Contact: Jeremy Alderson, 607-546-2084, email@example.com
My trial date – for chaining myself to a fence outside Inergy’s gas storage site – is Thursday, May 2nd at 10:00 a.m. in the Reading Town Court, 3914 County Rd 28, Watkins Glen, NY 14891. The court is inside the town hall, which can be reached at 607-535-7549. (The day before, on Wednesday, May 1st, at 7 p.m., the last three of the Seneca Lake 12 will be arraigned at the same address.)
Since few things so quicken the mind as the imminent prospect of incarceration, I hope I may be permitted a few personal thoughts.
Because Inergy is threatening us, we have been, so to speak, “drafted” into this fight. The draftees who have gone to jail have, thus far, included a nurse, a massage therapist, an eminent biologist and an organic farmer.
I may be a little different from them, and not only because I probably cannot live up to the example they have set of courage and dignity. I’m probably a little different, because I was drafted into this fight from another fight, and I feel like I’ve seen the monster we’re fighting before in a different guise.
Legendary Cassandra has nothing on us humble homeless advocates when it
comes to being ignored. We were the ones who warned that an economy
spitting men, women and children out the bottom was going to hurt a lot more
people than just the poor. If anybody had listened to us, there wouldn’t have been a foreclosure crisis or financial meltdown.
Oh well. I just hope it’s not too late for people to understand another of our long-ignored warnings, that the way homeless people are treated is the way the rest of us will be treated too.
All over this country homeless people are being denied the very right to
survive. The authorities don’t really care about their lives, just like no one in authority seems to care about ours.
There’s too little meaningful help provided by the agencies funded to eliminate homelessness, just like there’s too little help for us from the EPA, DEC or other agencies that are supposed to protect the environment. Homeless people can have little hope in our leaders because, for example, in the recent presidential election, Obama and Romney never discussed poverty, just like they never discussed any problem with fracking (except that we weren’t doing it fast enough).
In the Way
Homeless people often have the misfortune of being in the way of other people who want to make money, like property owners or downtown merchants. That’s just like the way we here near Seneca Lake happen to be in the way of Inergy’s dreams of profit, and plenty of other folks around the country are in the way of other financial schemes, involving frack wells, pipelines, mountaintop removals, you name it.
When homeless people get in the way, they are often treated like dangerous animals, without rights, as they are swept from their refuges by armed personnel.
We, too, already feel largely stripped of our rights. That’s why we’re committing civil disobedience and going to jail. I hope we never have to find out what it’s like to be chased from our homes by men with guns, but I’m sure our allies in the Indian nations will tell us that, if it does happen here, it won’t be for the first time.
The point is that, from my perspective, we must reject the notion that we are fighting only Inergy or fracking, a notion that implicitly puts us in some kind of competition with other folks seeking aid for their causes. That’s just the monster playing divide and conquer. We must recognize that the struggles of homeless people and poor people in general — just like the struggles of countless other decent Americans who find the deck stacked against them by monied interests — are our struggles too.
I don’t believe that embracing this understanding will distract us from our goal. I believe that, to make our fight, we’ve got to track this monster and know it for what it is. And I believe that the most effective way to stop it is by restoring the rights of all America’s citizens.
Read the No Frack Almanac at http://www.nofrackalmanac.com