Publicly supporting underground resistance

Three members of DGR Lower Columbia attended the September 17, 2013, EIS hearing for construction of a coal terminal. The DGR members voiced radical opposition, by recognizing the uselessness of protesting in the ways permitted by the system, and explicitly supporting anyone who takes matters into their own hands to carry out strategic, militant attacks against industrial infrastructure.

This sort of public advocacy for underground resistance is crucial, and something anyone can do at a local level.

A DGR member reported back on the event:

“Ambre energy wants to ship coal from Montana and Wyoming to markets in Asia. A $643 million Millenium Bulk Terminals dock has been proposed to make this transfer possible.

The hearing in Longview (one of 5 happening in WA) is a step in the EIS process to ensure that “all opinions on this topic are heard and taken into account”. The panel included one representative from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, one from Cowlitz County, and one from the Department of Ecology as well as a scribe. Knowing that our words would have no impact on the EIS itself, we were hoping to reach the protesting activists in the room (you’ll notice our members politely ignoring the MC’s efforts to make us face the panel).

The audience was comprised of two opposing parties: those in the blue and those in the red (think Democrats and Republicans reversed). Blue was worn by Millenium supporters largely arguing that Longview needs the jobs offered by the construction and operation of the terminal. Red was worn by Beyond Coal activists concerned about local and global environmental impacts of the coal industry. For three hours we listened to speakers from both sides chosen through a lottery to convey a two-minute opinion.

Particularly poignant was a speech given right at the beginning by an indigenous man. He argued against bringing the coal industry to Longview for the jobs it might create, by comparing the situation to a bartender who keeps selling alcohol to an obviously drunk man just because he needs the money, or to parents buying their children drugs and alcohol because “they’re gonna get their hands on it anyway.” Another man argued loudly against the “advantage” of bringing new industry to Longview by reminding us of the booming economy in Germany when they were building Auschwitz.

Our own speeches were met with mixed reactions. I heard people complaining next to me that extremism hinders the cause and that these hearings do make an impact. But we also noticed wide smiles on the faces of a few in the audience. And Travis’ parting words were met with cheers and applause. By the end, Charles was busy collecting email addresses and it was clear our message reached at least a few new ears.

Who knows what the outcome of the coal terminal argument will be? But if we got some more people to understand the severity of our situation and the action that is actually necessary to save the planet, I’ll deem the excursion a success and these hearings worthwhile.

DGR and Direct Action Spokane oppose Pacific Northwest coal/oil/gas trains

Dillon Thomson / Deep Green Resistance Eugene

In late April, I participated in Direct Action Spokane’s first public event and a strategy meeting regarding the blocking of coal/oil/gas trains in the northwest. The public event consisted of four presentations and a Q&A session. The presenters included myself, Jackie Minchew and Mike Lapointe of the Delta 5, and Ken Ward of the Climate Disobedience Center. DAS’s goal for the event was to make direct action and breaking the law more palatable of an option for community members in Spokane, specifically around blocking coal/oil/gas trains running through the city. Jackie, Mike, and Ken talked about their actions and I filled in with examples from historical movements of the precedent for direct action. There were approximately 70-80 people in attendance, and the event was quite successful.

The following morning DAS called a private meeting to talk about strategy and how successful resistance against these trains might look. We discussed different ways to block the tracks, legal support, fundraising, constructing a narrative of resistance, being prepared for the aftermath in terms of knowing what to do with people who wish to join the struggle in Spokane or in the larger northwest, creating the conditions for a succession of blockades, and the possibility of coordinated action on the same rail line in a different location.

Some good connections were made in Spokane. Ken Ward expressed interest in working together and wanted to know how DGR and Climate Disobedience Center can complement each other. The Delta 5 people were unfamiliar with DGR but seemed eager to bring our name and strategy back to Everett, WA.

Further information

Read my report back from the mid-May Break Free direct action in Anacortes, WA.

View a video recording of my presentation:

Or watch the entire event:

Browse all Deep Green Resistance Member Appearances or visit our Youtube channel

A visit to Hambach Forest

By Dan Planet, Deep Green Resistance

Just a short post on my visit to Hambach Forest in Germany, a resistance camp set up to defend the forest and prevent the RWE mine (Europe’s largest CO2 emitter) from further destroying the planet. (For background on the struggle, see The Battle for the Hambach Forest.)

I arrived for the skill share camp which was a whole week of people hosting workshops on everything to do with activism from tree climbing, blockades, dealing with police, discussions on politics, philosophy etc. The defenders are very welcoming and will speak in English even if like me your German is almost non-existent! The determination to protect the forest is really quite something else when you see the blockades, tree houses and the protectors doing what they do. I camped in the woods not far from the main camp, which is considered a little risky, but I wouldn’t have it any other way as the woods are truly amazing to wake up in.

My time in Hambach was inspiring but what I remembered more than any of the workshops or connections that I made was the forest itself. Nowhere more than Hambach have I found such contrast between natural and unnatural, sane and insane, ecology and industry, life and absolute devastation. The forest and the RWE mine couldn’t be more different. To use the Tolkien mythology, I literally at times felt like I was in Fangorn Forest and that Mordor was somewhere lurking near at the edge ready to eat up what is now left of the beautiful and delicate forest. In England we have pockets of ancient forest but I still wasn’t prepared for how enchanting this particular forest was and the bravery and determination of the people who want to defend it.

In short, if you can then please visit and stay a while…or stay until RWE encounter too much resistance and give up their ecocide!

View my pictures of Hambach Forest (it will be much greener now!), and visit the official Hambach Forest website.

The Battle for the Hambach Forest

By Michael Regenfuss of Deep Green Resistance

There is an ongoing fight, just north of Düsseldorf, Germany, to save the Hambach Forest, Germany’s last old growth forest. The forest is a 1,000 hectare old growth oak forest right next to the largest open cast coal mine in Europe. The mine is 12 kilometers long, 4 kilometers wide, and 300 meters deep. The mine produces 100,000,000 tons of coal per year, used to supply 5 power plants.

The coal is used primarily for the weapons manufacturing industry in the nearby Rhineland industrial district. The mine is set to operate until 2045. The forest was acquired in 1978 by RWE, which now operates the mine. The forest was originally 5,500 hectares and since 1972 had been owned by the municipality of Niederzier. Since 1978 the forest has largely been cleared to make way for brown coal mining.

The company has also been using a law that the Nazis used to take land from people to evict people from entire villages. Over a ten year period this relocation process has removed entire village populations and demolished the structures to mine the coal underneath. During the relocation process some elders have died due to the stress and heartbreak of losing their homes. Many people are coming down with cancers, heart disease, and emphysema from airborne toxic particles.

The remaining forest, despite its dramatic diminution, is still a functioning habitat. It consists primarily of oak and hornbeam, who shelter endangered Bechstein’s bats.

An ongoing blockade has been in place since April 2012 to save this remnant forest. The blockade was evicted from the forest in November 2012, but after only one day they regrouped and occupied a meadow next to the forest. In April 2013 they reoccupied the forest. More recent actions included a treesit in a 250 year old oak at the edge of the forest, a group of Earth First! members blocking the loading of coal trucks, and a protest in nearby Bergheim against a newly built coal burning plant.

The struggle continues to save the Hambach Forest. For slides, videos, and more information on past actions and on the current blockade, visit Hambach Forest (English) or Hambacher Forst (German). If you can physically help with the blockade, please join them in person. You can also donate money through their website. Whatever you can do would be really appreciated. Time is running out for this place; the final showdown for this forest will probably happen by August 2015. Thank you for your interest and support to save this beautiful place.

Beehive Collective: The True Cost of Coal

The Beehive Collective draws amazingly intricate and detailed graphics showing stories of Biotechnology threats, globalization in the Americas, and “The True Cost of Coal”. You could spend hours studying the poster and its interwoven tale of the effects of coal on mountains, valleys, wildlife, and human communities. Enjoy this and the many other posters at the Beehive Collective website!

Deep Green Resistance in the UK – article in The Ecologist

“Had enough of being a ‘good environmental liberal’ – trying to do the right thing while the world gets ever worse?” This question opens a recent article by Adam Herriott of Deep Green Resistance UK, published in The Ecologist. Adam outlines the failed approach of traditional environmentalism, and how the Decisive Ecological Warfare strategy offers a realistic chance of halting the abuses perpetrated by civilization. Adam briefly describes a direct action:

The best UK example of what we are advocating for is the 2008 solo action against Kingsnorth coal power station in Kent. Someone climbed two three-metre (10ft) razor-wired, electrified security fences, walked into the station and crashed a giant 500MW turbine before leaving a calling card reading “no new coal”.

This person walked out the same way and hopped back over the fence. Their actions halted power for four hours and illustrate the potential which direct action has to really make people sit up and notice. This action also shows the vulnerability of industrial infrastructure and what’s possible if someone is motivated enough.

Read the rest of the article “Deep Green Resistance in the UK”

In Solidarity with the Hobet 20

Resource extraction is killing families, tearing apart communities, and threatening our very existence on this planet.

It is corporations that are perpetrating this ecocide, with the help of local law enforcement acting as their private armies. They must be held accountable for the devastation they are committing.

Deep Green Resistance stands in solidarity with those who took accountability into their own hands on July 28th at the Hobet Mine in West Virginia. It makes our hearts sing to see people nonviolently reinforcing a line in the sand, defending the rights of communities to clean air and water as well as the rights of the majestic Appalachians to stand unmolested.

We hope that others follow the example of R.A.M.P.S. and the brave folks who shut down the Hobet Mine. Those seeking to destroy life for profit are feeling the pressure. As they ratchet up the repression, we must call in unison: “We shall not be moved!”

We stand with the twenty who were arrested; we stand with the countless others who were harassed and abused on the 28th; we stand with those on the front lines of devastating extraction all over the world; and we stand with the mountains whose very existences are threatened.

To the Hobet 20: Thank you. Your sacrifices will not be forgotten.

To the West Virginia State Troopers: Your violations have not gone unnoticed, and you will be brought to justice.

To the Barons of Industry: Your days are numbered.

Sincerely,
Deep Green Resistance

Donate to the ramps general fund: https://www.wepay.com/donations/57022

RAMPS Shuts Down Surface Mine, 20 Activists Held on $500,000 Bail

The activist in this video, Dustin Steele, was beaten by police after being arrested during the Hobet Mine Shutdown

Donate to the Mountain Justice Legal Fund

Report from the R.A.M.P.S. Campaign

7/29/12

Charleston, W.Va.—More than 50 protesters affiliated with the R.A.M.P.S. Campaign have walked onto Patriot Coal’s Hobet mine and shut it down. Ten people locked to a rock truck, boarded it and dropped banners: ”Coal Leaves, Cancer Stays.” At least three have been arrested, with another in a tree being threatened by miners with a chain saw. Earlier in the day, two people were arrested at Kanawha State Forest before a group of protesters headed to the state capitol.

“The government has aided and abetted the coal industry in evading environmental and mine safety regulations. We are here today to demand that the government and coal industry end strip mining, repay their debt to Appalachia, and secure a just transition for this region,” Dustin Steele of Matewan, W.Va. said. Steele was one of the people locked to the rock truck.

Mounting scientific evidence shows that strip mining negatively impacts community health and miner health. Recent studies have found a 42 percent increase in risk of birth defects around strip mines, and miners who spend at least 20 years as strip-mine drillers have a 61 percent chance of contracting silicosis, a virulent form of black lung. “The coal companies are poisoning our water and air, and they’re treating the workers no better than the land – fighting workplace health and safety protections to get the most out of labor as they can,” said Junior Walk of Whitesville, W.Va.

As coal production declines, protesters are concerned that the region will be left with only illness and environmental devastation as the industry pulls out of the region and companies file for bankruptcy to shed legacy costs.

Patriot Coal is currently going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, in which union contracts and pensions could be on the chopping block. Both UMWA pensions and the state’s Special Reclamation Fund are funded through a per-ton tax on coal. With Central Appalachian coal production in the middle of a projected six-year, 50 percent decline, this funding stream is increasingly unsustainable. Protesters are calling on the coal industry and government to ensure that funding is available both to honor commitments to retired workers and to restore the land.

“Coal companies must employ their surface mine workers in reclaiming all disturbed land to the highest standards. Instead of arguing about the ‘war on coal,’ political leaders should immediately allocate funds to retrain and re-employ laid off miners to secure a healthy future for the families of this region,” said R.A.M.P.S. spokesperson Mathew Louis-Rosenberg.

Appalachian communities, from union miners to the anti-strip mining activists of the 1960s, have a proud history of confronting the coal industry and demanding an end to its exploitive practices with direct civil disobedience. R.A.M.P.S. and other campaigns have returned to this tradition to eliminate strip mining once and for all. Since its founding in 2011, R.A.M.P.S. has organized a range of actions, from tree-sits to blockades of coal trucks.

Today’s protesters are among the hundreds of people across the country who are joining this summer’s National Uprising Against Extraction, using radical tactics to fight oppressive extractive industries and demand a transition to a sustainable economy.

7/30/12

Following the historic shutdown of the Hobet mine — Appalachia’s largest mountaintop removal site– Dustin and at least nineteen other Appalachians and allies are being held on $25,000 bail each — a combined $500,000.* Most are being charged with trespass and obstruction.

While we believe that these bail amounts are unconstitutionally excessive and may ultimately be reduced, we need to raise as much money as we possibly can to support those brave individuals who have put their bodies on the line to put a halt to the injustice of mountaintop removal mining. According to Dustin, he was taken into a room and beaten by law enforcement while in custody. Witnesses have reported that other protesters were brutalized by law enforcement while being taken into custody. We need to work to ensure that anyone who wants to get out of jail can do so as soon as possible.

Mountaintop removal is a crime against humanity that has left a legacy of poisoned air and water, high cancer rates, economic exploitation, and devastated communities and ecosystems throughout Appalachia. Corrupted legislators and regulators at the state and federal levels have failed to take action to stop these atrocities, leaving direct action as the last resort for conscientious residents aiming to save the land and people of Appalachia.

Please check www.rampscampaign.org for updates as we receive additional information about our friends in custody.

Stand with the Hobet 20 by donating to the Mountain Justice legal fund.

Please share the following fundraising link via email, facebook, twitter, and other networks: http://bit.ly/mj-legal

See more images from yesterday’s historic action.

*We were able to verify bail amounts of $25,000 for seventeen of our arrested friends and assume it is the same for the remaining three.

Call for Action Against Extraction on May 19th

Activists draw a line in the sand in the fight against fracking (Photo originally posted here)

On Saturday, May 19th, participants in the Occupy Well Street campaign against fracking are calling for a Day of Direct Action Against Extraction. We invite all who are opposed to the widespread use of energy extraction methods such as hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, mountaintop removal coal mining, and tar sands oil distillation to take creative, public direct action at local or regional points of production in these industries. All who participate are encouraged to employ a wide spectrum of tactics that appeal to their experience and comfort level, such as handing out literature, arranging speaking events, orchestrating colorful street theater, or taking up space by creative means.

Why a Day of Action? We have many reasons: We are tired of our communities being divided and conquered by gas corporations in pursuit of ever higher profits. The water that flows through our bioregion is being sold off for fracking as fast as those granted responsibility for our rivers and watersheds can rubber stamp withdrawal permits. Despite promises of gas drilling and fracking operations creating a surplus of local and regional jobs, our region is teeming with highly paid out of state rigworkers, engineers and other “specialists”, while the local jobs largely consist of temporary truck driving and dangerous “roustabout” positions. We are being lied to and manipulated, but we refuse to be passive participants in these destructive activities.

While there are many differences between fracking, mountaintop removal coal mining and the tar sands megaprojects, they are all too similar in their effects on the health of human and animal communities. Countless trucks clog the roads, the air fills with pollutants, the water becomes undrinkable, land and forests are cleared, and communities suffer from conflict and illness.

One of the main goals of the Occupy Well Street campaign is to create solidarity among all those resisting energy extraction. Our communities may be separated geographically, but voices and actions can offer effective support between regions and allow us to continue sustaining our struggles against extraction. We must communicate within and between movements, share information and knowledge, and support each others’ efforts in order to grow and evolve.

The last place the gas companies want concerned community members to show up is at their fracking sites, pipeline projects, compressor stations, water withdrawal sites, and other important facilities. The points of production are where the physical damage occurs, and we invite you to join us in throwing a wrench in the gears on May 19th!

What have participants in the Occupy Well Street campaign been up to? Groups have picketed active fracking sites, blocked industry truck traffic, drawn attention to water withdrawal sites hidden in plain view, held industry analysts and “reporters” accountable in public meetings, and distributed literature at pro-industry events. Occupy Well Street is committed to finding common ground between all those fighting extraction industries, and networking is ongoing. Stay tuned for more news soon!