OUR FOUNDATIONS – April 4, 2012 – Beyond Dirty Energy

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Frack Free New York – Frack Free Nation – Frack Free Planet

FRACK FREE NATION – Beyond Dirty Energy – A Time To Break The Silence….and Ask For What We Want!!!


On April 4th, 2012, the 45th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Beyond Viet Nam speech, and on the 44th Anniversary of his assassination on the same date, a group of committed activists and grassroots citizens took this message to Albany… To HONOR the Water of Life – To move toward Clean Energy NOW!!! …And to revive Dr. Rev. MLK jr.’s Dream 44 years later and bring it forth into reality.


 

Over 500 Capital District residents including state workers and school children on their lunch hour, gathered in The West Capitol Park in Albany to hear inspirational speakers and music throughout the day. The event was organized by Frack Free New York and Frack Free Nation, a growing national grassroots movement, founded by veteran organizer Abram Loeb to give a new voice to the grassroots and coalesce the related energy/environmental/Peace and Justice issues back into one movement for positive change, with a Native American value of honoring all life and water, and considering Seven Generations ahead before disturbing the natural balance of things. http://frackfreenation.org/?page_id=110


About 3 dozen grassroots people from all around New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, and California came together under the banner, FRACK FREE NATION, representing members of Occupy Albany, Occupy Binghamton, Occupy Rochester, Occupy Wall Street, Walk About Water, Frack Free Catskills, SPAN(Sovereign People’s Action Network), Food Not Bombs, Move To Amend, Save Rock Foundation, Frack Free California, Frack Free Pennsylvania, Frack Free New York, Joel Tyner For Congress, enrolled Lakota and Paiute Shoshone tribal members, with support from fracking affected Dimock, PA families, First Nations members, Folk Singer Pete Seeger, and many fractivists in the grassroots across the nation, to begin a process of educating our leaders that we must move beyond dirty energy use and dirty energy wars and protect our water, air, land, food supply and children’s health, for there to be life on earth for the next seven generations to come..


First Nations’ people created and closed our sacred space for a joyous peaceful grassroots day in the NY State Capitol. This results in bringing the POWER of THE GOOD MIND into being, so that the GOOD HEART can operate in it’s most pure form; that is, LOVE. “We are NOT the Resistance to the SHALE GAS ARMY. We are the Earth and the Water.”


“We are here to remind Governor Cuomo and President Obama that the way to the White House in 2012 and 2016 will not be through the manic pipeline building currently underway even while the dsGEIS is still being ‘deliberated’. We demand that Governor Cuomo withdraw the current dSGEIS immediately.”


 

MIC CHECK- “WE REMIND GOVERNOR CUOMO THAT FRACKING IS UNHEALTHY FOR CHILDREN AND OTHER LIVING BEINGS. It is A CRIME TO POISON US…. CRIMINALIZE FRACKING… PEOPLE ARE TIRED OF WAITING FOR THE REJECTION OF THE FAILED ‘ENERGY’ AND ‘FINANCE’ SCHEMES SURROUNDING DIRTY ENERGY PONZI SCHEMES LIKE FRACKING. IT IS A CRIME TO POISON US…. CRIMINALIZE FRACKING!!”


*ABRAM LOEB introduced the theme of the rally, “Fracking is going on in so many areas of our lives… I use the word Fracking to describe the fracturing of our ecosysytem and our relationships to each other, in our communities, as well as our relationship to the natural world which sustains us. As we speak, our Mountain Tops are being fractured for coal, our oceans by offshore drilling, our farms and food supply, by Monsanto, US drones are continuously dropping bombs, fracturing the lives of young children and their families in a failed dirty energy war. Let’s not forget all of our Future Fracking Fukushimas that we need to safely shut down, and then there is the fracturing of our communities through foreclosures and empty factories. Fracking for dirty shale gas is currently contaminating water, air, land, food, farms, livestock and wildlife, as well as affecting the health of our children in 34 states and many nations throughout the world. …”


“… Forty Four years after Dr. Rev. MLK jr.’s assassination, it is time to move beyond all the fracking, and to bring his dream into our reality. It’s time for us to break the silence and tell them what we want; a world where we can live in peace, harmony and balance, a healthy place to raise our children, with justice and compassion, liberty and freedom. The First Nations people of this land knew their place in the center of the medicine wheel, respecting all life as equal, respecting Mother Earth and Father Sky, and the Waters of Life, and not taking more than they needed. We can learn much from the cultural values of the original people’s of this land.”


JOEL TYNER, Duchess County Legislator since 2001, and a Democratic candidate for Congress in the newly drawn 19 c.d. endorsed by Josh Fox, Pete Seeger, Cornel West, Medea Benjamin, noted DEC PEF/EnCon anti-fracking engineer Wayne Bayer, Troy Area Labor Council President Mike Keenan, Dutchess County Elections Commissioner Fran Knapp, and over 260 others at http://www.PetitionOnline.com/Joel – was the next to speak. ‘I’ve long called for a statewide fracking ban…In the summer 2008 I launched http://www.PetitionOnline.com/NoDrill a petition drive with 1100 signatories. Last September I called for immediate national fracking moratorium as well– as called for by Food and Water Watch, Greenpeace, 350.org, Citizens Environmental Coalition, many more; “http://dutchessdemocracy.blogspot.com/2011/09/re-tar-sands-fracking-ozone-pollution.html Joel had the crowd joining in with his infamous rap, Frack Is Whack, which he initially performed last May with Josh Fox and Pete Seeger at a Frack Action Benefit. http://dutchessdemocracy.blogspot.com/2011/05/new-anti-fracking-song-from-yours-truly.html Joel spoke of his activism organizing the grassroots by launching the Dutchess County Anti-Fracking Coalition on Facebook– and starting a series of weekly Tues. afternoon rallies to ban fracking in front of local state Senator Steve Saland’s office — that continue even to this day(!) ..see: http://activistresource.org/calendar/cal_event.php?id=15661… Joel’s homemade Ban Fracking Banner hung as a backdrop during most of the rally. More on Joel Tyner here http://vimeo.com/39486346http://shaleshockmedia.org/2012/03/26/joel-tyner-candidate-for-congress-in-nys-19-district-talks-fracking/ ..


Long time health care activist, CECILE ANN LAWRENCE, for the last 3 years, has taken on fracking for un-natural gas in particular and all fossil fuels in general. A strong supporter of renewable sources of energy like individual scale and distributed solar, wind and geothermal, she was the Green Party of NY 2010 candidate for U.S. Senate, helping the party regain its ballot status. In 2011 she ran for Tioga County legislature on a platform of renewable energy and support for NYS organic and niche agriculture. With a Ph.D. and a J.D. she is co-editing a collection of philosophical and interdisciplinary essays on Time and Revolution contracted to a U.K. publisher. She’s originally from Jamaica, fleeing her home country as a result of the Rodney riots. She is also currently working with Left Forum, Move To Amend, and Occupy The Courts.https://sites.google.com/site/timeandrevolutionbookproject/


”We’re here to remember the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. One of the first Occupiers was someone who said “Wherever two or three are gathered, there I am.” Well, there’s much more than two or three here today, therefore the force is with us. Mother Earth is hurting from all the drilling being done into her. We need to stop that. We need to stop being an invasive species. The planet will be fine but Mother Earth would be right to get fed up and throw us off the planet. The problems we are having with drilling companies invading so many places and threatening to come into New York is rooted in the problem of corporate personhood.”


 

“Corporate personhood did not start with the Citizens United case decided two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court. The fiction of corporate personhood was hanging around in the thinking of those in power long ago but took firm hold in the Supreme Court decision of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad. The issue of corporate personhood was not before the court but, on a court clerk writing up a memo about it, the court included it in its decision anyway. Even though the fiction has been around for so long, we need to get rid of it, along with the fiction that money is speech, which is what the Citizens United case held. These legal fictions are doing too much harm.”
“One of the many harms is fracking. That corporations are allowed to frack. We need to stop it, and not just ban it, but impose a ban with teeth, that is to criminalize fracking, criminalize the transport and use of fracking paraphernalia. We need to stop fracking. No fracking way.”


Women from WALK ABOUT WATER, a group of women who in April, 2011, walked 90 miles with water from the Neversink Resevoir a protected source of water in NY to Salt Springs State Park in Susquehanna County, PA which is threatened by gas mining, were next to speak. Bess Path, Joy Ohrvall, Joan Walker, Linda Leeds and Chrys Countryman read their mission statement, honoring that water is what connects all of us, and that we cannot live without it; Water Is Life. Mission Statement here:www.walkaboutwater.blogspot.com. Later in the day the women inducted Abram Loeb into the group, anointing him with water, and adorning him with a beaded necklace, one of very few men to have been given this honor.


Retired Philadelphia Police Chief, CAPTAIN RAY LEWIS, of Occupy Wall Street fame, came by to speak with the group. He has been involved in the fracking issue for some time in his home area upstate NY. He has recently stood up and been arrested for peacefully exercising his first amendment rights at Occupy Wall Street protests. He shared with us the value of standing up and speaking truth to power. “I have been retired for 8 years after a 24 year career with the Philadelphia Police Department. The unyielding commitment of the Occupy Movement for social, economic, and environmental justice, so inspired me that I felt compelled to join it. The proud, legal wearing of my uniform serves as a visual symbol that my career was devoted to Law Enforcement. I will not idly stand by and allow law enforcement to be administered only to the poor and disenfranchised, while the rich flaunt their immunity. It’s as simple as that.”


ABRAM LOEB, founding organizer of www.frackfreenewyork.org andwww.frackfreenation.org shared from his personal experiences with community outreach campaigns in which he supervised 3 offices, employing 30 activists, canvassing 9,000 people weekly during the “Don’t Waste NY” campaign to stop a nuclear waste dump. He shared a similar vision for the current movement, except with broader vision. “Don’t Waste NY was successful in stopping a nuclear waste dump in NY State in 1989 and 1990, through community outreach, petitioning, lobbying, protesting, bird dogging Governor Cuomo and also supporting Peaceful Direct Action resulting in arrests in both Cortland and Allegany Counties. While all this was effective at stopping the dump, the movement failed when we failed to go on to shut down the nuclear industry. Maybe we would not be still fighting to shut down Vermont Yankee, Indian Point, and Nine Mile. Maybe we could have changed things before Fukushima. This time we must succeed , our very survival depends on it.”


SPIKE JONES, an activist for over 22 years and a veteran of both the military and the Allegany Co. dump the dump fight against nuclear waste, gave his support to the effort, but could not speak because of prior scheduling conflicts. Throughout 1990 Spike Jones visited every community with a proposed nuclear waste dump in the entire united States, helping to galvanize protests by telling Allegany county’s story. When he arrived people were often demoralized; when he left, people renewed their struggles and frequently engaged in civil disobedience……..”The New York style protests,”as the nuclear industry dubbed them spread across the United States. Spike’s message has always been one of empowerment, “This is no different then what Abram and I faced before with the Nuclear Waste, even the same name for the governor. We should remember that his father finally stepped up and now its Jr’s turn. Pressure needs to be focused on the governor and a decision demanded.” www.shaleshockmedia.org/2011/12/05/my-name-is-allegany-county/


Abram gave a memorial tribute to the lifetime activist work of his father, a Veteran for Peace, DR. ERIC LOEB, psychologist, who was a bus captain on King’s March On Washington in 1963, was active in the Peace movement throughout his life, and worked with dozens of grassroots organizations on environmental, nuclear freeze, and social justice issues, including the Social Justice Program of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Binghamton, NY, Standing On The Side Of Love. Dr. Eric Loeb, (8/5/30 – 3/24/11) passed on unexpectedly while Abram and his mother, Rema Loeb were just arriving in at the Capitol building last year for a “NO Fracking” Rally. In sharing the story of his father he hoped to inspire others to live lives of activism to help create the dream we all want to bring into being. He added that his first memories of life were a candle lit peace march down Broadway, NYC in 1969, and in 1970, Occupying a NYC building with his parents to get the city to give a building for Headstart and a community nursery school.


As part of any traditional memorial celebration, people in West Capitol park enjoyed music and food as well as smiles and friendly faces. FROG POND FARMS of Bainbridge, NY(Chenango County) donated produce, with which Rema Loeb and family prepared Venison and Buffalo Stew and Frybread to feed the people. FOOD NOT BOMBS donated 100 Vegan meals for those with dietary concerns. There were drum circles, Traditional Native American drum and round dances, Folk, Punk, and Hip Hop music performances. In a show of peace and unity, a group that held a similarly themed rally just a few short blocks away at the UU Church on Washington Ave., came by and joined with Frack Free Nation’s permitted rally.


Later in the afternoon, the group formed a general assembly to discuss unity, growing Frack Free Nation as a movement, plans for a potential community outreach canvas, as well as strategies for Peaceful Direct Action in the near future as a tool for change. REMA LOEB stated that it was heartening to hear and see Native American drums and round dancing in West Capitol Park. REBECCA CRAWFORD of Occupy Albany said, “Life cannot be sustained without water, lets fight to keep our waters Free of contamination for Future Generations to come!” SUSAN and ERIC ROOS, victims of Shale Gas from Dimock, PA sent their support along with their good friend Tom Frost of Lenoxville, PA. They have been left with no water after fracking contaminated their well. They know Abram from his repeated trips to Dimock this winter delivering water with his Veggie Oil Powered Water Defense Truck. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vBcytoCLWgo


FIDEL MORENO is a Huichol & Mexican American from an environmental educational non profit, Healing Winds,www.healingwinds.net set up to inform and educate the public and society about the relationship that Native Americans and First Nations have with the Creator and all of Creation. This includes the elements of water, air, fire and earth. While unable to attend, Fidel sent his support with this message. ”Fracking is an act of violence upon our Mother Earth, especially when it involves appropriating her natural resource of natural gas for profit at the expense of unknown repairable harmful and negative consequences NOW and in the unforeseen future and untold impact on future generations and the well-being of our Mother Earth. We ask the public officials and private sector representatives to stop any and all fracking discussions, applications, technologies and actions NOW, IMMEDIATELY! Just consider for a humble moment; HOW WOULD YOUR MOTHER FEEL IF SOMEONE CUT HER OPEN WITH A KNIFE OR DRILL? HOW WOULD YOU FEEL?”


Another who sent his support was folk singer and life long activist, PETE SEEGER. In a conversation earlier last week with Abram, he said, “I am very encouraged that you are doing this. I want to see children, teenagers, parents, and grandparents all coming out for this. Let the people know, We don’t need to grow BIGGER…. We need to grow QUICKER!”  Similar words of encouragement came from many in the grassroots fracking movements in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Texas, Illinois, and South Dakota who have been asking Frack Free Nation for organizing assistance to help in the effort to move beyond fracking fossil fuels.


Abram ended the day unleashing 275 gallons of pure, unfracked, Chenango County water down the street in front of the Capitol, symbolically washing clean Albany’s role in our dirty energy past. “ It’s time for a new beginning .” CHRYSALIS COUNTRYMAN added later, “in The West Capitol Park, on April 4th, we encountered and joined with a gathering of folks, singing and drumming and speaking truth to power. We were young and old, pink and brown, wearing uniforms and tie dies. I truly believe the seeds of love and conscious action that were planted and watered that day will continue to grow. I see evidence of a movement which can nurture and honor the diversity of life which is the foundation of that we all hold so dear. We are all the same stream, and like it or not, we are all wet together.”

Frack Free Nation has plans to grow, and more events are already in the planning stage. www.frackfreenation.org

Frack Free New York Rally at NYS Republican Convention in Rochester on 3/16/12 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPqlEVu0QvQ&feature=player_embedded

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