; sanctuary cities are illegal; and we have limited control over the power company monopolies that exist throughout the state.

These limitations pose great challenges, but they also force us to think about creative alternatives and strategies that can alter existing power relations. Ideally, we would have both a local and state-wide strategy to change legislation in Indianapolis, but that’s rarely the case. More commonly, major NGOs (with limited success) and unions (with even less success) are the groups campaigning at the state level. Outside/independent groups and social movements have limited capacity and as a result, virtually no power to influence state politics.

Electorally, one strategy could be to fill as many local seats with progressives as possible, while simultaneously bolstering local and regional social movement groups and engaging in state-wide efforts when possible. That’s probably the most reasonable short-term strategy I could see for regional groups.

That said, running progressives for elected office is a tricky game. Should they run under a Democratic ticket? Should they run as Independents? Or should they run as Greens? Obviously, there are no easy answers to this question. Context should dictate the answer.

In Indiana, the Democratic Party is an empty vessel. Perhaps with a decent strategy and a committed group of organizers and activists, the local, county and state party apparatuses could be seized and used for progressive reforms (at least in the short-term).

The Democratic Party continues to win in cities like Michigan City because they’ve been around longer than anyone else and our city is 30% Black, working-class, and disproportionately union, hence GOP candidates stand little chance at winning local seats, at least that’s been true historically (Since 2010, the GOP has flourished in our country and state).

At the end of the day, the question organizers ask more than any other is: Do we have the capacity? What is practical with our current numbers? In our small city, we have 20 committed members in the  Michigan City Social Justice Group (MCSJG). How do we build our capacity while engaging in meaningful campaigns that provide real-world results for poor and working-class people? What projects will produce the greatest results over the long-term? These are constant and never-ending questions.

At every level, the primary issue is a matter of capacity and resources. Progressives will accomplish very little at the municipal level in a state like Indiana if we don’t radically change legislation downstate. It’s just that simple. It’s true that we can get creative and potentially develop alternative structures and revenue, but without the ability to raise corporate taxes, income taxes, the minimum wage, or put in place rent controls, we’re severely hampered in the short-term.

The new version of the Poor People’s Campaign is attempting to bring together some of these groups, but their platform is unclear, as they’ve put tactics before strategy (an ongoing and major problem on the Left, especially among antiwar activists and members of the progressive-faith community). There seems to be a persistent and incorrect belief among progressives that simply getting arrested and putting on the largest public spectacle imaginable will bring people into our movements. Sometimes, it’s true: people come along for the ride, but only for a limited amount of time. For the most part, people want concrete results and a clear platform.

Most people also have jobs, families and lives outside of political activism, hence they have limited time and patience for groups and movements, such as Occupy, which was disorganized, unclear in what it hoped to achieve, and isolated from other progressive organizations.

Street theater and protests are nice, symbolic events, and I enjoy them as much as the next person, but they are not an end, nor are they the primary means to our collective ends. Protests and occupations are simply tactics, and over-used ones at that. While occupations such as the ones that took place at Zucatti Park and Standing Rock are more useful than rallies, they’re also completely unsustainable.

At the national level, I’ve been unable to find an organization, movement or campaign that can tie into our existing local or regional organizing efforts. The Poor People’s Campaign would be the closest example, but that’s about it. Again, I’m assuming this varies depending on where one lives. For instance, I’ve heard that some Indivisible groups in Florida are doing great work. I’ve heard the same about DSA groups in Chicago. Again, however, the focus of these organizations is strictly electoral in nature. Here, in Northwest Indiana, the Sanders’ campaign-offshoot, Our Revolution, hasn’t taken off. Bringing Bernie’s supporters back into the mix has been an ongoing and frustrating effort, but also a necessary one. The 2018 midterms should offer an opportunity to reengage this constituency.

With regard to electoral campaigns, it’s important for progressive organizers to obtain contact lists. Thousands of addresses, phone numbers, and email lists are created, then lost or stashed away. It’s a real shame because many of the people who work on electoral campaigns disengage between cycles while grassroots groups remain engaged but have a difficult time gathering contacts.

We’ll be using our community space, PARC (Politics Art Roots Culture), as a primary organizing hub for Democrats during the 2018 midterm election cycle. Elections are one of the few times ordinary Americans are politically active. To me, it makes sense to expose liberals and Dems to leftwing ideas and forms of organizing that take place outside of the electoral sphere, and within the social movement context. As my friend once said, “We meet people where they’re at, but we don’t leave them there.”

PARC will fully support and host phone-banking, canvassing, and fundraising efforts, though it remains to be seen to what degree the MCSJG will engage with the 2018 midterms. Overall, we think it makes strategic sense to get rid of the GOP in the immediate future. They pose an immediate and grave threat to the planet and species and we’re constantly in triage mode when they’re in power. 

In our thinking, progressives can’t afford to ignore the electoral arena of struggle, nor can we afford purity politics. Poor and working-class people across the globe are suffering as a result of Trump and the GOP’s insane agenda, and the Democratic Party’s capitulation, and inability or unwillingness to provide a serious alternative. At the same time, many people on the Left refuse to acknowledge the limitations of the Green Party or the various Socialist parties who stand absolutely no immediate chance at gaining power. 

On the international level, it’s hard to fathom how progressive organizations in Red States such as Indiana can build serious and effective working relationships with organizers overseas if we can barely work together at the local, regional, state or national level. To me, it makes more sense for groups to build their base and create relationships with groups who share similar values and then focus on larger projects. We have to find the issues that can unite progressive groups and go form there (Sanders’ platform provided a model). 

I get calls and emails from folks throughout Indiana who want to start state-wide efforts, yet they have virtually no base of support in their hometowns. How can we project regional or state power if we don’t have power in our cities and towns? It doesn’t make sense, which is why so many groups who engage in meaningful work generate limited results.

SPACE AND COMMUNITY

From the very start, it was clear to my friend and long-time organizing partner and I that we had to open a community center to serve as a political and cultural organizing space. Having a space to operate in has been essential to MCSJG’s work. It’s also been quite useful for regional and even national groups who want to expand their reach to localities such as Michigan City.

Right now, we have an organizer from the Sierra Club’s ‘Beyond Coal’ campaign who operates and holds meetings in our space. As I mentioned before, the MCSJG uses our space as their primary hub, as does the PFLAG (Parents & Friends of Gays and Lesbians) – LaPorte County group. Mothers Clean Air Force and Veterans for Peace have held events in our space, as have regional organizations.

We hold bi-monthly live music/cultural events which double as fundraisers and use the center as a space where people can simply come, hang out, have a conversation and a cup of coffee. We have an enormous book collection that anyone can utilize and free Wi-Fi.

This year, we’re going through the process of becoming an NGO. We could remain a LLC, but that would greatly limit opportunities for grants and foundational money. Obviously, the most strategic and sustainable way to fund the space is a small donor program, but that takes time to build. The trick is keeping the overhead as low as possible so if/when the foundational money dries up, the space can remain open.

Again, I can’t stress enough the importance of having a space where people can gather, talk, laugh, learn, drink, dance, and create community. It’s also important for organizations and movements to be rooted. In that way, having a space provides a foundation for everything that follows, especially in an era of hyper-alienation.

Over time, we want the space to become a cooperative effort. The idea being that Sergio and I should relinquish control of the space in the coming years and hand over the reigns to a new generation of organizers, artists, and community members who will probably have a different and fresh idea of what the space should become. We welcome the change.

For now, we have all of our regularly scheduled events on the calendar and a few big ones on the horizon. On Saturday, January 20th, 2018, we’re holding a ‘Dump Trump & The GOP’ fundraiser/bash where we’ll have regional musicians performing and local organizers talking about their ongoing work and how people can get involved.

Next month, we have a ‘Medicare For All’ event where we’ll discuss Bernie Sanders’ proposal and how folks can get involved at the local level. I’ve already had a wonderful conversation with a woman form Southeast Indiana who, frustrated with the election results and previously disengaged, took it upon herself to start a free medical clinic in a suburb of Cincinnati where she resides.

I think such projects could be very useful if properly managed. Put differently, it’s clear that certain groups and individuals are simply interested in providing immediate support. Many of the volunteer groups in our city, region, and state focus on providing services, but they rarely, if ever, address the underlying political, economic, and social institutions that perpetuate the very systemic problems they provide immediate relief for. 

In our thinking, progressive groups should be able to do all of the above: provide needed services, oppose and stop immediate threats (development projects, legislation, etc.), and propose reforms while developing long-term alternatives to existing structures (what some would call ‘revolution’). Again, the primary challenges are a lack of capacity, vision, resources, and time. The never-ending question is always: what sort of events will allow us maximum outreach and the ability to gain capacity?

ADVOCACY, MOBOLIZATION & ORGANIZING

Jane McAlevey makes a clear and important distinction between advocacy, mobilizing and organizing in her latest book, No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age. The reality is that many groups are actually advocating or mobilizing as opposed to organizing. For McAlevey, advocacy is the lowest form of involvement and the least capable of building serious power. Here, one should think of NGOs battling corporations in court, with lawyers and officials making the important decisions.

Mobilizing is a step-up from advocacy, but still fails to meet McAlevey’s threshold for proper ‘organizing.’ In the mobilizing model, organizations (unions, NGOs, neighborhood groups, etc.) regularly preech to the choir and turn out self-identifying progressives to rallies and major events, but this model easily burns people out and doesn’t provide a long-term path to building power at the grassroots level. Occupy and the ‘Right to Work’ protests in Madison, Wisconsin, are good examples of mobilization efforts.

Organizing, on the other hand, is the highest form of engagement and requires the most time, effort, and strategy. The primary goal of true community organizing is empowering the maximum number of people and providing them with the knowledge and tools necessary to win the things they want and need. The aim is to get ordinary people to join existing struggles through identifying “organic leaders” in workplaces and neighborhoods.

To be clear, “organic leaders” are not people who simply show up to every meeting or rally — they are the sort of folks who are highly respected in the community. If an “organic leader” vouches for someone or some cause, people listen. That’s the basic criteria, and people would be wise to immediately identify these individuals as they hold the most valuable social capital.

Right now, we’re capable of small-scale mobilization in Northwest Indiana. We’ve been able to stop GEO from building a private immigrant detention facility in Gary, Indiana. And a new group has formed in Elkhart, Indiana, to stop CoreCivic from constructing a private immigrant detention facility in their county. Currently, we have the power and numbers to mobilize and stop projects or certain pieces of legislation, but not much else.

It would be wise for every organizer in the country to read McAlevey’s book. She highlights and articulates so much of what I’ve encountered and thought about over the past 12 years of organizing with leftwing/progressive groups and movements. It’s truly an amazing piece of work. The only issue that I found in the book is that McAlevey doesn’t necessarily mention what, beyond immediate needs, people should or could be fighting for.

Perhaps this is the limitation of an organizer’s perspective: we have too much to do and not enough time to contemplate what sort of society we’re trying to achieve. But that’s also part of the problem: too many organizers and groups are fighting back, but with little idea of what they hope to create over the long-term. The question remains: what sort of society do we want to live in and how should it be structured?

Those questions shouldn’t only be asked by philosophers or academics — those questions should be answered by anyone and everyone who’s interested in living in a decent world.

I’ll be writing more essays in the weeks and months to come. I hope to keep folks informed of our mistakes and progress, challenges and successes. In the meantime, I hope this finds all of our brothers and sisters in the struggle in good health and spirits. It takes great motivation and discipline to remain engaged in such cynical times.

Vincent Emanuele is a writer and community organizer. He is the co-founder of P.A.R.C. (Politics Art Roots Culture), a political-cultural center in Michigan City, Indiana. He’s a member of the Michigan City Social Justice Group, Veterans For Peace, and the National Writers Union – UAW Local 1981. He can be reached at vincent.emanuele333@gmail.com

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