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Texas Rises in Solidarity with #Ferguson and #MichaelBrown

austin-protest

Hundreds of people across Texas have staged rallies across the state in solidarity with those in Ferguson, Mo., rallying for justice after the racist police murder of Michael Brown.

Hundreds rallied in Austin to show support for victims of police violence.

In Dallas, where police have killed several Black men in recent years, local politicians unveiled plans Aug. 18 to more thoroughly investigate police shootings. Dallas police representatives have been publicly critical of cops in Ferguson.

In Houston, residents rallied in front of the Houston Police Department in solidarity with Ferguson protests.

As Will Falk writes, “Whether we like it or not, our communities ARE war zones. How else do we account for a black man being killed by cops and vigilantes every 28 hours? How else do we account for more black men in prison than were enslaved in 1850? How else do we account for the fact that one in four American women will be raped in her lifetime? How else do we account for the fact that in America a solid percentage of rape perpetrators are cops? How else do we account for 100 – 200 species a day going extinct? How else do we account for carcinogens in every mother’s breast milk? How else do we account for the 250 trees – with lives as valuable to them as your life is valuable to you – cut down around the world a second?”

More cities in Texas are expected to announce demonstrations soon.

Austin’s Wheatsville to Vote on Booting Anti-Woman Eden Foods

Wheatsville-Austin

Member-owners of Austin’s Wheatsville Co-op have gathered enough signatures to remove products of Eden Foods off its shelves, amid revelations of Eden CEO Michael Potter’s anti-woman views.

Eden Foods was among the companies that called for blocking the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act, siding with Hobby Lobby in its case before the Supreme Court. Wheatsville owners collected 500 signatures to have Eden Foods removed from the co-op.

The Austin Chronicle reports on the vote and Potter’s extreme perspective, which the company reflects.”Eden’s stance on contraception goes well beyond Hobby Lobby’s opposition to the four forms of contraception the craft giant views (without scientific backing) as abortifacients,” the paper says. “Devoutly Catholic Potter, and by extension Eden, opposes all forms of contraception.”

Eden Foods is among green capitalism’s major players, with products intended to seemingly promote sustainability as a product choice. As consumers are seeing more often, conscientious, environmentally friendly consumerism is increasingly becoming a ploy of the rich to sell their wares, even when the companies don’t adhere to the values they imply when pitching their products. Salon has written on the green capitalist company’s far-right politics. It detailed the organic foods firm’s agenda in the wake of its Supreme Court partnering against the ACA:

Until now, Eden Foods’ conservative advocacy litigation has remained mostly under the radar, even as their marketing seems designed to appeal to liberals, from the slogan ”Organic agriculture is society’s brightest hope for positive change” to the ’60s imagery and the use of the word “revolution” in some of its print marketing. The company’s mission statement includes its goal to “contribute to peaceful evolution on earth,” “to maintain a healthy, respectful, challenging, and rewarding environment for employees,” and to “cultivate sound relationships with other organizations and individuals who are like minded and involved
in like pursuits.”

It’s not the first time a company with a nebulously progressive image has actually been led by someone whose politics would horrify many of its customers. John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, has publicly campaigned against the Affordable Care Act, including recently referring to it as “fascism.” And Lululemon’s executive adulation for Ayn Rand became famous when the yoga products company printed bags asking, “Who is John Galt?” But while those companies have been raked over the coals, Eden Foods’ efforts have largely gone unnoticed.

Eden Foods’ employees are covered under Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan, but until recently, Potter was able to exclude what the insurance company deemed (hilariously) “Lifestyle Drugs.” (Some rare consistency: The exclusion also included Viagra.) But once Potter became aware that the company’s plan had begun to cover contraception in accordance with the Obamacare regulations, he teamed up with Thomas More Law Center to sue. The center focuses on violations of “religious freedom,” including in connection with the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” They also represented Pastor Terry Jones, who became famous for his plan to burn Qurans on the anniversary of 9/11.

They filed suit on March 20, 2013, against Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and other government parties, demanding an exemption, despite the fact that Eden Foods is a for-profit company. Two days later, District Court Judge Denise Page Hood denied an emergency motion to be exempted, writing, “Courts have held that the Mandate in question applies only to the corporate entity, not to its officers or owners, and that as to the individual owners, any burden imposed on them individually by the contraception mandate is remote[.]” She added, “The purpose of the Women’s Preventive Healthcare Regulations is not to target religion, but instead to promote public health and gender equality.”

ThinkProgress pointed out later that Potter’s dispute with his company providing female employees the appropriate coverage had nothing to do with religion, but rather an objection that government had set rules.

A general election ballot to boot Eden Foods from Austin’s major co-op happens between September 1 and November 3.

 It’s come to the attention of Deep Green Resistance Austin that a group of individuals who may or may not be connected to Occupy Austin plan to hold a rally outside the offices of Stratfor, a locally based for-profit intelligence company that has had contact with undercover cops within the Occupy Austin movement and that has been speculating about our own organization from the outside – and incompetently so.

We distance ourselves from these individuals and their planned action. They are not members of Deep Green Resistance and do not represent Deep Green Resistance. We do not wish these individuals any ill will, but we believe their chosen course of action for tomorrow is immature, not strategic, and ineffectual in adequately addressing surveillance and repression. Denouncing state and corporate surveillance and repression in this way does not further our capacity to meaningfully resist it.

I am with Deep Green Resistance, also known as DGR. My message is for everyone here.

I implore the Department of State to stop the KeystoneXL. Exploiting the tar sands would further the global climate disaster. If you refuse to protect our home, then it’s time for the people to start fighting back effectively.

Tim DeChristopher is a climate activist currently in prison on a two- year sentence for a successful act of civil disobedience. Tim has said, “I think the consequence of not fighting back is far scarier than the consequence of going to prison for a few years.”

The consequence of not fighting back is business as usual, the continued destruction of our home. We are running out of time. Meanwhile, TransCanada gets rich, while others work multiple jobs just to get by. The poor are poor not for lack of jobs, but b/c the rich and the powerful are stealing from the poor.

DGR is a new, radical environmental movement with a plan of action for anyone determined to fight for the planet – and win.

Our strategy involves two separate parts of the movement – an aboveground and an underground. We are the aboveground and therefore our day-to-day work is strictly limited to nonviolence. We are helping to build a strong, effective, aboveground movement using nonviolent civil disobedience to stop the destruction of the planet, and we are promoting the necessity of a militant underground.

Throughout history, many resistance movements have included an underground that does actions against infrastructure, because it is effective. We need to be effective. So for those here today who are able and willing, this part of our message is for you: We need to stop industrial civilization. This will require an underground organization that can engage in decisive attacks on a continental scale. There are manuals—written by your tax dollars—that can tell you how to do this.

For those here today who prefer to be in an aboveground movement and use nonviolence, as we do, our message, like Tim’s message, is that our nonviolent movements will have to do much more in order to be successful.

We can only succeed in our aboveground work if there are massive waves of nonviolent civil disobedience, in sustained campaigns at key nodes of industry. We are currently building a coalition of individuals and organizations to make this happen to stop the Keystone XL.

This means we do a campaign and we don’t go home till it’s done. This means sacrifice; clogging the jails, possibly for months. We will also need a wide base of people willing to support those who put their bodies between industry and the planet. TransCanada and others who profit from the destruction of our lives and the planet are relentless and 100% committed. We must be as relentless and committed in our strategy, bravery, and sacrifice.

Approve the KeystoneXL if you must, but my friends and I will not let it be built.

To find out more, or if your organization is interested in joining the coalition, please speak with me and visit our website – deepgreenresistance.org – to watch for our upcoming announcement of a next step toward stopping the tar sands.

To the Department of State: do what is right. Protect your home. Do not allow the Keystone XL project to go forward. Don’t mess with Texas. Thank you for your time.

“What if we fight back, but lose?” Derrick Jensen’s response is something like this.

There are basically three possibilities.

1. Don’t fight back. Let the dominant culture keep going.

2. Fight back, and lose.

3. Fight back, and win.

In possibility 1, the dominant culture keeps going, keeps destroying anything wild and free, and everything that gives us our life, and anything worth loving. It’s not sustainable however – the dreams of the technotopians notwithstanding – so it will eventually collapse. But along the way, it will take out as much as it can. Air will be poisoned. Water will be poisoned. Soil will be destroyed. Species that have been evolving for tens of millions of years will be wiped out. The natural processes that support life on the planet will be severely disrupted. (And all of this is happening now, you know.) Basically, the world will be destroyed.

In possibility 2, the dominant culture keeps going, keeps destroying anything wild and free, and everything that gives us our life, and anything worth loving. The resistance is neutralized by the dominant culture, or fails for some other reason, but at least some of us have fulfilled our moral obligation to defend the Earth, our home, that which has given us our very minds and bodies. Or you could say that the Earth defends itself, through the resistance. In the end, though, the world will be destroyed.

In possibility 3, the resistance forces the dominant culture to stop and creates the conditions for sustainable societies to emerge. Before it stops, perhaps it takes out a lot, but not as much as it would were it allowed to continue. Some of the damage will be permanent. Much of will be reversible, either through natural processes, or through human effort. Immediately after the collapse, there’s a good possibility that things will be not so great. In the long term, however, things will be better than before collapse. (And if you think about it, how could it possibly be worse than the dominant culture destroying the world?)

In the end, we have nothing to lose by fighting back. It’s the only possibility for saving the world from destruction, after all. This culture is insane, and it’s not going to stop by itself. Not fighting back isn’t really an option, is it? If we fight and win, we have everything to gain. If we fight and lose, at least we gave it our best effort. We have nothing to lose anyway. What are they going to do? Destroy the Earth twice?!

A friend and I took a walk in the woods today. See where the bunch of trees are in the map? Right around there. Little animals scurried away from us in the tall grass. I crouched down by a log and heard the chirping of an individual cricket. I had never listened to one so closely before; I could hear it kind of getting revved up, and then winding down. There was a great stone cliff covered in red lichen and dark green ferns. Fossils of sea shells littered the dry creekbed. The twisted branches of oak trees arched over our heads.

PS: Check out the Austin Nature & Science Center. It’s really quite nice.