Climate Youth Movement Converges on Powershift, then Citibank

Written by Scott Parkin

Topics: Coal

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I just spent the weekend at Powershift. Powershift is a climate summit, organized by Energy Action, organizing students and youth around global warming and climate justice issues. It featured hundreds of workshops, panels and networking meetings where youth from Alaska to Appalachia got together and educated and organized themselves to do something about the climate crisis. I mostly floated around the coal and skills-based workshops. There was a lot of energy, so much energy. Every workshop and state breakouts I attended was packed with what seemed like hundreds of youth fired up to stop global warming in it’s tracks.

Then, today was the action day. These youth are using a diversity of tactics to stop fossil fuel, banks, craven politicians and other proponents of profit over people and the planet. This morning, Powershifters lobbied their congresspeople about the issue, they had a rally at the capital and, then, RAN, Coal River Mountain Watch, SEAC and lots of friends and allies organized a non-violent direct action at a Citi bank branch in downtown DC.

There are those magic words–direct action.

citi action

Before the rally began, community members from directly impacted communities in Appalachia entered the branch to dialogue with the bank’s managment and employees about their employer’s policies. Then a group of students went in to talk with investment bankers about what the money from their student loans are being used for.

At the rally close to 300 people rallied at a park and then marched on a Citi branch. At the bank we performed a mass cough-in/die-in, dumped wheelbarrels full of coal on the doorstep and literally put that Citi branch out of business for the day using the die-in and mounds of coal as our blockades.

citi action 2

Along with communicating to Citi, the media and passers-by that we’re not happy that Citi funds coal from the cradle to the grave. Along with introducing a new generation of social and environmental activists to creative direct action tactics. Along with sending delegations of directly impacted community members and students to dialogue with the bank employees and managment, we literally stopped that Citi branch’s business for the day. They locked the doors (even on the ATM’s) and sent their employees home.

citi action 3

It was a great and empowering moment. As someone who spends a lot of time with a lot of activists across communities and movements, I saw something different today. These people, my people, are not taking “No” for an answer. And I felt suddenly very much part of a movement.

See all the pictures here, and check out the press release here.

30 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Re your Citbank, Washington, DC “shutdown”: I do not approve of obstructive or otherwise disruptive protests that interfere with a property/leaseholder’s right to conduct business or otherwise operate in the manner for which they have been chartered. Unless these property/leaseholders are violating a restraining order or similar injunctive relief, such hooliganism abrogates property rights without due process of law. You remind me of the WTO punks that trashed downtown Seattle years ago. The narcissistic, self-absorbed, pseudo-adolescent beliefs that compel you to hold your own actions above the law should be abandoned forthwith lest your behavior denigrates the broader “green” movement, generally. I therefore denounce RAN as an ecological rogue run amok. Henceforth, I am disengaging from supporting any of RAN’s activities for fear of being complicit with such hooliganism. This message will be posted on my blog.

  2. sparki says:

    hi Terry– Thanks for your comments. Your comparison falls short as technically we trashed nothing and used creative non-violent tactics that eventually led to no arrests (although, more than a dozen activists were prepared to put their bodies on the line to stop Citi’s funding of coal).

    As far as holding “narcissistic, self-absorbed, pseudo-adolescent beliefs that compel you to hold your own actions above the law,” our friends in Appalachia, the American southwest and towns and neighborhoods existing in the shadow of coal-fired power plants are literally fighting and dying to protect their homes, health, livelihoods and very lives from the coal industry funded by Citi. If we waited around for the government and the rule of law to change things like this, women wouldn’t be voting, there’d be no 8 hour workday and segregation would still exist.

    Your critiques of our actions reminds me of the regretful words of Henry David Thoroeau,who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour.”

    Enjoy your your good behavior.

  3. Luke says:

    Narcissistic, self-absorbed, pseudo-intellectual prose alert!

  4. Mary Madigan says:

    Stop suffocating this world with toxic fumes. Coal is not the answer nor is nuclear. Renewables are the future. We can make baseload NOW!

  5. Menna says:

    This should be stopped! Coal is not the answer! It never was and it never will be!

  6. Matt says:

    America would be a better place if all you loons were locked up.

  7. Cente says:

    I’m not going to into the fact that our society and country is just a very large jail, but I do find it interesting that you feel we should all be in jail Matt. Are you proposing that anyone who has a view that’s different than yours should be locked away? Is it a problem that a bunch of people feel the need to spread the word about injustices? Is it a problem that a group of people felt like having a dance party on the sidewalk?

    America would be an AMAZING place if people were more open minded and respectful to each other. We all have a long ways to go on this, and jailing people for believing passionately in something is not the answer. People are dying due to lack of respect for human life and you think we’re the loony ones?

    Peace my friend. Hopefully you will find it.

  8. To blame what we are doing on ‘profit’ misses the point. People need power, coal fulfills that need. Regardless of whether the country is Communist (such as the People’s Republic of China) or capitalist (the United States) we get over half of our electricity from coal. I do not see people protesting China’s coal plants.
    It is obvious we need to do something, and that is stop development and growth. More peopel means more demand for electricity.
    How many children do you have? I have no children, and have made the personal commitment to have one child and adoption.
    When growth is stopped, and family planning halts population increase, we will see less demand for natural resources!

  9. alex says:

    Terry, first of all, your reference to the Seattle protest completely misses the mark. The groups coordinating the event were primarily in agreement that it should be nonviolent in nature. That being said, the small amount of property destruction was inflicted by a very small minority not involved with the majority of the planning and coordinating efforts. Furthermore, it is important to point out that the Seattle protest was the first event to effectively shut down the WTO proceedings and it gave a voice to the developing nations who were consistently powered over and shut out by the global North.

    RAN’s efforts with citibank and bank of america are clearly effective as they have caused both groups to divest in coal to a certain extent. Although you may not support direct action, it is effective, does not damage property and is a positive method of raising awareness in the general community.

  10. scott says:

    Awesome work, folks. Direct action is the way to go, as our elected representatives will not truly represent us.

    I would be interested in learning about how folks who share your values can support you from afar, whether it’s through donations, legal representation, local action, etc.

    Keep up the great work.

  11. Terry says:

    Clearly, some of the above analyses are faulty. Sparki’s argument that, “… our friends in Appalachia, the American southwest and towns and neighborhoods existing in the shadow of coal-fired power plants are literally fighting and dying to protect their homes, health, livelihoods and very lives from the coal industry funded by Citi. …” is so completely factually dissimilar to the Washington, DC Citi branch protest as to be fallacious (shifting units of analysis) if not disingenuous; i.e., tantamount to Argumentum ad misericordiam. Moreover, he presents no argument or evidence that justifies fighting and dieing, although for the sake of argument, we can grant him an implied presumption of health hazards and nuisance, generally. No such evidence was presented that in Washington, DC an imminent threat or otherwise “clear and present danger” existed that would constitute the “dire circumstances” contemplated by Mohandus Gandhi (see footnote).*

    I also am likewise incredulous at Sparki’s assertion that “… technically [emphasis added] we trashed nothing and used creative non-violent tactics that eventually led to no arrests …” Whether or not any arrests were made is completely irrelevant, and the implication that the same is reflective of any criminal liability is a completely inane argument. We all know, historically, of hundreds of lynchings for which racist perpetrators were never apprehended, much less convicted. Moreover, Sparki’s technical argument smacks of the parsing and redefining indulged in by the current President, George Bush, and his predecessor, Bill Clinton, in explaining that the former does not condone torture and that the latter “never had sexual relations with that women”.

    Moving on, alex presents us with both a red herring and a straw man in stating that, “… The [WTO] groups coordinating the event were primarily in agreement that it should be nonviolent in nature. That being said, the small amount of property destruction was inflicted by a very small minority not involved with the majority of the planning and coordinating efforts. …” is likewise faulty if not disingenuous. The “majority” plans and intent of the WTO protest’s “coordinating efforts” are completely off point and subject to impeachment as Argumentum ad Populum. The present issue is the loss of use of property, whether tangible or constructive, and who caused it, whether inadvertently or not. In determining such responsibility, it is incumbent upon those who plan and coordinate “direct action” to institute reasonable safeguards against the loss of use of property or other interference with property rights, whether inadvertent or not, and a failure to do so where the same is foreseeable is actionable negligence (see disclaimer below).*** For the sake of this argument, it matters not if such loss of use was caused either by a nuclear bomb or something less destructive like erecting a barricade from “wheelbarrels” full of coal and by forming blockades, human or otherwise.

    Interestingly, therefore, it would appear from Sparki’s account that someone who was responsible for planning and coordinating the Washington, DC Citi branch protest not only anticipated or should have foreseen (i.e., the standard of ordinary negligence at best) that dumping “wheelbarrels” full of coal would obstruct the functions for which the property is typically used (see footnote),** but that someone within the protest’s “planning and coordinating efforts” has the effrontery to actually claim credit for, and brag about, shutting down Citi’s Washington, DC branch office! More incredibly, both Sparki and alex use an “ends justifies the means” rationalization for this loss of use rather than proffering legitimate justifications (e.g., self-defense or defense of another in imminent peril of great bodily harm) that are recognized either ethically or legally in determining whether or not the behavior wrongfully abrogates property rights. Clearly, where there is no compelling, individual interest occasioned by “dire circumstances”, any rationalizations for abrogating another’s property rights is tantamount to vigilante action expressed by individuals who hold themselves above the law rather than as an expression of the polity in the rule of either legislated or judicially sanctioned law.

    Furthermore, alex’s assertion that, “… Although you may not support direct action, it is effective, does not damage property and is a positive method of raising awareness in the general community. …” is not only impeachable in that the implied premise, i.e., that “direct action” (obviously an ideologically-laden term of art)is necessarily desirable due to the facts stated, but it also is rife with Naturalistic Fallacy, and it borders on being a Non Sequitur. Additionally, it fails in its understanding that loss of use is evidence of the tort of property damage, and is merely one form of evidence upon which a cause of action can be sustained, and, therefore, associated losses from business interruption, etc., can be recovered (see footnote below)** (see disclaimer below).***

    These responses are some of the most sophomoric if not juvenile retorts that I have ever encountered in a supposedly professional blog comment section. No doubt, many a soothsayer would see rancorous litigation in RAN’s future if it can be established by a preponderance of the evidence that someone within RAN either knew or should have known of the foreseeable consequences of their direct complicity, whether active or tacit, in causing either property damage or bodily injury (see disclaimer below).***

    _____________________________________________________________________

    * From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Property_damage

    “… Some argue that property damage signals a willingness to do bodily harm or otherwise intimidates the free flow of communication in political or economic debates. Mohandas Gandhi was of this opinion, but nonetheless differentiated doing bodily harm from property damage, even if he thought both to be violence, which also he thought admissible in certain dire circumstances. …”

    ** “Property damage” is not constrained merely to tangible physical loss or damage, but loss of use as well.

    From: http://dictionary.law.com/definition2.asp?selected=1646&bold=||||

    “property damage”
    “n. injury to real or personal property through another’s negligence, willful destruction or by some act of nature. … Property damage may include harm to an automobile, a fence, a tree, a home or any other possession. The amount of recovery for property damage may be established by evidence of … loss of use until repaired or replaced …”

    *** Disclaimer: ANY ECONOMIC OR NON-ECONOMIC LOSS, COSTS, EXPENSE, INDEBTEDNESS, ENCUMBRANCE, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY RESULTING FROM THE INTENTIONAL OR UNINTENTIONAL DISSEMINATION OF THIS “MESSAGE” TO ANYONE OTHER THAN THE INTENDED ADDRESSEE, REGARDLESS OF THE SOURCE, IS HEREBY DISCLAIMED AND DENIED. STATEMENTS CONTAINED IN THIS “MESSAGE” ARE NOT STATEMENTS OF FACT OR PROOF THEREOF. SUCH STATEMENTS MERELY SUGGEST THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE SUBJECT ALLEGATIONS, OCCURRENCES, EVENTS OR STATUSES POTENTIALLY MAY OR MAY NOT OCCUR OR EXIST, AND WHAT THE VARIOUS POSTURES AND POSITIONS OF THE RELEVANT PARTIES MAY OR MAY NOT BE RESPECTING SAME. SUCH STATEMENTS ARE NO SUBSTITUTE FOR AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION OR CORROBORATION OF ANY ALLEGATIONS CONTAINED HEREIN. THIS AUTHOR EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL LIABILITY AS TO ANY ACTIONS TAKEN OR NOT TAKEN BASED UPON THE CONTENT OF THIS “MESSAGE”. THIS AUTHOR DENIES OFFERING ANY LEGAL OR MEDICAL ADVICE OR INFORMATION HEREIN. THIS “MESSAGE” IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR A COMPETENT LEGAL OR MEDICAL OPINION FROM A DULY LICENSED ATTORNEY OR PHYSICIAN.

  12. Luke says:

    Terry: the above post would be funny if you were 16. As it is, it’s just sad.

  13. Terry says:

    Yeah, that “soothsayer” comment was a little over the top, huh? I did a little more editing for my own blog, so it’s a cleaner read.

  14. sparki says:

    hi Terry– you obviously have way too much time on your hands. I don’t have time to address your post point by point, but in between penning your next online rant on activists and organizers efforts at stopping mountaintop removal and coal plants, look at it’s impacts and think about why so many joined us.

    Sparki

  15. Terry says:

    Sparki: What did the people working in Citi’s Washington, DC branch have to do with coal mining and pollution? I doubt that you really know, much less appear to care. Granted, the site was plausibly appropriate from a protester’s First Amendment viewpoint, but any reasonable person knows that disrupting business by barricading the door with “wheelbarrels” full of coal was grossly disproportionate to the RAN’s First Amendment interest in protesting at that site.

    You guys all sound like you’re still in your 20′s if not your late teens. Why don’t you consult someone like Avery S. Friedman (http://www.martindale.com/Avery-S-Friedman/1435874-lawyer.htm), one of the nation’s more prominent civil rights lawyers, who can put this all into perspective for you.

    Multinational, mega-corporate banking institutions and energy conglomerates fight back mean and dirty in largely insidious and untraceable ways. They have Dick Cheney in their pockets to protect them, need I say more? Just ask Greg Palast if you don’t believe me. If you punks keep pulling stunts like Citi Wash. DC, you’ll probably be put under surveillance if not infiltrated, your phones and data communications will be intercepted (there are plenty of P.I.’s who can and will do almost anything for the right price), you’ll be set up, and then you’ll get messed up. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the more militant among you (if not your friends and relatives as well) get overtly harassed or otherwise become objects of intimidation strategies.

    Some of this goes with the territory, but your largest loss will be the support of “a jury of your peers” (e.g., people like me), because God knows the courts and the Justice Dept. are stacked against you. Wise up. Gaining publicity and a sympathetic public opinion for your cause is the only long-term strategy that is going to influence the system in your favor. Don’t squander it on a few moments of bluster and bravado.

  16. Luke says:

    If you punks keep pulling stunts like Citi Wash. DC, you’ll probably be put under surveillance if not infiltrated, your phones and data communications will be intercepted (there are plenty of P.I.’s who can and will do almost anything for the right price), you’ll be set up, and then you’ll get messed up. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the more militant among you (if not your friends and relatives as well) get overtly harassed or otherwise become objects of intimidation strategies.

    RAN has been at this for 20 years, and your predictions are in fact our present. But we understand how to operate in this environment; it really does come with the territory.

    We don’t depend on the courts or the government. Our campaigns seek to directly intervene on corporate misbehavior; actions like the one in DC are part of bigger strategic campaigns. Over the past two decades, we’ve been able to bring enough pressure to bear to force target after target to the negotiating table. Our base consists of people who realize that these interventions are necessary, and it is growing. Given our record of success, perhaps it is you that should “wise up.”

  17. Terry says:

    Luke, I would like to see this “record” you speak of, and an accurate cost-benefit analysis. I keep hearing the same “the ends justifies the means” argument, and it’s becoming quite trite. Granted, the more extreme the circumstances, the more they may require an extreme response. However, time permitting, those who reap the benefits of citizenship should act accordingly by first at least attempting (if not exhausting) resolution through every reasonable civil law remedy, equitable, injunctive or otherwise, before ratcheting up the damages.

    The Natural Resources Defense Council also intervenes directly, and effectively, through the use of the courts. They know how to choose their venues and their battles. They also know how to work the system without abrogating other people’s property rights either tortiously or otherwise illegally. My historical recollection is that Martin Luther King marched on Washington, DC. He did not occupy the doorways of Washington, DC office buildings. Save that for where it is appropriate so that those you may eventually need to call upon for support will be inclined to do so without compunction.

    If RAN runs afoul of the law long enough, eventually, it’s going to have to pay the piper, and, no doubt, at the expense of your “bigger strategic campaigns”. I hope you all enjoy the dance. Truly, your Washington, DC stunt demeans RAN’s credibility. Much like mafia dons, commerce and industry execute their dirty work through a murky network of unsavory intermediaries so as not to sully themselves. Hint: Two can play at that game, but you’re going to have to get out of the sandlot, or, should I say coal chute, first.

    Regardless, your most recent post is the most well-written position statement that I have read on this blog topic. You represent your cause well, albeit a bit demagogically. I tend to be more pedantic. ;-) I think we’re done here.

  18. sparki says:

    hi Terry– I appreciate the insulting remarks and feel that if you really had some sort of superior intellect and opinion, you could prove you point without calling us punks or questioning our motivation or knowledge of our issues.

    Regardless,

    “What did the people working in Citi’s Washington, DC branch have to do with coal mining and pollution? I doubt that you really know, much less appear to care.”

    According to Bloomberg (reputable financial news service) Citi is the top underwriter for the coal industry. The connection to the Washington DC branch is that Citi’s business whether in the corporate suites or in branches in towns and neighborhoods throughout the country funds coal mining and combustion. Our strategy is to increase pressure on their brand, public image and reputation amongst their customer base. You can take the issues of mountaintop removal and coal plants to the courts or Congress or you can take it to their financiers.

    Investment bankers are making millions off of funding the coal industry.

    Please read this briefing on the interconnections between Wall Street, the coal extractors and the utility companies. http://ran.org/fileadmin/materials/global_finance/publications/Banks_Climate_Change_and_US_Coal_Rush.pdf

    When our campaign started it was out of the realization that direct pressure on oil companies or coal companies had limited results. What are you going to do, ask an oil company to stop drilling for oil? So instead we began looking a secondary targets. Namely those targets that provide the extractor’s projects and loans-the banks. If you research our history and our earned media, it’s a very effective strategy. The banks are susceptible to brand attacks and are very willing to change their environmental policies. We care very much about shifting the global economy and understand the role in which we play in that change.

    As far as provoking the government or banking industry’s ire, we’ve been down that road multiple times and can handle it without your comments.

    Sparki

  19. Luke says:

    Fortune
    The Mosquito In The Tent A PESKY ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP CALLED THE RAINFOREST ACTION NETWORK IS GETTING UNDER THE SKIN OF CORPORATE AMERICA.

    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2004/05/31/370717/index.htm

    The Ecologist
    Rainforest Action Network: the inspiring group bringing corporate America to its senses

    http://ran.org/media_center/news_article/?uid=1849

    Both of these are linked from our front page, incidentally.

  20. Terry says:

    None of the points in Sparki’s latest post are in dispute, and dredging them up now appears to be an obfuscation, if not a subterfuge of the central point of this entire debate. But what is at issue is the complex scheme of rationalization and justification for barricading opponent’s doorways. For the same reason, I get the impression that Luke’s latest web cites are mere propoganda links. I will consider them, however, if he more fully delineates their import.

    It’s obvious that you’re so enamored with your ideological justifications and ends/means rationalizations that you can’t be reasoned with. You’ve evolved this self-serving belief system that wraps you in some sort of self-righteous cocoon of moralistic superiority, which obviates any introspective analysis of social accountability.

    You really should be thinking about what you’ve said (quoted below) very hard, and then try presenting it to a scientifically convened, mock jury. Then you’d see how they would react to you barricading their places of work. Remember, however, real-life juries also hear from plaintiff attorneys and prosecutors. But somehow I doubt that you’re impressed in the slightest by what your detractors think.

    According to Bloomberg (reputable financial news service) Citi is the top underwriter for the coal industry. The connection to the Washington DC branch is that Citi’s business whether in the corporate suites or in branches in towns and neighborhoods throughout the country funds coal mining and combustion. Our strategy is to increase pressure on their brand, public image and reputation amongst their customer base. You can take the issues of mountaintop removal and coal plants to the courts or Congress or you can take it to their financiers.

    It’s obvious by this logic that you would not concern yourselves in the slightest with any sense of proportionate, rational relationship between your response to the source, intensity, frequency and duration of your perceived threat and the site of your protest. You simply paint with a broad brush and label any branch office fair game (which, for solely First Amendment purposes is not disputed), while completely disregarding how your actual behavior (as opposed to mere symbolism) affects the people who work in those branch offices, or what their perceived degree of culpability actually bears to the gravamen of your grievance. This is an incredible position to take on the issue. Please disabuse me if you have not expressed yourself so as to not be misunderstood.

    Moving on … so, what are we, the non-indoctrinated, supposed to think of you? Are you well-intentioned thugs? Are you misguided zealots like the abortion clinic bombers, but simply avoid extremes? It’s quite obvious that you’ve rationalized away tortious conduct, so what’s next, criminal damage to property? And what after that? Are you going to kidnap Citi’s Wash. DC branch manager for a prison exchange once some of you land in jail? Where does this rationalization scheme of “direct action” end?

    You don’t like the characterizations, punk, thug, zealot, or rogue? Try convict. Try probationer. Try parolee. How do they resonate with your narcissistic, immature and irresponsible world view? No doubt, some of you would consider them a badge of honor. Get a clue: Stop pointing your fingers at the misdeeds of commerce and industry as justification for your own. To do so is tantamount to tu quoque fallious reasoning. We, the people, will deal with them, as well as their errant if not corrupt government cronies, separately. Your First Amendment rights end where the rights of person and property begin. Like Clint Eastwood’s character “dirty Harry” said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” I know I’ve reached the limits of my patience with your dogma.

  21. Terry says:

    By the way, Sparki, this is nothing more than a bald-faced, ideologically-laced platitude:

    According to Bloomberg (reputable financial news service) Citi is the top underwriter for the coal industry. The connection to the Washington DC branch is that Citi’s business whether in the corporate suites or in branches in towns and neighborhoods throughout the country funds coal mining and combustion. Our strategy is to increase pressure on their brand, public image and reputation amongst their customer base. You can take the issues of mountaintop removal and coal plants to the courts or Congress or you can take it to their financiers.

  22. sparki says:

    Terry- you seem pretty obsessed with portraying us as criminals and terrorists, despite the fact we have never come close to what you accuse us of doing or supporting.

    Are you a police officer, a former police officer or merely a private security agent? I kind of feel like I am conversing with an agent of the state when I read your posts. Looking at your myspace profile a bit closer, I see your background is a law enforcement background.

    Tell me, who are you working for? Which government or corporate entity that will “mess us up” pays your rent?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  23. Terry says:

    LOL, Dude/dudette, delve a little deeper into my blog and you’ll see that I take on all sectors and persuasions without bias. The position closest to law enforcement that I ever occupied was a week-end warrior stint as a military policeman. Needless to say, I’m too independent to fit in well with formalized power hierarchies. More to your point, I adjusted tort claims and casualty litigation for the “evil empire” for ~ 18 years, until I had to take down a few unsavory characters in their cast, including a regional vice-president, a senior defense firm partner, and a sister insurer under the same corporate umbrella. I also circumvented a judge’s shenanigans in trying to scuttle a case and hang the damages tab around my policyholder’s neck. Needless to say, I’m too independent to fit in well with formalized power hierarchies.

    You know what? This culture is evolving a let’s-see-what-we can-get-away-with”-ethos, and now I’m just happy to deliver sandwiches and live on my litigation settlements.

    Don’t be so paranoid. I’m not the one who’s obsessed. I signed a bunch of your petitions and supported your symbolic demonstrations up until you guys crossed the line with barricading Citi’s doors. In fact, I thought scaling that crane and hanging a banner off of it was downright gutsy. But I’m not just going to let you tap dance around the issue and think you’re going to bamboozle me into going away.

    To be fair, if someone built a coal-fired power plant and spewed fossil fuel effluent into my backyard (thus imperiling my health and property value), I would get medieval on their cases too, and barricading their doors would be the least of their concerns. But I’m neither going to interfere in the banking transactions of their financiers customers, nor force their tellers and clerks to leave work early.

    Get a sense of perspective and proportionality, and step outside of your self-centered perception of your own self-importance. I doubt I’m alone in how others see you. I’m just a more vocal representative of people who believe that First Amendment causes have their legitimate limitations and boundaries.

  24. Terry says:

    Whoops, sorry about all the bold type-face. Only the word “my” was supposed to be highlighted.

  25. Luke says:

    I think that the biggest disconnect here, Terry, is your focus on legality/legalism. Be careful not to confuse what is legal with what is right. Sure, the First Amendment only goes so far and may not cover things like hanging banners off of cranes. Basically, we don’t care. Citi funds totally legal coal projects that are destroying communities and the global environment. In contrast, we sometimes cause minor disruptions to their business. There is no moral comparison.

    We operate by our own non-violent ethical code. When governments and industry refuse to take responsibility, who will hold them accountable? Groups like NRDC do great work in the courts; we work in the streets. Given the stakes, both approaches are more than justified.

  26. Terry says:

    Luke, I respectfully disagree that our biggest disconnect is legalistic. What is legal is only one measure of your greater normative environment, and it is scarcely the most poignant issue I’ve raised.

    Thanks for admitting that you operate completely within your own anomic, normative bubble. But I would caution you not to confuse what RAN’s ethical/moral code is with that of larger society, because the social-psychological weight and inertia of the latter, as reflected in the larger discretion of judges and juries, will eventually crush you if you continue to skirt its boundaries. That’s why I mentioned consulting with a disinterested civil rights expert like Avery S. Friedman. Someone with his background can put it all into perspective for you. I only keep mentioning the justice system because, although people like me can withdraw our support for RAN, the former will eventually bring you into line through the long reach of due process of law, whether it be civil, criminal, equitable or administrative in nature, should you continue to flout it.

    Since you mention it, ethics (much like logic) is an entire branch of philosophy that is guided by norms and mores that originate outside of RAN, too.

    Consider and balance the interests of all who are affected by your actions.

    Thanks for contributing to the intellectual diversity of my retirement, regardless of how banal it may appear.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to strategize about how I’m going to snatch some petty little punk through his backside for skimming my gratuities with a heavy hand.

    ____________________________________________________

    P.S.: I like your independent attitude, but you can’t ignore the fact that pay backs are a bitch. Please don’t think I’m not empathetic about the backlash you have to deal with. Even though I take a perverse enjoyment in Larry Flint’s exposés, I’ve had to put up with the sex industry’s amateurish antics over some bogus business interruption claims I put the spotlight on, and I’ve had to deal with a bunch of ethnic-based crime organizations for squelching their rent-a-patient scams. Actually, when it comes to big money being laundered through legitimate investments, at some level all these crooks sleep in the same bed; the beast is more like a multi-headed hydra.

  27. Uncle Harley says:

    Oh behave!! ;-) Go directly to the principal’s office. Do not pass the cafeteria. Do not stop at the student lounge. When you get there, bend over and grab your ankles. Someone will be along shortly to administer the corporal punishment you’re attention needs so stridently demand. ;-)

  28. Luke says:

    We appreciate the concern, but we know how to handle ourselves.

  29. Uncle Harley says:

    Heh – sorry. That was a bit snarky of me, and it really wasn’t called for.

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