Why I Am On The Women’s Boat To Gaza

From Left to Right: Ann Wright, LisaGay Hamilton, Norsham Binti Abubakra, Dr. Fauziah Hasan

By Lisagay Hamilton for Counter Punch – Sunday night, September 18, 2016. As my “industry” colleagues attend Emmy parties and dress for the red carpet, I stand on the chilly docks of Ajaccio, Corsica, in the wee hours of the morning awaiting the arrival of a small sailboat called the Zaytouna-Oliva. The boat arrives just after 2AM, and the passengers and crew, all women, disembark. The trip from Barcelona was rough. Everyone had gotten sick and it showed on their faces.

Newsletter: Global Solidarity Is Rising

Protesters Blockade Koch Bros Pet Coke Facility In Chicago

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By Robin Amer for The Chicago Reader – Five activists were arrested and charged with trespassing Monday morning after chaining themselves together and blocking the entrance to a KCBX Terminals Co. petroleum coke facility on Chicago’s southeast side. The protesters sat side by side, first on the asphalt driveway and then on bright blue gym mats carted in by their supporters. Their hands were hidden inside plastic tubes wrapped in duct tape, designed to prevent police from separating them or moving them easily. A line of 18-wheelers idled across the street during the blockade, unable to enter or exit the facility.

Green Line Of Protest Is Stopping Coal & Oil In Their Tracks

Stop Coal Exports protest

By Eric de Place for Sightline Daily – The Cascadia region has proven to be extraordinarily challenging for those who would turn it into a major carbon energy export hub—so much so that Sightline has taken to calling it the Thin Green Line. Since 2012, a staggering number of schemes have proposed to move large volumes of carbon-intense fuels through Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia to Asian markets. A recent Sightline analysis shows that proposed and newly permitted energy projects in the region would amount to the carbon equivalent of more than five Keystone XL Pipelines. But in big ways and small—from Coos Bay, Oregon, to Prince Rupert, British Columbia—the Thin Green Line has held fast. Big energy projects have faced delays, uncertainty, mounting costs…and then failure. A review of these projects makes clear just how successful the region has been in denying permission to dirty energy companies as it stays true to its heritage as a center of clean energy, sustainability, and forward thinking.

More Civil Disobedience Expected Against Gas Pipeline Project

Spectra Gaseling protesters

The banner held by climate activists outside the Statehouse on March 6 read: “Expect Resistance.” And it might be a sign of things to come. Of the 16 protesters, nine were from Massachusetts and several were involved in recent high-profile protests in the Boston area, protests that were part of a wave of nationwide acts of civil disobedience to promote racial equality. The group was not deterred by news on the first day of the march that the Algonquin project received key approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The authorization, they say, was predetermined and while other permits are needed, including at least two from Rhode Island agencies, the goal is to create awareness and halt the four other natural-gas pipeline projects planned for New England. The lead organizer for the Rhode Island actions, Nick Katkevich, said more nonviolent civil disobedience is planned to protest the Spectra project. The public he said needs to know that the gas running through the expanded and highly pressured pipelines is not all for local use and instead for shipping overseas.

Dominion Headquarters Blocked In Richmond

Dominion HQ blocked in RIchmond 5

At 7:00 a.m. a group of over 50 activists blocked vehicle access to Dominion Resources’ Tredegar Campus in Richmond, Virginia to protest the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Traffic quickly formed on Tredegar Street as activists stretched large banners across the road and paraded large puppets around the scene. Two activists remain suspended from a pedestrian bridge with a banner reading “Stop Selling Our Futures” while a larger crowd occupy the access way to the campus below. “I’ve been born and raised in Virginia, where we have pride in our land”, said Phil Cunningham, from Prince Edward County. “Now Dominion wants to come steal people’s property and sell our futures to the highest bidder. We are here to send the message to Dominion that people matter more than profits. This is our Keystone XL, and we will stop it. ”

Badass Collective Bringing Direct Action To Black Communities

Protest at Oakland Police Station. Photo Credit Julia Carrie Wong

“All of us unsuccessfully attempted to bring black non-violent direct action trainers down there, and when we got to Ferguson most of the training team were white allies. We noticed that there was a shortage of black direct action trainers,” Faison said. “We looked at each other and said we need to develop some more folks to train our people and coordinate actions. And from there burst the BlackOUT Collective on the frontlines around 11 o’clock at night in front of the police station.” Since then, the collective has helped black communities think through, facilitate, train, and execute numerous direct actions. One of their first projects was helping a group of young organizers in Oakland who wanted to take action. The result of that process was Black Brunch, an action, now expanded into other cities, in which protesters enter restaurants that cater to a white crowd at busy brunch hours and conduct a ritual for black people killed by police. This includes reading the names of those killed by police and vigilantes.

Newsletter: The Contagion Of Courage

Courage Is Contagious 2

When our colleagues take brave actions, others are inspired. George Lakey describes how courage develops in movements. He lists some key ingredients to overcome fear: people working in community to empower each other, envisioning a successful action and spreading the contagion of courage. Lakey describes courage as each of us expanding beyond our comfort zones and adds that our training for actions should include opportunities to step outside our comfort zone. He suggests we need to view the rapid heartbeat and adrenalin during an action not as fear, but as excitement. Envisioning the whole story – where the story starts, the action being taken and its successful impact – emboldens us and calms our fears of uncertainty. We learn courage in community because courage is contagious.

200 Arrests In Ongoing Seneca Lake Uprising

Seneca Lake protest 83 year old arrested

Seneca Lake Defenders—as those risking arrest call themselves—come in all ages, from 18 to 90, and from many walks of life. As diverse as we are, everyone is united in the belief that Crestwood is an out-of-state trespasser that threatens to harm all we hold dear, starting with water and wine. Being arrested for trespassing in order to make that point only helps reinforce it. And water is, fundamentally, what this fight is all about. We Are Seneca Lake is an ongoing, citizen-based civil disobedience campaign that seeks to protect Seneca Lake and the surrounding region from gas storage expansion by Texas-based energy company, Crestwood Midstream. Crestwood’s intention is to repurpose the crumbling salt mines underneath Seneca Lake’s hillside into massive gas tanks for the highly-pressurized products of fracking: methane, propane and butane. Seneca Lake, a source of drinking water for 100,000 people, is a very deep lake that drains very slowly. A contamination event, hydrologists tell us, would linger not days or weeks but over a time scale measured by human generations.

21 Utah Tar Sands Blockaders Face Charges, Including Felonies

Utah Tar Sands protest July 2013

Uintah County prosecutors have filed felony and misdemeanor charges against 21 people from 10 states who were arrested during a summer protest at the site of a controversial tar sands mine. he charges stem from a July 21 protest at the U.S. Oil Sands mine site, which sits on land leased to the Canadian energy firm by the state School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. During the protest, 12 environmental activists climbed an 8-foot-tall, chain-link fence topped with barbed wire and entered the mine site, according to court records. Five of the activists chained themselves to heavy equipment inside the fenced area, deputies said. About 30 protesters outside the fenced area were told to leave the mine site or face arrest, according to court records. Only one of the 30 failed to follow that order and was arrested. In July, Utah Tar Sands Resistance spokeswoman Jessica Lee said deputies treated the protesters so roughly during the arrests that it amounted to police brutality. “This is a clear example of the Uintah County sheriff escalating things,” Lee said at the time, noting that protesters were “grabbed in an aggressive manner” and some were “thrown to the ground.”

Oakland Activists Blockade Police Station 4 Hours & 28 Minutes

Oakland police station protest, linked arms in front of Oakland police station. Source Getty.

In an impressive multi-layered blockade of the Oakland police headquarters, activists made clear points about the police brutality and abuse they have experienced in Oakland and many have experienced throughout the country. The blockade included a combination of blockading tactics, activists linking arms or using lock boxes, blockading four doors of the police station, blockading roadways and sidewalks. They successfully held the space for more than four hours singing songs about justice and chanting about racism and solidarity. One person climbed a flagpole and flew a flag with the faces of African Americans killed in police violence which remembered the lives of Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Alex Nieto, Renisha McBride, and Michael Brown. They showed exceptional solidarity and coordination of activities. At the same time other activists blockaded other roadways and the entrance to a highway.

Next week: Direct Actions to Save Cove Point

Cove Point protest

The next two weeks are critical in the struggle to stop construction of a liquefied fracked-gas export terminal in Cove Point, MD that threatens nearby homes, the Chesapeake Bay and the climate crisis. We need you to join the emergency mobilization! Join the community in saving their homes and preventing a huge threat to the climate crisis. Overnight accommodations in a church will be available for those who need it. The FERC issued a permit this year for the construction of a 160 foot pier to bring in large pieces of equipment for the gas export terminal, but they must finish it by December 16 or they will have to wait until late March to begin construction again. A delay in construction is critical because this project’s permit is being challenged for failure to conduct an environmental impact study and a quantitative risk assessment. This is the first gas export terminal being built in a residential area, which sets a dangerous precedent.

Activists Arrested In Battle Against Fracking “Gateway Drug” In NY

Seneca Lake protest from We Are Seneca Lake

“These are just ordinary people who have exhausted every possible means of expressing their opposition and are at wits’ end,” says Yvonne Taylor, a co-founder of Gas Free Seneca, a group formed in 2011 to oppose the Crestwood projects. One major concern cited by the protesters is the geological stability of the salt caverns where the gas would be stored, and the risk of a disaster such as an explosion or collapse in the salt caves, that could lead to human casualties and ecological devastation. “These caverns were never designed to hold hydrocarbon gases,” says Steingraber, who lives with her family in nearby Trumansburg and is one of the organizers of We Are Seneca Lake, the group that is staging the blockades. “If you wanted to design a structure to safely store a whole bunch of compressed, explosive hydrocarbon gases underground, the architect wouldn’t come up with this plan. This is just accidental space that’s left over.” This year, Rob MacKenzie, the former CEO of Cayuga Medical Center, performed a risk analysis of the Crestwood LPG project. According to his findings, there is a more than 40 percent chance that a disaster of “serious or extremely serious consequences” will occur over the next 25 years, whether in the caverns themselves or during the transport of the gas to the facilities via truck and rail, another fear of the opponents of the project.

Escalating Actions To Retire Fossil Fuels

Seneca Lake protest of methane gas storage project

This past week, as part of the Beyond Extreme Energy campaign to retire fossil fuels there were daily actions to shut down the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission every morning and actions at other locations in the afternoon. These took place simultaneously with direct action at two FERC-approved gas infrastructure projects in Seneca Lake, NY and Cove Point, MD. And the week of actions at FERC followed the conclusion of an 8 month 3,000 mile 7 million step Great March for Climate Action from Los Angeles to Washington, DC. The Beyond Extreme Energy actions focused on retiring fossil fuels and calling for investment in clean renewable energy instead. Similar struggles are occurring in a number of states where residents are using every tool at their disposal including creative nonviolent direct action to stop the construction of fossil fuel infrastructure. We spoke with Faith Meckley of the Great March for Climate Action and We Are Seneca Lake and Will Bennington of Rising Tide Vermont.