by Roxanne Amico
Spirit Morph Studio
June 25, 2010
It’s been 65 days since the assault on the Gulf of Mexico started showing signs of a fatal wound a la BP and BP’s alliance with the US Gov’t… Over and over again, it’s the same old story: BP, like all colonizers, in the wake of their destruction, elicit the same question asked by the living communities from which they steal: “Maman Tuwa, an elder of the isolated Palawan tribe from Mt Gantong, fears that mining will destroy his community. ‘If our mountains are deforested, how are we going to survive? What are we going to plant if the soil of the uplands will be washed down to the lowlands? How are we going to feed our children? We’ll surely die’.” ——->That is a quote from one of 20 articles excerpted and linked below… NOTE: The way I have links in this post organized is these topics in this order: 1. What We Are Up Against 2. What Is At Stake 3. What We Can Do To Stop This. I may keep that format for the future, but I’ll see how it works out… [AND, for those who asked, the link to Saturday’s “Hands Across the Sands” is also included in this post, again…]
A few nights ago, a dream in which I thought I killed a friend:
We were near a body of water, and he fell in. I thought he was drowning and I realized he was still alive, so there was still time to try to save him. I didn’t believe I had the strength to lift him out, but I wanted to try. When I reached in, I realized I had forgotten that if he was still alive and conscious, he might be able to help me pull him up and out of the water, (which he did) and I could rely on the strength of both of us, (which I did). He was lying on the earth unconscious now, and I was trying to resuscitate him, pushing on his chest, trying to get him to breathe deeply, puke up the water, cough–anything, and suddenly my mom appeared. In waking reality, she actually died of lung cancer a little over a year ago. In the dream, she was also needing resuscitation. She was leaning against a wall, in a sort of shelter near where me and my friend were, her chest heaving, gasping. So, with my right hand, I worked on helping my friend, and with my left hand, I worked on helping my mom. I felt panicked, like two hands were not enough, wondering about the effectiveness of my actions, but knew it was all I could do… Suddenly, my hand pushed through the chest cavities of both of them, as if their chests were curtains, and they both died. My thought about my mom was that it wasn’t my fault that she died; I did what I could. Then, I was walking, thinking about my friend, crying about missing him. I was thinking about how, about once a year, we walk together at a special place; that I would miss that. I thought that place would never be the same without him…. But I thought that if went to that place anyway, and walked, I could bring him back somehow. Then I thought, “But everyone will be really mad at me for killing him!” …And then I woke up crying, my heart in my throat.
I was really glad that was a dream, and eventually, really glad for the gift of that dream as a guide. I shared it with a friend much later in the day after… While I told him the story of the dream, when I said the words of my dream-thoughts, “But everyone will be really mad at me for killing him!”, he quickly interrupted me, and said, “But you didn’t kill him. You tried to save him, and did everything you could. If they’re mad at you for killing him, they have it wrong.” And then I cried from relief.
I want to do everything I can to stop the earth from being killed. I think the only way that I can be certain I did everything I could is to embrace the reality that the miracles we need will only issue from our hands (paraphrasing the band “one people”). I mean that in three senses: 1. The miracle (s) will not come from a president beholden to a corporation under which his campaign was primarily, extraordinarily financed. Nor will it come from the corporate owned media that will not tell the stories from the standpoint of the living communities. The miracles will come only from those living communities, and from our deliberate efforts to insist those stories be told, and to demand the end to–and to directly stop–those corporate and government partnered actions which are causing the death of the living world. 2. The miracles will not come from technology saving us. We can use it as a tool of our work resistance, but it’s not sustainable. What will be with us always are our hands. 3. It’s hands plural. We need to find one another, to find others, to stay with those friends who will stand by us and protect and defend us and the world. There are those we will not be able to save, but we will do what we can together, until we can do no more together. (Note: This is otherwise known as solidarity. We need solidarity as a force of resistance to the imperialist force of a culture that thrives on our fragmentation. The enemy is not the person next to you who is fighting the enemy with a gun to stop them from stealing your land and killing the living communities on the landbase. The enemy is the thieving state against which they would defend you and help make it possible to arrive at the life-restoring culture we need to shape. The enemy is not the co-worker who got a pay raise when you didn’t. The enemy is the economic system which pits us against one another, forcing us to compete for what we need to learn to share, or we will die. Sub-note: We’ll die anyway, but on the way, we can figure out ways to not rush the process on others or ourselves, and maybe extend the bounty of goodness that’s possible. So, solidarity is a force of resistance.)
I thought about that dream and its lessons, which my friend helped me clarify when I shared it with him, as I read the following articles (excerpts and links below), about funding the presidential candidate you can buy, about the lying liars lying, about the convenient timing of vast amounts of mineral wealth being reportedly found in Afghanistan, about what’s happening to the air water and wildlife in and around the Gulf (before it comes everyone else’s way), and more…in this order: 1. What We Are Up Against 2. What Is At Stake 3. What We Can Do To Stop This.
1. What We Are Up Against:
BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the largest chunk of their money going to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Donations come from a mix of employees and the company’s political action committees — $2.89 million flowed to campaigns from BP-related PACs and about $638,000 came from individuals….On top of that, the oil giant has spent millions each year on lobbying — including $15.9 million last year alone — as it has tried to influence energy policy…. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/36783.html
Jason Linkins email@example.com HuffPost Reporting… BP Sends PR Professionals To Gulf Coast To Pretend To Be Journalists… Updated: 06-24-10 06:04 PM… NOTE: Usually, I try to do an excerpt to extrapolate more of the article to pique your interest. I don’t think it’s possible to make this any clearer!! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/24/bp-sends-pr-professionals_n_624686.html?ref=fb&src=sp
Expert suggests BP is hiding oiled animal carcasses…By David Edwards Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 — 9:49 am…”I’ve been able to get some pictures of BP raking up bird carcasses, separating heads from bodies,” Ott said later in the interview. “Supposedly, NOAA is saying, oh, these carcasses are all going to be autopsied so we can determine cause of death. You`re not going to autopsy a carcass where the head is removed from the body. So, in my opinion, there’s a very strong attempt, not only to control and minimize how much oil was spilling, but now, to control the evidence of the damage, the appearance of carcasses.” http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0615/expert-suggests-bp-hiding-oiled-animal-carcasses/
BP Launches ‘Aggressive’ Social Media Campaign, But Disables Comments From Users Who Don’t ‘Like’ It…BP… “…Facebook BP has been making a major public relations push over the past few weeks to burnish its image in the wake of the massive devastation it has caused in the Gulf. The company began buying oil-related search terms to make its official site show up first in search engines….” http://thinkprogress.org/2010/06/21/bp-social-media/
Cracks Show BP Was Battling Gulf Well as Early as February By Alison Fitzgerald and Joe Carroll – Jun 17, 2010…The Transocean Ltd. Development Driller III platform, leased by BP Plc, works to drill a relief well at the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill site. Photographer: Derick E. Hingle/Bloomberg…BP Plc was struggling to seal cracks in its Macondo well as far back as February, more than two months before an explosion killed 11 and spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico….Cracks in the surrounding rock continued to complicate the drilling operation during the ensuing weeks. Left unsealed, they can allow explosive natural gas to rush up the shaft….BP didn’t respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment. The company’s shares rose 22 pence to 359 pence today in London after the company struck a deal with the Obama administration yesterday to establish a $20 billion fund to pay cleanup costs and compensation. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-06-17/bp-struggled-with-cracks-in-gulf-well-as-early-as-february-documents-show.html
Published on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 by Inter Press Service Timing of Leak of Afghan Mineral Wealth Evokes Skepticism…by Jim Lobe…”The way in which the story was presented – with on-the- record quotations from the Commander in Chief of CENTCOM [Gen. David Petraeus], no less – and the weird promotion of a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense to Undersecretary of Defense [Paul Brinkley] suggest a broad and deliberate information operation designed to influence public opinion on the course of the war,” he added….The nearly 1,500-word article, based almost entirely on Pentagon sources and featured as the lead story in Monday’s ‘Early Bird’, a compilation of major national security stories that the Pentagon distributes each morning, asserted that Afghanistan may have close to one trillion dollars in untapped mineral deposits. These include “huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold, and critical industrial metals like lithium”, the story said….One “internal Pentagon memo” provided to the Times’ author, James Risen predicted that Afghanistan could become “the ‘Saudi Arabia of lithium,’ a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and Blackberrys”….In a hastily arranged press briefing Monday, Karzai’s spokesman, Waheed Omar, said the report was “the best news we have had over many years in Afghanistan”….Other commentators, however, suggested the news about Afghanistan’s underground wealth was not all that new. http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/06/15-0
May 18, 2010 7:58 PM GOP Blocks Oil Spill Liability Bill Posted by Stephanie Condon…Republicans for the second time blocked legislation that would increase oil companies’ liability for oil spill damages, setting off criticism from Democrats seeking to make BP pay for the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico….”This maneuver threatens to leave taxpayers, rather than the oil companies, on the hook for future disasters like the BP oil spill,” he said. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20005333-503544.html
Who Owns BP? Biggest Shareholder is JPMorgan Chase Saturday, June 12, 2010 Who Owns BP? Biggest Shareholder is JPMorgan Chase…In the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, BP’s stock value has plummeted, prompting news stories identifying the company’s largest investors. Oddly enough, some media outlets have failed to identify the largest BP shareholder: the U. S. investment firm JPMorgan Chase….According to the European financial database Amadeus, JPMorgan Chase is the No. 1 holder of stock in BP. http://www.allgov.com/Top_Stories/ViewNews/Who_Owns_BP__Biggest_Shareholder_is_JPMorgan_Chase_100612
Embattled BP asks 7 banks for $1 bln each -bankers…Reuters…June 18, 2010: 12:16 PM ET…* BP raises bilateral loans to bypass expensive bond market…* Seven banks providing $1 billion each – no US banks yet…* Loans to be priced inside CDS rates…By Tessa Walsh
2. What Are The Stakes:
Oil Leaking from the Sea Bed Floor: http://firedoglake.com/2010/06/18/breaking-bp-video-oil-leaking-through-cracks-in-floor-of-gulf/
BP Oil Spill / National WIldlife Federation Spec PSA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iesnDMz8HkM
June 21, 2010 at 12:00:39… Sharks and Submerged Oil Spell Trouble in the Gulf of Mexico…By Roger Shuler… “Sea life begins to die if oxygen levels drop below 2 parts per million….Graham found some areas where the oxygen level was below 1” http://www.opednews.com/articles/Sharks-and-Submerged-Oil-S-by-Roger-Shuler-100621-364.html
Air tests from the Louisiana coast reveal human health threats from the oil disaster http://www.southernstudies.org/2010/05/air-tests-from-the-louisiana-coast-reveal-human-health-threats-from-the-oil-disaster.html
North America faces years of toxic oil rain from BP oil spill chemical dispersants June 17, 12:30 PM Political Spin Examiner Maryann Tobin
BP’s Dispersant Could Cause Toxic Rain All Over East Coast posted by: Beth Buczynski 22 days ago… “…the oceans are part of a larger precipitation cycle, and scientists are worried that soon the consequences of using dispersants could be falling from the sky….A report prepared for prepared for President Medvedev by Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources warns that “a greater danger involving Corexit 9500… is that with its 2.61ppm toxicity level, and when combined with the heating Gulf of Mexico waters, its molecules will be able to “phase transition” from their present liquid to a gaseous state allowing them to be absorbed into clouds and allowing their release as “toxic rain” upon all of Eastern North America (European Union Times)….”
3. What We Can Do To Stop This:
Mining applications ‘frozen’ after protest in Philippines 24 June…Six hundred indigenous people and farmers took to the streets on Palawan Island in the Philippines on June 7, to protest against plans to mine nickel on their land….The demonstrators called upon the provincial government to prevent the companies Macro Asia and Ipilian Nickel Mining Corporation (INC) from mining…..The companies’ applications have been ‘frozen’ until all issues are clarified….The protestors called their demonstration a ‘Karaban’ rally; Karaban is the indigenous Palawan’s word for the bamboo quiver that contains darts for their blowpipes. It is a symbol of their identity, and signifies, they say, that they are willing to take ‘whatever action is necessary’ to stop the mining companies entering their traditional territories…” http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/6130
Revolutionary Study Guide on Indigenous People…Posted by Mike E on June 24, 2010…”…This short study guide hopes to educate both indigenous and non-indigenous readers about the roots, prospects and present state of the indigenous resurgence in North America. It briefly examines the long history of colonial oppression, including the use of sexism and sexual violence against Native women, and the suppression of traditional acceptance of LGBT people. It then looks at the state of current struggles, especially in Canada, and presents some of the ideas of contemporary Native activists and thinkers about how we should move forward in our struggle for liberation. Finally, it takes a quick look to the struggles of the Zapatistas in Mexico and the Maobadi in Nepal as examples of powerful living and dynamic revolutions against colonialism and capitalism….” http://kasamaproject.org/2010/06/24/study-guide-on-indigenous-people/
Stan Goff wrote: “Obama has always been intimidated by the military-security-intelligence establishment. He should be. They are a power unto themselves; and the Republicans have long embraced them as political partisans. Now he is confronted with the impression of not-being-in-charge if he doesn’t fire the criminal McChrystal, and the alternative of firing him, which puts him at odds with a public well-trained in its sycophancy before uniforms with shiny ribbons… http://www.feralscholar.org/blog/index.php/2010/06/17/the-obama-nosedive/#comment-390884 For the record, a lot of people think I have it in for Obama. I don’t. I have it in for a system that leads people inevitably into placing their faith in elected officials. This cult of personality that led to false hope among so many passionate and caring people was destined to unravel, not because of Obama, but because presidents don’t change … things. The people do. And I don’t mean voting. For starters, BP must be picketed relentlessly, boycotted, and harassed out of existence. The courts are stacked against the people, so legal means are already blockaded. The Black freedom movement has much to teach us, and the main lesson is that nonviolent disobedience of the law – on a mass scale – is necessary to resist domination.
I posted this earlier this week, in the “hole in… head…” post, but contained in it is info (link) about the Hands Across the Sand Action THIS WEEKEND, so here it is again–It’s the second link into this short commentary about effective action from artist Stephanie McMillan…
The Math of Resistance Share Today at 9:30am On Monday, a small group went inside the BP command center in New Orleans to confront those responsible for the spill.
This protest was symbolic; a small number of people couldn’t really disrupt the activities of BP.
Imagine, though, if they had a few hundred angry and determined people. Then they could have shut that place down.
Small numbers + confrontation = symbolic (with potential for effectiveness)
* * *
Hundreds or thousands of people will hold hands on beaches worldwide this weekend, protesting the catastrophe in the Gulf and demanding an end to offshore drilling.
This might be personally cathartic for some, but how will this stop the atrocities? Will the oil companies and governments of the world care about what people want, and respond accordingly? They have demonstrated time and again that they do not, and will not.
Large numbers – confrontation = symbolic (without potential for effectiveness)
* * *
On Sunday in Oakland, CA, hundreds of people blockaded an Israeli ship to protest Israel’s blockade of Gaza. The union workers at the docks refused to cross the picket line, and commerce was disrupted.
Large numbers + confrontation = effective action!
This is why it’s important to confront the actual centers of power. Location, location, location.
* * *
How will the people overthrow those in power, and put a stop to exploitation and ecocide?
Large numbers + organization + a plan + confrontation = revolution
BP is burning sea-turtles in the Gulf of Mexico… by Roxanne Amico
Kindra Arnesen at the NOLA Gulf Emergency Summit
In Deep Water: A Way of Life in Peril
West’s Afghan Debacle: Commander Dismissed As War Deaths Reach Record Level by Rick Rozoff
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Thank you for being so thorough and dedicated. This article is a valuable resource, i’ll be sharing it where i can.
Thank you Roxanne.
I feel the Hands Across the Sands event may appear ineffectual because basically it was just people holding hands on the beach for 15 minutes, but don’t underestimate how community building happens, how activist seeds get planted, and how it brought people who care together for future events. I met some pretty cool people at this event, and who knows what could happen from this.
Thanks, Margo. And thanks for participating in this action.