LANGELLE PHOTOGRAPHY

Using the power of photojournalism to expose social and ecological injustice

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Tetet Nera-Lauron from IBON INTERNATIONAL (with offices in the Philippines, Africa, Latin America and Caribbean, and Europe) wrote the featured article below after the UN Climate Summit in Bonn, Germany ended on Saturday.

Tetet is a colleague and friend who I met during UN climate talks years ago and we’ve kept in contact ever since.

I quit going to the UN Circuses after the Durban climate conference in 2011 where I was accredited as a photojournalist by Z Magazine. A top UN security official slammed my camera into my face for taking a photograph of a clown dressed as ‘Uncle Sam.’ I filed a formal complaint and although I had witnesses (and a photo of the the incident), the UN never interviewed them. Instead the UN had an “internal investigation” which naturally found no fault in the action of the security official.

An Indigenous man watches decision-makers from the balcony at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Bonn, Germany. (May 2008) photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC

Although I longer go to UN meetings, my presence every now and then is felt. In November 2013, the yearly UN climate talks were held at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland. IBON INTERNATIONAL and the Peoples’ Movement on Climate Change helped put on an exhibit of my photographs during the High Level Sessions of the meetings.  The exhibit was titled Neoliberal Globalization and Climate Chaos and was on display at the IBON INTERNATIONAL booth. Above is one of the photos from that exhibit. I took it at the UN in Bonn…but in 2008.

The following is the last paragraph in Tetet’s analysis. I wholeheartedly agree. – OL

As the curtains go down on COP 23, the world sees more of the same, i.e. governments forever locked in negotiations with the same deep divides over the future of humanity and the planet, while cooking up ‘solutions’ that intensify environmental problems, to prop up the global system of economy, trade, finance and politics that has brought the world to its current state of multiple crises.

Too little, too late: Climate talks go overtime with underwhelming outcomes

November 18, Bonn – The 23rd Conference of Parties (COP 23) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) wrapped up its 2-weeks negotiations early Saturday morning, hours behind its scheduled closing, which was suspended for several times as governments tried to find an acceptable compromise solution on hotly-contested matters. Fiji, as the first ever island state to hold the presidency of the COP, had its hands more than full as it strived to make Parties agree on the ways forward in implementing the 2015 Paris climate change accord.

The annual summit aimed to move closer towards agreeing on a rulebook to guide the implementation of the Paris Agreement, which saw governments submitting their pledges towards keeping global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and if possible, below 1.5 degrees. The negotiations also focused on designing the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue (which is now more popularly referred to as the ‘Talanoa’, a Fijian term for an inclusive and transparent dialogue,) in order to review progress in achieving the temperature goal that would inform the revision and improvement of countries’ contributions to climate action, including financing. Critical questions on where the world stood in terms of the reality and impacts of climate change, where it wants to go to address the problems, and how to get there will be raised at this dialogue.

The talks have been rocky from the start, as developing countries pointed to developed countries’ intransigence to commit to pre-2020 actions, which were crucial building blocks for implementing the Paris deal, which will start only in 2020. Rich countries countered this by saying they have almost already made good on their standing commitments to reduce emissions and provide finance, and as such the talks should delve on how to implement the new climate deal. This of course, was refuted by developing countries, who said that these supposed achievements by developed countries were made by double-counting development aid (ODA) and buying their polluting way out through carbon markets.

Negotiations on the Paris rulebook have been particularly difficult with regard to making sure that developed countries fulfill their historical responsibility towards providing finance and technology transfer, and that developing countries have a way to track what has actually been provided and not just promised. There were intense disagreements on whether the Adaptation Fund (established under the Kyoto Protocol) would be carried over as well to the Paris Agreement, called for by developing countries, as the fund had been relatively successful and accessible at supporting initiatives at local level. The Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) set up in 2014 in recognition that huge losses and damages (both economic and non- economic) occur both from sudden (supertyphoon, cyclones, etc.) and slow onset (sea level rise, desertification, etc.) events till did not have concrete financial commitments. The US, European Union, Australia and other rich countries blocked agreements on new financial commitments to resource the WIM, and as the talks closed, all that was agreed on was to form an expert group to discuss the matter.

And so COP 23 wrapped up, thanks to skillful diplomacy, with drafts of chapters of the Paris rulebook. This will be taken up and decided on at the next COP in Poland, and soon after, countries that have ratified the agreement will have to start implementing domestically.

There were some positive takeaways from this year’s COP. Among these include the adoption of the Gender Action Plan and the Indigenous People’s Platform – both already provided for in the Paris Agreement and yet there was still much disagreement among governments on how to actually make good on these, despite having agreed on these two years ago.

A number of initiatives in margins of the negotiations are also worth keeping an eye on.

InsuResilience Global Partnership (IGP) for Climate and Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance Solutions was launched at the COP 23, bringing together G201 countries in partnership with the V202 nations, World Bank, civil society, international organizations, academia and the industry. The IGP is a voluntary platform resourced from donor-provided public money, which seeks to promote climate risk insurance for countries and communities affected by climate change. Some analysts see this asa form of rich countries skirting their responsibility and commitment in providing finance to developing countries while at the same time attracting private investors and companies with the use of government budget allocations.

There was also the establishment of the ‘Power Past Coal Alliance’, led by the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Canada together with other countries and states, businesses and organizations supposedly committing to the rapid phase out of ‘traditional coal power’ as energy source and to cease all investment in coal domestically or abroad. Germany, the world’s fifth-largest consumer of coal, getting 40% of its energy from lignite, is not part of this coalition. However, the integrity of this alliance is already in question, since they endorse a convenient escape hatch with the use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) which means they would still be able to keep coal plants operational by trapping their carbon dioxide emissions underground.

As the curtains go down on COP 23, the world sees more of the same, i.e. governments forever locked in negotiations with the same deep divided over the future of humanity and the planet, while cooking up ‘solutions’ that intensify environmental problems, to prop up the global system of economy, trade, finance and politics that has brought the world to its current state of multiple crises.

–Tetet Nera-Lauron

 

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Marilyn Anderson’s new book (El libro está en inglés y español)

Feature by Orin Langelle

Grabados del libro Guardianes de las artes
Images of the book Guardians of the Arts

Amherst, NY, 26 October 2017–Artist and author Marilyn Anderson gave a presentation to the Weaver’s Guild of Buffalo at the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village on her new book Guardianes de las artes / Guardians of the Arts.

Anderson states in her newest book that it “aims to foster a deeper appreciation for the beauty and history of Guatemalan arts…to inspire respect, empathy and support for Guatemalan artists and artisans.”

The book is illustrated by forty-three prints of her work, that were ten years in the making. Her prints illustrate long established Guatemalan arts and crafts techniques, and were inspired by traditional wood cuts and used some of the most ancient of printmaking techniques. They are organized into sections defined by fabrication techniques and raw materials.

Her involvement with the arts and crafts of Guatemala began in the 1960s and her fascination with the process of weavers and weaving.

Carol Pirson (l) of the Weavers Guild of Buffalo, admires a weaving that Anderson is holding. photo: Langelle

Anderson’s talk for the Weaver’s Guild of Buffalo not only weaved a story of her learning from the people who were the artisans and how they work and the different types of processes involved, but her backstory of the history in Guatemala that shed light on the repression artisans and others lived through.

As a documentary photographer I found this history, in her talk, and in the “Supplementary Essays” at the end of her book, a fascinating and necessary historical look at what is so often forgotten – or not even known by many in the U.S. The information in Guardianes de las artes / Guardians of the Arts is a behind the scenes look at culture, Mayan arts, and change and ecology – plus a section on weaving and survival during La Violencia.

So why does art need guardians?

La Violencia: The 1954 coup d’état, which overthrew the democratically elected Guatemalan President Jacobo Árbenz, brought repression to the people. [OL Note: the coup d’état was a covert operation carried out by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).] The victims included trade unionists, leaders of cooperatives and peasants.  Armed resistance to the repression began in the 1960s.

During La Violencia, Mayas suffered massacres, bombing, dislocation and rape.  photo: Langelle

In the 80s extensive repression intensified, aimed especially at indigenous peoples.

“Nearly 500 Guatemalan communities were destroyed. Maya women and men from areas designated by the army as ‘subversive’ did not wear their traditional clothing whose patterns and colors identified their ethnic group and community,” Anderson explained.

She continued, “Hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans fled and found their way to safety in Mexico [many in Chiapas refugee camps] or other countries, leaving behind property, houses and animals. Through forests and over rivers and mountains, many Maya refugee women carried their backstrap looms. Even if they left their looms behind, they carried within themselves the knowledge to build and use new ones.”

Men and boys crocheted shoulder bags. Anderson shows an example of that work made in a Chiapas, Mexico refugee camp. photo: Langelle

Ecology and Arts and Crafts: Anderson describes in her book that “Guatemalan arts and crafts are connected to their environment…An holistic relationship existed between the earth, which gave the raw materials for the objects that artisans made, and the users of these objects.”

Sustaining Culture:

                                                   I will never stop wearing my traditional clothing until the day I die. – Desidria Camposeco of Jacaltenango, 1996

Anderson says Desidria’s wearing traditional clothing is a form of resistance. A commitment to one’s culture plays a part of resisting economic and political forces and confronts prejudice and consumerism.

“Mayas keep their culture alive in many ways: millions speak, write and appreciate the 22 Mayan languages; they understand the universe; the world and humans’ place in it through their cosmovisión; the ancient K’iche’ creation narrative, The Popol Vub, has continued importance to modern day Mayas; story-telling music, dance and plays are other examples of traditional culture that play an important part in the lives of many Mayas.” – Marilyn Anderson

So why does art need guardians?

Because without art, cultural identity can be lost or worse, destroyed, threatening the very fabric of peoples’ true history.

 

To order Marilyn Anderson’s new book Guardianes de las artes / Guardians of the Arts, Relief Prints, Coloring Books and Note Card sets, please go to www.proartemaya.org/ or email manderson@igc.org

From the Proto Arte Maya website:

The latest addition to the Pro Arte Maya Project is the book: Guardianes de las artes: grabados de artistas y artesanos de Guatemala/ Guardians of the Arts: Prints of Guatemalan Artists and Artisans.

Completed in 2016, work on this book has occupied Marilyn over the past ten years. Copies are available in the United States through this website as well as several bookstores and online stores. The publisher, Editorial Ediciones Del Pensativo, is located in Antigua, Guatemala and makes the book available in bookstores in Guatemala.

New York bookstores carrying the book include:

Greenwood Books, 123 East Avenue, in downtown Rochester
Before your Quiet Eyes, 439 Monroe Avenue, Rochester

Burning Books, 420 Connecticut Street, Buffalo
Talking Leaves Books, 3158 Main Street and 951 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo (near Bidwell)

 

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After seven years and 32 art exhibits Myra Guerrero and Rick Williams closed Buffalo’s Casa de Arte Gallery on their annual El Día De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations to jump-start November. Thank you both for your efforts and the best of luck in all of your travels.

Orin Langelle photographed by Anne Petermann at the closing of Buffalo’s Casa de Arte Gallery.

After moving to Buffalo from Vermont, I had my first show in Buffalo at Casa De Arte, Chiapas: Resistance and Renewal. It ran from 22 June to 28 July 2013. This exhibit was part of a larger show with my friend and colleague, Bil Jungels and artist Antún Kojtom from San Cristobal, Chiapas, Mexico.

La Catrina on balcony in Oaxaca de Juarez, Oaxaca, Mexico. (1999) photo: Langelle – This photo for Casa de Arte was printed on Aluminum micro film, in respect to printmaker – lithographer Jose Guadalupe Posada.

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While getting ready to post this I realized that I had a photograph (right) in an El Dia de los Muertes (Day of the Dead) Group Exhibit from 2 November to 15 November 2013 in the annual celebration at Casa de Arte Gallery.

More info on that photo, lithographer Jose Guadalupe Posada, and El Dia de los Muertes can be found here

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Backstory of photo at the end of this post.

This photo of these three people was a strange happenstance taken in St. Louis’ Central West End in 1983 on Halloween night. I now wonder what was in the jug the person on the right was carrying.                         photo: Langelle

Another snippet of history. Happy Samhain!

Jefferson Airplane:

When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen’s off with her head
Remember what the Dormouse said
Feed your head
Feed your head
Feed your head

[It’s Grace Slick’s birthday today. Jefferson Airplane’s Slick was invited to a tea party at the White House in 1969. She chose Yippie! Abbie Hoffman to be her escort and planned to spike President Richard Nixon’s tea with 600 micrograms of LSD. The plan was thwarted.]

 

Excerpted from Wikipedia:

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), also known as acid, is a psychedelic drug known for its psychological effects. This may include altered awareness of the surroundings, perceptions, and feelings as well as sensations and images that seem real though they are not. It is used mainly as a recreational drug and for spiritual reasons.

Timothy Francis Leary (October 22, 1920 – May 31, 1996) was an American psychologist and writer known for advocating the exploration of the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs under controlled conditions. Leary conducted experiments under the Harvard Psilocybin Project during American legality of LSD and psilocybin, resulting in the Concord Prison Experiment and the Marsh Chapel Experiment. Leary’s colleague, Richard Alpert (Ram Dass), was fired from Harvard University on May 27, 1963 for giving psilocybin to an undergraduate student. Leary was planning to leave Harvard when his teaching contract expired in June, the following month. He was fired, for “failure to keep classroom appointments”, with his pay docked on April 30. National illumination as to the effects of psychedelics did not occur until after the Harvard scandal.

On December 26, 1968, Leary was arrested again in Laguna Beach, California, this time for the possession of two marijuana “roaches”. Leary alleged that they were planted by the arresting officer, but was convicted of the crime. On May 19, 1969, The Supreme Court concurred with Leary in Leary v. United States, declared the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional, and overturned his 1965 conviction.

On that same day, Leary announced his candidacy for Governor of California against the Republican incumbent, Ronald Reagan. His campaign slogan was “Come together, join the party.” On June 1, 1969, Leary joined John Lennon and Yoko Ono at their Montreal Bed-In, and Lennon subsequently wrote Leary a campaign song called “Come Together”.

On January 21, 1970, Leary received a 10-year sentence for his 1968 offense, with a further 10 added later while in custody for a prior arrest in 1965, for a total of 20 years to be served consecutively. On his arrival in prison, he was given psychological tests used to assign inmates to appropriate work details. Having designed some of these tests himself (including the “Leary Interpersonal Behavior Inventory”), Leary answered them in such a way that he seemed to be a very conforming, conventional person with a great interest in forestry and gardening. As a result, he was assigned to work as a gardener in a lower-security prison from which he escaped in September 1970, saying that his non-violent escape was a humorous prank and leaving a challenging note for the authorities to find after he was gone.

For a fee of $25,000, paid by The Brotherhood of Eternal Love, the Weathermen smuggled Leary out of prison in a pickup truck. The truck met Leary after he’d escaped over the prison wall by climbing along a telephone wire. The Weathermen then helped both Leary and Rosemary out of the US (and eventually into Algeria).

 

The backstory of the above photograph: Talented artist and friend, Patrick Brown and I did a lot of art and other stuff together from the 70s through the 80s. We almost went into business together. The above photo photo was actually part of a documentary we were working on, and commercially we thought were going to make some of the STREET PHOTOGRAPHS taken in St. Louis’ Central West End in 1983 on Halloween night into a calendar –  We certainly had enough strange photos. But the calendar unfortunately never happened. I don’t think we had enough money to put up front and certainly had no backers. We jokingly (?) called our our enterprise “nervous energy arts.”

Throughout the years Pat and I lost touch until a few years ago when we found each other on Facebook. Pat lives in Escondido, CA now and if you would like to see some of his fantastic fine art, please check out his web page https://www.patricknbrown.net/. Cheers Pat!

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The backstory of this photograph is after the article.

Halloween 1983, Central West End (St. Louis), MO                                             photo: Langelle

A pagan-rooted holiday with references to Earth; trick-or-treat?

I’ve been curious about how Halloween came about. I started researching this in my spare time a little over a week ago and  found many references. After reading some of the material, it confirmed my belief that so much of what is considered history today is actually a fabrication of reality by whomever controls history at the present time to serve their purposes.

There are many accounts about the roots of Halloween. The information presented here is a synthesis of some of the versions I stumbled onto.

Most people that celebrate Halloween have no idea they are actually celebrating a holiday that that has deep pagan roots. Ancient (and modern) pagans practice earth-centered traditions that celebrate the sacred circle of life and live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

Note that “Halloween” falls around the mid-point between the fall equinox and the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere.

After reading numerous articles, it appears that the ancient pagans of Ireland referred to this mid-point as the Eve of Samhain. The Scots shared Gaelic ancestry and culture as well as did some inhabitants of England and France.

The traditional, or “pagan,” worldview of the pre-Christian Gaels of Ireland is typically described as animistic, polytheistic, ancestor venerating and focused on the hero cult of archetypal Gaelic warrior. The four seasonal festivals celebrated in the Gaelic calendar, still observed to this day, are Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain.

The Eve of Samhain became a Gaelic festival which now is celebrated in popular culture as Halloween.

Traditionally, the Eve of Samhain celebrates the end of the harvest season, and the beginning of winter and the “New Year.”

Experienced as a period when the normally strict boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead became fluctuating, on the Eve of Samhain, the veil between the two realms was the most transparent, allowing the spirits of those who have died to return to visit earth.

According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica:

“…The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day and the autumnal festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, goblins, black cats, fairies and demons of all kinds said to be roaming about. It was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature. In addition, Halloween was thought to be the most favorable time for divinations concerning marriage, luck, health, and death…”

And in The American Peoples Encyclopedia:

“Cats were held sacred since it was believed that they were once human beings that had been transformed for committing evil.”

In the Old Celtic calendar the new year began on 1 November (Samhain), so that the last evening of October was ‘old-year’s night’, the night of all the witches, which the Catholic Church co-opted into the Eve of All Saints and Samhain itself was changed to All Saints Day.

Boo!

Orin Langelle, 30 October 2017

 

The backstory of the above photograph: Talented artist and friend, Patrick Brown and I did a lot of art and other stuff together from the 70s through the 80s. We almost went into business together. This Dracula photo was actually part of a documentary we were working on, and commercially we thought were going to make some of the STREET PHOTOGRAPHS taken in St. Louis’ Central West End in 1983 on Halloween night into a calendar –  Dracula was the cover. We certainly had enough strange photos. But the calendar unfortunately never happened. I don’t think we had enough money to put up front and certainly had no backers. We jokingly (?) called our our enterprise “nervous energy arts.”

Throughout the years Pat and I lost touch until a few years ago when we found each other on Facebook. Pat lives in Escondido, CA now and if you would like to see some of his fantastic fine art, please check out his web page https://www.patricknbrown.net/. Cheers Pat!

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Shattered glass.                                                                     Photo: Langelle

Yes.

Do you know who threw it?  No.

But when the men on the chessboard – Get up and tell you where to go – And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom  – And your mind is moving low – Go ask Alice –  I think she’ll know.

Photo from the front lines of the Situationist Pillow – sort of a concept stolen from situationist theory that some thought was the primary means of counteracting the spectacle; the construction of situations, moments of life deliberately constructed for the purpose of reawakening and pursuing authentic desires, experiencing the feeling of life and adventure, and the liberation of everyday life.

 

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Gord Downie, the frontman of Canadian rock group the Tragically Hip, died Tuesday night [17 October 2017] following a nearly two-year battle with brain cancer. He was 53. Source: abc NEWS

Orin Langelle: The following two photos are of of Gord Downie, lead singer from The Tragically Hip. Downie opened the Bi-National Sustainability Summit Conference on the Environment with music and words in Buffalo, NY held 3 – 5 October, 2013.

The conference discussed the impacts of the International Peace Bridge that connects Ontario, Canada to Buffalo, NY’s West Side.

Gord Downie, from The Tragically Hip        Photo: Langelle

Downie opened the environmental conference with a benefit for the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper. Downie, who claims he is not an environmentalist, but a ‘free-market capitalist’ actually had some of the most cutting edge comments that I heard at the conference. Ironically that in itself is tragically hip. Downie slammed waste disposal in the Great Lakes, fracking, the Tar Sands, and sang a song about disappearing American Eels. Yes, he does care about eels.

One of Downie’s other main complaints was nuclear power plants. “A five year old from Mars will tell you it’s not a good idea to put a nuke plant by our drinking water.”

– statement written by Orin Langelle after Downie’s performance

Downie’s performance was a benefit for Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper        Photo: Langelle

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As co-founder of Global Justice Ecology Project, former co-Director and Strategic Communications Director, now a consult for GJEP, I’m pleased to make this photograph available for some lucky winner. It’s archival, matted and mounted.

I’m also on the International Steering Committee for the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees. I’ve been involved in the fight to stop genetically engineered trees since 1999 and I believe we have to stop this menace to the people, the planet and all of the Earth’s inhabitants.

I took this shot of the Ringed Kingfisher during a very grueling trip to Chile. Prior to taking a break by Lago Tinquilco I was documenting the social and ecological impacts of industrial tree plantations in the country, and their link to the 2017 wildfires that were the worst in Chile’s history. It is estimated that eleven people were killed, 1500 houses destroyed, thousands displaced and almost 300,000 hectares acres decimated. The delegation was sponsored by OLCA (Observatorio Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales). I accompanied the delegation as a photojournalist and a participant.

Photographed at Lago Tinquilco – one of several lagos in Huerquehue Parque Nacional in the La Araucanía Region in southern Chile. Huerquehue Parque Nacional (Spanish pronunciation: [werˈkewe]) is located in the foothills of the Andes, in the Valdivian temperate rainforest.

Huerquehue is a Mapudungun word (the language of the Mapuche people) that means “the messenger’s place”. One of the most noteworthy features Huerquehue Parque Nacional are its ancient Araucaria (Araucaria araucana) forests, the tree commonly known as “monkey puzzle”. These are the backdrop for the clear lagos and lagoons that dot the park, including Lago Tinquilco, which lies in the lower portion of this protected area.

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History is a weapon – lest we forget

On 12 October 1492 Columbus stumbled into the Americas. In his People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn writes of Columbus’ arrival:

Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island’s beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:

They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned… . They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features…. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… . They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

ABOUT THE ALARM COVER…
This photo was taken at an Earth First! rally and celebration of 500 years of indigenous resistance. Featured is Death riding atop his trusty stead during a takeover of the Burlington Church Street Marketplace and a disruption of the Columbus Day sales happening there. The outstretched hand of death signifies the continuation of the ecological devastation and genocide of native peoples that are soon to lead to the collapse of planet Earth.      Photo: Langelle

What follows occurred twenty-five years ago in October 1992 when I was living in Burlington, VT. This was the 500th year of the beginning of the colonization and genocide against the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. The images and many excerpts are from the 5th issue of the ALARM, a quarterly Northeast Earth First! newsletter (original cover and the article at the end of post). All copy is excerpted from this issue and some thoughts may not be politically correct to 2017 standards. – Orin Langelle

9 October 1992     Vermont Supreme Court Sandbagged

Montpelier, Vermont –  Earth First!, Central Vermont Greens and the All-Species Project joined with representatives of the Abenaki, Cree and Mi’kmaq in front of the Vermont Supreme Court in Montpelier to commemorate the resistance and survival of Native Americans since the arrival of Columbus. People were gathered to protest the VT Supreme Court’s recent decision denying the ancestral rights of VT’s indigenous Abenaki, whom stated they lost these rights “due to the increasing weight of history…”

A wigwam was set up close to the steps of the Supreme Court building and a traditional pipe ceremony followed. After a speak-out, hundreds of pounds of sand bags were carried up to the doors of the Supreme Court’s courtroom and those in session were effectively barricaded into their Chambers. Spokesperson Carrie Bioux stated, This was a demonstration to these arrogant bastards of the increasing weight of our resistance.”

Earlier that year, the same Court denied the indigenous Cree’s appeal of the VT contract with Hydro-Quebec. This contract allowed Vermont utilities to buy four billion dollars worth of hydro-electric power from HQ while “washing their hands” of any responsibility for destroying Cree, Inuit, and Innu lifestyles or for the devastation of the James Bay bioregion caused by the construction of the massive La Grande hydroelectric dam project on indigenous land near James Bay, Quebec [which included the “accidental” drowning of 10,000 caribou when water was released from the dam during a migration].

12 October 1992     One arrest; Traffic Blockaded Near Hydro-Project As Protesters Oppose the Columbus Myth and Genocide

Winooski, Vermont – Following the racist decisions of the Vermont Supreme Court, in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Columbus invasion and in solidarity with the Abenaki and the indigenous peoples of James Bay, Earth First! rallied next to the Winooski-One hydro project, under construction in Winooski, Vermont. Winooski-One owner, John Warshaw denied the comparison of himself to Columbus stating there are no indigenous people [in Vermont]. Ironically, Winooski is an Abenaki term meaning “Land where the onions grow.” After the rally, Earth First!ers blocked traffic on the Winooski-Burlington Bridge adjacent to the construction, causing a major traffic jam of Columbus Day Shoppers. 

Anne Petermann (bottom center) with her head on the ground being protected by a protester as a cop (top right) prepares to use numchuks on her in a compliance hold. Photo: Langelle

With the traffic at a standstill, one of the blockaded drivers, off-duty police officer Michael Schirling, lunged his car forward in an attempt to force protesters out of the way. When he screeched to a halt, nearly missing one protester, he leapt out of his car and began flashing his Cop ID ordering people out of the road or be arrested. He then arrested Anne Petermann who was standing on the sidewalk exercising Her First Amendment rights…EF!ers went to her rescue to try and prevent [the cops from taking her to jail]. One cuff was put on Petemann, by now on the ground, but the crowd refused to let her be dragged to the police car. Finally numchucks were used by one cop to attempt to force her compliance. During the melee, Schirling’s wallet mysteriously parted from his body and dove into the Winooski River.  Petermann was later released after being charged with reckless endangerment for refusing to leave the road even though she was arrested on the sidewalk…

Addendum: This was Anne Petermann’s first arrest and she opted for a court trial. Police officers along with Michael Schirling and his fiancee provided conflicting and false information, but Petermann was found guilty. Petermann now lives in Buffalo, NY and has continued organizing to protect forests and working in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples for over a quarter of a century – from the United Nations to the South American rainforests. She is the Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project.

Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling in the shut down Occupy Burlington encampment dismantling parts of the camp prior to the official investigation.
Photo: Langelle

Michael Schirling went on to become Burlington, VT’s Police Chief. During the nationwide Occupy Movement in 2011, a young veteran in the Burlington Occupy camp shot and killed himself. After this tragedy, Occupy protesters were persuaded to come into City Hall to talk about the incident. While they were inside, Schirling ordered the Occupy encampment to be sealed off in police tape. He then proceeded to destroy evidence in the camp before the detective assigned to the case could investigate what had happened.

The Indigenous Peoples of the Americas and globally are under ever greater threat by governments and corporations as the Earth’s “resources” are running out for the materialistic consumer culture of industrialized countries. The struggle for the land continues as Indigenous Peoples continue to claim their sovereignty. Much of the resources left are in/on indigenous territory. Their land is not respected and is only to be used for extraction or trespass, as recently witnessed with the North Dakota Access Pipeline. There is resistance in many places, with the most visible in the U.S. at the Standing Rock encampment…but again the government broke its promise to the Indigenous Peoples there. But resistance to those who destroy the Earth for their own profit is an inspiration…it was and still is from the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, Mexico in 1994.

NOTE: Indigenous Peoples’ Day – To counter Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday that celebrates the Indigenous peoples of the Americas. It is celebrated across the United States, and is an official city and state holiday in various localities around the country. It began as a counter-celebration to the U.S. federal holiday of Columbus Day, which honors European explorer / genocidal maniac Christopher Columbus. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is intended to celebrate Native Americans and commemorate their shared history and culture.

 

Original Cover:

 

Page 6 of the ALARM

Page 6 of ALARM

[Special thanks to friend and colleague, Bron Taylor, by making sure movement writings are secured as history.]

 

 

 

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I moved to Buffalo in 2012 and didn’t realize that in the 90s Buffalo, NY was way ahead in the chic scene.

Buffalo 90s Chic                                                                                                                                Photo: Langelle

Actually on Saturday 16 September, 2017 there was a block party with a 90s theme on Elmwood Avenue between North and Allen Street in Buffalo’s Allentown district. The above photo was one store’s display, but I don’t see the above bearing any resemblance to the 1990s…maybe the 2090s when humans possibly evolved to cope with climate chaos.

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