counterpunch October 13, 2011
A New Challenge to the Corporate State:
Criminalize Fracking by RUSSELL MOKHIBER
Activists in New York have drafted legislation that would criminalize the practice of hydraulic fracturing – also known as fracking.
The law was drafted by the Sovereign People Action Network (SPAN) of Ulster and Green counties.
“In early summer, seeing so many anti-fracking people across the state pouring their time, resources and hopes into the State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), we began drafting a law to rip decision making from this illegitimate agency, and drive it into our state legislature,” Richard Grossman, one of the members of SPAN, told Corporate Crime Reporter.
“Our law criminalizes fracking and fracking-related activities,” Grossman said. “Corporate frackers would be Class C felons.”
“In August, a bunch of anti-frackers from different parts of the state, representing various anti-fracking groups, participated in three sequential workshops I presented on at the New York Green Fest gathering in Western New York,” Grossman said.
“Some decided to join SPAN on criminalization.”
“Together we came up with the current draft of the law. We are now creating a new coalition group to concentrate on compelling the legislature to pass our law.”
“This law is not a magic bullet, of course. We could never pass it unless we build a mass movement in New York.”
The legislation has yet to be introduced into the New York State legislature.
“We met with a state Senator who wanted to learn more about it,” Grossman said. “But he was pretty resistant. That’s okay. This work will take time.”
Grossman wouldn’t identify the Senator.
“To his credit, he met with us twice,” Grossman said. “He was patient and courteous, we had some healthy conversations.”
“We have no illusions about the New York State Legislature. But theoretically at least, that is where laws are made. And that’s where sovereign people go to instruct our representatives. Our approach to our legislators is: we wrote this law – now you pass it.”
“But we know we can’t do that until we build a formidable statewide movement that is not only talking about fracking as a destructive technology, but also about illegitimate rule by a very small corporate class.”
“We’re hoping to move the exciting struggle to prevent the fracking of New York State from the dead end, energy sink regulatory realm to the place where sovereign people make law, decide what is anti-social behavior.”
“We have no illusions about our state legislature. Both houses are tyrannies. Most of the legislators are colonized. We understand that part of our task is to re-make our legislature, and our legislators. And that to do this, anti-frackers and others confronting diverse assaults of illegitimate private governance must build a powerful state-wide movement.”
“Our new state-wide coalition is only now coming together. We haven’t begun taking our message across the state. I can say that whenever any of us talks to folks, their response is – of course fracking should be criminalized, should be declared felonious.”
“But we’re still under the radar,” Grossman said. “I don’t think it will take long to emerge. Think back to the evolution of the anti-nuclear movement.”
“The fracking struggle involves most of the giant corporations of the country, not just business and industrial corporations, but also law corporations and insurance corporations.”
“The whole corporate class and its vast usurping structures of governance and propaganda are behind fracking.”
“The reasons are clear: the corporate class is committed to endless more.”
“The fuel for endless more is constantly expanding energy.”
“So people opposing fracking for oil and gas and water are standing up not just to a few giant energy corporations, but to the entire corporate class, and to their vast corporate state, just like the anti-nukers of yore.”
“In New York, people are already organized in hundreds of groups. We think this legislation will help unify anti-frackers, so that one day in the not too distant, the State of New York will declare fracking, corporate frackers, and fracking-related activities to be Class C felonies.”
“We will be provoking conversation and discussion about the histories and realities of minority rule and usurpation that we’ve been talking about here. It’s my hope that unlike the anti-nuclear movement – that magnificently stopped the construction of 850 nuclear radiation factories – New Yorkers will criminalize fracking in ways that begin to challenge the corporate state, that set new and liberating conversations in motion, that begin asserting we the people’s authority to govern our communities and our state.”
Rusell Mokhiber edits the Corporate Crime Reporter.
[For the complete transcript of the Interview with Richard Grossman, see 25 Corporate Crime Reporter 40, October 17, 2011, print edition only.]