Statement upon the eve of direct action against the Keystone XL Pipeline



Luther, OK


By Eamon Danzig

We shouldn’t have to be here. None of us should. Every person, no matter religion, race,
creed or nationality, wants to live free with peace and liberty within a clean environment and to do the
right thing. When the majority of the people in the world have almost none of these things, whereas a
relative few people within “developed” nations have immense wealth and safety, it should tell us that
something with our current global system is terribly wrong. The mere fact that any human being should
have to sacrifice their free agency and well being in order to procure a sustainable future for the planet
gives testament to a political structure that is illegitimate in that it is not in favor of the establishment of a
real democracy based upon lines of voluntary contract, co-operation and mutual aid, essentially taking the
fate of our own political reality into our own hands. No, the Keystone XL pipeline is but one of many
manifestations of an economic and political structure that does not have the best interest of people in
mind. Transcanada, as well as any enterprise of commerce within the system of capitalism has one goal
and one goal only, to maximize absolutely the amount of profits that they can make within a given
quarter. When any one of the multinational corporations such as Exxon Mobil or Transcanada, the earth
devouring industries of fossil fuels and urban “development,” use their immense wealth and influence to
pay politicians to favor certain policy implementations, backed by the threat of state violence and
repression, we have what is by definition corporate fascism. States are violent institutions. And that
violence is fully realized when on the other side of a police bludgeon, someone is locking themselves to a
piece of machinery that is, for lack of better words, destroying their way of life. No less, because of the
threat of global climate change, the lives of the people and the greater living ecosystems of this planet.

But more than this, what is it about us activists putting our well being and comfort on the line
that makes us so bold and willing to commit acts of civil disobedience or otherwise? Perhaps, it would
be helpful to many to understand what we understand, to see the empirical evidence of deteriorating
ecosystems and then ask ourselves just what our capacity really is for rage, despair, for humanity.
Personally the issue that drives me, outside of the underlying dominant problematic structure of state
capitalism and it’s need to dominate and consume everything, is the issue of global climate change
and the needless destruction of ecosystems integral to the well being of life on this planet. The
misunderstanding of the logic of the warming of our atmosphere says more about the inadequacy of a
corporate dominant media structure that has no interest other than to serve the interest of the financial
elite than it does about the difficulty of the science.

It’s quite simple really. The burning of fossil fuels by the process of combustion
involves the introduction of oxygen with the carbon element of fuel, thus creating a chemical reaction
bonding the carbon and oxygen into carbon dioxide (C+O2=CO2). Carbon dioxide then acts as a warming
mechanism or a blanket over earth’s atmosphere, trapping heat. When the carbon dioxide becomes too
prevalent in the atmosphere it creates an energy imbalance between the amounts of energy absorbed from

the sun in contrast to how much energy is capable of being released from the earth. NASA’s top climate
scientist, James Hansen, has stated that at the current level of 397.24 parts per million of atmospheric
carbon dioxide it is the equivalent of 400,000 Hiroshima bombs being set off within our atmosphere
every day. That is not a joke, it is a crisis. According to the National Research Council, this current level
of atmospheric CO2 could raise global temperatures by as much as 2.5ºC by the year 2030. On a local
scale this doesn’t seem to account for much, but on a global scale a temperature increase of that much
will acidify oceans to the point of exterminating much of the aquatic life that give the ocean the ability to
produce the food and oxygen we and the rest of the species on the planet need, it will increase mass
desertification of once fertile areas, it will increase the rise in sea levels to the point that many previously
habitable areas will no longer be accessible, it will increase the amount and intensity of precipitation and
major storms, it will continuously ruin life within the major forests of the world that give us oxygen and
necessary life resources. In other words, we’re stumbling towards and un-livable planet. Critics of the
human agency within this process fail to point out that this increase in global atmospheric CO2, although
it has been as high as it is during pre-historic times, has increased dramatically since the historical
beginning of industrialization prevalent within the 19th century, carrying on until the present. No natural
phenomenon on earth could produce this substantial increase.

Now that’s just climate change. Our continual industrial development of the natural
world, which is needless and justifiable only on the terms of an untrue assumption that we ought to kill
for the sake of appetite and comfort, kills 200 species a day, all life that is integral to the inner workings
of our life giving ecosystems. Industrialization is the reason that 78% of indigenous old growth forests,
as well as over 75% of ocean life are gone. Industrialization continuously places human beings in
positions in which they must be wage slaves for a few rich elites that profit from their labor because of
capitalism’s continual need for growth and labor exploitation. Industrialization is why, if we don’t do
something to re-imagine our society and act, we will go down as the most stupid and wasteful generation
in human history. We have the brains, the technology and the resources to create and entirely free,
egalitarian and sustainable society free of poverty, war and ecological destruction and we refuse to do it.
I hardly think that this is because ordinary people hate those things. If we take a quick look at the world,
I think it is arguably .99% of the population making up a global monopoly on the use of resources and
force that cause 99% of the world’s problems. It is not the ordinary person who befuddles a sustainable
future. It is the leaders of the means of controlling resources, namely those such as Transcanada, Exxon
Mobil, GE, to name a few, and the forces of the state that back them with the violence of their police and
military. It is under this model that it isn’t hard to see that any government, any institution that aims to
take the destiny of human beings out of their own hands is merely a criminal gang with flags.

This is why we’re here to do direct action. Many of us are through appealing to a state apparatus
that has no interest in our opinions or well being. We no longer have that card in our deck when it comes
to stopping this pipeline. All other less militant means of creating change have already been exhausted.
Direct action is about taking the power that inherently belongs to every person into their own hands, to act
as though the state apparatus, an illegitimate institution, did not exist and to treat every person involved
in backing it’s authority not as members of that authority but rather as human beings themselves, able to
make their own choices between right and wrong. It is an appeal to conscience, but more than that it is a
direct confrontation with the illegitimate authority seeking the welfare of markets rather than all life on
this planet, to literally put your “bodies upon the gears, and upon the levers.” I participate in direct action
because I am compelled by the life of this planet which is the source of all life, because when I think with

my whole being I know that the violent destruction of life for the sake of profit is wrong and what’s more
this truth is apparent to every person’s conscience if they would choose to follow it. The extraction of
tar sands is the largest industrial project in human history and if we do not act now then the future of our
planet and all of the life therein is at risk of extinction. My own well being and my comfort level are not
nearly as important in comparison to the well being of all life on this planet. My inaction is a form of
consent, and thus inaction is no longer an option.

“Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

-Amos 5:24-