my sister shares her story about the I-69 tree sit

This past weekend a tree sit protesting I-69 was “evicted” by DNR, the Indiana State Police, and other “law enforcement” agencies. My sister was right in the middle of (some of) the action, and she’s shared her story on her blog.

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Let’s hear it for the democratic process

Depending on which study one considers credible either 70% or 90+% of people in Indiana are opposed to construction of a new-terrain extension of I-69 from Indianapolis through southwestern Indiana. The major pocket of support is among business interests in the Evansville area.

This project is highly problematic for numerous reasons, including but not limited to its connection with NAFTA and globalization infrastructure (which will increase development of maquiladora factories in Mexico and increasingly undermine what little power labor has left in many American sectors, driving down prices of goods while simultaneously decreasing average people’s ability to purchase such goods), environmental problems (including the disruption of endangered bat habitats), depletion of usable farmland, budget problems (the budget has officially increased over 200% in the last five years, not counting an outside estimate that doubles THAT projected cost when figuring in increased fuel costs over the past three years), and other problems.

I-69 is a lie, and possibly a dangerous one at that if one factors in the fact that the road is being built in a somewhat geologically unstable area in parts of the state – a fact that can only be accounted for by geological survey features being deliberately obscured by or criminal ignorance on the part of those who are responsible for determining the route. In the Indiana University Kelley School of Business report that is being cited as reasons for why the highway is potentially economically beneficial, the proposed budget cost per job is over $500,000. This was before the official budget doubled twice and studies came out suggesting the budget as it stands now is too low. That’s $500,000 for every fast-food joint, convenience store, and crappy motel job along the route, a cost that is not likely to be returned any time soon.

I can provide sources for this material later, but I’m in between classes and have to scoot. The point of all this semi-coherent rambling is…

Today they began demolition along the route in Zone 1 in southwestern Indiana. There was legally-sufficient prior notice about the letting of construction permits (through a pdf buried in the BFE regions of INDOT’s web site), but they didn’t exactly go out of their way to let anyone know.

Three cheers for democracy!

For information about practical ways you can oppose this project, visit the Roadblock Earth First! website. This highway is not fully funded (not even close), can still be stopped, and should be fought on every available front.

Disclaimer: This author does not consider acts of violence against human beings to be legitimate forms of resistance. True liberation is liberating for the oppressors as well as the oppressed.

Speaking engagements and new zine

I have a couple of confirmed speaking engagements coming up and another possible one.

“Jesus and the Anarchists”
Saturday, March 22
7 pm
ASC Infoshop
600 SE 2nd St. (upstairs from Penny Lane Coffeehouse)
Evansville, Indiana

“Sacred Anarchy: The Image of God and Political (Dis)Order”
Cornerstone Festival
Underground/Alternative Subcultures tent
Date and time not yet finalized (festival is June 30-July 5)

And I might do a session at the national Food Not Bombs gathering in Nashville, Tennessee.

In addition to speaking engagements, I’ve also written a zine based on my session from the Cynicism and Hope conference in Evanston, Illinois last November, as distilled through my article from Catapult Magazine later that month. If you download it here you may freely reproduce it without royalty as long as you either give it away or sell it at cost. If you wish to reproduce it for any other reason, or to sell it above cost to help support a collective, event, or other worthy cause, contact me and I’ll work with you. I also plan to have copies available when I do talks and the like. It is a 16-page pamphlet with two pages printed on each sheet of 8.5″ x 11″ paper, landscape orientation. I recommend printing on both sides of the paper both to save trees and space. I hope it’s helpful for you!

Radical Hope: Anarchism, Christianity, and the Prophetic Imagination

In other news, I did a nearly four-hour interview with Matt Dellinger of the New Yorker about I-69 and resistance for a book he’s working on. It won’t likely be out for quite some time, a couple of years at least, but if I’m still blogging at that point I’ll mention when it comes out.

Anti-I69 consulta this weekend

An anti-I69 consulta will be held this weekend here in Evansville, Indiana to discuss resistance strategies and tactics. See the Roadblock Earth First! Stop I-69 website for more information.

New Roadblock EF anti-I69 site

Check it out, there’s a lot of good information there both on I-69 and on some general radical and environmental topics.

I-69 planners on ‘High Alert’

story from Evansville Courier-Press

I-69 is essentially the NAFTA highway.

NAFTA superhighway built under the radar screen – from WorldNetDaily
NAFTA superhighways threaten North America – from Asphalt Strawberry

If completed, it would stretch from Canada to Mexico and would be a part of the corporate strategic machine for enabling the more efficient flow of goods, workers (legal and illegal), and other resources across borders. There has already long been concern about NAFTA in the unionized sector of America, and the latest bruhaha over Mexican truckers now being allowed on US roads, and it should seem a simple matter of course that I-69 would contribute mightily to the economic devastation so-called “free trade” agreements will wreak on countries with more developed economic protections, as well as provisions for labor, environmental, and occupational safety interests (lesser-developed countries without these provisions being not given the chance to develop them in order to be allowed into the international business club – of course, only on the terms set by the big players, aka the USA).

The amazing thing is that in rural southwestern Indiana, particularly in Petersburg (where I’m from), people actually believe I-69 will be a kind of economic salvation for the region. They simply don’t understand that I-69 is a cog in the NAFTA machine that has already cost thousands of people in the US their jobs, and has undermined job stability as well as labor interests all over the country. They see as their salvation the very thing that will contribute to their further devastation. I can’t say I blame them for it entirely though – hope born of desperation combined with a near-unanimous message from the mainstream media touting the putative benefits of the highway are a powerful combination.

See the Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads web site for detailed information and studies that disprove claims that I-69 will economically benefit southwestern Indiana, as well as studies that show the truth about the potential environmental impact on the region. See the Earth First! I-69 site for information on local and regional action against the highway.

I-69 will not benefit the people of southwest Indiana nor the people of the United States; all it will do will be to increase the wealth of those whose pockets are already lined with the blood and sweat of those whom they exploit.

Unfortunately, evictions along the proposed highway route have already begun. On the brighter side, though, I didn’t even know there was an eco-anarchist scene in Indiana, and this weekend I had the privilege of meeting several of them.

Resistance is NOT futile! We will work to keep you updated on the situation and to provide more information about I-69 and the growing resistance.