Underground Action Calendar refreshed

Our Underground Action Calendar lists attacks from as far back as the 1970s, to inspire and serve as a research tool. We include a variety of actions from around the world, some carried out by individuals, some by organized militant groups. Targets range from local earth-destroying construction equipment to networks of oil wells and pipelines. Browsing the list gives a good idea of what can be accomplished with simple acts of monkeywrenching or with persistent campaigns against industrial infrastructure.

We’ve just refreshed the Calendar to make it even more inspirational to browse, and more useful as a research tool. We’ve cleaned out symbolic attacks and those based on a strategy of economic attrition, to focus instead on actions directly and concretely reducing the ability of the rich and powerful to destroy the earth. The descriptions of each attack are short and to the point so that you can quickly look through the list; each action links to a communique or news article with more information on the action if you want to research further.

You can filter by the attack target: for example, if you’re curious how railroad traffic has been disrupted in the past, select “Railway.” Or you can filter by the attack method: if you’re curious what kinds of infrastructure have been attacked with anything from air rifles to rocket launchers, select “Shooting.”

You can also filter by Country, sort by date, or search actions for keywords.

If you know of any attacks we’ve missed, especially current events (or historic attacks which expand the diversity of what we’re presenting), please email them to undergroundpromotion@deepgreenresistance.org

NOTE: We only accept communications about actions that are already publicly known in one form or another. Do not send original communiques directly to this email address. This is not a secure means of communication.

Browse the Underground Action Calendar and share widely!

War in the Woods restarting in British Columbia?

From Forest Action Network

Nine arrested this month on Mt. Elphinstone

Resistance is escalating in the old-growth forests of the Sunshine Coast, from blockades to tree-sits to a burning barricade. For decades, residents have used almost every strategy in the book to protect wildlife and their drinking watersheds. But the clearcut logging continues under the control of the BC government’s Timber Sale program.

Last week. protesters set a homemade roadblock on fire to stop the logging above Roberts Creek, in a bear denning area adjacent to Mount Elphinstone Provincial Park. Currently there are several camps and at least two groups of defenders on the mountain. Contact Elphinstone Logging Focus for info and to let us know if you can bring or donate gear.

As the Vancouver Sun notes, we could be returning to the days of the “War in the Woods” that wracked coastal BC in the 1990s. Environmentalists spiked trees, damaged equipment, blockaded roads, sparked international boycotts, and hundreds were carted off to mass civil disobedience trials. Loggers heaved rocks, waved nooses, wore T-shirts saying that female environmentalists should be sexually assaulted, and they burned down a peace camp and injured three young people in 1999.

Whatever tactics they employ, VICFAN can advise and train land defenders to be prepared for anything. Please sponsor their action training.

Ecological Special Forces: A Proposal

The planet needs commandos

It wasn’t until the 1940’s that what we think of as the “commando” or special forces units were standardized by the British Army. With the goal of disrupting German forces in western France and later in the Mediterranean and North Africa, the first commando units were modeled on small groups of Arab fighters who had great success pinning down much larger British Army units during the uprisings in Palestine in the 1930’s.

These units proved to be very effective during World War II and have since become a staple of modern warfare. Today, the U.S. empire largely projects military force through targeted special forces operations and bombing campaigns, rather than outright warfare and traditional military maneuvers.

The Case for Ecological Commandos

Our planet is on the verge of total ecological collapse. Nothing is getting better. Governments and corporations continue business as usual while every day, carbon dioxide levels rise, forests are cut down, and 200 species are driven extinct. Forty percent of all human deaths can be attributed to pollution. Ocean fish may not exist by 2050.

Even in ecological preserves, life is suffering; there has been an 85% decline in mammals in West Africa’s parks. Major dams continue to be built. Environmentalists being are murdered around the world. African lions are in precipitous decline, as are tigers, leopards, elephants, polar bears, rhino, and countless other species. Most of the species who are driven extinct haven’t even ever been described by western science; they slip into extinction with barely a ripple.

Our few, hard-won victories are temporary. Protections can be (and are) revoked. Ground can be lost. Despite all we have done, life on this planet is slipping away.

Small forces of ecological commandos could reverse this trend by targeting the fundamental sources of power that are destroying the planet. We have seen examples of this. In Nigeria, commando forces have been fighting a guerrilla war of sabotage against Shell Oil Corporation for decades. At times, they have reduced oil output by more than 60%.

No environmental group has ever had that level of success. Not even close.

In the U.S., clandestine ecological resistance has been relatively minimal. However, isolated incidents have taken place. A 2013 attack on an electrical station in central California inflicted millions of dollars in damage to difficult-to-replace components used simple hunting rifles. The action took a total of 19 minutes, displaying the sort of discipline, speed, and tactical acumen required for special forces operations.

Characteristics of Special Forces Units

Physical Fitness

Mobility and secrecy are critical to the success of special forces. Therefore, physical fitness, as well as the use of appropriate aids, such as helicopters, bicycles, or pack animals, is essential. Commandos must be prepared to climb barriers, crawl, swim, carry heavy objects, endure long distance travel, maintain stillness, and so on.

Training in Infantry Weapons

Competency in firearms, knives, explosives, unarmed combat, and other handheld weapons are essential to these types of missions.

Focused on Stealth

Commandos must be capable of evading superior forces. This means they must have the ability to move silently and swiftly, and to hide in a variety of terrain. They should also be capable of killing or capturing opponents quickly and silently. However, stealth—the ability to avoid enemies—is more important than combat; fighting should only occur as a last resort. According to the book Deep Green Resistance, thus far the definitive resource on environmental sabotage, ecological commandos should seek to avoid causing casualties to avoid alienating the public further.

Comfortable Operating in Darkness and All Weather Conditions

Darkness is the element of choice for special forces units. Adverse weather can provide additional cover and opportunity. Therefore, units should train to operate in such conditions.

Capable of Operating on Water

Objectives often will be more accessible via water.

Flexible and Self-Directed

Communications during operations may be impossible, and comms equipment is always subject to failure. Special forces must be prepared with a plan. However, they should have a good understanding of mission objectives and be prepared to improvise.

Small Units

Unlike traditional military forces, commando units typically form small squads of 2-12 individuals. Multiple squads may come together for some operations, but small unit size allows faster reaction time and greater operational flexibility—critical in asymmetrical conflict. Special forces engaged in sabotage often split into two forces: one focused on demolitions, the second on covering the demolition force. Units in the field are supported by medical teams, researchers, supply officers, and other support staff at secure positions.

Proper Target Selection

Traditional military units operate by seizing and holding territory. Since special forces rely on tactical rather than strategic advantages, a different approach is needed. Commandos generally focus on high-value targets like supply lines, fuel depots, communications hubs, important propaganda targets, unprepared foes, and so on. Attacking such targets can destroy the enemy’s ability to fight. Clandestine units are always focused on attack, and not defense.

Intelligence Driven

The success of special forces operations depends largely on good intelligence. Gathering information about target locations, defenses, surveillance, cover, enemy reinforcements, escape routes, transportation options, weather, and so on is essential.

Doing What it Takes to Halt Empire

Our situation is desperate. Things continue to get worse. False solutions, greenwashing, corporate co-optation, and rollbacks of previous victories are relentless. Resistance communities are fractured, isolated, and disempowered. However, the centralized, industrialized, and computerized nature of global empire means that the system is vulnerable. Power is mostly concentrated and projected via a few systems that are vulnerable.

Even powerful empires can be defeated. But those victories won’t happen if we engage on their terms. Ecological special forces provide a method and means for decisive operations that deal significant damage to the functioning of global capitalism and industrialism. With enough coordination, these sorts of attacks could deal death blows to entire industrial economies, and perhaps (with the help of aboveground movements, ecological limits, and so on) to industrialism as a whole.

Implementation of this strategy will require highly motivated, dedicated, and skilled individuals. Serious consideration of security, anonymity, and tactics will be required. But this system was built by human beings; we can take it apart as well.

Good luck.

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

Plutocracy: Political Repression in the USA

Scott Noble of Metanoia Films has released part I of an important video history of class struggle in the US. Combining historic photos and video with reflections drawn from a range of historians, the film covers uprisings and revolts most of us never heard of in our history classes. As Deep Green Resistance emphasizes, a successful resistance movement must learn from the history of what has and hasn’t worked for others. Plutocracy is an excellent introduction to the mass movements of the working class in American history.

Noble describes his work in more detail:

Part 1 of the series focuses extensively on the ways in which the American people have historically been divided on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex and skill level. This the first documentary to comprehensively examine early American history through the lens of class.

Although the sub-header is “Political Repression in the USA”, Plutocracy is as much a tribute to the courage and tenacity of the American working class as a condemnation of its ruling class.

Learn more: sources for Plutocracy

Donate to the film maker to support him in making parts II and III of the series.

Delta en Revuelta – Piratería y Guerrilla Contra las Multinacionales del Petróleo

“Deja nuestra tierra o morir en ella!” Este es el mensaje del Movimiento para la Emancipación del Delta del Níger (MEND) para la industria del petróleo. La historia, las acciones y tácticas del MEND son el foco del libro publicado por el Observatorio Petrolero Sur (OPSur) titulado, “Delta es Revuelta. Piratería y de guerrillas contra las Multinacionales del Petróleo”.

Podría decirse que MEND es uno de los movimientos de resistencia más eficaces contra la industria del petróleo—el MEND es responsable de un recorte de casi un tercio de la producción de petróleo de Nigeria entre 2006 y 2009. Esos son números que el movimiento ambiental contemporánea sólo puede soñar.
Como organización sobre el suelo, Deep Green Resistance utiliza la acción directa para privar a los ricos de su capacidad para robar a los pobres y los poderosos de su capacidad para destruir el planeta. También argumentamos a favor de la necesidad de un moviemento clandestino que puede apuntar a la infraestructura estratégica de la industrialización, al igual que el MEND está haciendo en el delta del Níger. MEND ofrece un ejemplo de cómo estratégica, la resistencia específica puede confrontar a los que están matando a nuestro planeta. Aprende sus maneras, apoya su causa, y toma acción!

“En Nigeria, todas las esperanzas en la democracia y en el bienestar suscitadas por la independencia y el descubrimiento de petróleo, naufragaron en los pantanos del Delta del río Níger, hundidas por la explotación salvaje de multinacionales como Shell, Agip y Chevron, y por la corrupción de los gobiernos locales. A la sombra de un cielo contaminado y de un mar sin peces, un joven del lugar afirma, la gente ha empezó a pensar: «Tenemos que armarnos si no queremos morir ». La violencia engendra violencia. Y cuando una persona pierde la esperanza, se siente destrozada y acaba diciendo: «O combato o más vale morir».

Así, sobre rápidas lanchas, con pasamontañas, fusiles automáticos y kalashnikov, los rebeldes del Delta pasaron al contraataque, saboteando a la industria del petróleo. Son la voz armada de una población entera, agotada por decenios de saqueo de recursos y por la represión militar que intenta truncar sus protestas con todos los medios disponibles. Luchan por el fin de la contaminación de sus tierras, para la indemnización por los daños sufridos y para la restitución del control de los recursos a las comunidades locales.

Este libro es un homenaje a su batalla.”

Lee todo el libro en…

Delta en Revuelta – Piratería y Guerrilla Contra las Multinacionales del Petróleo (PDF)

Walbran Valley update and call to action

From our friends at Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network in BC, Canada:

Together we will win: Native and non-native people join forces to stop the destruction

Pacheedaht First Nation declares support for a grassroots re-occupation of their traditional territory in the Walbran Valley, where Teal Jones logging company is clear-cutting the ancient cathedral forests around the park without consent.

It takes a community to heal the land. Pacific Coast people have a long history of standing up for the places we love. In recent decades, thousands of Vancouver Islanders have come together to protect incredible old-growth forests from clearcut logging.

It wasn’t easy then, and it won’t be easy now. The odds are against us. But our side is recruiting an army of peaceful resisters, and developing plans for strategic action to win back the Walbran.

May 21 to 23, Forest Action Network and Women for the Walbran are presenting workshops on non-violent civil disobedience, tree climbing safety, fundraising, legal rights, and more. Meet like-minded forest protectors and learn from the most experienced campaigners on the island. Invest in a future of cathedral forests, wildlife, and spring-fed mountain streams.

Tree-climbing is incredibly effective for occupying the forest canopy, documenting rare species and getting a birds-eye view of the logging, while staying well away from the loggers themselves. With our training, almost anyone can climb a 100-ft tree safely and easily using ropes and a harness.

Non-violent direct action training is crucial for anyone who might come into contact with police, loggers, or protesters. This in-depth workshop uses role-playing to practice techniques for deescalating conflict.

We can’t do it alone. Folks who love the wild coast are pitching in for the Action Training equipment drive. Here’s the wish list:

  • $20 donation equals twenty feet of static climbing rope (goal: 200 ft)
  • $50 buys a climbing harness
  • $75 is a set of carabiners
  • $150 gets one full set of gear – harness, biners, rope, and a hardhat
  • $300 is enough to set up a tree-sit platform

Please sign up or contribute today.

Updates on land defense in BC, Canada

This update comes from Victoria Forest Action Network (VICFAN), a grassroots organization fiercely committed to land defense in British Columbia. See also The Courage to Speak Truth to Power, a speech by VICFAN’s Zoe Blunt recently published at the DGR News Service.


Cheers to the new year!
And to the gutsy land defenders who stand up to corporate villians and win (sometimes)

 
People are blockading, occupying, and protesting corporate destruction across BC. Message us with news or to find out about joining and supporting community organizing to protect land and water.
 
2016 land defense forecast 
Skill-shares, workshops, and action training
We're putting together a training schedule for spring, summer, and fall in Victoria, Vancouver, Port Renfrew, the Walbran Valley, and Northern BC. Please get in touch to find out how to bring a workshop to your community!

To make these workshops succeed, we're calling for workshop leaders, cooks, fundraisers, drivers, child-care providers, and spaces for the trainings and for out of town guests. Visit the House of Solidarity to learn more.  

  • April, May, June – Spring Training in Victoria, Vancouver, and the Walbran Valley
  • Mid-May – Spring Construction Crew at Unist'ot'en Camp   
  • July – Summer Caravan: schoolbus convoy from Victoria to Unist'ot'en Camp
  • Fall Getaway – Labour Day weekend
Stay tuned for details.  Participants can donate on a sliding scale.
 
No pipelines, No tankers: the good news
Prime Minister Trudeau ordered a ban on oil tankers on the Pacific Coast, effectively killing the Enbridge Pipeline. (National Observer)
 
Experts say there is no way the BC government can make good on its promises about natural gas exploitation (fracking). It is not going to take off, thanks to falling prices, a global glut, and renewable energy. (Bloomberg)
 
Changes to the political and economic landscape last year are having an impact on pipeline plans and logging operations, but some companies seem to be on auto-pilot, ignoring court decisions, change in government, indigenous rights, the Paris accord, and reality. (The Tyee)

 
The bad news
Some of the worst projects are still going ahead in 2016: 
  • Petronas LNG is preparing to build a fracked gas terminal at Lelu Island near Prince Rupert. Members of the Lax Kwalaams Nation are occupying the site.  
  • Kinder Morgan is currently drilling test holes in Burrard Inlet for a new tarsands pipeline and terminal in Burnaby.
  • Site C dam and hydro project is planned to flood the Peace River Valley in Northeastern BC to make energy for gas liquefication plants that will probably never be built.
  • Teal Jones is logging cathedral forests in the Walbran Valley, Vancouver Island. The company has obtained a court injunction to block protestors.  
  • South Island Aggregates is dumping toxic soil in the Shawnigan Lake watershed, Vancouver Island.  Local residents are in the road blocking trucks almost every day at 7 am. Three lawsuits are in process and a dozen people were arrested after the company obtained an injunction to block protestors.
There has never been a more important time for effective, strategic action for land and water. Please support our work today.
 
Walbran Witness Camp in the ancient forest
 


We're recruiting people to help hold back industrial logging next to Carmanah Provincial Park on Vancouver Island. Find out more here.

 

Thank you for being part of this movement to protect living ecosystems

VIC FAN is celebrating its ninth year on Vancouver Island, Coast Salish and Nuu-chah-nulth territory. Big cheers to everyone who took part in our victories!

WildCoast and Forest Action Network are 100% home-grown, grassroots. and volunteer-led.

Our projects are the Caravan to Unis'tot'en Camp, the House of Solidarity, defending the Walbran Valley, supporting Shawnigan Water Defenders, and the Eco Warriors Legal Defence Fund.

You can contact us anytime.

Rang De Basanti: a modern inspiration for direct action

Review by Parag Dalal / Deep Green Resistance

Spoiler alert: important pieces of the movie plot revealed below.

Rang De Basanti opens with a British officer in pre-independence India walking along prison cells and finally entering one. The man inside, reading a book, instructs “Wait a moment, Mr. McKinley, one revolutionary is meeting another.” Thus are we introduced to the legendary Bhagat Singh, engrossed in a book by Lenin. Singh rises calmly, ready to be escorted to the gallows. Mr McKinley, with sadness on his face, says “Sorry it has to end like this.” Bhagat Singh replies unwaveringly with a smile on his face “But this is not the end, Mr McKinley. There will be many more who will follow.” He starts walking and we see tears in the eyes of Mr McKinley.

Rang De Basanti goes against the regular Bollywood (Hindi) fare of romantic movies. It is a powerful commentary on the state of Indian politics and a call for direct action. Its ultimate clearance by the Indian Censor Board, albeit with a lot of controversy, delays, and reviews, is nothing short of surprising. The music by the Oscar winning A.R Rahman is visceral and evokes feelings of anger, rage and of freedom fighters and Indian independence.

In an interview with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, the writer, director and co-producer of the film said that when Aamir Khan heard the script, he immediately agreed to star in it. This is a telling fact since Aamir Khan, one of the biggest names in Bollywood, has since directed and starred in some of the most controversial Bollywood movies, bringing some very deep seated and taboo topics of Indian society to light. Amongst his films are a satirical comedy about the farmer suicides in India (Peepli Live); a story about Mangal Pandey, an Indian soldier who led a violent revolt against the British Rule in India in 1857 (Mangal Pandey: The Rising); and a story of a dyslexic eight-year old child which brought awareness to dyslexia in India (Taare Zameen Par).

Rang De Basanti is a story of four regular college going young men who are completely apathetic to Indian politics until they find themselves at the receiving end of the corrupt system. Before the main events in the movie, they are cast in a documentary about five Indian freedom fighters – Chandrasekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru, Ashfaqulla Khan, and Ram Prasad Bismil. The choice of these specific freedom fighters is significant. While all of them were key in achieving Indian independence, all of them used all means necessary, including violence against the British empire. Four of them were hanged, and the fifth shot dead in a conflict with the British. While there is no way to ascertain the truth, story has it that as they were escorted to be hanged, these men wore gentle smiles, looked their executioners in the eyes, and were confident they did the right thing and were inspiring hundreds of Indians to do the same. History proves the last part was definitely true, not only during the independence struggle but also today.

In the movie, an ace air force pilot friend of the actors is killed during a practice run in a MIG-21 crash. The government closes the investigation concluding that it was the pilot’s fault, covering up the true cause: a politician bought cheap spare parts for the MIGs in return for a bribe. The young men and their community hold a rally and vigil, but the police violently disperse it, brutally injuring their friend’s mother. With peaceful protest not an option, and at their wit’s end as to what to do, they decide to kill the politician involved in the deal.

The parallels between the modern protagonists and the freedom fighters they portrayed are reinforced repeatedly with cuts to black and white clips of them playing their older versions. This vividly highlights similarities between the modern power structure and British rule. One of the most inspiring poems written during the Indian independence ― Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna by Bismil Azimabadi ― which to this day inspires countless Indians and brings up visceral feeling, is featured in the movie at key moments.

सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है

देखना है ज़ोर कितना बाज़ू-ए-क़ातिल में है

which loosely translates to:

The desire for revolution is in our hearts

Let us see what strength there is in the arms of our executioner

The youth carry out the assassination, but the elites spin the news to paint the corrupt politician as a martyr in the media. So the modern freedom fighters take over a radio station to reveal the entire truth and their reasons for killing the minister. The police declare them terrorists and kill all of them, the scenes moving back and forth between the deaths of the historic freedom fighters and those of the protagonists.

The movie had a noticeable impact on Indian society. Internet bloggers increased their criticisms of corruption and bureaucracy in the Indian Government and intense political discussions were common after the movie’s release. Young people took to streets protesting many contemporary issues and injustices, most notably the 1999 Jessica Lall Murder Case, in which the court acquitted the accused which caused intense civil protests for his re-arrest. One group of demonstrators carried out a candlelight vigil similar to that in the movie. In another instance, large rallies were organized in India and the US in response to the Priyadarshini Mattoo rape and murder case. A survey revealed Rang De Basanti as the cause of this sudden increase in Indian people’s political involvement.

The movie is revolutionary in its subject matter. The audience, especially youth, are not only sympathetic but even identify with the protagonists, average college going men. The sympathy does not wane even after they assassinate the corrupt politician and take over the radio station at gunpoint to deliver their message. The message is clear: violence is not only justified but required in certain situations. The politicians and the police force are depicted in a negative light, something almost never seen in any media, Indian or Western. The movie inspired a generation of Indian youth to take direct action and continues to inspire people to this day.

Rang De Basanti is available in the US for rental from Netflix, or purchase at amazon.com

We Are Seneca Lake newsletter: “We Are Family”

We wanted to pass on to this newsletter from the Seneca Lake resisters to fracked gas storage and transport, especially since, due to security measures, they do not generally allow us to forward info about the struggle. They are amazingly organized, smart about the resistance, and committed to winning and to one another.

The Banner, Vol. 1, No. 38 – September 15, 2015

We Are Family

Families work together, play together, dine together, agree and disagree together, share good and bad days together, support one another, and love each other. The family We Are Seneca Lake does all this and more.

We are a family of thousands. Hundreds of us are trained. We have come together 40 times in ten months. Over 500 of us have put our bodies on the line. 334 of us have taken that special ride downtown, earning 400 tickets in all.

This family has it goin’ on!

We are fiercely dedicated and persistent defenders of health, home and community. We protect what we love: the waters, tillable land, sustainable jobs, and clean air of the Finger Lakes and, of course, our families. We say NO to global warming and social injustice, we refuse to allow trespassing corporations to pollute the natural commons we depend on for life and living , and we say YES to renewable energy! That’s our thing. That’s how we roll.

We have accomplished a lot together. Our family continues to grow. Our story, once told locally and then regionally, is now gaining national attention. Our family name is recognized by more and more Americans each day. These Americans are learning why Crestwood’s plan to store fracked gases under the banks of Seneca Lake is a bad idea. We continue to teach.

I am proud to be a member of the We Are Seneca Lake family. And I am proud to have such worthy brothers and sisters as you. Our family name continues to gain great respect due to your ideals, ethics and action. You are awesome!

Together we are unstoppable

— Doug Couchon

About Last Thursday…

The excitement in the air Thursday morning was palpable as the Seneca Lake cavalry rolled. It felt a bit like a reunion. The excitement to get back on the line was evident. First timers and veteran defenders listened carefully to their instructions.

After my second arrest last November, I didn’t think I would need to risk arrest again. Maybe I was naive to think we would have beaten this thing by now. All of the return offenders offered up their reasons for coming back: Judge Berry’s refusal to dismiss the 84 cases, their friends and family still facing charges, the fire at Crestwood earlier this week, a stronger resolve to finish this fight.

Things went as usual with the exception of a crazed pickup driver nearly running down a couple defenders. We were not there long before the police arrived and escorted us off in the paddy wagon. I’ve seen it so many times over the past 8 months. We chatted on our way down to booking like old friends. It was just another day at the gates of Crestwood, but it was so much more. We reached 400 arrests.

On my drive home, I thought about the magnitude of this. On 400 occasions, someone put their body on the line to fight this project. And that is just the tip of the iceberg, the part that we see. Those people went home and told their friends about what they’d done, woke up early on their days off to table at events, canvassed, passed out information, collected signatures on petitions, supported their fellow defenders outside the court house, attended rallies, made donations, wrote letters to their elected officials and made daily phone calls. They are living this battle against Crestwood.

My experience today only reaffirmed what I’ve learned over the last year. This is a family. We have joined together to do something incredible. Four hundred arrests is a remarkable accomplishment. We should pause and celebrate the amount of work that has gone into this: time away from family, early mornings, missed work, freezing toes, sweaty brows. But let us pause for only a minute, because there is so much work to be done. We must continue to foster our connections with each other and the water of Seneca Lake, because the battle against Crestwood is far from over.

—Laura Salamendra

To learn more or join members of DGR NY in getting involved, visit We Are Seneca Lake