Lacy MacAuley

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a home for my pen, projects, and passions

each word a stone to throw

A poem by Lacy MacAuley

Eliminating laws, opening trade, deregulating the market
has put us in a prison.

Cold austerity, chilling strictures
have ignited us and caused the streets to burn.

The largest sums of money paid by the hugest banks
have only caused more poverty.

The neoliberal world
is one in which the most basic sense is backwards, upside down.
It is as false as a mirror,
turning backwards all that is trusted, reversing that which is true.
A glass world of pomp and doublespeak.

And who is to say that a single strategic brick – red and sure as the hand on the drum, as the red human blood pumping through my raised fist, as red as the veins of the earth scratched raw by their bulldozers – who is to say that a single strategic brick could not bring down this house of mirrors? Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: activism, antiwar, climate justice, environmentalism, immigrant rights, lacy's life, poems, thoughts and philosophies

judy bonds: “fight harder”

Judy Bonds (center) was a fearless keeper of the mountains. I snapped this photo with fellow activists at Mountain Justice Spring Break 2010.

The fearless Judy Bonds, keeper of the mountains, passed yesterday.

I remember first meeting Judy way back in 2004, when I was a brand new activist accompanying a friend to the Heartwood forest conservation conference. With others from her team at Coal River Mountain Watch, Judy talked to me about coal mining in Appalachia, the harmful practice of mountaintop removal coal mining and what it was doing to the communities and the ecosystems of the region. As we stood under a pine tree on the conference grounds, she spoke about the destruction she saw in her own holler. I remember being astounded that industry could erase a whole mountain from the surface of the planet, mountains that had taken hundreds of millions of years to form. From that moment on I have been convinced of the urgent need to save the mountains from the coal companies.

In that conference of environmentalists six years ago, few had heard of mountaintop removal coal mining. But there was Judy, alerting people to the destructive coal mining in Appalachia. From the very beginning, Judy was there, igniting the movement to save the mountains.

She was a truly inspiring activist and organizer, a coal miner’s daughter who loved the mountains around her and did not want to see them sacrificed for greed. Her mountains were an inheritance for her grandchildren. Like all true crusaders, Judy would not want us to do anything but work harder to save the mountains.

Vernon Haltom, fellow mountain justice activist, said it best: “While we grieve, let’s remember what she said, ‘Fight harder.'”

Instead of mourning, I am taking this moment to renew my commitment to working to save the earth.

Filed under: activism, climate justice, environmentalism, lacy's life

I’m a free woman! My G20 case was withdrawn!

Some wonderful news! My case was withdrawn yesterday!

I came all the way from Washington DC to Toronto, Canada, where I’m checking in from a cute little coffee shop on Queen Street, to face the charge of “Assault of a Police Officer.” I was hit with this ridiculously false charge after I was arrested during the G20 summit weekend, manhandled, thrown into the back of an unmarked van, beaten and strangled.

Yesterday, the case was withdrawn after I stood in front of the judge for 30 seconds, just long enough for the prosecutor to say that they have no interest in pursuing my case. I am now a free woman. Now I’ll be able to pursue charges against the real criminals – the Toronto Police, starting with Officer Kevin Antoine, Toronto Police, Division 52, Badge #7880, who was one of the men who attacked me. Wish me luck!

Filed under: activism, climate justice, consumerism, environmentalism, g20, g8, g8/g20, global justice, international relations, lacy's life, media

G20 update: heading to Toronto to face charges!

A little update on my G20 court case. I’m headed to Toronto tomorrow evening to face the charge “Assault of a Police Officer.”

I am leaving late, late, after-the-witching-hour on Friday night, boarding a train that will rumble through New York City and then up through the hills and plains of rural Canada before rolling into Toronto. (Train travel is the most environmentally-friendly way to travel, and it’s a bit cheaper than airfare, since I’m not quite sure when I’ll be able to make it back.)

Monday is my “case discovery” proceeding. Basically, the Toronto police will present whatever evidence they could possibly drudge up (or falsify?) that I may have assaulted someone. Or the judge could simply dismiss the case, effectively telling the Toronto Police and their shoddy evidence to take a hike. Of course, I’m hoping the case gets promptly and summarily dismissed!

Filed under: activism, climate justice, consumerism, environmentalism, g20, g8, g8/g20, global justice, international relations, lacy's life, media

G20 violence against women press conference

I stand with all the women who have been subjected to the violence of the G20, both in Toronto and in all parts of the world. The violence that I experienced at the hands of the police is only a tiny piece of the violence experienced by women who ecosystems are destroyed, whose family members are taken, or whose communities are uprooted by the corrupt policies of the G20. I was thrown into the back of an unmarked van, punched, strangled, and manhandled. How much more suffering have other women incurred at the hands of the G20?

I contributed this video to a press conference happening today in Toronto to address the violence against women that occurred in Toronto during the G2o Summit.

Filed under: activism, antiwar, climate justice, consumerism, environmentalism, g20, g8, g8/g20, global justice, human welfare, international relations, lacy's life, media, thoughts and philosophies

the first G20, November 2008 in Washington DC

When the G20 came to my city, Washington DC, in November 2008, I helped to organize the people's response, marching to the World Bank building, near where the meetings were held. People like me, we won't stop voicing our opposition. We will overpower and deconstruct the G20's illegitimate authority.

The first G20 Summit was held in November 2008 in Washington DC, called by George W. Bush as a “response” to the global economic crisis (instead of the G8). I assisted in organizing the protests to the G20 in Washington DC, opposed to the idea that nineteen men and one woman could make earth-shaking decisions for the rest of us behind closed doors, without any public involvement at all. During that summit, the G20 would institutionalize some of the most harmful policies that they wield: bailouts for banks and corporations, and increased funding for corrupt development banks like the IMF.

The corrupt policies of the G20 have only worsened, and continue to harm people, especially workers and the poor in the United States and other rich countries, and pretty much everyone in poor countries. I intend to keep opposing these policies, and I know that I will be joined by brothers and sisters in my movement. Our voices will thunder together into a storm that will deconstruct the illegitimate authority of the G20.

Filed under: activism, antiwar, climate justice, consumerism, environmentalism, g20, g8/g20, global justice, human welfare, immigrant rights, indigenous rights, international relations, lacy's life

opposing G20? we’ve only just begun

Leading a few chants at G20 protests in Toronto, "G8, G20. They are few. We are many!" We need to continue to stand up for what is right, and give a megaphone to those working to make the world a better place.

There have been a lot of people, especially my brothers and sisters in Toronto, who have come out of the experience of protesting the G20 feeling oppressed and hurt, like they’ve been broken by the experience. Here is what I have to say.

Brothers and sisters, we need to continue to stand up for what is right! Do not let them break your will. Our wills are stronger than their guns, their handcuffs, or their prisons! Theirs is an illegitimate source of authority. Our authority is born of love and joy, oneness and respect for each other and future generations. Our power is stronger.

The oppression that we have been subjected to is only a fraction of the oppression felt by indigenous people of the Amazon in Peru, who were attacked and shot at last year by government forces for blockading a road to prevent oil corporations from killing their forest, by traditional farmers in Papua New Guinea whose rivers are being killed, who get murdered for opposing the Barrick gold mining company – or the everyday oppression suffered by farmers everywhere who are told they must pay land tax, disrupting more traditional, community-centered food distribution means.

It is for them and for us that we must keep standing up for what is right.

As long as we are speaking out against their hyper-capitalist corporate globalization, they’ll try to silence us. Don’t let their intimidation tactics and their attempts at disempowerment work. We need to keep working, and keep giving a megaphone to those working for liberation, all of us!

I was one of the over 900 people assaulted by the police and/or treated inhumanely. Now I am back here in Washington and organizing to oppose corporate globalization. Despite the fact that Washington DC is arguably the most powerful city in the world, few of my brothers and sisters truly understand why we must oppose the G20 and its allies like the IMF, the World Bank, the US Department of Treasury, the US Federal Reserve, corporations, etc – and why we must resist the intangible ideals of monied wealth that poison our minds.

We cannot lose heart. The real struggle has only just begun… not to sound melodramatic (but I’m sure I do), but it is seriously a struggle not just for what kind of civilization we’re going to have, but whether the human species, and species like us, are even going to survive. We have to keep our small piece of the opposition strong, and keep deconstructing their authority, their invisible fists and hands of control, not just for those alive now, but for future generations.

This is only the beginning!

Filed under: activism, antiwar, climate justice, consumerism, environmentalism, g20, g8, g8/g20, global justice, human welfare, immigrant rights, indigenous rights, international relations, lacy's life, media

the story of my unjust arrest

This photo of me appeared in the New York Times on 06/27/2010.

I was thrown into an unmarked van, strangled, punched, and manhandled during my arrest.

The photos of my arrest during the Toronto G20 summit show a small blond lady with purple stockings getting thrown around by police as I was tossed head-first into an unmarked van. These photos have appeared on the front page of the Toronto Star, in the New York Times, and in other newspapers. Footage of the arrest has appeared on CNN and other news outlets such as CBC. My name is Lacy MacAuley, and this is the story of my arrest, including my being violently assaulted, strangled, and punched while riding into the police station in the back of the van.

I arrived at the site of the peaceful jail solidarity rally, just outside the Prisoner Processing Center (PCC) at about 11:30 AM, Sunday, June 27, with two friends from Washington DC, organizer Robby Diesu and Geoff Millard of Iraq Veterans Against the War. I smiled as we walked up to the rally: There under a breathtaking blue sky, a young man was strumming an electric bass and leading a musical chant, “So so so, solidarity!” People were smiling and cheering as two people were released from jail (I understand at least two were released before I arrived), and I used my iPhone to send messages to Twitter about the cheerful rally, with photos attached.

I had come to Toronto from Washington DC to protest the G20 by helping to write about and photograph events that question and deconstruct the G20’s authority. The G20 is a government superstructure with even more power than any individual country, which has been pursuing corrupt bailout policies for banks, corporations and the International Monetary Fund, while allowing citizens to starve. Its “open market” or “free trade” policies only help to concentrate wealth in fewer and fewer hands, and allow corporations to destroy the environment, subjugate civil liberties, and strip away a country’s national sovereignty. The G20 is bad for most of us on earth, not to mention our children and grandchildren. I have a BA in International Relations with a minor in World Development Studies, but it doesn’t take special expertise to realize that something is fundamentally wrong with a tiny cartel of wealthy leaders who are taking money from corporations for funding running the way our civilization is designed. It is all of our duty to resist oppression and make the world a better place. That’s why I was in Toronto, and I did not damage anyone or anything while there.

I was standing in the crowd about fifteen feet from the bass player when suddenly, with no warning and no provocation, police charged into the crowd and tackled a young man near the front. Some in the crowd at the rally began screaming and running backwards, while many remained calm and shouted to the police to let the young man go. I began taking photos with my iPhone of the violent arrest.

Then I looked up to see the police charging for me, closing in from only about seven feet away. I knew that to resist arrest would be a serious offense, thanks to years of training in nonviolence, so I did not resist. The police then tackled me and pushed me to the ground. I was able to put my left arm down to buffer my fall onto the pavement. Then one uniformed officer grabbed me around the waist, pulling me back to the dark blue side of the police line and throwing me face-down on the pavement. As he threw me my arms were being twisted behind my back. I was able to angle my right shoulder toward the pavement so that I did not hit the pavement with my face. Apparently my friend Robby was attempting to run forward through the crowd to perform a heroic act that would save me, but was being restrained by my friend Geoff, who feared that Robby would wind up arrested himself if he did anything.

As this was happening, I was shouting in a voice that was firm and loud but not frantic, “You have to let me go. Please, you have to let me go. I’ve done nothing wrong.” I had been focusing on holding onto my iPhone with a death grip because I knew that if I dropped it at this point, behind the police line, I might never see it again. Now, as I was laying face-down behind the line, my phone was aggressively pulled out of my hand. One officer kneeled on my head as another fumbled behind me with handcuffs. The officer was leaning hard with all his weight on the left side of my head as my right cheek was driven into the pavement. The pain was immense and overwhelming. I told him to take his knee off my head. A second officer on the other side was also kneeling on my back. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: activism, antiwar, climate justice, consumerism, environmentalism, g20, g8, g8/g20, global justice, human welfare, immigrant rights, indigenous rights, international relations, lacy's life, media

young indigenous leaders want struggle, and resistance, not appeasement

“We are being attacked. This is a direct war against our people,” said Ojistori:yo (Missy Elliott), a young indigenous community leader of the Six Nations, from the stage at the event “Confront the Invasion Night of Solidarity with the Mapuche Peoples and All Our Indigenous Nations in the Struggle for Indigenous Sovereignty!” Part of the resistance to the G8/G20, the event took place last night at the Steelworkers Hall in Toronto.

The night of solidarity ended well after midnight, with young indigenous leaders taking a brave stance on tactics to oppose the G8/G20 and defend their native land. The event included performances by artists such as Test & Logic, revolutionary hip-hop duo; Danny Beaton, traditional native flute player; and Mario Muñoz, Cuban pianist performing Trova folk music. A clip was shown from El Despojo, a film about the Mapuche people’s resistance to corporate corruption in Chile. As the event stretched well after midnight last night, discussions about the indigenous rights community grew passionate and loud.

Some male elders were "co-opting" traditional practices to push women to the sidelines, said some young indigenous community leaders.

In heartfelt tones, young indigenous leaders expressed that their elders had been too quick to accept pacification, and that they furthermore had been failing to show women in the indigenous community due respect. Speaking at a panel discussion that concluded the evening, the young leaders stated that some of their elders were “ego-tripping” from the posh treatment from police and other institutions that resulted from the from their embracing pacifist nonviolence, and that furthermore they were emphasizing pacifist nonviolence out of fear.

“Are we weak? Are we pansies?” asked Zig Zag (Gord Hill), an indigenous community leader, of the Kwakwaka’wakw nation and the author of “500 Years of Indigenous Resistance.” His questions evoked cheers and laughter from the crowd. “This fear is to control us and to subdue us! Their role is to pacify resistance!”

“We have to embrace different tactics, because our movements are diverse,” continued Zig Zag. These tactics, said Zig Zag, include disruptive tactics to fight for the land. The speaker passionately recalled the militant resistance that happened in Canada 20 years ago. Other tactics involve efforts toward indigenous autonomy and a return to traditional practices, as discussed by Miranda D of the Native Youth Movement, of the West Coast, Secwepemc Territory. “We’re taking actions to be self-sustaining,” said Miranda D, who discussed projects to build traditional houses, as well as fishing, hunting, and collecting native plants, presenting ways to oppose colonialism and the policies of the G8/G20.

“[The G8 and G20] have no absolutely no moral right to dictate policies on our land. This is our land!” said Sharon Sanchez, a young community leader of the Women’s Coordinating Committee Chile-Canada. Sanchez decried local indigenous elders who had told her that her banner, which depicted traditional symbols of indigenous resistance such as an arrow and the Mohawk Nation symbol, was too violent. (The banner design concept may be viewed here.)

“All these nations that are gathering are claiming jurisdiction over our people,” said Ojistori:yo. “That red in the Canadian flag? To me that represents the blood of my people.”

Sexism among male elders

Excessive sexism among male elders was pushing many female community leaders to the sidelines, the young indigenous community leaders agreed.

Lindsay Ganohshan Ohwe Bomberry, a young leader of the Onondaga Nation, Eel Clan, of the Six Nations, expressed concern that many male community leaders were suppressing women during the march earlier yesterday that wove its way through downtown Toronto, with men walking out in front and pushing women to the back and the sidelines. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: activism, climate justice, environmentalism, g20, g8, g8/g20, global justice, human welfare, immigrant rights, indigenous rights, international relations, , ,

indigenous rights, not G20; a march through Toronto

Thousands marched today for indigenous rights through downtown Toronto as leaders arrived in the city.

Under the beat of drums born by indigenous people of Canada, several thousand protesters marched through downtown Toronto today, including about 500 indigenous community members, mostly from Canadian First Nations. The group marched to reclaim indigenous rights as the G20 prepares to meet in downtown Toronto, which land stolen from First Nations. Many had flags that bore the words “Native Rights are Human Rights,” and “Canada Can’t Hide Genocide.” One banner which required a hundred people to carry it bore the words, “Native Land Rights Now!”

One speaker at the opening rally was Lionel Lepine, of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

“We’re here to protect and defend Mother Earth, and right now she’s under attack violently,” said Lepine. “We must take action and make sure she doesn’t get attacked any more.”

We will fight for our communities and our grandchildren, Lionel Lepine told attendees at the opening rally.

Lepine is from what he calls “ground zero” in Alberta, Canada, on the western tip of Lake Athabasca. He says that if uranium mining companies and tar sands companies succeed in what they want to do, his community will perish.

According to the draft G20 resolution that was leaked to Greenpeace, the G20 intends to continue its s0-called “open market” economic liberalization policies that loosen legislation for corporations and other business entities while reducing the ability to act for indigenous communities.

“Open markets play a pivotal role in supporting growth and job creation,” touts the draft G20 resolution. But indigenous community leaders are not convinced.

Lepine says that it is “time to evict” the Canadian government, big oil corporations, the G8 and the G20 from indigenous lands. He says that their policies of economic liberalization and letting corporations trample indigenous communities with impunity needs to stop. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: activism, climate justice, environmentalism, global justice, human welfare, immigrant rights, international relations, media

“toxic tour” of the g8/g20 in Toronto

400 to 500 people marched in downtown Toronto to oppose the G20, its polluting policies, and the corporate polluters who benefit from those policies.

“We know what the solutions are. It’s time to listen to us!” said Kimia Ghomeshi, an organizer of the “Toxic Tour” that roared through downtown Toronto today, as the G20 prepares to meet in the city on Friday. It was hard not to listen to the passionate demonstration, which began at Alexandra Park, accompanied by drummers playing samba and Brazilian rhythms who danced and chanted, “You failed IMF! You failed World Bank! You failed G8! Stop the G20!” Stopping at offices of corporate polluters and those who fund them, the demonstrators that G20 policies lead to pollution.

Protesters hoisted art installations that depicted messy oil barrels, dead birds and dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico, destructive logging operations, and toxic gold mining. Many protesters had covered themselves with fake oil (in actuality a chocolate syrup blend), to emphasize that the G20 brings pollution wherever it goes, including downtown Toronto.

Representatives from indigenous communities speak in front of RBC Bank to discuss how banks and G20 policies are destroying their communities.

One art installation depicted an oil drum with gold-colored paint gushing out of it. One of the artists who made it wore a white chemical suit, a hard hat, and a skull mask. The installation depicts is “iconic of what happens after an oil spill. From Exxon Valdez until now, the whole ecosystem, it’s wiped out,” said the artist, who wished not to be named. The artist said that G20 policies that allow corporations and business interests to enter countries and do whatever they want is “a corporate capitalism.”

Demonstrators covered themselves with fake oil to emphasize that wherever the G20 goes, or wherever their policies go, they bring pollution.

“Our way of life is more important than any policy that the G8 or the G20 could ever present,” said Mel Vazil, a social worker and member in the Smithers indigenous nation of British Colombia. “I should be picking berries with my son right now. But I’m here so they can pick berries next year, and next decade, and for the next hundred years and thousand years, and the G8 and the G20 can’t help me do that.”

“What the G20 is, you have 20 people who are heads of state who are coming to meet to discuss the fate of the world, and all of the voices, all the plurality, all the democratic space that we’re trying to build has been shut out of that,” said Craig Forster of No One is Illegal, who attended the demonstration. “It’s how the system works. It shuts out the rights of people, especially indigenous people. There’s a direct link in terms of what they’re discussing today and what impact it’s going to have on the future, whether it’s the environment, or how people migrate, or the global capitalist system.” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: activism, climate justice, environmentalism, global justice, immigrant rights, international relations, media

a Sunday stroll on an oily beach, joined by security guards

On Sunday, my last day in the Gulf area, I caught a ride with an environmental law student, Stephen, two hours outside of New Orleans to a beach where the oil had been making landfall at Grand Isle, Louisiana.

As we pulled up to the beach, we began to see handmade signs about the oil spill. One of the signs that wrenched my heart read, “BP, cannot fish or swim. How the hell are we suppose to feed our kids now?”

A heart-wrenching sign on the road as we drove out to Grand Isle, Louisiana.

We pull up to the beach and walk over. There is a strange chemical feel to the air, and it fills our lungs with a noxious sensation. The beach has a giant set of two orange rubber pipelines running side by side, about two feet in diameter. They look like giant sausages stretching on down the beach into the distance. We assume that they are there to provide a barrier to a potential oil slick that approaches the beach. We climb over the barrier to get closer to the water.

The water had a nasty oil sheen and an odd orange froth. Nothing in the frothy part was living.

We casually strolled a few minutes down the beach, and came to what is the largest oil blob that I had seen. And it looks even larger compared to me!

An especially huge oil blob, especially compared to me!

I’m not sure what it means exactly, but I also saw a tiny hermit crab that was crawling up out of the nastier water, sort of desperate-looking and inept, and another larger crab that was near to the toxins, that was not reacting normally to my movements towards it. This probably meant it was dying right there in the water.

A crab appeared to be dying near to the toxic water.

Finally we had had enough of the sadness and the heat. There was polluted water all around us. Here we were on a beach and we were scared to touch the water. Also, the giant orange pipelines running along the beach sort of ruined what could have been a picturesque stroll on the the beach. We were ready to get going.

We walked over to a wooden bridge that seemed to be designed for people to easily access the beach. We climbed it and hopped off of the other side, over the two pipelines. It was then that we were encountered by two sheriff’s officers, each with his own golf cart, steered by thick, reddened, trunk-like forearms. They rolled up and said, in a casual-yet-malevolent way that good ol’ Louisiana boys can effect with great skill, “Aw right. Y’all have to wait here for decon.”

A hermit crab (upper left) makes an escape from the toxins.

“Sorry? We have to wait here for what?” I asked, putting on my most polite cheshire grin. They may be Louisiana boys, but I’m a Washingtonian: I know it’s best to put on a politician smile.

They asked a few questions which betrayed just how confused the whole situation was. Turns out they weren’t exactly sure who they saw jumping over the pipelines. There was one other blonde woman near to the beach, but I wasn’t about to cause problems for her. I told them I was the one who had jumped the barrier.

“Y’all need to stay put and wait for decontamination. They need to clean your shoes and all. You crossed into the hot zone.” As the officer radioed for help, I glanced back at the wooden structure we had just used to get over the pipelines. There was yellow tape on part of it, but that said “Authorized Vehicles Only.” Were Stephen and I vehicles? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: activism, climate justice, environmentalism, human welfare, lacy's life, media, thoughts and philosophies

in New Orleans, they’re joking like mad at BP

How do New Orleanians deal with being mad as hell? They make jokes about it.

Cute T-shirt on Bourbon Street refers to foot-in-mouth Tony Hayward.

A sign in the Marigny keeps it simple: "BP SUX"

A Louisiana man proudly displays his purchase, near Jackson Square.

Filed under: activism, climate justice, environmentalism, human welfare, humor, lacy's life

day 4, goose chase on the DC to New Orleans bus tour!

One of the boon workers on Orange Beach said he'd protest BP too if he could.

Well, we’ve driven hither and yon today to look for oil. We haven’t found anything more than a few oil blobs and some boon workers, on Orange Beach, Mississippi. The workers were on a crew that was putting up boons, the bright white ones lain on the beach alongside the dark ones that had soaked up oil. We didn’t actually see them handling any boons, though. It seemed we rolled up on them at lunch time. We told them we were protesting BP, and one of them said he might join us if he could.

Nearby there were oil blobs the size of a fist. There were also signs of cleanup crews, picking up the oil blobs with their hands encased in plastic gloves and placing the blobs in large clear plastic bags. None of the bags we saw being collected contained more than, say, a gallon-milk containers’ worth of blobs. I couldn’t help but notice how wasteful this was.

We spotted oil blobs the size of a fist.

We also noticed that the water was full, choc full, of tiny oil blobs about the size of a quarter, washing ashore. These blobs might be too small for human hands to preoccupy themselves with, but they were certainly large enough to matter to fish, crabs, and birds. Perhaps what the most glaring sign of this corrupted beach was what was absent: practically any sign of life, besides busy humans. And this was on a beach with heavy cleanup efforts.

As we went to leave Orange Beach, we encountered two men servicing some of the many porto-johns. “We do all the toilets around here,” said the slim one with the straw hat. “I’m telling y’all – you should go to Fort Morgan. It’s really bad there.”

The second man spoke up. “If they really want to see oil, they should go to the closed area. But they wouldn’t let them in.” Then he gestured to me, with a wide grubby grin, “She can go, I’ll just tell them she’s my girlfriend.” The man had a scruffy brown beard and a belly that reminded me of a sea cow, but that didn’t stop him from smiling wider and saying that he “was about to bust out his thong” to account for the heat. We all got a good laugh and (calling him “sugar,”) I told him that if he could get me onto a closed beach, sure I’d pretend to be his girlfriend. Then we all thought better of it and Flux and I departed to head to Fort Morgan. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: activism, climate justice, environmentalism, human welfare, lacy's life, media, thoughts and philosophies

day 3 of the DC to New Orleans bus tour!

Flux Rostrum protests at a BP gas station in Greenville, Alabama.

I am typing this log, looking over the edge of my laptop, past Flux Rostrum at the driver’s wheel, and looking down at the highway in front of me.  It is Monday, Day 3 of the Washington DC to New Orleans Mobile Broadcast News bus tour, protesting BP all along the way.

Today has been a journey. We started north of Atlanta, Georgia. Last night we were up late driving south, stopping at a BP station in Gastonia, North Carolina. It was closed, since it was so late. We figured we’d like to see more gas stations closed like this, or changed to wind and solar power facilities. Down the road, we stopped at Bastion, South Carolina, where we witnessed someone actually driving through the BP parking lot to go to another gas station across the street. We crossed the road to talk to the guy, and he said that he drove through because he was avoiding BP because they caused the oil spill that devastated the coast.

After waking up in Georgia, we stopped for a quick morning coffee, I wrote a blog rant about l and got on the road. With a massive 90-gallon tank full of vegetable oil, we weren’t expecting to have to stop for gas, unless it was to protest. BP is responsible for the oil disaster that is getting worse and worse in the Gulf. They need to pay reparations and be held accountable. I firmly believe that Tony Hayward should be put in jail.

Rolling the bus into a BP gas station.

Pulling into a gas station in Noonan, Georgia, we boldly pulled up into the BP parking lot. I walked up to the gas pumps, where several people were pumping gas, and asked folks to raise their hands if they wanted to hold BP accountable for the oil spill. With the demure of good Southern belles, they politely ignored this question. I pointed out that if they wanted to hold BP accountable, the best way would be to stop using fossil fuels. Not long after, a woman with shockingly blonde hair and a cordless telephone came out to us, waving the phone and telling us in a lovely Southern accent that she was “goin’ ta call 911.” We told her we had nothing against her or small businesses, just BP, and we scurried back into the bus and took off. Read the rest of this entry »

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BP bus tour! windmills, not oil spills

The BP bus tour kicked off at a vigorous action at a BP gas station in Washington DC on Worldwide BP Protest Day (Saturday, July 13.) The Mobile Broadcast News bus (which runs on waste vegetable oil) is going from DC to New Orleans and protesting BP all along the way. Our goal is to protest at a BP gas station in every state in between DC and New Orleans.

We’re departing DC today. We’ll be reaching the Gulf Coast at about the same time that President Obama will be there, and we’ll be taking the bus along the coast. We’ll be arriving in New Orleans on Tuesday evening, at about the same time that President Obama will be addressing the nation from the White House.

Every fossil fuels business, from giant oil mega-corporations, to tiny mom-and-pop franchises, must convert to wind and solar. Charging forward on gasoline is dangerous, for oil rig workers, for people on the coast, and for future generations who will bear the brunt of climate change. We should all charge forward the way we do it at Mobile Broadcast News, on clean, safe, sustainable energy! Windmills, not oil spills!

By protesting at BP stations, we aim to demonstrate that anyone can protest at a their local gas station and voice their outrage that BP has acted to pollute the Gulf Coast, potentially the entire Eastern seaboard and beyond. When we reach New Orleans, we’ll be assisting with communications to amplify the voices of those impacted by the disaster, those working to hold BP accountable, and many who feel that the oil disaster is a signal to move to clean, renewable energy, and place people and planet before profit.

Filed under: activism, climate justice, environmentalism, lacy's life

today protest bp in dc. tomorrow I’m off to New Orleans!

Today is Worldwide Protest BP Day. The point is to make sure that the oil company BP is held accountable for the oil disaster that is unfolding in the Gulf and threatening the Eastern seaboard. Please come out to the BP gas station at 5 PM, 14th & Euclid St NW, near the Columbia Heights metro station, to protest BP. Bring whatever sign or message you like – Arrest BP! Boycott BP! Save the Gulf!

Tomorrow I’m going to depart Washington DC for a trip to New Orleans, traveling with the Mobile Broadcast News team and protesting BP in every state in between here and New Orleans! We’ll be in a bus that runs on waste vegetable oil. Once we’re at the coast, we’ll be filming and talking to people who have been impacted by the oil disaster. In New Orleans, we’ll be assisting with communications to amplify the voices of those impacted by the disaster, those working to hold BP accountable, and many who feel that the oil disaster is a signal to move to clean, renewable energy, and place people and planet before profit.

Updates will be posted at www.mobilebroadcastnews.com/MBN. I’ll also be updating this blog, and of course my Facebook and Twitter (below).

If you’d like to help me kick off my trip to New Orleans, please come out at 5 PM today to protest BP!

You can read more about Worldwide Protest BP Day on the Facebook Page. There’s also a CNN article about it.

For more information about the independent news project, Mobile Broadcast News: www.mobilebroadcastnews.com. DONATIONS KEEP THE BUS RUNNING, and are always appreciated!

Filed under: activism, climate justice, environmentalism, human welfare, lacy's life

pepco has been “fossil fooled”

The Greenwash Guerillas strike again! On April Fools Day, we played a fun prank on Washington DC’s main energy provider, Pepco.

In the wee hours of the morning on April 1, we stuck fake Pepco customer letters on thousands of doors. The letters said that “Pepco is going green,” and promised that Pepco would switch to 100% wind and solar energy by 2020. It further announced that Pepco would be canceling proposed rate hikes, and instructed customers that they should contact Pepco’s customer service line to see if they qualify for a “renewable energy rate discount.”

Then we sent out a fake press release with the phony URL www.pepco-green.com. (Some very talented folks were able to create a mock-up website that looked almost identical to Pepco’s.) We also had our own “go phone” number listed as the number for the real-world Pepco press contact. Very early yesterday morning, we called TV and radio news desks with the news that “Pepco is going green.” Local Fox figured out our hoax and picked it up with the headline “Pepco Victim of April Fools Day Hoax.” Then we called friends at Washington Post and gave them the exclusive story that listed the group’s name “Greenwash Guerillas” and gave other details that no other outlet had. The Post ran a wonderful story on it that afternoon.

David Fahrentold of the Washington Post writes:

…Pepco put out a statement saying that the letter and the Web site were fake.

“We have been alerted that a bogus Web site and other false communications posing as Pepco were issued today. This bogus Web site is not secure and does not represent Pepco,” Pepco said on its Web site.

“Some folks really did a good job,” Pepco spokesman Clay Anderson said this morning. “But it ain’t us.”

Fahrenthold quoted me in his article as well:

A group called the Greenwash Guerrillas claimed responsibility for the hoax. Lacy MacAuley, a spokeswoman for the group, said the group has about 40 members and is a year old.

MacAuley said that the group had placed about 3,000 letters around Washington and suburban Maryland. She called it “greenwash guerrilla warfare,” against people identified as “perpetrators,” promoting policies that worsen climate change.

What a fun prank. Afterwards we did a victory lap to celebrate, a mobile dance party through Adams Morgan and down U Street with about thirty beautiful dancing people. Then we danced into the distance… but the Greenwash Guerillas will return next April Fools Day to prank the fossil fuel industry, I promise.

Filed under: activism, climate justice, consumerism, environmentalism, global justice, humor, lacy's life, media, thoughts and philosophies

who’s afraid of negative economic growth?

If economic growth has been waged through a full-on war on the environment, isn’t it time we drafted a peace treaty? The Copenhagen climate summit has resulted in a flimsy accord, with deep divisions over economic issues and countries acting to protect their economic growth. But we need a healthy planet to ensure the survival of our species. Isn’t that more important than economic growth?

If we want to save our planet and ensure the survival of our species, we must accept negative economic growth.

Throughput of the economy must be reduced. This means we need to stop taking products of intact ecosystems and convert them into inert or even harmful forms (i.e. turning a mountain with coal deposits into a pile of rubble that kills local watersheds, smothers communities, puts deadly toxins in the air and fuels harmful climate change).

Throughput is bad for the environment. However, any economist will tell you that it is the throughput, the “real economy” of tangible goods and services that make life cushier, that drives the rest of the economy. Ninety percent of the economy can be financial instruments or speculative currency markets or any number of things that people pretend have value (and therefore do have value), but if those things aren’t connected somehow to real goods and services, they disappear like a trick of the light.

So, we are going to have to deal with something that may seem frightening to those in financial policy, board room execs, and bankers of all ilk: NEGATIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH. Yes, a contraction of our economy. Less stuff being bought and sold. Less money in bank vaults. Less throughput.

But who’s afraid of negative economic growth? Not me. All that economic growth that we’ve been experiencing in the past few decades has mostly fattened the wallets of those who were already very rich. Real wages for most of us (that is, what our pay dollars can actually buy), have not gone up in thirty years. In the article “US Income Inequality Continues to Grow,” Don Monkerud explains:

[W]ages for most Americans didn’t improve from 1979 to 1998, and the median male wage in 2000 was below the 1979 level, despite productivity increases of 44.5 percent. Between 2002 and 2004, inflation-adjusted median household income declined $1,669 a year. To make up for lost income, credit card debt soared 315 percent between 1989 and 2006, representing 138 percent of disposable income in 2007.

If negative economic growth means that the rich have to curb their appetites for money, goods, and services, I am all for it.

In the meantime, I’m willing to buy less clothing per year, turn off my appliances and lights, control the temperature of only small spaces in my home, and walk and bike places. Yes, I’m willing to consume less. That will lead to less throughput and negative economic growth.

As I’ve said, economic growth doesn’t scare me. What does give me the shivers? Climate change, pollution, starvation, disease, environmental disasters, and the terrifying consequences of what could happen if we don’t reduce our consumption.

Filed under: activism, climate justice, consumerism, environmentalism, global justice, international relations, lacy's life, thoughts and philosophies

building an ark: climate change Plan B

If the the US doesn’t agree now to curb emissions at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen, a lot of people will be underwater, including our very own capital city in the US. Little known fact: If the sea level continues to rise, especially if ice sheets start crashing down into the ocean, Washington DC could be underwater within minutes.

That’s why climate justice activists are building an ark on the national mall in Washington DC, which they call “Plan B” if Copenhagen talks fail to result in meaningful action to stop climate change.

Aaron Dickerson, a tennis instructor in the Washington DC area, heard about the ark and "just had to come down and help" build it. The ark was recently moved to the national mall, where further construction is underway.

“We are saving the planet with this thing. We’re putting the animals on it, you know, two by two, starting with the pandas from the National Zoo,” jokes Aaron Dickerson, a tennis instructor in the Washington DC area who heard about the project and said he “just had to come down and help.”

The ark has recently been moved from a warehouse in Adams Morgan to the national mall, where construction is underway. When the ark is completed on Saturday it will be nearly 60 feet long and topped with a roof. The deck will house cardboard cutouts of pairs of animals, and the ark will remain on the national mall for several days after completion to allow time for passersby to view the ark and write messages of hop on its walls.

A press advisory from Avaaz.org, the group building the ark, explains:

Building an ark to save us from climate change on the National Mall in Washington DC Noah’s Ark signifies the scale of calamity that climate change poses to communities across the globe. While a “Real Deal” is “Climate Plan A,” the Ark depicts “Climate Plan B” and the lack of current options for a fair, ambitious, and binding deal coming out of Copenhagen. The Ark will remain for several days after the event so that visitors can write messages of hope on its sides. It’s designed to tell our leaders that we want a deal that is:

Fair – $200 Billion in climate financing for poorer countries;
Ambitious – a 2015 peak year for carbon emissions and a safe carbon level of 350 ppm;
Binding – legally enforceable.

Builder and engineer Oscar Ramirez stands near a completed cross-section of the ark. When it is completed it will be nearly 60 feet long and be topped with a roof.

The event is sponsored by Avaaz Climate Action Factory in Washington DC. The building of the Ark is part of a national day of action by the international advocacy organization Avaaz (Avaaz.org), December 12, 2009, when there will be candlelight vigils around the world to call for meaningful action on climate change.

In Washington DC, the completed ark will be unveiled at the vigil on Saturday, December 12, at 4 PM. People are invited to come and write messages of hope on the ark.

Avaaz.org estimates that there will be over 2,000 vigils occurring across the world to call for meaningful action to stop climate change on Saturday, December 12. Messages will be directed at the delegates of the UN climate summit, which ends on December 18 and aims to set bold targets for cutting emissions of carbon and other greenhouse gasses. Both the US and China, the top two emitters of carbon, have agreed to curb their carbon emissions, but other points of agreement remain undetermined – that is, “in the air.”

Now is the time to pressure our leaders to do more. Governments are supposed to exist to help serve and protect the people, and there is no better way to help serve and protect than to help save humanity from the brink of certain demise due to climate change (even if it means a slow-down in -gasp!- economic growth, or even a contraction of the real economy).

“We’re telling our leaders, ‘Don’t make this ark our only choice,'” says Oscar Ramirez, builder and engineer of the ark, and organizer with Avaaz Climate Action Factory in Washington DC. “We need a real deal at Copenhagen. We need a deal that is fair, ambitious, and binding.”

Building of the ark is occurring on the national mall in between 12th & 13th Streets NW. The Avaaz Climate Action Factory in Washington DC has invited the community to come, help build, and become a part of the process.

Original design plans for the ark.

Filed under: activism, climate justice, consumerism, global justice, international relations, lacy's life

Lacy MacAuley ~ International Relations ~ Radical Dreamer ~ Justice Lover ~ Thought Dancer ~ Heart Writer ~ Divine Dakini ~ based in Washington DC

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Building a better world starts with just raising your voice.

If you stand for something, then stand up. Join us. You are part of the solution. lacymacauley@gmail.com