Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Death by Fracking
“The flares burn all day and all night,” Mossett said. “There are hundreds of them.
They are loud. There is enough gas produced from these flares, some have estimated, to heat half a million homes every day. And all this is going into the atmosphere. Then came the waste injection sites. The trucks began to dump what they called ‘produced water’ [toxics and water injected underground and later brought to the surface as wastewater] onto the roads. It covered our roads. It filled our ditches with toxic chemicals. I drove past a ditch near Mandaree on the Fort Berthold Reservation and it was on fire. The fields and pastures along the roads are being poisoned.”
The dilemma facing activists is that the enemy is not only the corporations but also the federal and state governments. Federal and state authority is a tool used by corporations to make legal what should be illegal. Nonviolent, democratic dissent is criminalized. This creates a terrifying dilemma. If, as it does, the law slavishly serves the interests of the corporate criminals, how is justice to be obtained? If the law, as it does, outlaws legitimate democratic and nonviolent dissent, how is dissent to be expressed? If we cannot receive, as we cannot, justice from the courts or state and federal legislators, where will justice come from? If we cannot legally impede the destruction of our communities, what are the physical methods we will have to employ to save ourselves?
“The corporations fight us with the government,” said Aguirre. “The DOGGR [California’s Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources] makes the claim that activists want to take jobs from neighbors and families. It claims we are killing the economy. … The acute health impacts that occur in the communities, the disproportionate toxic fumes that these communities breathe, are never factored in.
Our community members are already marginalized. They live in low-income communities. They can’t afford or don’t have health care coverage. And they don’t have a voice.
“I have been followed by numerous diesel engine trucks [as I made] toxic tours with my constituents, taking them to fracking projects and refineries to percolation ponds, evaporation ponds,” Aguirre said. “I’ve been threatened at public hearings. I’ve been called a communist and a socialist. I’ve been called a mouth runner, someone who has been paid by some group to stir up the community. The board supervisors of my community have told me to stop doing what I am doing. These are the same elected officials who are cashing in on the industry.”
Justice will come by defying the institutions that claim to maintain justice. Truth will be heard by defying the institutions that claim to speak truth. The law will be upheld by breaking the law. Power will be obtained by overthrowing the power of the corporation state. We will save ourselves by facing the grim and unpleasant truth that all of the established mechanisms designed to carry out reform, including what we still call American democracy, is in corporate hands. We must unleash the power of the powerless. We must use our bodies to obstruct these forces of death to protect life. We must refuse to cooperate in our own destruction. Fracking is one assault.
There are many, many others. But they all will lead to the same fatal conclusion if we do not rise up and resist.
I admire these activists, men and women who soldier forward. They understand the imperative of a new radicalism. They speak in the language of revolution. They know if we are to have a future it will entail mass acts of sustained civil disobedience and jail time. This resistance will mean that we court violence, maybe even our deaths.
Corporations will use every weapon in their vast arsenals to bend us to their will. But if we do not begin to openly rebel, if we do not reverse the corporate coup d’état that has taken place, the world bequeathed to our children will be a holocaust.