Three Rallies on May 1

On May 1 there will be car rallies in Brattleboro at 12:30 p.m., in Holyoke at 2 p.m., and in Springfield at 4 p.m. The rallies are for workers' rights. All three are caravans. A similar rally in Greenfield on April 24 drew more than 100 people. The Brattleboro rally starts at the high school parking lot and will pass grocery stores and hospitals. It's being organized by the Vermont Workers' Center and other groups.

The Holyoke rally starts at the Holyoke Ingleside mall Sears parking lot. The Springfield rally starts at 380 Plainfield Street. Both are organized by the Pioneer Valley Workers' Center, which also organized the Greenfield rally.

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On April 26 the Amherst-based Kestrel land trust announced it had saved 53 acres of forestland in Pelham, Massachusetts. Pelham borders Amherst. Land trusts get much of their funding from the government. Politicians decide how much to invest in saving nature versus war and tax cuts for billionaires.

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Native Americans are trying to stop a plan to send hydro-power from Canada to Massachusetts. They have a web site at www.NorthEastMegaDamResistance.org.

Rich Holschuh lives in Brattleboro and, with seven other people, runs the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs. That's part of the state government. In an April 30 interview with the Valley Post, he said, “Indigenous people worldwide share the common experience of colonization. Colonization is the process of appropriating a place for one's own use, exercising control by force for the benefit of the newcomer.... The original inhabitants of a place consider themselves to be a single entity: the people and the land are the same. It is a network of sustained, interdependent relationships overlapping with others in a balanced, self-supporting continuum. This balance is disrupted and harmed when those relationships are disregarded, by manipulation and appropriation for externalized profit. Colonization is not a historical event; it is an ongoing system, with lasting damage to the subjects while continuing to accrue benefit to the takers.”

Holschuh continued, “What is happening in the northeastern reaches of this continent, with massive hydroelectric development and export of energy to markets elsewhere, much of it in New England, derives from the same mindset that created the antecedent hydro facilities here on the Kwenitekw (Connecticut) river, and across the continent in the realization of so-called Manifest Destiny. The natural abundance of earth -- the gift of Creation -- has been coerced, privatized, commodified, extracted, and sold, without due regard for the lasting effects of that interruption of the sustaining cycles. The indigenous people of these places are implicated equally, left outside of consideration, with the network of relationships that constitutes their existence grievously harmed.”

Holschuh said, “The northern mega-dams may seem out-of-sight, and thus out-of-mind, not important or impactful to lives proceeding apace to the south in New England. Vermont, in its claims to cleaner, greener policy, derives a significant portion of its electrical energy demand from facilities such as those of Hydro-Quebec. This is projected to increase as the state adjusts its goals away from less-desirable sources through the Comprehensive Energy Plan. The issue has been raised with Lt. Governor Zuckerman's Vermont 2050 Planning Group -- it's a very real exacerbation of an existing policy flaw. A reliance on imported energy, and its associated human and environmental costs, has been a contested issue in the past, and it should/will be again soon. This is not a problem in somebody else's backyard. It is a problem of our own making and it is a repetition of what has and is happening right here in the homelands of the Abenaki and their kin. If we are being honest, this connection and the dynamics that effect it are easily recognized. What happens to one, happens to us all. And so, I recognize all my relations and ask that together we seek balance and exercise compassion, seeing that there is a better way.”

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