Indigenous women understand that our struggle for autonomy is related to the total need for structural change in this society. We realize that indigenous people in industrial society have always been and will always be in a relationship of war, because industrial society has declared war on indigenous peoples, on land based peoples.
To look within a bigger context, when I say indigenous peoples, I'm not only talking about Indians. All people come from land-based cultures. Some have been colonized longer than I have, which means they have got more work to do.
In the summer of 1993, the President and Congress accepted the federal Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) recommendation to close Alameda Naval Air Station and the Alameda Naval Aviation Depot, the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Naval Station Treasure Island and the Oakland Naval Hospital among other major and minor military facilities in the Bay Area. Prior decisions had already closed Hamilton Air Field and Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard.
A Sense of Place
0ver the last four years, I've been designing and implementing urban environmental education programs for a New England-based, non-profit, recreation and conservation organization called the Mountain Club (AMC). In the past, we've struggled not only to find the most appropriate participant group for our programs, but more importantly, to find the right setting, or "base," from which to conduct our work. For example, should our programs focus on one particular Boston-area park, or should they incorporate parks across the city? Should we work with one neighborhood in particular, or should we work with community centers city-wide? We've been struggling to define and establish a sense of place for our programs within the culturally diverse urban arena.
The goals of the environmental justice movement include both protecting poor neighborhoods from environmental hazards and fostering community development. Success in environmental justice campaigns often comes to those who engage in collective efforts to solve a community's problems. This is the essence of the "empowerment" philosophy espoused by many environmental justice activists.
Like Little League and health clubs, concern for the environment has typically been a middle class pastime. Successful NIMBY ("Not In My Back Yard”) campaigns in middle-class neighborhoods prompted polluters to locate their businesses where opposition was weak and disorganized. As a result, a disproportionately large number of such facilities were placed in poor neighborhoods and in communities of color. Environmental injustice came to be seen as a byproduct of environmental regulation, occurring "not in spite of our systems of law, but because of our system of laws."1 Besides suffering the unwelcome attention of polluting industries, poor communities also have a hard time attracting desirable development. Some areas lack even basic amenities, such as paved roads, drinking water and wastewater treatment systems. There is often no legal remedy for these deficiencies. As with siting decisions for toxic waste dumps and the like, the failure to improve conditions in poor neighborhoods is a normal consequence of powerlessness.
At the Community
The Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC) has worked for fifteen years to revitalize the lower Park Slope neighborhood of
On March14th, UH hosted an open house event to celebrate the next issue of RP&E : “JUST jobs: Organizing for Economic Justice.” Featuring over two dozen articles from local, regional and national sources, this issue provides a comprehensive look at organizing strategies that aim to confront the neoliberal economic agenda. The evening treated guests to a photo exhibit by David Bacon, speakers from the Woodfin campaign and remarks from the Rev. Phil Lawson.