Today was training day for the action tomorrow (Sunday) at the gates of the coal-fired generating plant at Brayton Point, Somerset, Massachusetts, the largest such facility in New England. (According to the organizers, the plant emitted 6 million tons of CO2 in 2010, along with 15,000 tons of mercury, arsenic, lead, and other pollutants.)
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Today's training was held at the Open Table of Christ United Methodist Church in South Providence. About 150 people crammed into a gymnasium with terrible accoustics but great energy. Perhaps 50 of those were preparing for arrest; the others (including me) were there as support, marshalls, trainers, or just curiosity. Some were trying to decide whether to risk arrest or not.
The crowd was a mix of young and grey-hairs.
The action seems very well organized. There was a chance for participants to pair up and share what motivated us to participate, and post mugshots with summaries on the website. Participants were asked to agree to a discipline of nonviolence, both physical and verbal. The medical team gave advice on what to bring (and not bring). A legal team from the Massachusetts National Lawyers Guild, including public defenders who work in Fall River District Court, gave a detailed presentation on what people could expect if they chose to get arrested. ("Of course as lawyers we would never counsel anyone to violate the law. But if you do. . . .")
The Somerset Police Department (29 officers, total) considers this the biggest thing that has ever happened in town. According to the Fall River Herald News, they have enlisted help from twenty surrounding towns, the State Police (complete with SWAT team and helicopter), the county sheriff's office, the Coast Guard, and all the riot gear and hardware all the agencies have bought with Homeland Security and drug forfeiture money. One of the police liasons reported, however, that the police chief's daughter is planning to join the march and another officer has participated in previous actions at the plant, so it is hoped that the police will not be overly aggressive.
I've been feeling for a long time that civil disobedience was needed to put more urgency into climate change issues. I'm not in a position myself to get arrested right now, but want to support those who are willing to take that risk. So I'll be out there tomorrow, and will try to post another report when I get home. There may also be liveblogging at http://summerheatbraytonpoint.org/...