Last week, Mountain Justice and RAMPS stopped nine coal trucks and a coal bargeafter the Mountain Justice Summer Action Camp. These actions showed once again that people are willing to put their bodies on the line to stop the plunder of Appalachia and raised the spirits of West Virginians fighting to save their home, but Larry Gibson reminded us our work is not done.“Everything has to get bigger from here,” Larry said. “We need to put our backs up against the wall and not back down. The 99% means nothing if we don’t all support each other. No matter what our positions are we must come together.”
Larry is right. To win our struggles against the extraction industries, we will have to band together. The fight against strip mining has been gaining ground over the last few years (here, here and here), but King Coal will keep stripping to the bitter end and leave Appalachia with nothing unless we act now. It was only after aggressive direct action in the 60s and 70s that the political will was created to address strip mining on a federal level. If we want strip mining to end and restoration work to begin; if we want a post-coal future that is more than devastated landscapes, rampant fracking, and deepening poverty; if we want a healthy and whole Appalachia, we must escalate our resistance.
At PowerShift 2011, currently imprisoned activist Tim DeChristopher pointed out, “With only the people in this room, we could send 30 people onto a mountaintop removal site, shut it down temporarily, start to clog up the West Virginia court system. And we could send 30 people the day after that and the day after that and the day after that every day for a year. I believe we would never get to the end of that year because mountaintop removal would end before we reached that point.”
This summer we will take the first step toward that vision. Come to southern West Virginia on July 25. RAMPS will host a mobilization where people will prepare to take nonviolent direct action to shut down a strip mine. We are calling for as many people as possible to come together and do what the politicians, the regulators and the courts have been unwilling to do; to defend the land and the people; to stop strip mining.
The success of this depends on your participation. Whatever your skills, availability, or ability to risk arrest, there are ways for you to make this mobilization a success. To join ongoing working groups or find out more about ways to participate, please email [email protected]. We also deeply need your financial support. Please donate today so RAMPS can continue its vital work. Most importantly, spread the word.
We are all in a David versus Goliath struggle for our future, but Goliath is starting to stumble. With our survival at stake, we can unite and we can win.
Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival