B.C.'s Pipeline Opponents Watching and Learning from the Tar Sands Blockade in Texas

It's day 3 of the non-violent Tar Sands Blockade just outside Winnsboro in East Texas and as of right now the machinery and destruction have been stopped entirely. On day one 8 treesitters and a number of other demonstrators unfurled their signs in front of the approaching heavy machinery. On day two a man and woman chained themselves to the lead machine. This time the local sheriff and his deputies were quickly called in but despite tactics that included; sustained chokeholds, violent arm-twisting, pepper spray, and multiple uses of Tasers it took the sheriff and his deputies almost 6 hours, until just before dusk, to get the brave protesters to relent.

It's day 3 today and the crowds have grown considerably and the scene is now surrounded by a phalanx of counter-culture media with more arriving all the time but as of this morning the police aren't allowing them close enough to the site to take any video. Meanwhile, the direct action continues as the eight activists remain aloft in a “tree village” in a bid to block tree-clearing equipment that’s making way for the pipeline’s southern leg. It's like a flashback to Julia Butterfly Hill’s two year vigil in a Redwood tree near Garberville, California.

The tactics of non-violent civil disobedience haven't really changed much in the decades since Earth First started confronting the machines in their often successful campaigns to shut down the extractive industries through a combination of direct action and the widespread publicity those confrontations generated which in turn led to an even more widespread public outcry and eventually the halting of the destructive practices. As the Earth First folks learned and the Tar Sands Blockade folks in Texas are about to learn, its often a long process and the corporations who's shareholders demand every greater obscene profits no matter what the cost to the planet itself will use whatever tools they can, including violent police and army assaults, to evict the demonstrators.

From the glowingly supportive comments rolling in on the Tar Sands Blockade website it apparent that the demonstrators have supporters all across North America including up here in Canuckistan where a similar confrontation may well unfold in the next couple of years. Many commentors supportive from B.C. have said that they are encouraged by their Texas cousins and are already preparing to meet either or both of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and the Kinder-Morgan expansion with the same tactics, enthusiasm and bravery. Concerted non-violent civil disobedience through direct action has been proven to work once the information about why it's happening has been spread widely enough by the counter-culture media [it won't happen by the corporate owned mass media that's for sure]. Let's hope the Texans win their fight and those in the Great White North do too.