2014-07-25 / Letters

Activism or Propaganda?

Dear Editor:

In the latest act in the history of "resistance" to the Rockaway Pipeline project, a Nick Pinto apparently "reporting" for Vice magazine came to Riis beach, called it Brooklyn and proceeded to quote unnamed "organizers" who promised like Arnold that they will be back after a performance on Riis beach last weekend, which included them walking into the construction site there, waving signs, giving speeches to themselves, chanting and claiming victory for halting construction for what is described in said article as about ten minutes.

“What's really interesting about today was we didn't have a ton of people,” the unknown (hero? soldier? occupier? perennial protestor?) said. “But together people just did a very straightforward thing, which is to march on the beach and walk into the site. And they shut the machines down, showing pretty simply what might be the logical steps—if such a thing is going to be stopped, it would have to be stopped in that particular way.”

Other brilliant quotes included, "Saturday’s action showed shutting down the pipeline construction might be easier than it seems," the organizer said. “It wasn't some crazy over-the-top thing today,” he said. "If people around here decided, 'Hey, we don't want this,' they could sit down there for a few days and shut it down. To me, that's what's interesting. Is that going to happen? I don't know.”

Welcome to the fabulously interesting world of "activism" against the Rockaway Pipeline project. Is the history of the activism against the Rockaway project at all crazy and over the top? If one considers that activists like Occupy the Pipeline, The Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline, Sane Energy and a host of others have basically mangled every fact on it imaginable, sometimes moving the project miles, shaving years off its history, claiming the gas might just possibly be moving in the opposite direction that it does (?), lying to the public for about two years or any number or wild, totally unsupportable by fact statements every day behavior, then the history of the activists and the Rockaway project (including the latest to join the fray), is not over the top or crazy. If one prefers a wee fact or two mixed in with the sign waving, dressing up, parading around, and handing out of propaganda, ahem, I mean flyers, then these activists might just be a tiny bit left of center.

If you are late to the story of the colorful array of activists involved in activism against the Rockaway Pipeline project, suffice it to say that you have missed the show of your life.

In any case, this is a never ending tragicomedy it seems and some unknown genius has just according to the reporter Nick Pinto come up with the very new idea that sitting down somewhere just might be "interesting."

Wikipedia says: "A sit-in or sit-down is a form of direct action that involves one or more people occupying an area for a protest, often to promote political, social, or economic change." I can't say that I personally am terribly surprised that the word occupying is actually in that description nor direct action.

The latest folks to rewrite the history of the Rockaway Pipeline project have a Twitter account that perhaps aptly named @nonewnormal. My favorite “retweet” by these folks so far is the rallying war cry of "We shall fight them on the beaches!" by a Ms. Natasha Lennard (also of Vice and apparently a journalist who chose the Occupy movement over her career).

Keep calm and consider bringing some popcorn along with the lawn chair or sit-upon as the expression goes. This show apparently must go on.

KAREN ORLANDO

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