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Capitalism’s sacrifice zones: Some people are happy to destroy the lives of others for a profit

Image by Skywalker11

I grew up in West Virginia. Practically from the day I was born, I was exposed to the idea of what a strip mine is. When I saw The Lorax on TV for the first time, I would have been about six, and I can recall drawing an immediate connection to the barren wasteland hell-pit down the hill from my parents’ house as I watched. My childrhood was spent in an area where the “Truffula trees” were hard, black and underground, but the point Dr. Seuss wanted kids to instinctually grok, I can assure you, was not lost on me.

Large coal companies have been coming in and raping the land without opposition for decades. That is the way things are in West Virginia. Without opposition? Who am I kidding, they roll out the red carpet for the pleasure, because residents of the state are so desperate for the work. When your family is hungry, it’s all about the here and now. The coal companies write the laws in WV. This is how they’re able to saw the tops off of once pristine mountains and hills, fuck up the drinking water and destroy the soil, generally leaving the place looking like a lunar landscape in their wake.

When the coal is gone, West Virginia is going to be a big hole in the middle of the country. That’s all that’s going to be left of it. The people who live there who would like to stop it, can’t stop anything and most people outside of the state are either totally unaware of what’s going on there or they simply don’t care.

Very few images of the so-called “sacrifice zones” left behind by rapacious late-stage Capitalism make it to the mainstream media. Once in a while, maybe, but what goes on in the hills of Appalachia isn’t really the stuff of The New York Times, CNN or even MSNBC. The state is too far removed from the media centers and corridors of power, so the mountain tops keep getting removed and now the guy living in the mobile home down the road has sold the fracking rights to his five acres. Who gives a shit about your drinking water?

The answer, quite frankly, doesn’t seem to be anyone. This is just the way it goes…

After the jump, watch Bill Moyers and Chris Hedges discuss Capitalism’s ‘sacrifice zones’...

Posted by Richard Metzger
04:55 pm
The People vs.Goldman Sachs: Cornel West and Chris Hedges presiding

Thanks to New York photographer Robert Chin for videotaping this and uploading it to Youtube.

Recorded November 3, 2011, 10.15am. The People vs. Goldman Sachs mock trial people’s hearing held at Liberty a/k/a Zuccotti Park with fiery commentary by Dr. Cornel West, eloquence by Chris Hedges, and testimonies from people directly affected by Goldman Sach policies.

You can keep up-to-date with the always compelling Cornel West at his website.

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize winning human rights journalist who writes a weekly column for Truthdig .

This is the kind of street theater we need to see in cities all across America. In addition to marching and occupying public places, we need to explore creative and provocative ways to capture the attention of the media. In our ADD culture, we’ve got to keep things interesting. West and Hedges are taking a page from the Abbie Hoffman play book.

Hedges was arrested along with 15 other protesters following the “people’s trial” when they staged a sit-in outside the headquarters of Goldman Sachs.

The Gothamist reports:

Over a dozen Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested today outside Goldman Sachs, where they had marched with 300 others after holding a mock trial of CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Among those arrested were performance artist gadfly Reverend Billy and author and columnist Chris Hedges, who is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. Hedges and the Rev joined several others in a direct action protest outside the firm, sitting down on the sidewalk, linking arms, and refusing to leave. It seems clear the activists intended to be arrested; earlier today Reverend Billy tweeted, “I’ll spend the afternoon in a police van with Chris Hedges and come out ten times more READY for the miracle! Revolujah!”



Posted by Marc Campbell
01:48 am