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Action Alerts

Dineh families requesting direct on-land support

For four decades, the Dineh communities of Black Mesa have fought to stop the U.S government and Peabody Energy Company's exploitation of their homelands and communities. Today, families remain, steadfastly resisting the mine, colonialism, and forced relocation. 

In the words of one resister, "WE NEED YOUR PHYSICAL PRESENCE OUT HERE, ASAP! WE don't ask for monies, just your good-spirited will to come out for a few days/weeks/months and immerse yourself into a cultural community under threat, and accept the daily challenges in supporting these native elders' existence. And yes, we are not asking for monies because we wish to maintain that human sovereignty, and not seek lawyers or travels to far off cities to protest."

You are being invited to the resistance communities' lands to support their resistance and deter governmental and corporate harassment.

Support the Unist'ot'en Encampment

Members of the Wet'suwet'en clan are re-occupying their land to stop an array of oil and gas pipelines planned for that area without their permission.

As political prisoner David Gilbert (among many others) has pointed out, it's important that our local struggles take inspiration from and lend our strength to global struggles, especially those struggles led by indigenous people and people of color.

RAMPS has supported the Unist'ot'en encampment financially and by volunteering, and we call on our friends and allies to do the same.

Drone Footage of Spruce #1 MTR site
"WE ARE THE STORM" CultureStrike and Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative: Art print portfolio highlights the resistance and resilience of communities under threat by climate change.
Youth Engagement Project
Kanawha Forest Coalition
Honoring the Waters ceremony and candlelight vigil in Charleston, WV.

Happy Fall

posted by admin, Friday, November 30th, 2018
 

After wrapping up another successful Fall Summit, we’ve decided that a RAMPS update is long overdue! The past few months have been incredibly busy and trying for us, with our people, resources and energy spread all across the region. Spending time on Kayford with old and new friends reminds us how important it is to be sharing some of the incredible work happening across Appalachia. So, as we (finally!) experience some autumn colors throughout the mountains, here’s a bit about what we’ve been up to recently.

Fighting the Mountain Valley Pipeline

Since February of this year, we have been supporting Appalachians Against Pipelines in their fight against the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). This hazardous fossil fuel project is a 42-inch diameter fracked gas pipeline that is currently under construction from northern WV to southern VA. The MVP threatens the land, water, and communities along its route. Throughout the summer and fall, we have supported a series of blockades and nonviolent direct actions to resist the MVP. Two tree sits preventing tree felling in the pipeline’s path near Elliston, Virginia recently celebrated their 60th day in the canopy! Resistance to this dangerous pipeline has directly contributed to delays in construction, including the revocation of MVP’s construction permits in national forest areas, a federally mandated month-long work stoppage this summer, and a court ordered construction stoppage along river crossings in West Virginia.

Meanwhile in Whitesville…

Our garden was blooming throughout spring, summer, and most of the fall! Neighbors enjoyed fresh tomatoes, peppers, chard, onions, and more throughout the season. We just picked our last bouquet of flowers after experiencing the first frost. We’re already planning for next spring and hope to build more raised beds and have a wider selection of vegetables!

 

We had SO much fun hosting Whitesville’s first ever Macaroni and Cheese Cook Off at the Fall Festival in September! Over fifty people from the community came out to our booth at the garden and voted for their favorite mac and cheese dish. (The obvious winner was deep-fried mac and cheese bites…)

More recently, we helped host another free herbal health clinic with the West Virginia Herbal Medics. Volunteer herbalists offered free consults and herbal medicine in Whitesville’s community center. The herbal clinic then joined us on Kayford for a day at Fall Summit.


And up on Kayford…

We were excited to co-host the Fall Summit on Kayford with Appalachians Against Pipelines just a couple weeks ago. This year, it felt more important than ever to spend time with our community on Kayford talking about Appalachian history, prevalent issues, and resistance. It was a space to connect our fight against fossil fuel pipelines in West Virginia to other struggles and organizing throughout the region. We are grateful to everyone who came out for a cold weekend on the mountain full of workshops, discussions, trainings, storytelling, and fun!

 

We can’t continue to fight pipelines, build community gardens, and host fall summits and mac and cheese cook offs without your support! Please consider donating to RAMPS so we can continue our work in Appalachia. Feel free to get in touch with us at [email protected] or come visit and volunteer with us! If you’re interested in joining the Mountain Valley Pipeline resistance, find Appalachians Against Pipelines on Facebook, or reach out.

 

 

For the land and the people,
RAMPS

2017 End of Year Update

posted by admin, Wednesday, December 27th, 2017
 

 

              Happy New Year!                        

2017 has been a busy year for us. We’ve worked hard to cultivate resistance and community support in the face of growing threats like fascist, white supremacist organizations, increased repression of radical activism and all the other fucked up shit that has escalated this year.  Our work continues to change and expand with the shifting political landscape. Here’s a recap of what we’ve been up to this year and what we hope to do in 2018:

Here in Whitesville…
We’ve made significant progress turning a vacant lot into a community garden. With help from Whitesville residents, we’ve planted medicinal herbs, added raised beds, built a rain catchment system for watering, and started terracing the hillside.  When spring comes, we hope to fill the raised beds with vegetables, plant more flowers and herbs on the hill, and plant some fruit trees.  We also look forward to working with our friends Aurora Lights  Herbal Medics again to bring another free herbal and alternative health clinic to Whitesville in 2018.
We are constantly engaged in mutual aid work with neighbors in Whitesville- from helping folks heat their homes, to giving people rides to doctor’s appointments or the grocery store. Our community house is a place where neighbors and visitors come to share a meal, get help with school work, or find emotional support. We feel it is an important space in this chaotic community where so many people face depression, drug addiction, violence, and physical ailments. In the past year, we’ve also provided medical support by hosting and caring for neighbors with serious medical conditions.

 

In “West Virginia”…
We’ve continued our involvement with communities beyond Whitesville as well. We have supported the Stanley Heirs families on Kayford mountain as they carry on the legacy of legendary land defender Larry Gibson. This year we set up and maintained a rain catchment system on Kayford for drinking water and hosted our annual Fall Summit in the park (thanks again to partners Seeds of Peace and the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition!). We’ve also maintained our long standing relationship with Prenter, a nearby community severely impacted by mining. This year residents have been forced to run a diesel generator to power the pumping station providing their tap water, though this water is still not clean enough to drink- it is mainly used for washing. While they are hoping they will have access to city water some time in 2018, in the meantime, we will soon launch a fundraiser to help them pay for the diesel fuel. Stay tuned! In addition, we continue to write letters, keep up relationships and advocate for people who are incarcerated throughout the state.
Appalachia…
As fascism grew on a national level in 2017, the threat of fascist and racist organizations within our region specifically- including militias and white supremacist political parties- has risen dramatically. Some of these dangerous groups see Appalachia as an ideal place to establish a “white homeland” and have been working to organize and expand here. We’ve worked with local and regional allies to confront these enemies in the streets of Pikeville, KY; Charleston, WV; and Charlottesville, VA. As an outgrowth of those efforts, we’ve helped establish the “Holler Network”, an Appalachian antifascist network with members throughout the region. This network was instrumental this fall in providing community-based self-defense when black radical artist John Sims came to Athens, OH to lecture and exhibit his work. In the coming year, we will continue to confront the fascists wherever they appear in our region and build the Holler network through trainings, outreach, and direct action to destroy fascism in the streets and the hollers of Appalachia.
 –
Broader Movement Support…
Indigenous solidarity continues to be at the forefront of our work. We are on stolen land! Members of RAMPS spent several months in North Dakota this winter and spring providing legal support to water protectors fighting the Dakota Access pipeline. We also set up jail and legal support for actions throughout Appalachia and hope to continue this work in the coming year (and to provide trainings to folks who are interested!). This summer, RAMPS members supported the Pokanoket Nation’s occupation of part of their ancestral land in an attempt to force Brown University to return it to them. We will continue to support indigenous-led resistance!
 

To continue our efforts into 2018, we’re asking folks to consider donating here. Thanks to all those who donated their time or money (or anything else!) to support us in 2017!

Feel free to get in touch ([email protected]) or stop by if you find yourself in southern WV! We (almost) always need volunteers- please reach out if that’s something you might be interested in.

For the land and people,
RAMPS

This year’s Fall Summit schedule!

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Check out the latest RAMPS update! We're looking back on 2018 and looking forward to another great year!

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West Virginia was an exciting place to be in 2018. From teacher strikes to pipeline fights, the culture of resistance in Appalachia was demonstrated in moving ways. Over the last year, RAMPS supported resistance across the region while also helping friends, neighbors and allies in Whitesville and the Coal River Valley. Here are some highlights from our work in 2018:

Resist ALL Pipelines!

In this region where extraction poses a constant danger to our water, our fight against the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) continues! MVP plans to pump fracked gas over 300 miles from northern WV to southwestern VA — through ecosystems, watersheds, and communities. This winter and spring, RAMPS worked with Appalachians Against Pipelines to support the Peters Mountain Stand: a series of aerial blockades in the pipeline’s path where it is slated to cross the Appalachian Trail. These tree sits prevented tree clearing on the mountain for 95 days! We continue to be a part of this sustained campaign, which has included treesits, blockades and other nonviolent direct actions, contributing to significant delays in construction. Two tree sits currently preventing tree clearing in the pipeline's path outside of Elliston, VA, are standing strong in their 148th day.

Fighting for Healthy Water and Environmental Justice:

Access to healthy drinking water in WV in 2018 meant legal struggle and community organizing. In January, a settlement was reached through a class-action lawsuit in which impacted residents from the 2014 MCHM Elk River chemical spill were entitled to a small amount of money. RAMPS and friends did outreach in impacted areas of the Coal River Valley to help residents file settlement claims. People are finally receiving their checks! While it doesn’t truly feel like justice, this is still a small, important victory for folks who are continuously affected by hazardous resource extraction.

Recognizing that prisoners are often systematically ignored in disasters, we pushed the courts to include prisoners in affected areas, such as the South Central Regional Jail, in the settlement and fought to make settlement claim forms available to them. Prisoner support also continues to be a regular part of what we do, including our prisoner support line, writing letters, and advocacy work.

After years of struggling, some folks in Prenter still have no access to healthy water — they must use well water that has long been contaminated by mining. Last winter, RAMPS raised over $1000 to help pay for a generator to operate the community well. However, we’re excited to share that as a result of the efforts of Prenter residents like Jackie Bias and the Boone County Commission, there’s now a plan to extend the “city water” line to Prenter-- a goal people have been working towards for years! We’re hopeful it will be completed by 2020.

Community Support in Whitesville:

As we fight extraction in Appalachia, living in and supporting a small community deeply impacted by coal mining remains an important part of our work. In Whitesville, our community garden had its most productive year ever, complete with kale, tomatoes, sunflowers, and more. This fall, we hosted multiple events including a macaroni-and-cheese cook off, our third free herbal medicine clinic, and the annual Fall Summit weekend on Kayford Mountain. The West Virginia teachers strike this past March provided us with an amazing opportunity to talk to our neighbors and young friends about their fight for better pay and benefits.

It’s inspiring to see people rising up to fight growing threats to Appalachia. We hope 2019 will be as fulfilling and exciting as 2018. But we can’t do it without support! Please consider donating to RAMPS or let us know if you would like to come visit or volunteer!

Finally, We are sad to share that our good friend and neighbor Tommy Bowe passed away in December. Tommy was a special person in our community, who helped shape our relationships and work here in the coalfields of West Virginia. Whitesville will be a very different place without him. RIP Tommy.

For the land and the people,
RAMPS

To support our work, please donate here: actionnetwork.org/fundraising/ramps-campaign

Or reach out at [email protected]
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Ramps Campaign shared Appalachians Against Pipelines's post.
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This week Nutty, who lived atop a monopod for 57 days last spring, was sentenced to 14 days in prison for blocking a forest service road to prevent pipeline construction. Here is a note from Nutty as she begins her sentence.Some words from Nutty as she begins her 14 day sentence:

“Eight months ago I climbed out of the camping cot I’d been living in for fifty-seven days and rappelled to the ground. I walked away from the monopod to the tent where police photographed me and ran my ID. I got finger printed while lying in a hospital bed. I left Giles county in the passenger seat of a friend’s car, with three misdemeanor charges for violating US Forest Service regulations and a court date which would be delayed repeatedly in the coming months.

Yesterday a federal judge finally sentenced me to 14 days in prison for my crime of acting against the MVP.

The prosecutor had pushed for 30 days in jail, calling for a sentence that would deter me and others from taking action against the MVP as construction continues in coming months. I know I am not deterred, and I hope no one else is either.

The testimony of the forest service was a
predictable reminder of how cops can lie and lie and lie. Patrol captain Katie Ballew stated, as they have claimed before, that the forest service was there to protect people. She claimed they were concerned with my health and safety after they spent weeks blocking deliveries of food and water. She claimed they were protecting those of us resisting the pipeline from hostile community members; during those days I never knew of a single hostile interaction with anyone who wasn't working for the pipeline or the cops, while locals routinely braved the steep trail around the forest closure to visit me and my friends.

One thing we hope she wasn't lying about was how much the aerial blockades on the mountain this spring cost the USFS. She testified that overtime and travel alone cost $435,000. She said forest service cops in
surrounding states have had to forego any new equipment and training.

Perhaps this will make them think twice before allowing another pipeline to cross through the lands they oversee. I learned later that some who'd come to witness the hearing in my support had to keep themselves from applauding.

I plead guilty to the charge of blocking the road, and the state dropped the two other charges.

I had watched others plead guilty before; I knew that the final chance for the accused to speak during the court’s proceedings is deliberately selected to fall just before the sentence is pronounced. I imagine that audiences seated on courtroom benches have missed out on many strong denunciations of the pantheon of courts, cops, prisons and laws due to defendants’ well-founded fear that a judge might react with harsher penalties.

They asked if I had anything to say. Despite how I hate mincing my words out of fear, there was a lot I didn’t think worth uttering before the judge who would decide my fate.

Like fuck your laws. Like in my dreams, I imagine your vaunted court buildings crumbling and broken. Flames licking at the mountains of statutes and precedents you've used to command us. Prisoners cutting through shackles and smashing through gates and breathing fresh free air.

Fuck the liberal ideologies of people who take offense at the punishments endured by some land defenders while they proclaim how distinct we are from those who share our jail cells.

The courts are wrong for prosecuting us. And they are wrong for prosecuting all those who lack the extensive networks of support that our movement provides. The courts take people in the hardest moments of their lives and make them even harder, steal people from their families, jail them for not having the money for bail and then imprison them for not being able to afford a fancy lawyer.

The oft-repeated fantasy of a system that enforces equality and deals fairly with disputes is crushed by the reality of millions imprisoned for being poor and trying to survive, for being the wrong race or born in on the wrong side of a border. Those who profit most by exploiting them remain well-protected by the police. This isn’t some perversion of the legal process; it’s how it works. When British laws were insufficient for their ends, settlers on this continent created legal frameworks for dispossessing native peoples and enforced them with massacres. Slavery was once legal, and now in its stead the legal system has provided prison labor.

What we experience is far from the extremes of the atrocities committed by this legal system. Yet every time in the last few months I’ve accompanied friends to their hearings and arraignments, the courts give clear reminders of the domination that they stand for. We step inside past the portraits of presidents and governors. We watch the cops and the prosecutors walk by as court-appointed lawyers call the name of one or another of the hundreds of clients they've never met. In some courtrooms, the holding cells are close enough that from the benches on the far side of the room we hear the clinking of chains.

This is what I remember when I think of the array of cases where the courts have slowed MVP’s progress by suspending water crossing permits and the permits to cross the very mountain I defended. Of course I’m glad of these rulings, as I’m glad of everything that makes this project more costly to complete. But know this: for every decision that ameliorates the conditions of oppression, there are hundreds that helped enforce the status quo. The rule of law helped usher in the rampant industrialization and commercialization of every aspect of the world that set us on the path to this unfolding ecological catastrophe. The rule of law enforced the dictates of capitalism and helped bring us pipelines and strip mines and fracking.

The courts may increase their legitimacy by sometimes responding to the compelling arguments of concerned citizens, but they will never lead us away from the workings of an economy based on extraction. No, I’m not against wading through legal documents in search of tools with which to entangle our enemies. Working on different fronts to expose pipeliners’ and government agencies’ hypocrisy is an important part of this struggle. But acting on the idea that legal remedies are the be all and the end all, that judges and lawyers and politicians will solve our problems, turns my stomach.

What if the courts, extraordinarily, stopped this pipeline? I don’t believe it’ll happen, but it’s not impossible. We would rejoice. We would be so, so glad for all the places no longer threatened by the constant transport of highly pressurized toxic explosive gases. And we would still be left in a civilization with a profoundly damaged and dangerous relationship to the water, air and earth we live on. We would still be ruled by states and laws that derive their power from colonialism, patriarchy and white supremacy.

The courts and police would still reserve the right to determine the legitimacy of our resistance. Right now, even as on paper the pipeline lacks many of the permits required to complete it, people at the treesits and the camp in Elliston, VA are waiting for a judge to determine whether to grant MVP’s request to inflict the full might of the federal marshals upon them. Last year in Franklin county, those same marshals decided that it was acceptable to drop part of a tree on someone trying to defend it.

Even if the pipeline were stopped, the insides of the jails and prisons would still look the same. Political prisoners locked up for decades on sketchy and fabricated evidence would remain caged. People would still be dying inside jails and prisons and those institutions would still nearly always face no penalties. The misdemeanor pods in county and city jails would still be full of people in the same bullshit situations as those my friends and I have met during brief stints inside.

They'd be stuck waiting on $50, $100, $300 dollar bonds. They’d have been arrested for trying to feel a bit better by getting high. Or they got caught shoplifting. Or someone with a grudge calling the cops on them. Or they failed to pay child support. Because somehow we've been raised to tolerate a legal system that thinks locking someone away from their family and means of survival is a reasonable way to impel them to help their child.

It’s not like any of us know how to end all this. But I don’t think we need to articulate every solution in order to condemn this bullshit system. I’m committed to direct action not only to confront the specific assaults of this pipeline or any other poisonous entity, but to push for a different relationship towards those who try to control and exploit us. Because as long as we’re appealing to some higher authority, we’ll need to remain within the bounds they find intelligible and non-threatening. And it’s time to stop shying away from the truth that those bounds keep us within a world that is appalling and unjust and unacceptable.

People make laws and people can destroy them. If states and corporations could find a way to eliminate defiance, they would already have enacted it. When we break the rules and refuse to repent or to submit, when we come together and try to make laws irrelevant and unenforceable, those who cling to power see the specters of their doom. I see the stirrings of a better world.”

#NoPrisonsNoPipelines #BeLikeNutty #WeWontBackDown

Support resistance to the Mountain Valley Pipeline: bit.ly/supportmvpresistance
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Ramps Campaign shared Kanawha Forest Coalition's post.
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Damn, West Virginia finally did that facebook 10 year challenge. It's been a rough decade.

#MTR #mountaintopremoval #coal #mining
(Wondering what you’re seeing here? www.kanawhaforestcoalition.org/what-is-mtr)
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