Jun 25, 2011
Hundreds of New Yorkers turned out for a spirited rally in Foley Square. They assembled to demand a permanent ban to the hazardous system of extracting deeply buried gas known as fracking. With repeated shouts of “no frackin’ way” they demanded that Governor Cuomo and the state legislature put people before the profits of the gas industry so that New York’s drinking water would be protected and remain pure and clean.
Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer, addressed the crowd and told them that the only way to win this battle is by organizing people. Citing polls that the majority of New Yorkers are opposed to fracking, he urged the assembly to go out and get that majority actively involved. He compared the recent victory legalizing marriage equality in the state to the anti-fracking struggle by saying, “if we can win that fight, we can surely win this one also!”
The filmmaker, Josh Fox, who made the anti-fracking film Gasland took the podium next and urged pepole to rent the film Freedom Riders (which was recently aired on PBS). He said we must learn from previous movements for social change in the United States, mentioning the civil rights struggle and the fight for women’s voting rights as templates for today’s struggles.
When Fox asked if people were willing to be arrested to protect their drinking water, the crowd roared resoundingly: “Yes!”
Our country’s drive for more and more oil and gas is one of the main reasons for the increasing militarism of our society and the endless wars in the Middle East and though the connection was not made at this particular rally it’s a very relevant point that must be made. By uniting the demands for peace and environmental justice a more effective force can be built that can force progressive change for our country.
Click for more photos of this protest action.