This article touches on a subject that is of extreme importance to all Patriots; having and maintaining LEGITIMACY for your cause. It is a cornerstone of Guerilla Warfare that the Guerilla’s CAUSE be seen as LEGITMATE by Joe Q Public. As soon as that LEGITIMACY is lost, PUBLIC SUPPORT OF THE GUERILLA AND THEIR CAUSE is lost and thus the public pressure on the GOVERNMENT is lost also. Having and maintaining PUBLIC SENTIMENT must always be seen as a PRIMARY WEAPON by the Guerilla. History bears this out time and time again. -SF
An analysis on direct action in Flint, Michigan and Burns, Oregon
Two high profile events that have dominated the headlines in January 2016, the Flint water crisis and Oregon rancher standoff, have many things in common. At the core of the matter is the right to natural resources. Each example displays the best and worst in government and individuals impacted by regulations, greed… and who knows what. Analyzing the differences in approach that activists took to deal with unfair practices can provide some valuable lessons learned.
First, the Flint Michigan water crisis. In a decision made almost two years ago by an appointed emergency manager, Flint’s water source was changed from the Detroit water system to the Flint River. The move was reportedly made to save money, but conflicting reports show that moving to the Flint River may have been more expensive. Though not all information on this decision has been released, some theorize that it was because of a desire to break up the current structure of the water companies to privatize, or possibly provide opportunities for oil fracking.
Whatever the reason, within months of the switch complaints about the smell and color of the water, and suspected health issues were reported. In what seems like just the beginning of stories to come out of Flint, people have been exposed to high levels of lead, there is potential for irreversible damage, and even death.
Now Oregon. What is the real issue here? Land tensions and competing demands for access to water, a limited area to graze cattle, flooding management, and distrust between the government as well as ranchers have created a situation that led a select few to participate in unlawful actions. Pile that on top of environmentalists trying to protect the ecosystem with now land deemed occupied by endangered species and you have the perfect storm for confrontation.
So that is the background in the struggle for water and the good and bad surrounding government actions and inaction. It is unfortunate that in the United States that access to clean water is an issue, but we hear more stories about it every day. How do these two cases differ in the form of direct action by citizens of the community?
In Flint many people were reporting issues to their government officials and trying to get answers as to why the water coming into their homes was making them sick. One pivotal story points to Leeanne Walters, who was concerned that something was wrong and could not convince officials to take the issue more seriously. She took matters into her own hands and became educated. She scoured the internet and got help from a respected environmental engineering professor from Virginia Tech, Marc Edwards. They worked together to obtain samples of water. Edwards got grants and spent thousands of dollars of his own funds. He submittedFreedom of Information Act requests for documentation on what officials really knew about the issue. And Edwards and his team got the information out to the general public. Using social media, starting a website, and using any other means possible, they were able to get people’s attention. And things are finally happening to help those in need try to address this devastating situation.
In Oregon tensions continued to rise even though stakeholders came together a few years ago to work out a land management policy to try to meet the competing demands of the limited natural resources, but it was not accepted by all. A protest against the prosecution of two local ranchers and U.S. land management policy, culminated with Ammon Bundy and his group of armed associates claiming control over an Oregon wildlife refuge from the federal government. They had four demands: release the local ranchers who were sent back to prison for setting fires to land they leased from the government, turn federal lands over to private ownership, void federal grazing permits, and allow Harney County to manage the wildlife refuge, rather than the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Though some showed support to the protest group, many more condemned their actions and ridiculed them. On January 26, the FBI and police challenged the standoff and arrested Bundy and four others, One other protester died in the confrontation. There are still four armed militants occupying the refuge.
So ladies and gentlemen, there is a right and a wrong way to get results when others or the government have not lived up to expectations. Edwards and many other community leaders in Flint are called heroes, whereas the Bundy clan and their band of misfits are ridiculed, jailed, and shot to death. People are finally getting some of the help they so much deserve, and others are going to prison. More needs to be done in both situations, but the direct action of the people of Flint through education, advocacy, credible representation, and the use of social media all within the bounds of law are what make the Water Warriors the winners of this showdown.
Read the Original Article at Medium