Archive | June, 2013

Community Justice vs. Minas Conga Mine

30 Jun
Local indigenous farmers on horseback form part of a protest against the Minas Conga gold mine, June 17, 2013

Local indigenous farmers on horseback form part of a protest against the Minas Conga gold mine, June 17, 2013

From Root Force:

A recent Reuters article examines the role that community justice institutions have played in the struggle against the Minas Conga mine in Peru, which would be the country’s largest gold mine. The indigenous- and peasant-led resistance movement has already led to the project being placed on hold once and the President’s cabinet being reshuffled twice.

Although the article quotes several people who are obviously deeply uncomfortable with the traditional, indigenous-influenced rondero justice model due to its failure to place all authority in the hands of the state, it obviously strives to paint a fair picture. The article seems relevant not just for its relation to the Minas Conga struggle in particular, but also for expanding our frame of reference in regard to models of community justice and organizing.

For those of you who are skimmers, don’t deprive yourself of the pleasure of the article’s concluding quote:

Ronderos in Cajamarca say they stopped carrying guns years ago. Punishments they mete out draw on traditional Andean practices, ranging from push-ups to lashings with cow whips. [NOTE:  Peruvian cow whips are thick, not thin like the “Indiana Jones”-style whip that is designed to draw blood. Not that it necessarily feels good to be hit with one. —Root Force]

One of the most severe sentences is the “rondero chain” that requires offenders to toil in fields by day and parade barefoot through frigid villages by night, some ronderos said. It can go on for days or weeks as people are handed off from one village squad to another.

Referring to Mines and Energy Minister Jorge Merino, a laughing Ponce said: “We would make Merino carry out a rondero chain for three or four months. [Peruvian President Ollanta] Humala would get six months.”

Peru peasant squads rally against U.S. firm’s $5 billion gold mine

(Reuters) – Forty years ago, peasants in rural Peru banded together as “ronderos” – Spanish for “people who make the rounds” – to curb cattle rustling.

Today, squads of these ronderos are working toward a different aim – thwarting an American mining company’s planned $5 billion gold mining project that they contend would spoil lakes vital to the local population high in the Andes.

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The CRC: Another Dead Freeway

30 Jun


Hart Noeker / Mismanaging Perception

As I begin writing this, Saturday night, June 29th, 2013, news of the death of the Columbia River Crossing freeway mega-expansion has just been published. Just hours ago the Portland Tribune broke the story: CRC champion and Oregon governor John Kitzhaber had admitted defeat, declaring the decade long project that has already wasted $170 million dollars as officially dead.  Not only would there be no money for construction, but the Washington state senate refused to pass a transportation package withany planning funds for the CRC whatsoever. Shortly after the Tribune article came out, The Columbian updated that the CRC planning office in Vancouver will be closing shortly. I don’t think anyone had realized how close this thing was to total death until just now.

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Paddlers Charge Silver River Protesting Expected Cattle Ranch

30 Jun
Paddlers charge the iconic Silver River, protesting Adena Springs Ranch

Paddlers charge the iconic Silver River, protesting Adena Springs Ranch. Photo: Matt Keene

By Matt Keene / Earth First! Newswire

Grassfed beef ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Take Adena Springs Ranch, a proposed cattle ranch being developed by billionaire Frank Stronach in Florida. The beef project is expected to span 10,000 acres and, according to their website, hold up to 15,000 cattle. Adena Springs Ranch plans to raise the cattle on a grassfed diet, calling their industrial farming practices “healthier” and “better for the environment.”

This past Saturday, individuals concerned with the proposed ranch gathered alongside the iconic Silver River, a river formed from the discharge of Silver Springs, one of the largest natural artesian wells in the world. Continue reading

Update from the Trees: Notes from White Castle

29 Jun

Cross Posted from The Trees

Last night I slept in a warm, soft, bed, my housemates murmuring and playing music a floor below; tonight I lay on the cold, damp, ground a Yew Tree right above me, with cinnamon red bark and a trunk that twists and curves, an old gnarled body reaching for the sky.

 I hear the Yew Tree grows quite slowly, curving and bending its way toward the much taller, Douglas Firs. Swaths of pale-green lichen hang from the branches and blanket the trunks of these giants, a sign that the air is clean and moist. I look down. I am stepping on  decaying logs, turning into fecund soil, right below my feet. There is a mass of life and death out here, feeding into itself, again and again: a perfect, waste-less, system.

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BLM Threatens Mesa Verde with Oil and Natural Gas Drilling

29 Jun

Mesa Verde is the US’s largest archeological preserve

By Scott Streater / E&E reporter

The Bureau of Land Management is proposing to offer eight parcels near southwest Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park in a November oil and natural gas lease sale, a move that has sparked concerns from local government leaders who fear drilling could degrade air quality and other natural resources in the region.

The eight parcels just east of the national park were among 12 covering about 12,000 acres that BLM’s Tres Rios Field Office deferred from a February lease sale. The agency pulled the parcels after the National Park Service, park advocates and conservation groups objected on the grounds that oil and gas drilling could negatively affect air quality and natural resources at the park.

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TD Bank Declares its Love for the Ecological Resistance…

28 Jun

And the Nature Conservancy isn’t a total sell out

from Earth First! Newswire

Just kidding. And so was the Tar Sands Blockade this morning, when they sent out a fake press release from an email address at, to a parody website designed to look like TD Bank’s press page announcing the bank’s divestment from Keystone XL. Here’s what they had to say for themselves in a follow up press release:

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49 Acts of Powerline Sabotage, 19 Acts of Oil Pipeline Sabotage in Last Six Months

28 Jun

by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! News

Smoke rises over a recent pipeline attack in Marib governorate, a tribal region in Yemen.

Smoke rises over a recent pipeline attack in Marib governorate, a tribal region in Yemen.

According to compiled reports from the Yemen Times  over 60 acts of industrial sabotage have taken place since January within the tribal area of the Marib governorate in Yemen, cutting power to Sana’a, the nation’s capital 170 miles to the east, and crippling the government’s oil and gas infrastructure. Oil and gas revenue provides 70 percent of the state’s budget.     Continue reading