On Saturday, Waging Nonviolence editors Eric Stoner and Bryan Farrell were arrested while reporting on and participating in the Tar Sands Action against the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which Bryan wrote about last week. They will be held longer than expected—until today, we’re told.
I received a phone message from Bryan on Saturday night, in which he said that he is well—and, in fact, is sharing a jail cell with Bill McKibben, one of the action’s leading organizers. Our main concern was that Eric, who has cystic fibrosis, will have access to the medicine he needs daily, but it appears that he has been sent to a hospital for treatments. Sunday was also his birthday, so we were anxious that it was celebrated properly in the slammer.
Bryan concluded his message on a high note:
This is really something. I just hope that more people show up tomorrow, that this doesn’t scare them, because that’s what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to intimidate the rest of the protesters.
He got his wish. On Sunday, 50 more protesters were arrested.
Ironically, one of the reasons that the Park Police are being so aggressive is that they’re acting on behalf of some strange interpretation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s memory. According to the action organizers’ press release:
On a phone call late this afternoon, U.S. Park Police told organizers of the sit-in that the jail time was expressly intended as a deterrent for future participants.
The Park Police were especially concerned that sit-ins would continue during the week of events beginning on August 28 surrounding the dedication of a new memorial to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., one of the greatest exponents of creative nonviolence.
Keep waging, guys!
Small farmers in Oregon, backed by a coalition of animal rights and climate activists, secured a big legislative victory over industrial factory farms, providing inspiration for wider action.
Once I decided that violence was not an option, I found the humanity in my fellow prisoners through the simple act of sharing food.
Political educator Harmony Goldberg discusses whether the ideological traditions of the left are helpful for practical organizing.