Wild Liberty vs Green Capitalism in New England

April 25, 2009

Maine
Thanks to Maine Earth First! and Native Forest Network for hosting us on an amazing visit, and adding local flavor to the presentations. We did workshops and presentations in Portland, Unity, Turner, Sangerville and Farmington; including stops at the annual Youth Activism Gathering, a Unitarian Universalist congregation and a local group fighting to protect the Boundary Mountains from intrusion by industrial wind farms on land Plum Creek claims to own. Eco-activists in Maine have been on a role exposing Plum Creek’s attempted assaults on late-succession/old-growth forests and it seems that things may be heating up there again. Plum Creek has began construction partnered with Trans Canada (a company responsible for the catastrophic Tar Sands project to the north) to use industrial wind power as a ‘green’ public relations move for the expansion of regional energy infrastructure, meanwhile trashing sub-alpine lynx habitat with roads and clearcuts to accomodate the new green capitalism… Same as the old capitalism, but with a better disguise.

Here are some links to background info on the growing fight, keep an ear out for coming resistance to Plum Creek and TransCanada in Maine:
http://forestpolicyresearch.org/2009/02/13/maine-plum-creek-makes-big-clearcut-and-900-ft-long-musdlide-for-eco-friendly-wind-farm/

http://kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com/view/columns/4347439.html

http://www.tarsandswatch.org/alberta-aboriginal-group-protests-proposed-pipeline-transcanada-meeting

Vermont
We passed through the snow-capped mountains of New Hampshire and landed in Montpelier, VT, where we were showered with wild leeks and maple syrup. We had a great show at Black Sheep Books, saw some snow fall and made our way to Burlington for an Earth Day event on the UVM campus, and lastly visited Brattleboro. Again, we had a a few local EF!ers accompany us through Vermont to talk about local issues, such as Plum Creek’s recent expansion into the Northeast Kingdom and the ongoing resistance to shut down Vermont Yankee nuke plant and upcoming actions planned by groups such as Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance


Where’d all the wilderness go? (and how do we get it back?!)

April 16, 2009

the Big Rotten Apple
We rolled in late to NYC on Friday night and were immediately whisked away on a mobile street party in solidarity with New School student occupations. Getting up early the next morning, a friend of ours over at Strangers In A Tangled Wilderness let us use part of their table, so we were able to table at the NYC Anarchist Bookfair for the Earth First! Journal. Lots of folks turned up at our presentation and gave it some rave reviews. Some people in NYC were able to talk afterwards about providing solidarity for wilderness defense projects in the city, which was real inspiring. The rest of the Bookfair was enjoyable, and, as always, the evening ended with some fun.. a hiss-terical cat-astrophe, one might say.
CATastrophe

Middletown, CT
After escaping the towering buildings of NYC, we headed for Wesleyan College in Connecticut. There was a good crew that showed up for the presentation, which took a bit to get going as we waited for some friendly police officers to find there way to the exit. After the show, some fine folks at Wesleyan showed us a nice time, providing us with a good dinner and conversation. Unfortunately, the next day, we got lost on campus and missed the majority of a lunch event with Black Panther, Robert King (an ex-prisoner from the Angola 3 case), he’s on speaking tour, so folks should check him out if you get the chance.

New Haven, CT
It was freezing cold as we arrived at Southern Connecticut State University, but we were quickly warmed up by the smiling faces of our new friends (and the heat of the campus police officer, Ivan) in New Haven. We had some extra time, so were able to have big group discussions afterwards which was a welcome break to the usual schedule. After the presentation, it was real nice to have a relaxing
evening listening to some folks play good music-hootenanny style-at the house where we stayed.

Providence, RI
Earth First! went Ivy (League) with a stop at Brown University. It was also our first time presenting in a bar. In the heart of syndicalism, a few handfuls of folks showed up to see us babble on for a bit. Barring a few technical difficulties here and there, everything went fine, and we made it out of there alright. Good conversations about ecological defense and labor crossovers, and good friends, entertained us for the rest of the evening.


From the mountains of Katuah to the mid-Atlantic urban nightmare…

April 16, 2009

Asheville, NC
We stopped in Asheville to join the local Rising Tide crew for a Fossil Fool’s Day street theatre action in front of Governor Perdue’s office protesting her support for the Cliffside Coal Power Plant [TAKE ACTION APRIL 20]. We also presented the EF! Roadshow that evening at Firestorm Café, followed by a local announcement to revive the Katuah EF! group. We ended our event with a cordial April Fool’s appreciation offered to our hosts and chased the crowd out the door to check out Fall of Efrafa playing down the street…
fossil fools day

Blue Ridge Earth First! Camp
Next stop was the Blue Ridge EF! (BREF!) camp out nearby Charlottesville, Virginia for the weekend. It was filled with great workshops including: regional nuclear opposition, updates from the coal fields, new coal plants and mountain top removal plans, permaculture community gardens and the growing resistance to a proposed new immigrant detention facility in Farmville, VA. [http://www.thepeopleunited.org/] We also had the fortune of getting to hear Danny Dolinger, an amazing musician who has written many EF! movement anthems [CHECK OUT DANNY’S MUSIC]. The BREF! crew has shown an inspiring ability to connect with broader local organizing and still cultivate an identity as a radical, biocentric presence in the landscape of regional activism.

D.C. & Baltimore
There was some logistical planning complications for the DC stop, but with the assistance of some long time local organizer friends, we were able to pull together an event on short notice and still pack the venue. Thanks to the Ella Jo Baker Co-op for having us. Baltimore was also a great event where we packed Red Emma’s café/bookstore and got to share the spot with a great local musician, Counterfeit Matt. The next morning we headed for NYC…

SUNY Purchase
We stopped for the Day of Dissent on the SUNY campus in Harrison (just north of the City). We were scheduled to offer our presentation and two workshops (‘Know Your Rights’ and ‘Responding to the Green Scare’). After setting up for our show we noticed that we were sharing the bill with a person known by our collective to have unresolved allegations as a perpetrator of sexual assault. Instead of our usual gig we decided to make space for a discussion on community responses and accountability processes regarding assault and abuse. Although it was disappointing to not share the skills and experiences that we are primarily on tour for, we all felt good about the decision. After all, the success and sustainability of our movement is about more than flashy pictures and funny puppets. We want a culture of resistance where people care for themselves, their friends and their broader community; sometimes that is hard and uncomfortable work. And we cannot afford to ignore it.
Next stop, NYC Anarchist Bookfair…


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