Glancing Back, Charging Forward

Saturday, December 28th, 2013
posted by fern
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A RAMPS Volunteer and allied hen, both hoping that RAMPS will have many generous donors this year

Dear Friends,

RAMPS has had another busy year supporting struggles against extraction across the country and keeping the pressure on the companies and politicians perpetuating mountaintop removal in Appalachia.  With resistence to extraction spreading like wildfire and the movement in Appalachia digging in, the work shows no sign of slowing down in 2014 and RAMPS has no plans to slow down either.  Won’t you consider making a donation today to ensure we can continue our critical work?  Small groups taking direct action on the frontlines like ours don’t get money from big foundations or donors like Michael Bloomburg.  We depend totally on passionate, committed people like you giving what they can.  We know a lot of big groups are asking for your money right now, and we hope that you’ll considering giving to RAMPS where your donations can make a huge difference for us.  Read our year in review below and we hope you’ll be as inspired as we are by the resistence across the country.

Looking Back on a Year of Nonstop Resistance…

This was a big summer for this movement, and RAMPS was a big part of it.  With allies across the county, we launched “Fearless Summer”, an open-ended callout for folks fighting extreme energy across the country to take united and escalated action.  Many answered the call, with dozens of groups from Sierra Club Chapters to Earth First! endorsing the callout and taking actions resulting in hundreds of arrests.  From folks in Maine blockading train carrying frack oil to folks in Detriot turning back pet coke trucks to Montanans rallying against coal exports, the movement was in action across the country.  By embracing a common framework and united front, we showed that we are one movement, bigger and stronger than each of our campaigns alone, getting our message of unified resistence into the San Francisco Chronicle and YES! Magazine.  The summer was such a big success that weinspired our comrades out in Australia to launch their own Fearless Summer in the depths of our winter.  This inspiring show of power was cooked up by organizers at the first Extreme Energy Extraction Summit, a meeting of a wide spectrum of groups across the anti-extraction movement to strategize together, strengthen each other’s approaches, and broadcast a common message about the social and environmental costs of resource extraction and climate change.  We are excited to be a part of these ongoing meetings.  We believe deeply that our struggle against MTR is one and the same as struggles against fracking, tar sands, uranium mining and others and that we can only win our individual struggle for justice by uniting and fighting together.

We don’t just talk about being in solidarity with other struggles, we do it.   RAMPS has traveled to over a dozen states from Pennsylvania to Utah this year to assist campaigns against tar sands mining and pipelines, coal mining and hydrofracking.  We’ve conducted trainings in nonviolence, blockades, campaign strategy, media, and jail support, provided action support and cooked thousands of meals.  We’re especially excited to expand our support of indigenous struggles, travelling to Montana and South Dakota to support the indigenous-led “Moccasins on the Ground” nonviolence training and working more closely with the Dine’ Big Mountain/Black Mesa resisters in Arizona.

All this work around the country hasn’t stopped us from keeping the heat on moutaintop removal.  In keeping with the advice of local allies, we focused many of our actions this past year on corporate and governmental targets. In January, in conjunction with our allies in MORE (Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment) and BMIS (Black Mesa Indigenous Support), we held a three-week-long urban action camp. Seven people locked down at the St. Louis headquarters of Arch Coal, one of the largest producers of strip-mined coal in Appalachia; others were arrested at the headquarters of Peabody Energy after the corporation refused to receive a letter from Diné elders,whose land it is strip mining. In May, we helped support Mountain Justice Summer Camp in southwestern Virginia, which culminated in a blockade of the headquarters of Alpha Natural Resources, another large producer of strip-mined coal in Appalachia. Another team of activists locked down at the Knoxville office of UBS, a major funder of strip-mining companies, on the same day. Since UBS didn’t agree to our demand to stop funding mountaintop removal, in November we dropped in on their national headquarters in Connecticut, locking down and hanging a giant banner from a nearby crane. All year in the WV State Capitol, Governor Tomblin refused to respond to any of the health or environmental concerns of coalfield residents; eventually this August those concerns were brought to his front door as someone locked down on his front steps to a huge vat containing coal slurry while others paddled out on the Shumate slurry impoundment.

… And Looking Forward to Another

To guide our work here in the coming year, we’re planning to conduct a series of “listening projects” in southern West Virginia this winter. We will go door-to-door to listen to the concerns and aspirations people in different communities here have for their lives and for the land they love. We’re very excited to renew our relationships with coalfield residents who have fallen out of touch and to perhaps meet new friends and allies. We are hoping that the feedback from these listening projects will help us focus our direct action campaign to end surface mining and to end the oppression of this people and this land.

Meanwhile across Appalachia, we are gearing up with our allies in Mountain Justice for a huge tenth anniversary year.  Yep, you read that right. 2014 will be the 10th year that MJ has been bringing the fight the coal industry, and we are still going strong.  With spring break camps in March, the 10th MJ Summer Camp, 2 fall weekend gatherings and the first ever Mountain Justice Reunion Celebration, we’ve already got a busy schedule.  But that’s not all.  Mountain Justice will be launching a major regional campaign against an outlaw coal operator next year.  We can’t tell you much about it yet, but look for information about how you can come support justice for Appalachia with action in 2014 – there will be plenty of chances.

We are thrilled to announce through our work targeting Peabody Energy and visits to Diné homeplaces, we have built up our relationship with Black Mesa Indigenous Support and Black Mesa residents to the point where we’re planning an action camp with them! Beginning on May 16th, our camp will prepare attendees to confront the seizure and desolation of Diné lands by the largest coal company on the continent.

We’re a small group with an ambitious calendar, but we’re committed to doing this work because it is as urgent and critical as ever. Right now, we’re stretched thin.  We don’t put a request out to everyone for donations very often, but we absolutely depend of them to keep running.  Please donate today.  It doesn’t matter how much you can give.  Every dime goes to making it possible for us to keep fanning the flames of resistence to resource extraction in Appalachia and around the country.

For the Mountains and the People,

RAMPS!

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