11th St. & Main Ave. in Durango, CO
Join Durango’s progressive environmental community in a solidarity & support rally for Tim DeChristopher at 4PM on Monday, February 28th on the corner of 11th Street & Main Avenue in Durango. Bring signs, banners, noise makers, plant & animal costumes (etc.), and your friends. Be creative! For more info or to get involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go to southwestearthfirst.wordpress.com
In December 2008, Tim DeChristopher disrupted an oil and gas auction to allay further climate change. By registering as a bidder, Tim drove up prices on many parcels and eventually won over a million dollars worth of oil leases before federal agents removed him from the room. He faces 10 years in prison. Tim’s trial will be held in downtown Salt Lake City on February 28th, and we are organizing many opportunities for those who wish to defend a livable future to do so on a variety of levels.
The public land sale Tim disrupted was arranged in the final hours of the Bush administration as one more give-away to the oil and gas industry it surely supported during its reign. Everyone should remember that V.P. Cheney came from Halliburton, as well as Bush’s ties to that same industry. The proposed sale itself had the odor of a final payback for the oil and gas industries support of the outgoing republican administration. Tim DeChristopher understood all of this and given the opportunity tried to sabotage the give-away sale of these “our” public lands. After the new Obama administration came into office, new Secretary of the Interior Salazar found that the entire sale was illegal.
Even though the entire sale was found to have been illegal, which was what Tim DeChristopher was protesting, the government is proceeding with trying to make his heroic action of protest worthy of jail time. Tim stood up for the protection of the commons, the publicly owned property that is there to serve us all. We should all find it easy to identify with him, and we should not sit idly by while our government tries to frame his defiance of an illegal government act as criminal, and as a way to intimidate others from taking a stand of conscience on behalf of the commons.
The government is embarrassed by this very public trial, and wishes it would go away, but Tim has refused any kind of plea bargain because he thinks a jury of his peers should decide if he was justified in defying an unjust system that is dooming us to an unlivable future. It is this kind of peaceful, powerful, and courageous civil disobedience that is largely missing from the climate movement. An outbreak of jury trials (and willingness to serve time if necessary) could create a political atmosphere that allows a reasonable governmental response to climate change–while bringing the damaging injustices of our current system into the spotlight. People pay attention when others make sacrifices.
Tim forced a trial so we would have a chance to show the world that if you stand up for a livable future, others will stand with you. Can you join us? For more info on Tim’s case and trial, as well as solidarity actions being organized around it, check out www.peacefuluprising.org and www.bidder70.org