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Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Activism – A Participant’s POV by NancyWH

January 21, 2015  SOTS Address

It was suggested I diary about how NYS was able to ban fracking, as our fellow humans in Pennsylvania are dying to know how we pulled it off. The problem is, I don’t know I was a participant, not an organizer.

So I decided to write this from a participant’s POV, as getting people to participate is what adds up to victory.

Personally, I would love to repay the people from towns like Dimock, PA, who showed up to our Albany rallies with bottles of contaminated water, and their personal stories of what fracking has done to their homes, families, and communities. IMHO, getting there boils down to three main points. Please proceed below, and I will explain.

Connect. Unite. Act.

Sound familiar? I will break it down, point by point.

CONNECT

AKA, make connections. I would love to help you. I asked my fellow New Yorkers, on the bus to the Albany State of the State Address, how did we do this? What links would you suggest people look into?

I was directed to Shalefield Stories by Earthworks. I was directed to the Public Health Review, the health study Cuomo cited in his fracking ban. But these were information sites.

What I needed was something like a Facebook page. I know many here think of Facebook as the Devil’s Playground. I don’t use it to argue politics with someone I knew 40 years ago in High School. It’s where I hear about the next rally, a related group’s rally, the new petition, the phone numbers to call, or email addresses to shoot off a comment.

Personally, I was contacted by local Citizens Action, New Yorkers Against Fracking, and Sierra Club, Susquehanna Chapter, about their events, related events, last minute events, and reminders about events. If Cuomo was going to be somewhere, a post would go out over Facebook with a link to the event, and whoever could showed up. Sometimes there were 5 or 6 people, sometimes there were 40-50. Not everybody can make ever rally. But the more people you have in your contact group, there more people are available to try to get there. And it adds up.

We had 2,000 plus people in Albany for the SOTS this year. On the bus ride home, our Pennsylvania contingent mentioned they could have used a crowd that size at the Harrisburg State of the State. But when someone asked where we could contact them, no one was able to give me a quick, easy to remember link. Help me find you! Please go to the links I listed above, and reach out. Post a link to your group. Kos mail me, and I will remind the people on the Albany bus that we said we would help Pennsylvania in return! Hey, my mom and my paternal grandfather were born in PA. It’s my second home state. I would have loved to have gone to the Harrisburg SOTS, but no one asked me.

UNITE

AKA, get people together. Buses. Book buses. Buses I have taken, and who or what sponsored them:

Bus to 1/18/14 NY SOTS Address.
PEF bus to Albany 1/8/14

New York State University Teachers sponsored the bus to the 50th anniversary of the MLK March on Washington, DC.

Bus Captain, directing people to buses.

Sierra Club, two buses to NYC Climate Change Rally, 9/21/14.

Two bus loads to NYC Rally for Climate Change.

Sierra Clubs bus to Washington, DC 350 Climate Change rally, 2/17/13.

5:30 am bus to Washington 350 Climate Change rally, 2/17/13.

I’m on 350.org mailing list. I learned about the climate change rallies in DC and NYC months ahead, and that’s where I got the links to the Sierra Club.

I get most of my Albany rally info from my Union. Albany gets so many Union sponsored buses from across the state, bus captains hold up signs, so we get back on the correct bus. One Albany trip, we were there as Union members to save services from the ax. An anti-frack group was there that same day, to attend a meeting on fracking.

I think it would be easier to get 60 people to take a bus to an event than it would be to convince 60 people to drive their car for 2 or 3 hours, even with carpooling. I also donate above and beyond the cost of my ticket, to subsidize student rates, or just plain provide a seat for someone with more heart than money. And help people get to the buses, especially if they leave early in the morning. I took a carload of students from SUNY-Binghamton campus to the bus pick up and back, when it was too early or late for campus buses. I have given rides to and from buses to people with transportation issues. I will post messages offering rides for the next rally. Drum up all the help you can get, to have the most people get to your event.

ACT

I never planned any of the events I attended. I was given a date, and a location. I was offered links to buy a seat on the bus, and to donate. I sometimes make my own sign, but sometimes it was easier to just grab one of the ready made ones. People brought drinks and snacks to pass around. Sometimes, we would collect for pizzas. We were provided with subway passes in DC, to get to and from JFK stadium bus parking and the Mall. I have even been provided with lunch vouchers, twice.

The bus captains collected emails addresses, cell numbers, whatever we could give them. They wanted to be sure they could contact us about the next event. We were provided with cell numbers for the captains in case we got lost on the way back to the bus, which has happened.

Also, plan ahead. Driving to Geneva, NY, I forgot that the middle of Ithaca is still recovering from this, last summer:

Where the car carrier crashed, in front of my grandson.

Yep, crashed right in front of my grandson, who took this picture. [Notice the No Frack sign in the store window!] I don’t know Ithaca well, and had to get the cell phone with the GPS out twice, to find my way around it.

Here are two of the people who made things happen in New York, speaking at the Celebration Rally in Albany. Isaac was out main anti-fracking leader in NY. Post links to your events on New Yorkers Against Fracking, and Isaac will be sure to get the word out! I hope I can attend a celebration rally in Pennsylvania soon!

Isaac Silberman-Gorn

I apologize ahead of time for the Josh Fox video quality. Many people brought profession recording devices, but no videos have been posted so far, that I can find. I had to break it up into three parts to download it from my cell phone:

Josh Fox Part 1

Josh Fox Part 2

Josh Fox Part 3

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Since I wrote the bulk of this diary, I found additional links of current and future activism in this region:

Food and Water Watch:

Energy Justice Shale Convergence! March 13-16th in Susquehanna County, PA (the most densely drilled area in the state).

Grass Root Solutions

I connected with people in Great Britain off of Detroit Water Brigade, and now we share pictures of our rallies on Facebook, to keep each other motivated.

One last thing. This is my home, from the top of the hill. I have seen the pictures coming out of Pennsylvania. I want them to look like this. Please, help me help you!

Home

***********************************************************************
A few “Thank you”s, for links, ideas, and encourgement:

rjsigmund for:
No Fracking Way and
i cite

northsylvania for:
theguardian; What the UK Could Learn from New Yorks Fracking Ban

I will most likely be boarding the bus after the NYC Kossacks Meet Up heading home when this publishes at 6 pm. Not every bus has wi-fi, so I will take my notebook with me, as it runs off my cell phone connection. There will be many dead spots in the hills and mountains going back up, but we can think of it as an awesome game of phone tag! Ciao!

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