This morning may be a first in New York State. Three activists interrupted work at Spectra Energy's Pipeline construction site by sitting under a back hoe. The back hoe operator just looked at us when we, three women, climbed over the cement barricades and held our hands up showing him he had to stop digging or he would harm us. He stopped digging.
We sat down in the dirt where he was digging. We were armed with nothing but our wills and cardboard signs. The security man was the first to approach us. "You ladies have to move off of here" We shook our heads and kept chanting. Next was the parks service guy "You're going to have to move off here" No, we again refused consent.
After all, who asked our consent when they decided to build a 30 in diameter fracked gas pipeline into NYC? We spoke out against it, went to community board meetings ad nauseum, signed petitions, wrote in during public comment periods and NO ONE LISTENED TO US. So now? Maybe they will listen when we hurt them in the only place they still have any feelings left. In their bank account.
We have very little alternative but to put our bodies in the way to stop this insane project. The regulatory bodies are in collusion with the industry. Conflict of Interest is their middle name. They've stripped our clean water acts, our clean air acts to suit their plans. The government is obviously not going to protect the public good. So now it is up to the public to protect ourselves. What other choice do we have but to sit and watch them destroy all means of sustenance on the planet? Is there not a more intrinsic resource we have but our water?
There are legal avenues to go down. There are a few lawsuits presently pending, we are not at liberty to divulge particulars, but there seems to be a positive outlook in that camp.
In the meantime, We will Occupy the Pipeline in every way imaginable. We are creative. We will not succumb to the creeping apathy coupled with the feeling of powerlessness that renders the population putty in the hands of the corporate state. One way to wake up your feelings of empowerment is to step in front of a back hoe that is currently in motion, digging a pipeline you know will bring death into the city, be it a slow death by cancer or a quick and glorious demise in a fiery inferno.
We stopped the construction for a few hours altogether. The workers seemed to like us. We got them some overtime pay today! We sat in the rubble where the back hoe was digging and mic checked and chanted for a while. Several other activists spontaneously joined us in the pit, until we were 5 strong.
The NYPD eventually arrived. Our police liaison or "cop whisperer" as we like to call them, brought the message to us in the pit that we were being warned to disperse from the site before the lieutenant arrives or else be arrested. We decided that we would not be arrested that day. We mic checked messages to the workers "We want better jobs for you, Green Jobs that sustain the planet" We mic checked the Police "We would like to see some arrests happen down on wall street" We chanted and sang and then we exited the space.
A few NYPD squad cars were there. A fake taxi cab cop car was there. Then, suddenly, two of the activists decided to jump back into the pit and face arrest. These two brave women did get arrested pretty much immediately. The police took them to the 6th Precinct. They were both out in less that 2 hrs.
We are returning for ROUND TWO tonite. Join Us. If not Now, then When? If not You, then Who?
photo credit Stephanie Keith
photo credit Stephanie Keith
photo credits: Jason Brock & Lopi LaRoe