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ANDERSON & COMPANY COFFEE TEA SPICES TWO JEFFERSON SQUARE AUSTIN, TEXAS 7W/31 512 453-1533 Send me your list. Name Street .city Zip for government action, he said, activists must press for the right to negotiate with business directly. “Second form of action, we’ve got to win new legislation. We’ve got to go to Congress and demand pollution prevention. With the system we’ve got, hey, they’ll never solve the problem. They’re not solving problems, they’re just moving around an ever-increasing amount of toxic chemicals that eventually get into the plants, the animals, our bodies, our children’s bodies in the next generation. We know, folks, they’re killing us. “And the third form is political action. Hey, we gotta throw the bums out if they’re not working in the interests of our community. Politicians are failing in their duty to protect us, and we’ve got to throw them out of office. Very simple. Very simple. Each election time, hey, we have to issue report cards. We have to say, ‘Hey, which side are you on? Are you part of the solution, or are you a part of the pollution?’ There are only two sides. On one side are the millions of Americans who need much stronger pollution prevention laws, and on the other side are a few corporations who are making a bundle of money by poisoning our neighborhoods and endangering life itself on this planet. So we’ve got to take political action.” Dr. Peter Montague believes the formula for victory is already in place. “This movement is rolling! This movement knows what it needs to do. It has everything that it needs to succeed, right in this room. Because we know how to turn ourselves into more of ourselves, through organizing. We can make alliances with other organizations, church organizations, labor organizations, consumer organizations, maybe political organizations.” Darryl Malek-Wiley elaborated. “You’ve got to work with people. Back in ’86, earlier than that, I started working with the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers union in Louisiana. Now, first of all, you don’t do that. Environmental groups do not work with organized labor. Understand that? White people do not work with black people. And if you believe those lies, I’ve got land for sale in South Louisiana. “It’s hard, breaking out of barriers walking into a black church, for a white person; up here in a black pulpit, talking to a black congregation. That’s something that doesn’t ordinarily happen every Friday night. We need to have more of that. We need to have the opposite, black people coming into the white churches. We need to have environmentalists going into labor union halls.” Montague said, “But we have what it takes to fight. We are aggressive, and in America, aggressive wins. That’s what it takes. We’ll have to be confrontational. They’re gonna try to buy us off. They’re gonna try to split us off. They ‘re gonna try to split us up. They’re gonna try to harass us. They’re gonna try to make us feel inadequate. They’re gonna try to buzz our heads , crazy with numbers. “We’ve got lots of national resources in this room and connected to all of your networks we’re all connected together, and together we win.” The conference was characterized by a certain rugged optimism, evident in many of the speeches. As Malek-Wiley said, “The movement is growing. The concern about the environment is growing. And we’ve got to keep pushing. We are going to have clean air. We are going to have clean water. We are going to have clean land. In my lifetime., But it’s not gonna be easy. We’ve all got to take that poWer in ourselves and get it loose and get it moving strong.” Patsy Oliver, an outspoken Carver Terrace resident, may have captured the spirit of the weekend conference with her spirited impromptu speech at Mt. Zion church as the marchers were preparing to return to their homes. “We’re not going to let our dreams die, no matter what the EPA or the city officials think about it. We’re going to come out in great numbers and study how to make a better mousetrap to catch that EPA rat! What I mean by this, we are the voice of the turtle, and we will be heard throughout the land, and this is the first chapter in a great book in history that is yet to be written. “And I would like to say that I am a member of FUSE, and we are going to keep that fuse lit. We are not going to be fooled by the bureaucracy of our town, of our city, and our suburban government officials. We’re gonna come out, get the vote out, and we’re gonna vote mean and we’re gonna vote green for a better environment. “I want EPA to listen up. We want to leave our children a legacy of clean air, clean water, a clean land on which to live. And not only Texarkana, but throughout this United States of America. We want our voices heard so loud that we’ll ring from the mountain tops, and from shore to shore, and from polar-post to polar-post for our great nation. “This is the start of something big. Let’s. move, folks!” There are so many local environmental groups now that nobody can keep up with their numbers or catalog them. This may well be the biggest grassroots movement in the country today. THE THEMES THAT emerged from the conference on environmental justice are those we are certain to hear over and over in the months and years ahead. If the participants in Texarkana are even close to the heartbeat of the nation, the people are angry and impatient about the way the present environmental and political crisis is being handled. They are determined to change it. These themes suggest where the movement is headed: Work locally and think globally, i.e., whack the alligators and drain the swamp at the same time. Polluters are criminals, and should be treated as such. Look for pressure from new laws with teeth in them. Government and industry are so cozy that neither can be trusted. Huge industries are driven by greed, to which they are willing to sacrifice human lives. Government local, state, and national has betrayed the people who support it with tax money. . The fight goes beyond environmental issues. It has become a struggle for justice and for life itself. The environmental movement has become the civil rights movement of the 1990s. As time grows short in a global crisis, direct action is the only hope of citizens winning their rights. Expect confrontation unlike any ever seen in this country before, as the movement challenges both poisoners and government. The solution will be political. Reform demands will spill over from strictly environmental issues to other forms of corruption. Though the movement will link up with other progressive groups, the “Toxics Gang” will remain at the cutting edge of social change. If the movement succeeds, the results will predict the course of history, as citizens gain .social control over what is produced. Whether this leads to a new, purer democracy or not, it will transform society as we know it. A possibility, because of the global nature, is that entire governments will be forced to change. This may be most likely in Third World countries, but although nobody mentioned it, there is the possibility for upheaval in the Soviet Union as well as in this country. And look for “false prophets” all over, cashing in on the force of the movement, frequently blunting it. Though the movement is fueled by deepseated rage, it is also a war of ideas, with a full array of intellectuals and creative activists fighting toxics a powerful combination. No formal document was drawn up, but if there is a Texarkana Manifesto, this is it. What they are saying, it seems, is that the environmental crisis, which is both local and global, has triggered a powerful, nonviolent, revolution that will consume all who resist it. 12 MARCH 10, 1989