Lessons from the Gorgopotamos

How the KXL Pipeline Fight Should Be Able to Grow the Global Movement Against Industrial Infrastructure

by panagioti / Earth First! Newswire

The Gorgopotamos Bridge destroyed after the 1942 attack by the Greek Resistance and "Allied Forces", known as Operation Harling, aimed at cutting off flow of fascist resources, but also resulting in a spark that resulted in the Greek civil war.

The Gorgopotamos Bridge destroyed after the 1942 attack by the Greek Resistance and “Allied Forces”, known as Operation Harling, aimed at cutting off flow of fascist resources, also resulting in a spark that ignited the Greek Civil War.

It’s shaping up to look like there will be a couple hundred coordinated vigils across the US tomorrow, Feb 3, to protest the KXL pipeline.

According to a page on ActionNetwork.org: “The No KXL protest vigils are organized by CREDO, Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club, 350.org, The Other 98%, Center for Biological Diversity, Oil Change International, Bold Nebraska, Energy Action Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Hip Hop Caucus, Overpass Light Brigade, Environmental Action, Waterkeeper Alliance, Friends of the Earth, Forest Ethics, Forecast the Facts, and others.”

While there have been some strong, righteous critiques of this NGO amalgamation (most notably, “The Art of NGO Discourse” part I and part II), and we in the Earth First! movement have certainly had our problems with several of these groups over the years (for example: RAN’s Board of Directors including a pro-fracking rock miner in the Everglades, Sierra’s former love affair with fracking and the police state, and NRDC’s embrace of the fictitious concept known as “clean coal”, to name a few), I still think we should make the effort to show up at these KXL vigils.

So what’s that got to do with WWII-era sabotage against a train bridge in Greece? Well, I suppose you could infer something about the stated alternate plans to move tar sands via rail rather than pipeline….  But let’s just say its purely symbolic (as it turns out, the present-day “Allied Forces” seem to have a slightly different approach these days on plots to blow up bridges.)

Greek-Andartes

Andartes, guerrilla fighters, from the Greek resistance to fascist occupation

Well, in short, the story goes: commie militants and conservative nationalists join up with British soldiers to blow up a bridge that was speculated for use in transporting supplies needed for expanding fascist influence into North Africa. In the end, it turns out that the sabotaged bridge may not have been of any significant tangible value in the disruption of supplies for German troops, since there were actually two other rail bridges in the region, (sound familiar?) and action was basically rendered obsolete by the Allied victory at El Alamein.

Nonetheless, this essentially symbolic feat motivated thousands of Greeks to join the partisans’ resistance, ultimately turning the tide against the Nazi occupation getting pretty damn close to sparking an anti-capitalist revolution—also known as the Greek Civil War—in the following years.

Ok, perhaps it’s more than a bit hyperbolic parallel at this point in time. I won’t pretend to claim that the vigils tomorrow will be as exciting as blowing up a bridges or shoot-outs with fascists. But when the next revolutionary moment arises, signs point to it erupting around environmental tensions. And it wouldn’t hurt to have new allies, even if only temporarily, with us on the front lines.

Solidarity protest with MICATS at Palm Beach Island Citibank branch last week. There is a KXL vigil planned for Palm Beach tomorrow as well.

Everglades Earth First!’s solidarity protest with MICATS at Palm Beach Island Citibank branch last week. There is a KXL vigil planned for Palm Beach tomorrow as well… See you there?

Maybe you’ll meet some of them tomorrow night…

And hey, while you’re out there, spread the word of supporting the MICATS activists jailed this week for anti-tar sands action.

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