Bob and Diane Announce End to Hunger Strike on 45th day

(I did not take these pictures and can’t find a credit.)

These people are incredibly heroic to choose nonviolence over America’s other methods, but of course we wouldn’t need to be doing these things if my generation had not let the human population grow to be more than what the earth can support, AND included corporations as voting members of the human population. (My opinion, we might have done some other dumb thing). But the reality is what it is and the below is copied from Tar Sands Blockade website. If you want to help without trying to FIND the tar sands people in action, you could participate with thousands of others in DC in the 350.org demonstration in February. I’m not sure my old bones are up to it — not the protest, but figuring out where to go and how to get there in DC. I remember there’s a very nice train to that mall, and they do have a YMCA, but other than that it’s all rather foggy, and probably cold. But I bet you could do it if you would put your mind to it. Just remember, Lame Duck Presidents are much more likely to do what they know is right when they are supported in their choices.

http://www.tarsandsblockade.org/
http://www.350.org

January 15, 2013

dianeAfter an incredible 46 days, Bob Lindsey Jr. and Diane Wilson have announced the end of their hunger strike targeting Valero and its role in promoting projects like Keystone XL. The following is a powerful statement from Bob and Diane that explores the motivations behind their long fast as well as their plans for lifelong resistance to all forms of tar sands exploitation.

On November 29th, 2012 in protest of Valero’s involvement with the KXL pipeline we locked our necks to industrial trucks just outside the Valero refinery. We were arrested and immediately began a hunger strike in solidarity with the struggling people of the community of Manchester. We demanded that Valero not only cease all business with TransCanada but vacate the Manchester neighborhood that they have exploited for decades.

In Houston’s toxic East End, home to the largest petro-chemical complexes in North America, marginalized communities of color are forced to breathe poisoned air. The small Latin@ community of Manchester is the most polluted neighborhood in Texas and Valero is responsible for most of the pollution. Instead of working to reduce emissions, Valero plans to bring tar sands to Texas through the KXL, further denigrating the air, water, and environmental quality of local communities. Children here are exposed to 8 different cancer causing toxins at all times, homes are encapsulated by huge industrial storage tanks and the Valero refinery billows poison on top of the community’s only park. What is happening in Manchester is a living case of environmental racism and classism.

We stand in opposition to TransCanada and their Keystone XL Pipeline as well as all corporations and entities that profit from the direct suffering of others. After 46 days on hunger strike our bodies are weak and our health has rapidly declined. We knew that our demands were lofty and that we would not destroy our enemies with one fell swoop. By putting ourselves at risk of death we intended to expose that Valero, TransCanada and all other industries who promote the practice of profits over people do not care whether we live or die. The people of Manchester already know this. The people of East Texas already know this. The indigenous peoples of the Athabasca region already know this. We hope that you too now know this. Direct Action is the only way to stop Valero, TransCanada and all other corporations that commit unconscionable acts of greed.

Tar sands are being mined along the Athabasca River in Canada, in the heart of the boreal forest and one of the worlds most significant wetlands, just 70 miles away from North America’s largest freshwater river basin, a critical habitat for many species. Not only does this threaten delicate ecosystems but the homes and ancestral land, cultural heritage, and way of life of indigenous communities. The mining of carcinogenic bitumen is powered by gas obtained from hydraulic fracturing, a practice which can NOT be done safely and must be stopped at all costs. This is NOT a debate. We recognize that elected officials have failed to protect people, animals, and the earth from tar sands exploitation, which is the most ecologically destructive project on the planet. These officials have been supportive of the extraction industry carrying out these egregious acts, and they are responsible for this system of exploitation.

We stand in solidarity with the Unist’ot’en Camp, the Idle No More movement and Chief Theresa Spence who is now on the 36th day of a hunger strike. They have become catalysts for resistance to the destruction of the earth and struggle against the colonization of it’s inhabitants, a battle that indigenous communities have fought for over 500 years on this continent. We call out to all sentient beings to decolonize immediately.

bobWe also send a special message of solidarity and appreciation to our dear personal friend, Start Loving. Start began hunger striking 11 days ago in support of us and in solidarity with Chief Theresa Spence.

Tar Sands Blockaders have been engaged in an ongoing series of aerial blockades in East Texas to physically stop the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. TransCanada has terrorized the lives and homes of families all along the pipeline route with complete disregard for natural habitats and wildlife. They have hired local police as armed thugs to torture blockaders and their allies and used their corporate dollars and fancy lawyers to intimidate and muscle ordinary folks, including farmers struggling to survive in a world of factory farming and genetically modified crops.

We are ending our hunger strike so that we may continue on in lifelong resistance and opposition to the most essential struggle we face as human beings, the struggle to protect what is left of our ravaged earth. Through systems of mutual aid and solidarity we will move forward to create an environment in which resistance can be cultivated and direct action becomes the natural and immediate reaction of all people in the face of exploitation and oppression. We stand in solidarity with the Tar Sands Blockade who have reminded us all that we must have immediacy in our actions and fight ceaselessly for the earth, it’s creatures and all of our fellow human beings. We will never surrender. In the strength of unity we will fight on.

In Solidarity,

Diane Wilson, lifelong Texan, grandmother, 4th generation shrimper and co-founder of Code Pink, The Texas Jail Project, Texas Injured Workers, and the Injured Workers National Network

Bob Lindsey, 5th generation Texan, US Navy Veteran and the San Antonio Bay Waterkeeper

Bare Bones Biology 139 – TarSandsBlockade.org

Bitsy is always up for anything, y’all know that, and so this weekend we bundled up for the weather and headed for training camp in the Piney Woods of Texas.

130107-Bitsy-asc_1658SsBare Bones Biology is ready to stop talking theory and begin to observe community development in practice, including the Occupy model, as well as the basics of community so well documented by Helena Norberg-Hodge and Rob Hopkins, Richard Heinberg and the Post Carbon Institute, community radio, for example see, and individuals and small groups of people who are working to change our toxic corposystem environment. For example, Chris Martenson’s Crash Course and the annual conference in Los Alamos of Nuke Free Now, with Father John Dear‘s Sackcloth and Ashes protest and many, many anonymous others.

The fatal flaws in trying to grow sustainable communities – the biggest ones I see – are: 1) trying to work within a failed system that is blocking ethical and rational discussion; and 2) trying to change the biological environment that has functioned for millenia to provide food, water, air and shelter for all the life of earth.

130108-TarSands-asc_1887SsThe most important questions seem to be: 1) How can we change the system without reinforcing the system? And, 2) can we make changes that relieve rather than intensify our environmental crisis. Over the decades, I have seen mostly knee-jerk approaches to change. The result is that the good work of one generation is lost or thrown out or forgotten by the next generation that is focusing on different problems. This approach looks like change but it is NOT CHANGE. That is why good education, stressing the mistakes and successes of the past, the difference between facts and opinions, and the fact-based needs of our biological community, are essential to sustainable human community.

130108-TarSands-asc_1772LSsWe need real change, or we will just bounce back and forth from one extreme to the other making the same mistakes our grandparents made and fighting over everything. If we continue in this mode, without understanding the hard facts of our biological reality, the result will be fatal no matter how compassionate and honorable we try to be. And the corposystem isn’t trying logical, compassionate discussion; this rules out most of the honorable methods of change-building. So that’s why Bitsy and I, spent the night in the back seat of our little car, surrounded by a colorful tent camp, learning about community development on the ground.

I was just scraping the ice off the INSIDE of the windshield when, at an unexpectedly early hour, I realized that all the cars were lining up in the dark, ready to go. Go? Go where? Nobody knew. But eventually, maps were passed out and the caravan headed south. You can learn about all the activities at http://TarSandsBlockade.org, with video and commentary as the actions happened and as they continue to happen daily.

130108-TarSands-asc_2020LSsThe Occupy movement has interested me because it seems to represent real democracy, similar to others that have been popping up around the world. I also know what happens when you try to use negative force to squash a real and/or factual truth, and I’ve been waiting for it to happen ever since Occupy was violently squashed last year.

130108-TarSands-asc_2064LSsTo me this weekend looked a lot like the beginning of the new. I hope so, because: 1) I know that “change” within the old model is not going to happen, for reasons discussed in previous blogs; 2) this seems to be real change, and it is nonviolent; and 3) it is based in solid biological concerns.

We elders watched in agonized awe over the past decade or so, as our youth pandered the American Dream for which we worked, in exchange for an iPod and a pretty construct of television lies. What I saw in this action was real adult responsibility. Responsibility to the future and a dream of sustainability, using a new set of technological and political tools. And then we were asked to also take part of the responsibility for the planning and goal setting for that future. The first time I encountered this type of political behavior was with Amnesty International USA.* I was well impressed.

So this morning, home again after an exhausting two days, what we saw on the Tar Sands Blockade web site was not only what we did, but what a lot of people did at the same time in a lot of places around the countries. The action that I photographed was indeed a rolling portion of a set of “rolling actions.” And the Tar Sands Blockade promises more.

130108-TarSands-asc_2093SLsI still say the next thing that we must do if we want to survive on this earth (and this is advice from a PhD basic biologist) is to learn the facts and talk among ourselves about the issues. We won’t find the facts on mainstream TV (or, unfortunately, on public TV). The issue is survival with a sustainable, reasonably rewarding life-style). For facts you could start with the Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook that is downloadable, completely free no strings, on the right side of this blog under Chapters. Next you should understand the material in Christ Marsterson’s Crash Course. I’ve been recommending this course of action for 13 years. But, you continue to say, what can we DO?

Right, if you can’t get “them” to discuss the issues. As a PhD basic biologist, I will tell you clearly there may not be much time to stop “them” from destroying life, that is, food, water air climate and shelter. If they only want to talk about money, then right now I know of no better action than http://www.TarSandsBlockade. But there are other approaches to the problem that I will discuss in future.

Lynn Lamoreux
Photos by Lynn

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that will play
next week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. Bare Bones Biology is a completely
nonprofit project. The podcast can be downloaded at

*That experience is discussed in a chapter of my upcoming book “Outside the Circle.”

Recommended References:
Rob Hopkins, The Transition Handbook, http://www.amazon.com/Transition-Handbook-Dependency-Resilience-Guides/dp/1900322188
Post Carbon Reader, http://www.postcarbon.org
Helena Norberg-Hodge, movie, http://www.theeconomicsofhappiness.org
Chris Martenson: video Crash Course. Available on the web http://www.peakprosperity.com/crashcourse
Father John Dear, A Persistent Peace – http://www.amazon.com/Persistent-Peace-Struggle-Nonviolent-World/dp/0829427201
Bare Bones Biology 137 – Human Hubris. https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/12/19
William deBuys, A Great Aridness, http://www.williamdebuys.com/a_great_aridness_110931.htm

Question for Discussion: What is the technical meaning of democracy? The American political system does not fit that definition; the constant use of the term seems to be one of those television lies. Is it really a TV construct, or is it a reality? If it’s not a reality, then why do we keep talking about democracy all the time, and what kind of political environment do we want to grow for our grandchildren? Leave it to George? Participatory? If the latter, what kind of participation do we want to develop?