July 29, 2012

RAMPS Shuts Down Surface Mine, 20 Activists Held on $500,000 Bail

The activist in this video, Dustin Steele, was beaten by police after being arrested during the Hobet Mine Shutdown

Donate to the Mountain Justice Legal Fund

Report from the R.A.M.P.S. Campaign


Charleston, W.Va.—More than 50 protesters affiliated with the R.A.M.P.S. Campaign have walked onto Patriot Coal’s Hobet mine and shut it down. Ten people locked to a rock truck, boarded it and dropped banners: ”Coal Leaves, Cancer Stays.” At least three have been arrested, with another in a tree being threatened by miners with a chain saw. Earlier in the day, two people were arrested at Kanawha State Forest before a group of protesters headed to the state capitol.

“The government has aided and abetted the coal industry in evading environmental and mine safety regulations. We are here today to demand that the government and coal industry end strip mining, repay their debt to Appalachia, and secure a just transition for this region,” Dustin Steele of Matewan, W.Va. said. Steele was one of the people locked to the rock truck.

Mounting scientific evidence shows that strip mining negatively impacts community health and miner health. Recent studies have found a 42 percent increase in risk of birth defects around strip mines, and miners who spend at least 20 years as strip-mine drillers have a 61 percent chance of contracting silicosis, a virulent form of black lung. “The coal companies are poisoning our water and air, and they’re treating the workers no better than the land – fighting workplace health and safety protections to get the most out of labor as they can,” said Junior Walk of Whitesville, W.Va.

As coal production declines, protesters are concerned that the region will be left with only illness and environmental devastation as the industry pulls out of the region and companies file for bankruptcy to shed legacy costs.

Patriot Coal is currently going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, in which union contracts and pensions could be on the chopping block. Both UMWA pensions and the state’s Special Reclamation Fund are funded through a per-ton tax on coal. With Central Appalachian coal production in the middle of a projected six-year, 50 percent decline, this funding stream is increasingly unsustainable. Protesters are calling on the coal industry and government to ensure that funding is available both to honor commitments to retired workers and to restore the land.

“Coal companies must employ their surface mine workers in reclaiming all disturbed land to the highest standards. Instead of arguing about the ‘war on coal,’ political leaders should immediately allocate funds to retrain and re-employ laid off miners to secure a healthy future for the families of this region,” said R.A.M.P.S. spokesperson Mathew Louis-Rosenberg.

Appalachian communities, from union miners to the anti-strip mining activists of the 1960s, have a proud history of confronting the coal industry and demanding an end to its exploitive practices with direct civil disobedience. R.A.M.P.S. and other campaigns have returned to this tradition to eliminate strip mining once and for all. Since its founding in 2011, R.A.M.P.S. has organized a range of actions, from tree-sits to blockades of coal trucks.

Today’s protesters are among the hundreds of people across the country who are joining this summer’s National Uprising Against Extraction, using radical tactics to fight oppressive extractive industries and demand a transition to a sustainable economy.


Following the historic shutdown of the Hobet mine — Appalachia’s largest mountaintop removal site– Dustin and at least nineteen other Appalachians and allies are being held on $25,000 bail each — a combined $500,000.* Most are being charged with trespass and obstruction.

While we believe that these bail amounts are unconstitutionally excessive and may ultimately be reduced, we need to raise as much money as we possibly can to support those brave individuals who have put their bodies on the line to put a halt to the injustice of mountaintop removal mining. According to Dustin, he was taken into a room and beaten by law enforcement while in custody. Witnesses have reported that other protesters were brutalized by law enforcement while being taken into custody. We need to work to ensure that anyone who wants to get out of jail can do so as soon as possible.

Mountaintop removal is a crime against humanity that has left a legacy of poisoned air and water, high cancer rates, economic exploitation, and devastated communities and ecosystems throughout Appalachia. Corrupted legislators and regulators at the state and federal levels have failed to take action to stop these atrocities, leaving direct action as the last resort for conscientious residents aiming to save the land and people of Appalachia.

Please check www.rampscampaign.org for updates as we receive additional information about our friends in custody.

Stand with the Hobet 20 by donating to the Mountain Justice legal fund.

Please share the following fundraising link via email, facebook, twitter, and other networks: http://bit.ly/mj-legal

See more images from yesterday’s historic action.

*We were able to verify bail amounts of $25,000 for seventeen of our arrested friends and assume it is the same for the remaining three.

July 22, 2012

Help Support Indigenous Solidarity in Whiteclay

Women’s Day of Peace: The Life Givers of the Nations say no more alcohol in Whiteclay

In June, Deep Green Resistance participated in a blockade of liquor stores in Whiteclay, NE. At the end of August, we will be going back to stand with the women of the Pine Ridge Reservation in the ongoing fight against the genocide of the Oglala Lakota Nation.

Video of Whiteclay blockade on June 9th with members of Deep Green Resistance, Unoccupy Albuquerque, Occupy Lincoln, and Lakota organizers

Lifting our Hearts, from Wounded Knees
August, 26th 2012 12:00 p.m. (noon) Billy Mills Hall Pine Ridge, SD
Action against Whiteclay Nebraska

“Our Stand Is Locked to the Land, Shut Down Whiteclay Today!”

Facts about Whiteclay, NE

Whiteclay is an unincorporated village with a population of 14 people in northwest Nebraska. The town sits on the border of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home to the Oglala Lakota (also known as the Oglala Sioux Tribe).

Whiteclay lies on disputed land, merely 200 feet from the official reservation border and less than 3 miles from the center of Pine Ridge, South Dakota, the largest town on the reservation.

Sale and possession of alcoholic beverages on the Pine Ridge is prohibited under tribal law. Except for a brief experiment with on-reservation liquor sales in the early 1970s, this prohibition has been in effect since the reservation lands were created.

Whiteclay has four off-sale beer stores licensed by the State of Nebraska which sell the equivalent of 4.5 million 12-ounce cans of beer annually (12,500 cans per day), mostly to the Oglalas living on Pine Ridge. These retailers routinely violate Nebraska liquor law by selling beer to minors and intoxicated persons, knowingly selling to bootleggers who resell the beer on the reservation, permitting on-premise consumption of beer in violation of restrictions placed on off-sale-only licenses, and exchanging beer for sexual favors .The vast majority of those who purchase beer in Whiteclay have in fact no legal place to consume it, since possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages on the Pine Ridge Reservation remain illegal under tribal law. Many people have died in the streets due to exposure, as the state of Nebraska fails to uphold state law or police Whiteclay. As long as the liquor stores in Whiteclay remains in business, the genocide of the Oglala Lakota people will continue.

Tribal activists of the Strong Heart Warrior Society have conducted annual blockades since 1999, trying to intercept alcohol and drugs being brought into the reservation. In June 2006 tribal activists protested beer sales by blockading the road from Pine Ridge to Whiteclay and confiscating beer bought in Whiteclay. These activists hoped to prevent bootlegging and illegal sales on the reservation. On June 9th of this year, young Lakota activists and their non-native allies held a blockade of the highway leading into Whiteclay, and gained concessions from law enforcement. This action in August will be a continuation of these efforts.

A Message to participants joining in the march:

This will be a Women’s led march, only women will be speaking during and after the march. Men are encouraged to come and will be there to show support and provide security for the women. We will also provide support work at the campsite so the women can get together and have women only circles. The men will also get together at the camp and have male ally circles. There will be more information provided at the campsite.

Women's Day of Peace

More Info:

Everyone is responsible for their own food for this action, there may or may not be camping fires to use for cooking while camping on Pine Ridge, due to the chance of starting a wild fire. Everyone in the caravan is responsible for the gas in the vehicle they are driving and riding in. DRUGS AND ALCOHOL will not be tolerated at all during this entire caravan and action. You will be escorted out of camp and asked to immediately leave. Please do not test us on this rule. Thank you everyone for your commitment and love for the cause.

Camping and Caravan Info: To join in the caravan heading from the East, groups will meet in Jefferson SD, on Thursday August 23rd after 3p.m., dinner will be provided. We will leave from Pine Ridge the next morning around 8am Friday August 24th. All groups are encouraged to meet at Wounded Knee on August 24th at 3pm. The campsite on Pine Ridge will be announced at a later date. If you are traveling from the West please get in contact with Jennifer Murnan from DGR Colorado; she will have lodging for folks the night of August 23rd. August 25th will be a day of social gatherings, Women circles, Male Ally circles, and trainings for the March on the 26th.

***Information on the Camping situation in Pine Ridge will come later stay tuned***

Deep Green Resistance Indigenous Solidarity Guidelines.
1. First and foremost we must recognize that non-indigenous people are occupying stolen land in an ongoing genocide that has lasted for centuries. We must affirm our responsibility to stand with indigenous communities who want support and give everything we can to protect their land and culture from further devastation; they have been on the frontlines of biocide and genocide for centuries, and as allies, we need to step up and join them.
2. You are doing Indigenous solidarity work not out of guilt, but out of a fierce desire to confront oppressive colonial systems of power.
3. You are not helping Indigenous people, you are there to: join with, struggle with, and fight with indigenous peoples against these systems of power. You must be willing to put your body on the line.
4. Recognize your privilege as a member of settler culture.
5. You are not here to engage in any type of cultural, spiritual or religious needs you think you might have, you are here to engage in political action. Also, remember your political message is secondary to the cause at hand.
6. Never use drugs or alcohol when engaging in Indigenous solidarity work. Never.
7. Do more listening than talking, you will be surprised what you can learn.
8. Recognize that there will be Indigenous people that will not want you to participate in ceremonies. Humbly refrain from participating in ceremonies.
9. Recognize that you and your Indigenous allies may be in the minority on a cause that is worth fighting for.
10. Work with integrity and respect, be trustworthy and do what you say you are going to do.

What would a real transition to a sustainable society look like?

This article now located on the Deep Green Resistance News Service: What would a real transition to a sustainable society look like?