After weeks of indecision, I finally decided to make the five hour drive from Evansville to Pikeville, Kentucky, last weekend to attend a neo-Nazi rally. To be real, I didn't totally feel like going. I mean, who wants to spend their weekend listening to arguments in favor of sending gay people and people in mixed race relationships off to re-education camps? It sounded super annoying and it would have been easier to just avoid the whole thing.
But I've been getting more and more concerned lately about the growth of white nationalist movements, all these racist attacks on marginalized groups, and the way the white working class is hitting the streets in support of a billionaire and his fascist policies. Like anybody who's read a few history books, particularly about the growth of fascist movements in Europe in the 1930s, I don't like the way the winds are blowing.
Plus, this shit felt personal given the fact that one of the main groups organizing the event--the Traditionalist Worker Party--has its home base just a few miles up the road in Paoli, Indiana, and its shitbag leader, Matthew Heimbach, has told the media about how he thinks people in Southern Indiana are really open to his dreams of concentration camps and white ethno-states: "Southern Indiana's a natural home for our politics...You have struggling working-class issues; you have the frustration and alienation from Washington insider politics. We need to be where people are being left behind, and I think there are few places that can compete with Kentucky (and) Indiana."
Pollution statistics in Evansville are alarming--seven coal plants within 30 miles, higher levels of fine particles in the air than 90% of the country, and more toxic pollution released into the area than in any other mid-size or large U.S. city.
Poor air quality contributes to Vanderburgh County's life expectancy being lower than peer counties, as poor air quality is known to impair lung development, lead to brain damage, and cause cancer, and it is connected with autism spectrum disorder and psychiatric disorders.
Vectren, which supplies energy for the Evansville area, contributes to the problem with outdated coal-firing units at its Brown and Culley power generating stations.
Locals gathered on November 16, to confront Vectren about their ongoing use of coal and natural gas for energy production and to ask for a transition to alternatives.
A few weeks ago, I met up with about 150 people in Keokuk, Iowa, to stop Dakota Access Pipeline construction in the small town and under the Mississippi River. By the end of the day, we'd stopped construction for about an hour, and 44 of us had been arrested, cited for trespass, released, and given dates to appear in court for an arraignment.
I had been in Iowa to attend an annual Catholic Worker gathering, a weekend of camping, roundtables, skits, and socializing, mostly with Christian anarchist folks from the Midwest who are engaged in hospitality, simple living with people at the margins, and social activism, either on farming communes or communal houses in cities.
Eight of us decided to take advantage of our proximity to construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and spent Saturday, September 17, with protesters at Mississippi Stand, where Catholic Workers and others had already been disrupting pipeline construction for several weeks.
As we were driving toward the site on Saturday morning, we noticed a sign for "protest parking" at the end of a gravel driveway. We turned down the drive and met a kind family who was offering their yard and driveway as a parking lot for people coming to the demonstration. We parked and took a tractor-pulled ride down to the protest site.
Evansville Courier and Press (Published as THE EVANSVILLE COURIER) - April 10, 1957 Page: 1, 13
Evansville Courier & Press (IN) - February 18, 2016
Author/Byline: Mark Wilson Edition: A Section: Local Page: 4A
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Posey County’s air quality fails to meet new standards for sulfur dioxide pollution around Vectren’s A.B. Brown power plant.
Indiana’s southwestern-most county would be branded partially in nonattainment of the standards under new proposed designations released by the agency on Wednesday.
The EPA also is proposing to designate in nonattainment part of Jefferson County around the Clifty Creek power plant owned by Ohio Valley Electric Corporation. The public now has 30 days to comment on the proposed regulations, after which the EPA has 90 days to review any comments.
Sulfur dioxide emissions from the A.B. Brown coal-burning power plant [pictured above] rose from 5,293 tons in 2010 to 8,080 tons in 2014, according to the EPA’s Clean Air Markets database.