I am here at Arch today because a few people here have been making decisions on behalf of all of us and they have been sacrificing the health of communities in Appalachia and across the world for their quarterly profits. Capitalism does not answer to communities, it only consumes them; we must resist this and reclaim our health and freedom. Accountability is only possible when the perpetrators of a crime are answerable to their actions. This is only possible when we come together and listen.
When we come together in community, we create a world in which history and culture are valued, and in which we listen and help those around us. We listen to the people around us because there is so much that we don’t see. When we hear about the struggles of our community we are able to create imaginative and creative solutions to the problems we face together. That’s what being in a community is about: being able to hear and be heard. That’s the issue with big things, like corporations and the government. They’re too big; there is no act of listening.
This resistance is about communities and their ability to exist in a way that does not destroy themselves, and their ability to determine their own future. Communities in the coal fields are being destroyed. Not only is the land being ripped apart with explosives and poisoned, but Big Coal has created a devastating mono-economy, which creates divides between people and forces many to abandon their home places. Coal companies have stolen the sovereignty of the people from the land. What’s happening in West Virginia is happening everywhere; this is just an exemplary case. Communities are on the brink because of corporate power, and we have to stand with each other.
So my struggle is against a few people who are making bad choices on behalf of all of us and our communities. That’s what these CEOs are doing, and that’s what these corporations are doing. They are crushing communities, they are crushing individuals, and they are crushing the planet.
I am here to make them listen.