MSEF! Fall Speaking Tour Reportback

toxic-avenger

from Hudson Valley Earth First!

Recently, MSEF! went on a short speaking tour in New York and Pennsylvania, visiting at area colleges and with community organizations, giving context to our current campaign and building connections with student activists and other invested folks within the Marcellus Shale. The main purpose of our tour was to raise awareness about the Loyalsock campaign and our Direct Action Fund. We wanted to talk about direct action, supporting frontline communities, and the work that Marcellus Shale Earth First! is actively engaging in within NEPA and in the broader networks that make up Marcellus Shale Earth First!, and the history of Earth First! and how all these things come together in our fight to save the Loyalsock.

Our first stop was at NYU. We had 20-25 people, about half of which were students at NYU. The other half were an interesting mix of folks including CUNY students, area organizers and ex-occupiers. As many of the participants were not native New Yorkers, much of our conversation centered on what it means to support frontline communities. Many NYC students are involved in divestment campaigns. We discussed ideas for connecting our struggles. Anadarko and South Western Energy are two of the top 200 publicly traded and government owned fossil fuel companies that many student divestment groups are focusing their campus divestment campaigns on. Making these connections are extremely strategic, opening dialogue with divestment activists is one of many tangible ways for people on the periphery to plug in to our campaign, and breed further acts of solidarity.

Next we descended upon SUNY Purchase, where we sat down with students from a variety of campus groups, including NYPIRG and PUSH: Ideas into Action. We shared videos of past direct actions, and talked about why direct action is such an important part of Earth First!

A community potluck in New Paltz was our next stop. We feasted on fried watermelon, turnip crisps, sweet roasted squash, and a smorgasbord of other palatial vegan treats. In New Paltz many people wanted to know how they could support the Loyalsock campaign. Our great allies in New Paltz have already thrown a rad gender-bending dance party fundraiser to support the MSEF! Direst Action Fund (http://marcellusshaleearthfirst.org/donate-2/). Besides fundraising, we talked about our awesome Media Working Group that creates and promotes content and helps with outreach and how students can incorporate themselves into our organizing structure.

Friday we got to connect with some rad comrades based out of Poughkeepsie. We were invited by an organizer from the local Anarchist group the Forum Against Oppression to attend their Poughkeepsie Food Not Bombs serve and weekly meeting. Our discussion focused around group and movement dynamics, and why Earth First! doesn’t focus on consumer choices as a tactic for winning. It was really encouraging to see people in other areas organizing independently and working within their own communities.

Our last stop brought us back to PA for a direct action training at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. We had a small, dynamic group who had backgrounds in a great variety of levels and types of involvement in environmental activism. We talked for hours about direct action! We watched and analyzed videos, and then went over our own ideas for different scenarios where direct action might be a necessary tactic. Tons of new ideas and shared stories.

The response we had at every stop on this tour were full of excitement and support. Over and over again people asked, “what can we do to help?” To which we replied: “the possibilities are endless!” MSEF! is a creative and growing movement, and sharing our struggle with others around PA and NY made it clear that the campaign to defend the Loyalsock is one that will unite many people.

Get involved:

  • Put together a solidarity action (banner drops, blockades, rallies, teach-in, etc)
  • Help with social media (tweets, facebook, blog, journal, etc)
  • Donate supplies and/or money here (wishlist on site)
  • Host MSEF! In your community space or college for workshop/talk
  • Help us find pro bono legal aid
  • Organize a benefit event (potluck, show, winter clothing drive)
  • Fight where you stand or come to where we stand and fight with us
  • Check our site for updates about upcoming events, actions and more!
  • Contact us with ideas and interest

    marcellusef@riseup.net

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