What will we do while our water is destroyed for future generations and all other life?
The other night I attended the Gas Land screening and talk with film maker Josh Fox, and Senator Antoine Thompson. The movie shows ecological devastation from the industrial process of hydro-fracking. Some highlights were: death by brain tumors, complete ecocide of streams, hair loss of animals (cats, horses) from the water, lighting tap water on fire, nose bleeds from methane leaks, unsafe levels of benzene, nitrogen oxides, and tourelene in the air and water, violent explosions in all aspects of the drilling and extraction process, vomiting, headaches, stomachaches, unexplainable serious illness, indiscriminate dumping into our limited water ways of a cocktail of 596+ chemicals, deregulation of the industry by the government, a Senate hearing in which industry representatives denied all adverse effects, skillful double talk by the Department of Environmental Protection in Pennsylvania and finally the acknowledgement of the benefits for the few on top of the multi billion dollar gas industry.
The movie showed the interlocked web of the government, “expert scientists”, regulatory agencies, and the oil and gas industry. It told the story of Vice President Dick Cheney, former CEO of Halliburton, who started the energy task force. This energy task force met with industry over 40 times and environmental groups only once. Lobbyists of this task force and the oil and gas industry, paid over one hundred million dollars to government officials to pass the “Halliburton Loop hole” in the 2005 Energy Policy Act. The Halliburton Loop hole exclusively exempts oil and gas companies from the standards of the clean air and safe drinking water acts. This loop hole allows known carcinogens to be dumped directly into or adjacent to fresh water aquifers. This is just one of the ways that the Energy Policy Act sets up the oil and gas industry to make billions of profit with no liability to any one.
After this movie, we moved to a discussion. When Josh Fox spoke he said that this video did not do justice to the devastation of fracking. If you asked me, I was terrified. Through Josh’s research he has found this process so much more harmful that it is inspiring him to make a second Gas Land film. Also, the brave and outspoken Natalie Brant from North Collins was in attendance. She came with a glass of water from her tap which was right in line with all the other stories from the movie. ‘We had great water forever, then suddenly, after the company poured a toxic bath of chemicals into our water table, now it is completely unfit for human consumption?!?’ The glass of water she had was murky and dark, not fit for life. Natalie and her 8 children are all constantly at the doctor’s office with new sicknesses. Natalie testified to Josh’s account that the industry steals local water from around the area. They frack in the dark. Then in the pre-dawn hours they go to a stream or pond and dispose of this poison. This is happening in Erie County right now.
If the 596+ cocktail of chemicals is not bad enough, the frack waste water that is brought back up is radioactive. Wastewater from natural gas drilling in New York State is radioactive. The information comes from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation, which analyzed 13 samples of wastewater brought thousands of feet to the surface from drilling and found that they contain levels of radium 226, a derivative of uranium, as high as 267 times the limit safe for discharge into the environment and thousands of times the limit safe for people to drink. Even though the DEC has put out these hazards along with many more about the dangers of fracking, they are doing absolutely nothing to protect the people of NY State. The DEC instead of outlawing fracking in NY State has plans to open our public lands like Allegany State Park, and Zoar Valley to gas companies to exploit at our expense.
This is real; I have heard first hand horror stories from all over the southern tier. The very creek, Stony Bottom Creek, which my sister and I grew up playing in, has been affected by fracking. Up stream in Wales, NY, on a 6th generation family farm, a frack pit leaked onto their agriculture fields and into Stony bottom creek. Where the frack fluid leaked no grass or any plant grows any more, it is a dead zone. The family said that if they wanted to retire on the royalties from their 4 wells, they could maybe afford a cardboard box behind Walmart.
Josh also went on to tell us that the industry recommends farmers to use the fracking fluid to fertilize their fields where our food is grown. In Pennsylvania, it is legal to frack but illegal to allow your cattle to drink frack fluid. Fracking is killing the farmer’s right to farm!! Not only that, fracking is killing our water and food supply on which we depend to live. They have been fracking from the west all the way to the east. That means every time we buy groceries, produce or meat, it very well could be contaminated with frack water, and/or by contaminants from all the other profit driven eco-cidal industries.
The economic gain is a joke. It is getting harder and almost impossible to get a new mortgage for properties with any plans to drill or with gas wells. In Pennsylvania, many property owners may make money from leasing to Marcellus Shale gas drillers, and they may also find their property can’t be financed for a new mortgage. “There are a lot of properties with leases in this area . . . more and more of [the banks] are saying, ‘no, no, no.’” Pennsylvania broker Lori Rudalavage recorded. When asked to comment for the record, Wells Fargo would only say it has “no opinion at this time.” In a memo, a top executive at the Wells Fargo bank writes, it would be “very difficult to obtain financing due to the potential hazard. (of hydro-fracking)” The memo continues, “Also if the Gas Leasing is new to the area there are too many unknowns.” One of the unknowns, according to the executive, is what the lease would do to “the marketability of a property.” Your property worth nothing, health compromised, water destroyed is no economic opportunity.
When we began to talk about stopping this insanity, Josh said the best hope we had for a state moratorium and ban was Senator Thompson. In fact, Josh said that Senator Thompson was the best hope we had to stop fracking in the entire country. He is probably right. He said that other places around the country are looking to New York for a victory for the entire country. Then from there maybe we can have a campaign to stop the industry. The main reason Josh Fox stopped by Buffalo was to support Thompson in his re-election campaign. Our main action was to make phone calls about the moratorium, put “pressure” on Kirsten Gillibrand to make a study and campaign for Thompson.
Josh went on to say it was not all bleak, they had a positive occurrence. This occurrence was in Dimock, PA, where they have already had an “accident” and where the drinking water is destroyed. The Department of Environmental “Protection” is paying for (out of taxpayer money) a 12 million dollar water pipeline to provide water to the struggling residents there. Cabot Oil and Gas continues to reject any responsibility for the disaster and use armed guards for their workers. Events since then have changed that outcome which I will cover later in this essay.
At one point some one from the crowd put forth other possibilities for action besides relying on the government. Josh said that civil disobedience was the most powerful weapon that exists. It is what kicked the British out of India, he said.
This entire strategy is beyond logic. Josh Fox is great and continually puts out positive work, but we need a realistic strategy if we truly want to protect our water. There is a clear and outlined connection between industry and government that I will outline with examples in this long ass essay. It is clear that the same people who run industry work together with government to pass regulations. Then why would you, knowing this information, beg this same system to make the changes to the order it has established. You wouldn’t negotiate with a robber, or a rapist. I hope you would, by any means, protect your life and property. These industrial/governmental abuses are not new. Industry and government work together for “progress” and profit, completely disregarding all life. They have been socking it to the have nots since history was recorded.
In the same way the fracking industry knows the death and destruction it causes, so does the asbestos industry. Asbestos companies Eagle Pitcher, Johns-Mansville (JM), Unarco, WR Grace and Owens Corning all hid the harms of asbestos the same way the gas industry is doing with their processes today. In 1932, a letter from the U.S. Bureau of Mines to asbestos manufacturer Eagle-Picher stated, "It is now known that asbestos dust is one of the most dangerous dusts to which man is exposed." In 1942, an internal Owens-Corning corporate memo referred to "medical literature on asbestosis… scores of publications in which the lung and skin hazards of asbestos are discussed."
In 1933 doctors for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company told JM executives that in one of its plants, 29 percent of workers had asbestosis. Testimony given in a federal court in 1984 by Charles H. Roemer, formerly an employee of Unarco, described a meeting in the early 1940s between Unarco officials, JM President Lewis H. Brown and JM attorney Vandiver Brown. Roemer stated, "I’ll never forget, I turned to Mr. Brown, when one of the Browns made this crack (that Unarco managers were a bunch of fools for notifying employees who had asbestosis), and I said, ‘Mr. Brown, do you mean to tell me you would let them work until they dropped dead?’ He said, ‘Yes. We save a lot of money that way.'"
These companies' decisions to suppress information and mislead workers about the causes of their illnesses, was a cold-blooded commitment to their own profits over the health of their workers. You cannot trust experts and so called science backing hydro-fracking or any industrial process because they are often funded by big business that stands to profit. The industry with the help of government agencies often put forward bought and sold science, while discrediting and withholding real studies. Profit is the only thing they care for, your health is not even considered. Hundreds of thousands have been murdered by companies through asbestos alone. To further the point, the next article will show how the asbestos industry manipulated and hid findings to continue to profit.
“One doctor involved in the Metropolitan Life-Johns-Manville study wrote a scientific paper about the findings and the dangers of asbestos. Managers at Johns-Manville and Raybestos-Manhattan insisted on the right of review before publication, and Metropolitan Life consented. Manville's editing minimized all references to the health hazards of asbestos dust. In 1936 these same corporate officers directed the editor of Asbestos, a trade publication, that they were not to publish any reference to asbestosis.
A consortium of asbestos companies decided to fund research at the Saranac Laboratories, a major researcher in lung disease, on the health hazards of asbestos. Contrary to accepted standards of scientific practice, their support carried the requirement that all research findings would be the property of the companies, who would have the sole power to decide what information could be published. Saranac Laboratories agreed to this condition.
Over the next 30 years researchers at Saranac conducted more than 1300 experimental studies of asbestos, and published a number of papers. Every paper was submitted for review to the asbestos companies before publication, and every mention of asbestos as a cancer-causing agent was deleted. By the 1980's, when plaintiffs were routinely prevailing in asbestos cases, a search of the records at Saranac revealed that all 1300 asbestos studies had either been discarded or had simply disappeared.”
This is not the only way they manipulated the public’s knowledge of the truth. They misled the nation for decades with providing microscopes not powerful enough to register asbestos fibers. This flawed research allowed asbestos companies to get away with murder “legitimately”. The same way the “experts” and the science around the fracking debate is allowing water to be contaminated with life threatening chemicals. This next text is from the Safety and Health Training Center (which trains workers to remove asbestos) on the specific way asbestos companies have loop holes to navigate around regulation.
“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned asbestos use in 1973. However the only products that were banned from manufacturing, use or importation were Sprayed-on Fireproofing, Pre-fabricated Pipe Insulation and certain types of Felts.
The EPA ban of 1989, to eliminate approximately 1,500 asbestos products was overturned and never implemented. A labeling requirement was instituted requiring all ACM’s to be labeled with asbestos content.
Currently in the U.S., it is estimated that over 1,800 ACM (asbestos containing materials) are manufactured, used or imported.
ACM is defined by the EPA as materials that contain more than 1% asbestos by Polarized Light Microscope (PLM).
Polarized Light Microscopy is an analytical technique that identifies larger asbestos fibers or bundled (multiple) fibers in a bulk sample. The magnification factor of a PLM is 400 times. This magnification factor is not capable of identifying smaller asbestos fibers or non-bundled asbestos fibers. The analytical technique that does identify all types of asbestos is known as Transmission Electron Microscopy or TEM. The TEM analysis is capable of a magnification factor of 25,000X, which allows this method to identify asbestos specifically.
Additionally, the current regulated analysis for asbestos air samples is known as Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM). PCM is similar to PLM in that it has a magnification factor of 400 times and is not specific for asbestos fiber. In fact, in many instances, PCM cannot identify the smaller or non-bundled asbestos fiber. The only analytical technique that is specific for asbestos fiber is TEM.
At this time in the U.S., TEM analysis is only required for asbestos work done in schools (K-12th grade, public and private). All other asbestos work done in the U.S. requires air samples to be analyzed by PCM.”
The corporation, WR Grace, salted the roads and built base ball diamonds in their mining towns with Asbestos. WR Grace did not close the Libby, MT mine until 1990! The workers coming from the factories were called snow women & men, because they were covered in the dust. Libby, Montana was one of the worst mining towns hit by this health epidemic. When the EPA in 1999 first went to test Libby for asbestos levels they were using the PCM microscopes that aren’t powerful enough to register asbestos. In the beginning they found minimal asbestos in the air in a community that salted the roads with asbestos. When they did begin to use higher powered TEM microscopes the levels were so high they classified Libby as extremely contaminated “superfund site”.
It would be bad enough if the astronomical fatality rates of asbestos-related cancers had been localized in Libby. Unfortunately, Grace had sent billions of pounds of its tainted ore to more than 750 processing plants and 45–73 expansion facilities throughout North America. Attic insulation, concrete, wallboard, roofing, crayons, and potting soil, as well as tremolite-contaminated talc, taconite ore, and Sierra foothill soil, contain contaminated vermiculite or other “naturally occurring asbestos.” It's estimated that between 15 - 35 million homes remain insulated with the product that the company always contended wasn't hazardous. Minneapolis alone received more than 192 million pounds of the poison over the years from Libby. Grace was just one of the many asbestos companies involved in this epidemic. In the same way, with fracking you have many companies causing harm: Halliburton, National Fuel, Cabot Oil and Gas, Seneca Resources, Range Resources, Mesa Energy, US Energy and BJ services to name a few.
In 2001, after it is clear that companies had knowingly exposed communities to the harmful effects of asbestos – killing many, how does the government protect us? The courts and the law allowed WR Grace to declare bankruptcy and be cleared of responsibility of its past murder; it continues to profit under the name Grace inc. Go to Home Depot now, and your will see that asbestos is still in hundreds of products. Currently in the U.S., it is estimated that over 1,800 ACM (asbestos containing materials) are manufactured, used or imported. The government has not banned it. This is just one of many examples where the government, along with industry, commits murder.
These asbestos companies like Grace Corporation are the villain here, but it could be Halliburton, it could be Enron, it could be -- well – most any large corporation. Many Americans died in 9/11 and the government responded with horror, anger and action, but every day the government is letting large corporations get away with murder. Hundreds of thousands of more US citizens have died from asbestos diseases than they have in terrorist attacks, but the politicians are buddy-buddy with the captains of industry. Why don’t we put WR Grace, National Fuel or Halliburton on terrorist lists?
In the asbestos case every one breathes the air, mine workers and school children alike. When the air was contaminated all kinds of people across the world where asbestos is found die of related diseases. In fracking everyone drinks the water. Everyone is affected whether they choose to or not. City folk, Country folk, Republican, Democrat, White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Christian, Muslim, all drink and depend on water for survival. For example millions of gallons of fracking waste water, which cannot be adequately treated by the facilities available in PA, were then discharged into the municipal water supply of Pittsburg, PA. Pittsburg residents were told to drink bottled water for 6 months because of the toxicity of their water. Pittsburg residents had no choice in the matter and did not gain, but lost money.
"In just the Monongahela River's watershed,(the water shed that feeds Pittsburg, PA) between 612,000 and 2 million gallons per day of waste fracking fluid is discharged by 13 public and commercial water treatment facilities after limited treatment. At the lower treatment amount, Dr. Volz said, the water daily discharges contain 824,825 pounds of total dissolved solids, 15,000 pounds of barium, 16,737 pounds of strontium and 486,812 pounds of chloride." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette August 28, 2010
These companies are poisoning the very essential necessities of life we depend on to survive. Can we depend now on the DEC and the government to regulate fracking?
Not only does the government support industry at the cost of average people’s health in the situations of fracking and asbestos, but it also puts US soldiers, supposedly our heroes, in harms way through their use of Depleted Uranium (DU). DU is a radioactive and chemically toxic heavy metal. DU is a byproduct left when enriched uranium is separated out for use in nuclear power and atomic weapons. Exposure to depleted uranium has been shown in research to cause the following health problems: cancer, leukemia, birth deformities, lung damage, and kidney failure to list a few. DU is used to produce weapons such as bullets, bombs, artillery, and armor. After a war is over DU is scattered across whole countries. Around the countryside or in the middle of a populated city, DU continuously emits carcinogens. DU is known as the weapon that keeps on killing.
The same way as with Asbestos and fracking, with DU, the industry and government say that there is nothing to worry about, deny health effects and produce untrue “science”. The actual acute and chronic toxicity of DU is also a point of medical controversy. The industry and government who want to continue using DU for profit and exploitation say it is fine, and the people dying from its health effects disagree. Multiple studies using cultured cells and laboratory rodents suggest the possibility of leukemogenic, genetic, reproductive, and neurological effects from chronic exposure. A 2005 epidemiology review concluded: "In aggregate the human epidemiological evidence is consistent with increased risk of birth defects in offspring of persons exposed to DU."
One veteran, Gerard Matthew, says not only is he sick, but contends his little girl's birth deformities are related to his exposure to depleted uranium. The deformity, Matthew said, is similar to many being reported within the Iraqi population since the first Gulf War. Dustin Brim, a 22-year-old Army specialist had collapsed three years ago in Iraq from a very aggressive cancer that attacked his kidney, caused a mass to grow over his esophagus and collapsed a lung. Dustin’s death was not an isolated case. There are hundreds of other sick soldiers that legislators, research scientists and environmental activists say were made sick from exposure to depleted uranium. The debate over depleted uranium has been compared to the controversy surrounding Agent Orange, the known toxic herbicide used to defoliate the jungles of Vietnam. Speculation over its effects continued for more than two decades before the Defense Department agreed to compensate veterans who suffered from ailments linked to its use. No compensation was even thought of for the countless innocent victims in Vietnam.
The US government, along with industry, has been using depleted uranium in bombs, armor and bullets. Birth deformities and cancer cases in Iraq have skyrocketed since the invading US army used depleted uranium all over that country. The rates of leukemia and other cancers shot up in Kosovo after depleted uranium was used there in the late 90s by the UN insurgency. The effects are the same for the returning troops. This shows that while the stated targets for US operations are the Iraqi insurgents, the government and industry will just as soon harm American soldiers if it also turns a profit. Any war from this system of government and industry is the same. They use you and me for cannon fodder to gain more land, resources and profit. The rich elite class creates a war for a profit. Working people fight it for them. Rich elite scumbags profit from war and working people die.
The people on top have everything but your best interest driving their actions. Henry Kissenger, Nixon’s National Security Advisor, hammers this point home when he refers to soldiers as "Just Dumb, Stupid Animals to be used as pawns of foreign policy" (quoted in Kiss the Boys Goodbye: How the United States Betrayed Its Own POW’s in Vietnam, 1990, by Monika Jensen-Stevenson and William Stevenson). Americans are used as pawns to murder, and to exploit foreign countries for the rich elite who don’t care for them one bit. When Americans have wanted change from their designated role, the troops turn their guns on citizens, as in: Kent state, Jackson State University, Watts California, 1877 railroad strikes and countless other times. Fight the rich not their wars.
Fracking is along the same lines as all these other environmental and health disasters. The paid “experts and scientists” either find inconclusive evidence or straight out lie. What does a returning veteran have to gain by faking getting cancer? What farmer has time to waste to complain about water that is wrecked when it is really fine? What does the factory worker stand to gain by getting asbestosis? The industry is the one who has much to gain by lying about their findings. It is the industry who has much to gain by downplaying the effects of these hazards. It is the industry who has the time and resources to pay off and hire “experts” to lead you and me into believing hogwash. That is why I trust a farmer, a worker, a soldier, a mother, a regular person any day of the week, rather than these rich liars. You have to check your sources. You hardly will see the truth on the news because again the same industry and government elite own the media. The profit made by these businessmen and government officials you can see in all these examples: asbestos is still legal; depleted uranium is still being used to kill; and nothing so far has stopped fracking. These industries and governments won’t admit or stop these atrocities until you and I do something.
You can not trust the government or industry or the experts they employ. The government and industry are completely united in profiting off the land at our expense. Here is written testimony of Weston Wilson, EPA employee who blew the whistle on the oil + gas industry and connection to the government and Environmental Protection Agency-
“Recent events at EPA have caused me and several of my peers at EPA great concern. In June of this year, EPA produced a final report pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act that I believe is scientifically unsound and contrary to the purposes of the law. In this report, EPA was to have studied the environmental effects that might result from the injection of toxic fluids used to hydraulically fracture coal beds to produce natural gas. In Colorado, coal beds that produce natural gas occur within aquifers that are used for drinking water supplies. While EPA's report concludes this practice poses little or no threat to underground sources of drinking water, based on the available science and literature, EPA's conclusions are unsupportable. EPA has conducted limited research reaching the unsupported conclusion that this industry practice needs no further study at this time. EPA decisions were supported by a Peer Review Panel; however five of the seven members of this panel appear to have conflicts-of-interest and may benefit from EPA's decision not to conduct further investigation or impose regulatory conditions.
As these matters are complex, I enclose a technical analysis to further inform you and other members of Congress. I invoke the protections under the First Amendment of the Constitution and the Whistleblowers Protection Act should EPA retaliate against me as a result of speaking with you or other members of Congress or speaking to the press or the public regarding this matter. I am a resident of Denver in the first Congressional District of Colorado and I am employed by the Environmental Protection Agency in Denver. I have been employed by the EPA's Regional Office in Denver, since 1974.”
The very companies who stand to profit billions off this murderous process also are appointed to oversee the regulation of it. The five members of the peer review panel that had conflicts of interest all were either formerly or currently employed by the oil and gas industry. This is no coincidence. It is all a deliberate scheme that has been going on since the beginning of this profit driven, elite-run system.
The above are only a handful of countless examples of how places and communities have been "sacrificed" for the American way of life. Another is the most polluted site under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Superfund program. This designation came in 1983 after almost a century of mining and environmental devastation. This is at Tar Creek, Oklahoma. Toxic contamination from lead and zinc mines at Tar Creek has had significant impact on seven Indian tribes and three states. Acid mine drainage and wind-blown dust have poisoned many of the tribes’ sacred and ceremonial sites. The dust blows off the mine tailing piles, which stand like gray mountains hundreds of feet high above the flat plains. The underground mine system reaches into the aquifer, leaching heavy metals, and depositing them to the surface water of Tar Creek. This sacrifice has been recognized by the US government in a National Academy of Sciences study, which concluded that some areas of the country could be used for national priorities irrespective of the resulting permanent environmental damage. Such places are designated "National Sacrifice Areas." Many of these areas are on Native land and are open to resource extraction and defense activities. The Four Corners area of the Navajo Nation and the Black Hills of South Dakota, sacred to the Lakota Nations, has been officially designated as a "national sacrifice area." Seventy-five percent of the US national uranium reserve is on Indian land under the control of the major oil companies. In fact, most of the armaments and munitions that supplied American forces in both World Wars and Korea were made of the lead and zinc from the Tar Creek mine fields.
We have seen this many times before as in, Agent Orange in Vietnam, the tobacco industry, the West Valley nuclear waste site, Three Mile Island, Exxon Valdez, Love Canal, mountain top removal, Gulf coast oil spill, DDT, clear cutting and the list is endless. This is what imperialism looks like. This is what our country is founded on, and continues to perpetrate daily. In the following Malcolm X quote, he discusses the Klan, but it could apply to any of the above situations.
“And you sit there when they're putting the rope around your neck saying, ‘Forgive them, Lord, they know not what they do.’ As long as they've been doing it, they're experts at it, they know what they're doing. No, since the federal government has shown that it isn't going to do anything about it but talk, then it is a duty, it's your and my duty as men, as human beings, it is our duty to our people, to organize ourselves and let the government know that if they don't stop that Klan, we'll stop it ourselves. Then you'll see the government start doing something about it. But don't ever think that they're going to do it just on some kind of morality basis. No. So I don't believe in violence-- that's why I want to stop it. And you can't stop it with love, not love of those things down there. No! So, we only mean vigorous action in self-defense, and that vigorous action we feel we're justified in initiating by any means necessary.”
Insert Cabot Oil and Gas, National Fuel, US Energy or Halliburton for the KKK and the speech can apply today. These companies and governments are at war with us and the land. There is no other way to put it. Who knowingly destroys our source of survival? Who salts the roads children walk to school on with Asbestos? Who dumps 596+ chemicals into our water for profit? Who knowingly kills entire countries full of people? Who denies healthcare but builds bombs? Who sends a greater percentage of black males to prison than South Africa during the worst years of apartheid? Who uses drones to bombs civilian populations? Who refuses to allow change from fossil fuel energy to a renewable energy for profit? Who wants to break more treaties and steal more resources from a population who has already went through genocide and continues to? Who dropped nuclear bombs on cities full of civilians? Who coined the term collateral damage? Who declares land “national sacrifice areas” after being decimated from mining?
This way of a small group on top wreaking havoc on the rest of us and the planet has been going on since the beginning. And because of the way the system works the lowest on the social order are targeted first and worst. Genocide and exploitation begin first in communities where non-whites and the poorest live. These are the communities most vulnerable to exploitation. The exploitation does not end there with the most oppressed. It just uses the classes in the divided, stratified above sections to aid in that process until it is complete. Then when the predator is done feeding, it is time for the class up the next rung of the ladder. The system never favored the “middle class” or “working class”. It just gives it exactly the smallest amount of crumbs and whatever distraction (entertainment) to keep the “silent majority” silent.
There is historical precedence to industry/government destroying our world and people for profit. The fracking industry is no exception. It is operating in line with business as usual for government/industry. To get an accurate start, let’s take Columbus. When looking for India, he accidentally crashed into America. To get a sense of Columbus’s intentions and what kind of man he was, here it is in his own words. Columbus talks about his first encounter with the people of this hemisphere:
“They (Arawak) . . . brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks bells. They willingly traded everything they owned. . .they were well built with good bodies and handsome features . . . they do not bear arms, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. . . they would make fine servants . . . with fiftey men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”
Later the pirate Columbus said this about the resources that they would soon steal.
“Hispaniola is a miracle. Mountains and hills, plains and Pastures, are both fertile and beautiful . . . the harbors are unbelievably good and there are many wide rivers of which the majority contain gold . . . there are many spices, and great mines of gold and other metals.”
In return for the natives’ hospitality, he offered the Spanish royal family “as much gold as they need . . . and as many slaves as they ask.” He all the time using Christianity and god to justify his actions: “Thus the eternal god, our Lord, gives victory to those who follow His way over apparent impossibilities.”
The way that Columbus looked at America, its people and resources, is the same as how CEOs and company bosses look at our communities now. Industry, with the support of the government, profits off the land by any means necessary. It was like that with Columbus and Spain, as well as in the following historical example. In 1793, Lord Jeffrey Amherst used biological warfare against the Pontiac tribe. Lord Amherst gave smallpox infected blankets to the Pontiac tribe for expansion of the British Empire. In Amherst’s own words, He said, "to try every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race." Native North Americans were devastated by actions like Columbus and Amherst. Since the arrival of westerners, 98% of the native population was destroyed and their land base was decimated to just over 2 % of what it was originally. There is no other way to describe that process other than genocide to steal their land and resources. Millions were slaughtered and a whole continent stolen for “progress” and profit.
The worst is that the European colonialists would splinter tribes, and have them fight against each other, the classic divide and conquer method. If the people would have united, like leader Tecumseh fought for, this could never have happened. Tecumseh (March 1768 – October 5, 1813) was a Native American leader who attempted to unite a confederation of tribes that opposed the United States during Tecumseh's War and the War of 1812. Unity is the only way people with less money, less technology and fewer resources can overcome a wealthier enemy.
Men like Columbus have statues and holidays. Men like Lord Amherst have streets, towns, and parks named after him. These men are not heroes worthy of such treatment. There is a reason why our society still celebrates the murdering, manipulation and theft of these men. It is only because the same system of exploitation still operates in the same manner as it did hundreds of years ago. These men did not act in self defense. They weren’t protecting their home land. They went to someone else’s land to steal resources and killed all that got in their way. They were clear outspoken advocates of murder for profit. The system does not care about life. The real reason these men killed Native Americans wasn’t because they were savages. They wanted their resources. Columbus states his real motives straight out to the ruling elite of his day. Now it is us who sit on top of land the ruling elite wants to exploit again. Now who is in the way of this “progress”? Who will suffer when the water is destroyed? Do you think the system of exploitation somehow thinks you’re special?
After the land was stolen and the Natives almost wiped out, the ruling elite needed cheap labor. They tried varied different methods and different peoples, resulting in brutal chattel slavery of Africans. First the ruling elite tried very hard to use Natives as slaves, but it didn’t work. The natives knew the land, had established societies here so it was impossible to enslave them. At the time, they were still using forced and indentured labor of both Europeans and Africans. For a short while, in the1600’s it was easy and profitable to have blacks and whites work together under similar conditions. In Ted Allen’s article, White Supremacy in the U.S.; Slavery and the origins of racism shows this very clearly:
“Up to the 1680’s little distinction was made in the status of Blacks and English and other Europeans held in involuntary servitude. Contrary to common belief the status of Blacks in the first seventy years of Virginia colony was not that of racial, lifelong, hereditary slavery, and the majority of the whites who came were not free… Blacks and white servants intermarried, escaped together and rebelled together.”
If it would have been easier to use Europeans as slaves, they would have. It was cheaper and more profitable to steal and enslave Africans. Europeans blended in, knew the language and culture in the Colonies. While the Africans were displaced, not even knowing the language or terrain. In this next segment freedom fighter David Gilbert explains how the races were divided to gain control of labor and quell unified rebellions.
“This (racist slave) system was consciously constructed by the colonial (‘plantation Bourgeoisie’) ruling class. . . but why was it (chattel slavery) not imposed on the white servants as well as on the blacks. To analyze this development we need to understand that any method of exploiting labor requires a system of control. There were a series of servile rebellions that threatened the plantation system in the period preceding the transition to racially designated chattel slavery and white supremacy… numerous examples. Black and Irish servants joined in an insurrection plot in Bermuda… the purpose of creating a basic White/Black division was in order to have one section of labor police and control the other. As Allen says, ‘the non-slavery of white labor was the indispensable condition for the slavery of black labor.’”
They do whatever is most profitable and easy. The ruling elite were terrified of unified rebellion to overthrow the existing order they set up. The elite enacted laws to prevent blacks and whites to unify, by outlawing intermarriage and enforcing much harsher punishment for escaping and rebelling if blacks and whites were working together. At the same time they enacted racist laws taking away all rights of Blacks and setting up the “legality” of chattel slavery. They gave Europeans better social, economic status and used them as overseers on the plantations, police force, military force and labor in factories. Poor whites didn’t resist the temptation of superior status to rebel to create better world for all. Instead the vast majority of whites sided with their enemy, the ruling elite, with few exceptions. The majority of whites went along and participated in the enslavement, oppression and genocide of Africans and Native Americans. Again the elite could not have controlled the masses united, but through divide and conquer were able to profit and destroy life. It was not that the elite favored the white Europeans; they needed them as tools in their profit/power game.
During the slave trade and indentured servitude millions lost lives through harsh conditions merely for cheap labor and economic gain. They stole humans from one part of the world, and shipped them like cargo across the sea. Again to get the slaves they would pit tribes against each other. They had African people fighting other African people to make them slaves. They were not strong enough to go inside to steal Africans themselves. If there had been unity, the slave traders couldn’t have succeeded. As with the Natives and others, they used divide and conquer.
Anything less than complete revolution where all life is prioritized regardless of race, class, gender, species is not enough. We share this earth. An injury to one is an injury to all. Our survival and the outcome of our struggles are intertwined and indistinguishable. If this system is not stopped, it will destroy the intricate web of life that keeps our world alive. This intricate web of life is interconnected. We rely on the trees to provide us oxygen and the trees rely on us for carbon dioxide. If you look at how people are treated at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, in Iraq or Palestine, and inside US Jails, and think you aren’t linked with these, you are wrong. Look at all the fracked land, “national sacrifice land”, love canal, oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The list goes on. If you think that there will never be a time when it is your turn, you’re wrong. If you live in a house with a sadistic killer he may not come for you first but if you don’t deal with him, he has plans for you. We are “the people”. The humans all across this planet are our family. This entire planet is our home. Last time I checked, Iraq and Afghanistan were not profiting off the destruction of our water supply. Actually, last time I checked the exact same companies and rich men were profiting off both the destruction of the water in the US and the oil in the Middle East. One extreme example is Halliburton, who is making profit hand over fist from both the destruction of your water and murder of millions in the Middle East. You are tied to this Earth and all other life, whether you recognize it or not. What happens in Iraq, the South towns, the east side of Buffalo, Australia all affect you. An injury to one is an injury to all. If we as a movement, a people, a planet, don’t have success, our personal lives will be destroyed.
The RNC 8, was group of 8 people who were charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism, only for using their 1st amendment “right” to organize a protest. Through their court case a tension rose from those who wanted to fight against the state and allow no compromise, and those who just wanted to get back to business as usual. The RNC 8 said it best in their closing trial statement “Some may see this as a tension between the personal and political–that is, what is best for the movement might not be best for their life journeys. Others see themselves so tied to the revolutionary movement that the two are indistinguishable”. Many believe by putting their head in the sand, they will be spared. Your silence will not protect you. Pastor Martin Niemöller during WWII Nazi Germany came to the same realization
“They came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
First they came for the native people of this land . . . then they came for the
African Slaves . . . then they destroyed the water in the West . . . then the South . . . then the air . . . then the forest. . . then the oceans. . . If we don’t stop this system, there will be no world left.
Dimock residents whose water wells have been destroyed are to be connected to the municipal water system of Montrose, a town about six miles away. Construction is expected to start within a few months and take another 18 months. A strong example of the relationship of different methods and strategy to deal with fracking right now is in Dimock, PA. "We have had people here in Pennsylvania ... without safe drinking water for close to two years. That is totally, totally unacceptable. It is reprehensible," Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection John Hanger, told a news conference packed with residents and media. "We're going to take decisive action now because we cannot possibly wait any longer."
Tensions between Cabot and Dimock residents appeared to be escalating. Cabot hired armed guards to accompany employees onto residential properties after a resident was charged with disorderly conduct earlier in the fall of 2010 for an incident with a gun. Details were not immediately available. Secretary of the DEP Hanger pleaded for calm. "Put the guns away. Everybody has to do this through the law. Cabot has to follow the law. You have to follow the law," he told residents. "I understand the concern about guns. Emotions have been high. This has to be done in a peaceful, respectful manner."
This pipe line is no victory; their water is destroyed for all our lifetimes. Their houses are worth nothing.
Directly after residents began to bear arms, the state was forced to decide to take action. That is the power of using direct action. You best believe that if no gun was brought out, there would have been no pipeline. No phone call, picture of burning water, proof of death from fracking contamination would have slowed the company down. So after the residents’ water was destroyed for their entire lifetime and their children’s … They have to be respectful and peaceful and follow the same laws made by these bastards? What is peaceful and lawful about the situation? What is “peaceful and respectful” about Cabot oil and gas? Is it how they profited from the destruction of these residents’ land, or how they hire armed guards for their employees? The residents who drew arms were not acting violent. They were acting in self defense of their life, and land. Cabot Oil and Gas are not being charged with disorderly conduct for all the harm they are causing. Breaking the law is what was needed to be done. If the law isn’t protecting us, we must organize to protect ourselves.
This essay took me so long to finish, the outcome of this story has already changed. The some what small victory has now turned into another event in a long list of losing events. The DEP are stopping plans to provide clean water to Dimock residents. The 11.8 million dollar proposal for a pipeline from Lake Montrose to Dimock, are cancelled. Instead Cabot Oil and Gas is wiggling out of responsibility by paying out 4.1 million dollars split evenly by 19 families. That is only 215,789.00 dollars per family before taxes. This is drops in the bucket from the profit these rich companies make off our water. The residents will be lucky if that pays for medical bills and bottled water for a few years. The pipeline also pitted neighbor against neighbor in the normally quiet towns of Dimock and Montrose. Some residents were vigorously defending their right to clean water and others blasting the use of public money to fund the project. The DEP and Industry used the divide and conquer method to achieve its goals once again.
Many of the actual families with the contaminated water were not part of the decision making process at all. The families were under the impression they were to be connected to clean water, as one resident said “at least it (clean water) would have made our home whole again." Another resident, Jean Carter, had this to say about the undemocratic and under handed deal with industry and government-
" We had no idea what was coming … I thought for sure we were going to get the water pipeline," Carter said. "That's what we were led to believe and that's what we were hoping for, and when we heard about the conference call we thought it was news about that. It was, but it wasn't the kind of news we wanted to hear."
The only reason John Hanger (DEP Secretary) came out earlier and said that it was “unacceptable” and “reprehensible” that Dimock Residents did not have clean, safe drinking water for 2 years was to stop residents from organizing. The residents had drew arms, and made an up roar. The government came in, made promises to fix the problem, quelled the people, and then under handedly completely negated everything it said. The government and industry together pitted the neighbors against each other so there was no unity. They did not fix any problem that they in first place created. Now the residents and the next generations of kids have to live with cancer causing water. This is how they always do it. Ask a Native American about the hundreds of broken treaties. But you better believe if the Dimock residents organize again and use some strong action they can bring about the change they seek.
The residents of Dimock who drew arms, fought back the same way people who face oppression around the world fight back. The media portrays the freedom fighters as Terrorists. They call the Earth Liberation Front eco-terrorists for taking a real stand against corporations to defend life. "The earth is not dying, it is being killed. And those who are killing it have names and addresses." Utah Phillips. The real Eco-Terrorist is any one of these multi-national conglomerate corporations. We need not do the rich’s work for them and fight amongst each other, working class versus working class.
We need to unite and support the Dimock Residents when they fight back, when the Iraqis fight back, when the IRA fights back, when the Six Nations fight back, when the Palestinians fight back, when the Black Liberation Army fights back, when the Earth Liberation Front fights back, if we want our struggles to succeed. All these groups have taken stands against the oppressive power structure that threatens their life and land. This is nothing new. Take this next excerpt from a Malcolm X speech and see how the system’s Media and mind control are using the same methods today to quell rebellion for real change as they have always done.
“Now, for saying something like that, the press calls us racist and people who are "violent in reverse." This is how they psycho you. They make you think that if you try to stop the Klan from lynching you, you're practicing violence in reverse. Pick up on this, I hear a lot of you parrot what the man says. You say, "I don't want to be a Ku Klux Klan in reverse." Well, if a criminal comes around your house with his gun, brother, just because he's got a gun and he's robbing your house, and he's a robber, it doesn't make you a robber because you grab your gun and run him out. No, the man is using some tricky logic on you. I say it is time for black people to put together the type of action, the unity, that is necessary to pull the sheet off of them so they won't be frightening black people any longer. That's all. And when we say this, the press calls us "racist in reverse." "Don't struggle except within the ground rules that the people you're struggling against have laid down." Why, this is insane, but it shows how they can do it. With skillful manipulating of the press they're able to make the victim look like the criminal and the criminal look like the victim. When you start thinking for yourselves, you frighten them, and they try and block your getting to the public, for the fear that if the public listens to you then the public won't listen to them anymore. And they've got certain Negroes whom they have to keep blowing up in the papers to make them look like leaders. So that the people will keep on following them, no matter how many knocks they get on their heads following them. This is how the man does it, and if you don' t wake up and find out how he does it, I tell you, they'll be building gas chambers and gas ovens pretty soon“
What Malcolm is saying about the criminal looking like the victim and the victim looking like the criminal applies in lots of media portrayals- such as the Dimock residents being portrayed as violent or those like the ELF trying to stop environmental destruction as being terrorists. Cabot Oil and Gas are eco-terrorists and are being violent, not the Dimock residents.
No one is protected from the system of exploitation. That lesson is now being learned by people who thought being American, white and owning land exempted them from exploitation. Dimock Resident Julie Saunter, was quoted “They deliver us water every day. Its invasive, its intrusive we shouldn’t have to live like this. We are Americans.” They know you are American. They don’t care about you one bit. Yes they will use you to exploit the rest of the world for profit as soldiers and consumers. And when your time’s up they will come for your land next. You’re next. You really think that if you throw a blind eye to the oppression of “lower” classes then they won’t ever come for you with the same treatment? It is like laughing with a nasty friend at some one else. Then when that nasty friend turns to make you a fool, it is not so funny.
This is why “not in my backyard” politics is unacceptable. If fracking is not ok here, it is not ok anywhere. Many people just want to live life to the fullest, just to enjoy themselves. Fine but you can’t enjoy yourself in war or without water. If natural gas is not the answer, then we can figure something else out to keep ourselves warm. Other methods already exist to heat homes like geothermal, passive solar, solar electric and others. These methods will never be successful if the same economic structure continues to dominate. I am not ok just stopping fracking in NY State. What about all the other states where the system already has destroyed the watershed? That watershed does not just come back. After they clear cut a forest the wild life just doesn’t reappear. The Gulf of Mexico is not going to just bounce back. Life is fragile; it’s not a machine. United States’ President Obama just went to India in November 2010 to promote the hydro-fracking technique. What about this insane bunch of men who run this world then going into Canada, Africa, and Europe and wherever else people allow them to frack?
What about freedom fighters being killed in prison? What about depleted uranium and genocide being committed in the Middle East? We have to realize that this system has one mode of operation it is profit/power by any means necessary. We have to address the beast as such.
One of my main points is that single issue resistance against this system is not only ineffective but is helping the status quo. The system is all interconnected, just different branches of the same tree. And thinking inside boxes of countries, races, states, cities, political parties, is old and proven divisive. We need a revolution of the complete world. I don’t want the US to be free and not Indonesia. I want the Human family to be free. Nor do I want another sick profit driven country to try to take us over after we establish positive change. I want Real systematic change that can sustain and protect itself. We need a world where you and I have the power; a world that we don’t have to petition a government that in its very creation was committing genocide, enslaving, and oppressing upon many races. “Kill capitalism before it kills you”
When people try to defend themselves against this genocide, ecological suicide, injustice they label you a terrorist. COINTELPRO’s meaning and continuing impact are absolutely central to understanding the government’s wars and repression against progressive movements. COINTELPRO is an acronym for a series of FBI counterintelligence programs designed to neutralize political dissidents. Although covert operations have been employed throughout FBI history, the formal COINTELPRO's of 1956-1971 were broadly targeting radical political organizations. In the early 1950s, the Communist Party was illegal in the United States. The Senate and House of Representatives each set up investigating committees to prosecute communists and publicly expose them. (The House Committee on Un-American Activities and the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, led by Senator Joseph McCarthy). When a series of Supreme Court rulings in 1956 and 1957 challenged these committees and questioned the constitutionality of Smith Act prosecutions and Subversive Activities Control Board hearings, the FBI's response was COINTELPRO. COINTELPRO was a program designed to secretly "neutralize" those who could no longer be prosecuted publicly. Over the years, similar programs were created to neutralize civil rights, anti-war, environmental and many other groups, many of which were said to be communist front organizations. “ More than 40 Black Panthers (members) were murdered as a result of police and FBI action . . . in the same period there were over 1000 arrests made on trumped up charges”-David Gilbert. Former Black Panther Party members to this day are being held inside prison for over 35 years for fighting for the people and against racism.
We are powerful beyond measure. We are exceptionally powerful when organized, educated, united and active. This is why the FBI, Police and Government spend so much time and money to oppress opposition. That is why when we awaken and become educated to our full potential we will gain the change we seek.
The Patriot-News reported that Pennsylvania’s Office of Homeland Security had been tracking groups engaged in lawful, peaceful protests, including groups opposed to natural gas drilling, peace activists and gay rights groups. Governor Ed Rendell, who said that he had been unaware of the program until he read the newspaper, issued an immediate order to halt the activities. It turns out the homeland security office or its private consultants were doing more than just monitoring law-abiding citizens. They were comparing environmental activists to Al Qaeda. They were tracking down protesters and grilling their parents. They were creating a network of citizen spies to provide information on activists to the natural gas drillers. This is what “your” government does with your money to “protect liberty and ensure safety”. Your government is not here to protect you and me from being killed by the fracking industry. They are only concerned with the threat of the legal political activity we engage to protect ourselves. Homeland security was also feeding their suspicions about PA activists to dozens of private businesses. They labeled people who went to “Gasland” screenings as terrorists. This is the way the system works. It ravages the land destroying anything for wealth, power and control. It feeds and profits off the land, the water, the air, our labor, our spirit, our minds, and our life. It speaks a language so clear it hurts. Everyday it speaks this language to us. It speaks it in Iraq and Afghanistan, the prisons system, Cancer, cameras everywhere to watch us, service cuts, no health care, death penalty, fracking and the list goes on. That is the best hope we can have in this system, more warfare, more cancer, more control, more drugs, more national sacrifice areas. The only hope is for humanity to unite for world wide revolution which has its priorities in life and decentralization of power. That is hope. Obama, Bush, some new law they won’t enforce, some kinder gentler machine gun or car is not hope. A world where people are truly empowered to take control of their lives and communities together is. “I am not a liberator. Liberators do not exist. People liberate themselves,” Che Guevera. If we had control you better believe none of this horse shit would be going on.
I understand this essay is long, repetitive and lots of it you may already know. History itself is too damn repetitive. The Powers on top divide, conquer, kill, invade, and pillage day in and day out in the same way for centuries upon centuries. And no matter whether it’s from foreign wars, environmental destruction, lack of health care, racism, or much more, it is all from the same group. This is why I write this: to try, along with many from the past and present, to bring the stop to history repeating itself. Let’s unite and take our world back and not have this horrible broken record continue any longer.
We need to empower ourselves to Liberate ourselves and our earth. Supporting and allowing for life to continue and flourish. This system is not broken. This system is working perfectly for those it was set up to serve. This system serves the rich elite. This system does not need to be reformed, it needs to be destroyed. I write this to try to show working through and inside the system for change is like a mouse running to a cat for help. When we decide to act, are we to use only the methods and avenues of making change provided to us by the very system of exploitation we seek to change? When we take our energy, our time, and our organizing efforts to beg the system of exploitation to change, it is insanity. It feeds our enemy. Petitioning legislators to make more laws they won’t enforce won’t work. It will be a fierce struggle with those in power. Those in power clearly know what they are doing and they are real enemies.
People working to create change from inside the system will not gain the change they seek. Many have a naive belief that you can get inside the system and change it from inside. It is not the system that changes, it is you. We must identify what our system sees as a threat. Some people who seek change get funded and hold positions of power, while others are jailed, or killed. This is a serious reality. If you are serious about change you should write a letter to a political prisoner. (See the last page to contact freedom fighters). Political Prisoners are ones who our enemy has deemed as a dangerous threat. We need to learn from current freedom fighters, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We must recognize that the system creates controlled opposition to quell the masses.
Any NYS legislation short of a ban, is a stall tactic to quell our anger and organizing. The “representatives” who hold public office, while our world is raped, are educated. Why should we be doing their job, trying to inform them about issues and protecting our world? Because protecting ourselves and our world isn’t their job. It is our job to protect ourselves and their job to uphold the status quo. Representative Sam Hoyt was happy to sign the moratorium bill, but when asked about a ban of fracking, he was quoted as saying that this is a “great economic opportunity.” What opportunity? The opportunity to destroy our drinking water? Cause cancer? Kill fish? Kill cattle? Or destroy home values? Any well paid “public servant” who isn’t against fracking is a pathetic excuse for a human being.
Why not build alternatives and effective opposition instead of begging? Instead of petitioning we could be building sustainable self-reliant communities. We need to work together. If we are not united they will continue dividing and conquering us like they always have. Let’s unite and really destroy racism, sexism and classism. We have so much more in common than not. To fight against each other will act as the final nail in our coffin. Stopping Fracking won’t be enough. We need a global revolution. If one area has freedom and the rest of the world is still run by the elite, it is only a matter of time before they plot to take back any progress made.
This is a very daunting task. Where to start? I think the first step is freeing our minds ‘The most powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed’ Steve Biko one of the leaders who fought against Apartheid in S. Africa. “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”- Harriet Tubman. A woman with a shotgun a heart of gold freed countless slaves. Actual slaves would not follow Harriet to freedom because they were slaves of their own mind. We need to unshackle our minds to free our actions.
We can organize and work by growing food, tutoring children, creating sustainable communities, creating employment, feeding communities, taking direct action, educating ourselves and many more with a commitment to fundamental change and revolutionary consciousness.
There are so many more tentacles of this rich elite control system I did not get to mention. These are only a few of the countless atrocities committed by the system of exploitation we are born into. There are so many more oppressions and examples of destruction I did not get to mention. I wish to show solidarity to all those struggling to free themselves and protect the earth. Nothing here is new. It is just a new incarnation of freedom struggle passed generation to generation. If it weren’t for our elders and ancestors who struggled and fought for freedom we would have no possibility for victory. Weather underground members said that in the 60’s they use to say ‘revolution in our lifetime.’ Some learned a more sound strategy when they met some freedom fighters from Vietnam. They now say “we will fight generation to generation.”
I’ll leave off with the words of three influential freedom fighters from the 20th century. The first two assassinated in coordination by the police, FBI and Government to stifle their voices. First quote is by George Jackson who was born in 1941. When he was eighteen, Jackson was found guilty of stealing seventy dollars from a gas station and sentenced to "one year to life" in prison. Jackson spent the next ten years in Soledad Prison, seven and a half of them in solitary confinement. Instead of succumbing to the dehumanization of prison existence, he transformed himself into the leading theoretician of the prison movement, a brilliant writer and prison organizer.
“Settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already here, that people are already dying who could be saved, that generations more will live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act. Do what must be done; discover your humanity and your love in revolution. Pass on the torch. Join us; give up your life for the people.”
Fred Hampton leader of the Chicago Black Panther Party killed in coordination by the police, FBI, Government in his sleep at 21 years old.
“Black people need some peace. White people need some peace. And we are going to have to fight. We’re going to have to struggle. We’re going to have to struggle relentlessly to bring about some peace, because the people that we’re asking for peace, they are a bunch of megalomaniac warmongers, and they don’t even understand what peace means. And we’ve got to fight them. We’ve got to struggle with them to make them understand what peace means. Bobby Seale is going through all types of physical and mental torture. But that’s alright, because we said even before this happened, and we’re going to say it after this and after I’m locked up and after everybody’s locked up, that you can jail revolutionaries, but you can’t jail the revolution. You might run a liberator like Eldridge Cleaver out of the country, but you can’t run liberation out of the country. You might murder a freedom fighter like Bobby Hutton, but you can’t murder freedom fighting, and if you do, you’ll come up with answers that don’t answer, explanations that don’t explain, you’ll come up with conclusions that don’t conclude, and you’ll come up with people that you thought should be acting like pigs that’s acting like people and moving on pigs. And that’s what we’ve got to do. So we’re going to see about Bobby regardless of what these people think we should do, because school is not important and work is not important. Nothing’s more important than stopping fascism, because fascism will stop us all”
Take yourself and your efforts seriously. We are responsible for the change we seek. The real power is in our hands. The real power is in us as people united. We have to unite movements against a common enemy. Your intelligence and organizing ability are endless. To end with the words of the great freedom fighter Ramona Africa, who was shot at, house was bombed, family members murdered and jailed, all by the system of exploitation and she is still out here advocating for revolution- “DOWN WITH THIS CROOKED ASS SYSTEM!”
Websites to visit to begin communication with Political Prisoners-
Thank you for reading, This essay was written by Nate Buckley with much help.