Bummer, but great job by “Nutty” and the fight goes on…
From Nutty: If you’re reading this, it means the monopod blockade is no more.
We knew it couldn’t last forever. That’s how this works.
If we rely on one location, one tactic, or one group of people to stop this pipeline, we will fail. But we’re not. I know that as this one facet of the struggle draws to conclusion, more people in other places are gaining momentum. The fire has already caught; we must not let it die.
It was a painful decision, to come down.
The food ran out on May 19th. The water is still plentiful, but as Fern defends this same road, a few more days of growing weaker before starting the process of recovering from this and figuring out other ways to fight don’t make sense to me.
And yet I don’t know how I can explain this to you in a way that won’t seem like a defeat. I can only remind you, and remind myself, that this was never about one action, but about a multifaceted struggle that will continue in each of us who tries to act, to live each moment in defiance of all that would make us silent, obedient, governable.
Yesterday, I knew it was the last night I would spend here. I looked up at the stars and the moon, at the leaves lit by floodlights, looking for the right words but finding only the hardness in my throat and tears in my eyes at what they will do to this piece of road when I am gone, at all the countless struggles that end in mourning and in loss.
This morning I tried to listen for what it was I should say in the harshly beautiful calls of ravens, and came up with the same answer: that words are not enough. No words can speak the full truth of eight weeks spent here. No matter what I make of them, my words cannot conjure fire.
If they have fed some flame already in you, then they have done their work. If they can call forward to me, in times to come when I want to give in and hide from everything, then they will have done all that I can hope for. I am leaving with a promise, a commitment born of long days and nights lying over forty feet up in a monopod and of twenty-two years learning that I exist within a civilization that I would rather die fighting than live quietly within. This is a battle happening everywhere, and I want to keep finding my place in it.
For the moment, in the wild and beautiful terrain of Appalachia, we are still here. They’re still trying to put a pipeline through.
So let’s keep learning from each other what is possible, build skills, experiment with tactics. Let’s build up our defenses against those who would constrain us.
If anyone was still unsure before, events thus far should have shown us that the cops and the state stand where they have always stood: on the side of the powerful, of exploitation, of turning land and water into profit.
Let’s dig deeper than this single pipeline struggle to attack the roots of what is ruining our world, confronting internal as well as external patterns and assumptions, facing the violent histories that still find their home in the present.
This land was already stolen, and private property shouldn’t exist any more than this pipeline should. This fight didn’t begin with this pipeline and it won’t end until the destruction of colonialism, white supremacy, capitalism, patriarchy, governance, everything wreaking destruction on the earth and waging constant war on certain human beings to create empty structures of wealth and power.
Let’s let what we learn in this struggle reach into every corner of our lives, even as our lives and relationships meld inextricably with our actions. Let’s build friendships and commitments strong enough to withstand the long fight ahead. It’s going to be very, very hard. I think we’ve only gotten glimpses of what we’d need to achieve to stop this pipeline. Yet if those glimpses are any indication, the coming months, and the coming years and lifetimes fighting the many facets of the world we’re trying to destroy, will contain not only grueling effort and frequent moments of doubt but also unexpected joy, laughter, and triumph.
So keep on fighting, and growing communities that have no room for pipelines or their world.
I hope to see you on the mountains, in the streets, by the rivers and in the fields and wetlands and forests.