• $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • other
  • use Paypal

CALLING ALL COUNTERPUNCHERS! CounterPunch’s website is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. We are supported almost entirely by the subscribers to the print edition of our magazine and by one-out-of-every-1000 readers of the site. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners to the “new” Cuba. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads or click bait. Unlike many other indy media sites, we don’t shake you down for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it. So over the next few weeks we are requesting your financial support. Keep CounterPunch free, fierce and independent by donating today by credit card through our secure online server, via PayPal or by calling 1(800) 840-3683. This box will go away once we reach our fund drive goal. Thank you for your support!


“I Ain’t Collateral Damage. I am Somebody”


This past weekend I went to West Virginia to say goodbye to my friend Larry Gibson.

He passed away on September 9th on his home on Kayford Mountain, West Virginia. Hundreds turned out to Charleston’s civic arena to pay homage to this simple man who had 25 years ago decided to take a stand against one of the biggest most insidious industries in the history of the United States—Big Coal.

My first visit to West Virginia in 2006 ended up on Larry’s home on Kayford where he walked me around the property. The most devastating views were at Hell’s Gate. Hell’s Gate was the property line from where you could literally look down on massive mountaintop removal operations. It was stunning. I’ve seen clear cut forests, oil spills and an industry polluted lake near Butte, Montana, but nothing prepares you for mountaintop removal. It changed me. At that point, I wanted to do everything I could to stop it.

Back in May, he and I both attended the Bank of America shareholder’s meeting in Charlotte, NC. He joined other shareholder activists inside to speak some truth to CEO Brian Moynihan’s power. That day Larry was especially fired up and fed up. His house on Kayford had just been burglarized by the opposition. He wasn’t in any mood to back down from any bankers’ double-talk on their support of the hate and violence in Appalachia. He didn’t. During that week, he told us: “They tell us we’re collateral damage. Well, I ain’t collateral damage. I am somebody. My name is Larry Gibson.”

Larry was a fighter. He wasn’t always an activist and didn’t want to be. But when faced with mountaintop removal coal mining, he embraced these movements and fought with them shoulder to shoulder every day until he passed away. Larry realized that much of Kayford was lost to strip-mining of companies like Massey Energy and Arch Coal; he continued to work to prevent other environmental crimes in other communities in Appalachia and beyond.

Larry continuously called for building bigger inclusive cross-issue movements. He’d talked about how everything needed to “get bigger.” He participated in last year’s Tar Sands Action in front of the White House. Last year, he joined US Uncut in a Bank of America branch in San Francisco. In his final days, he was outraged by Patriot Coal’s robbing of union retirees of their pensions and medical benefits and urged others to take action.

When Goldman winner and longtime mountain justice activist Judy Bond passed away last year, her parting words to us were “fight harder,” but Larry’s was “fight together.”

The week after I’d heard Larry died, I went to Texas to train and organize with the Tar Sands Blockade. TransCanada is cutting a monstrous gash in the East Texas countryside from Cushing, Oklahoma to Port Arthur, Texas to lay the Keystone XL pipeline. The company plans to flow billions of gallons of toxic bitumen (heavy tar sands crude) through communities and vital watersheds to line its executives’ pockets with more profits.

In opposition, a diverse unusual coalition of environmentalists and Texas landowners have banded together to resist the oil giant. It’s a bit in the spirit of what Larry talked about, diverse unusual groups banding together in the face of corporate power and environmental destruction.

Since July, the Tar Sands Blockade has launched action after action on TransCanada’s clear-cutting operations up and down the pipeline route.  A tree-sit has lasted over four weeks. TransCanada has responded by allowing its employees to operate their heavy machines with reckless disregard for the safety of protestors and tree-sitters. Police have responded with brutal means such as pepper-spray and Tasers against peaceful protestors. Prosecutors have responded with elevated charges. TransCanada has now also filed lawsuits, aka Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP), against activists and organizations to impede the progress of the campaign and begun to hire off-duty local police as private security at $30 an hour to protect its operations.

When Obama and Romney’s debate around energy issues neglects to mention climate change and turns into a back and forth about who loves drilling and mining more, it’s obvious that the political system has failed the environment and the climate. Beyond politics as usual, we are now seeing popular uprisings to protect people’s homes and the natural world around them.

The blockade is composed of youth and elders from across Texas and the country. Word is that more new activists arrive every day to join the blockade. Some have heard the call of mainstream environmentalists like Bill McKibben urging us all to take action. Some are from environmental networks like Earth First!, Rising Tide and Mountain Justice that have fought with frontline communities for many years on these issues. Some are from Occupy manifestations that popped up all over the world last year.

Writer Chris Hedges recently remarked that the latest incarnation of Occupy “may not take place in city parks and plazas, where the security and surveillance state is blocking protesters from setting up urban encampments. Instead it could arise in the nation’s heartland, where some ranchers, farmers and enraged citizens, often after seeing their land seized by eminent domain and their water supplies placed under mortal threat, have united with Occupiers and activists to oppose the building of the Keystone XL tar sand pipeline.”

It’s not just in Texas that action against extractive industry is happening. Over the summer, we saw climate activists embrace climate action with a new fervor in different parts of the country to challenge the fossil fuel industry. From mountaintop removal in Appalachia to fracking in the northeast to coal exports in Montana to this god awful pipeline in Texas and Oklahoma, a patchwork of anti-extraction fighters is growing and growing.

Other events are happening in West Virginia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. This weekend, Appalachian mountain fighters are bringing together more like-minded people in Rock Creek, WV in opposition to the continual destruction of Appalachia by the coal industry. Nearby in central North Carolina, environmentalists with Croatan Earth First! are convening the Piedmont Direct Action camp as momentum and energy builds in the state against natural gas extraction, aka “fracking.” A few weeks later, anti-fracking activists in Pennsylvania are holding the Shalefield Justice Action Camp. In New York City, a group called “Occupy the Pipeline” has launched a campaign against the Spectra natural gas pipeline.

This is everywhere and it’s only getting bigger. Larry’s powerful voice guides us and I have no doubt that he watches over us from wherever he’s sitting with a smile and nod.

Scott Parkin is a climate organizer working with Rainforest Action Network, Rising Tide North America and the Ruckus Society.

October 13, 2015
Dave Lindorff
US Dispatched a Murderous AC-130 Airborne Gunship to Attack a Hospital
Steve Martinot
The Politics of Prisons and Prisoners
Heidi Morrison
A Portrait of an Immigrant Named Millie, Drawn From Her Funeral
Andre Vltchek
Horrid Carcass of Indonesia – 50 Years After the Coup
Jeremy Malcolm
All Rights Reserved: Now We Know the Final TTP is Everything We Feared
Omar Kassem
Do You Want to See Turkey Falling Apart as Well?
Paul Craig Roberts
Recognizing Neocon Failure: Has Obama Finally Come to His Senses?
Theodoros Papadopoulos
The EU Has Lost the Plot in Ukraine
Roger Annis
Ukraine Threatened by Government Negligence Over Polio
Matthew Stanton
The Vapid Vote
Mel Gurtov
Manipulating Reality: Facebook is Listening to You
Louisa Willcox
Tracking the Grizzly’s Number One Killer
Binoy Kampmark
Assange and the Village Gossipers
Robert Koehler
Why Bombing a Hospital Is a War Crime
Jon Flanders
Railroad Workers Fight Proposed Job Consolidation
Mark Hand
Passion and Pain: Photographer Trains Human Trafficking Survivors
October 12, 2015
Ralph Nader
Imperial Failure: Lessons From Afghanistan and Iraq
Ishmael Reed
Want a Renewal? Rid Your City of Blacks
Thomas S. Harrington
US Caught Faking It in Syria
Victor Grossman
Scenes From a Wonderful Parade Against the TPP
Luciana Bohne
Where Are You When We Need You, Jean-Paul Sartre?
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
The US Way of War: From Columbus to Kunduz
Paul Craig Roberts
A Decisive Shift in the Balance of Power
Justus Links
Turkey’s Tiananmen in Context
Ray McGovern
Faux Neutrality: How CNN Shapes Political Debate
William Manson
Things R Us: How Venture Capitalists Feed the Fetishism of Technology
Norman Pollack
The “Apologies”: A Note On Usage
Steve Horn
Cops Called on Reporter Who Asked About Climate at Oil & Gas Convention
Javan Briggs
The Browning of California: the Water is Ours!
Dave Randle
The BBC and the Licence Fee
Andrew Stewart
Elvis Has Left the Building: a Reply to Slavoj Žižek
Nicolás Cabrera
Resisting Columbus: the Movement to Change October 12th Holiday is Rooted in History
Weekend Edition
October 9-11, 2015
David Price – Roberto J. González
The Use and Abuse of Culture (and Children): The Human Terrain System’s Rationalization of Pedophilia in Afghanistan
Mike Whitney
Putin’s “Endgame” in Syria
Jason Hribal
The Tilikum Effect and the Downfall of SeaWorld
Gary Leupp
The Six Most Disastrous Interventions of the 21st Century
Andrew Levine
In Syria, Obama is Playing a Losing Game
Louis Proyect
The End of Academic Freedom in America: the Case of Steven Salaita
Rob Urie
Democrats, Neoliberalism and the TPP
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
The Bully Recalibrates: U.S. Signals Policy Shift in Syria
Brian Cloughley
Hospital Slaughter and the US/NATO Propaganda Machine
Paul Street
Hope in Abandonment: Cuba, Detroit, and Earth-Scientific Socialism
John Walsh
For Vietnam: Artemisinin From China, Agent Orange From America
Hadi Kobaysi
How The US Uses (Takfiri) Extremists
John Wight
No Moral High Ground for the West on Syria