Posted by: Deb Henry | 05/10/2011

Charges DROPPED for 21 arrested during Power Shift 2011 at the Department of the Interior

The Department of Interior dropped charges for the 21 arrested during Reclaim Power March organized by Rising Tide North America on April 18, 2011.

What does the dropping of charges mean for our movement?

Essentially, the United State government told the activists who risked their freedom on April 18th that they’re not willing to argue with the necessity of their actions. The government gave in. They do not want to spend time or money taking activists to court to dissuade other activists from taking action.

Today is a window of opportunity for our movement to engage in more acts of nonviolent civil disobedience.

I’ve noticed that some in my community (here in Utah) seem to forget (or ignore…) the critical value of civil disobedience in our nation’s history. The point of civil disobedience is not to thumb your nose at democracy. Acts of civil disobedience show that the minor consequences of a citation or fine are small in comparison to the egregious abuse of our patriotism by passing laws that do not respect the values of this great country.

On February 1, 1960, four African American college students sat down at a lunch counter at Woolworth’s in Greensboro, North Carolina, and politely asked for service. Wave after wave of people demanded the recognition of the rights of all  by sitting down at the counters until the jail cells were full, the courts were full and the government was forced to make a decision. They needed to address whether their policy of separate but equal was worth continuing processing and prosecuting these activists or if this populist uprising was more in line with how the policies should look. The active resistance to inequality in our government ignited a youth-led movement to challenge inequality.

The decisions that spurred the action at the DOI (the approval by the Department of the Interior to release Wyoming’s Powder River Basin to coal mining, tar sands in Utah, hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, more drilling in the Gulf,  etc.) are examples of  sacrificing a real economy and the health of the local community for profiteering by corporations.  Ken Salazar claims this approval of Power River Basin is needed for the economy of Wyoming, but as evidenced by coal development in Coal River Valley in West Virginia, the coal corporations are constantly looking for ways to eliminate jobs to increase their profits and does NOT sustain the local economies.

Thank you to those of you who went to court today and reminded everyone why immediate action to ensure a livable future is a worthwhile and necessary approach to addressing climate change.

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Responses

  1. Thanks for writing on this, Deb! I agree that this is definitely an opportunity for the climate justice movement to up its game and increase the the scale of arrest-risking actions.

    AND, fortunately, these 21 activists won’t face a probationary period and can put their empowerment, conviction and energy toward upcoming actions elsewhere.

  2. [...] that they’re not willing to argue with the necessity of their actions," Peaceful Uprising member Deb Henry wrote on her blog Tuesday. "The government gave in. They do not want to spend time or money taking [...]

  3. [...] not willing to argue with the necessity of their actions,” Peaceful Uprising member Deb Henry wrote on her blog Tuesday. “The government gave in. They do not want to spend time or money taking [...]

  4. Deb, thanks for the update.
    On to Blair Mountain!


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