Monday, July 07, 2008

Resistance to I-69, "The NAFTA Super Highway":

  • Fredrick, Maryland, U.S. - Members of Potomac Earth First! held a small but loud and spirited protest outside Michael Baker Jr. Inc. offices at 4 College Ave. in Frederick. The June 3rd protest was in opposition to a new section of I-69 in Indiana, which the Michael Baker Jr. Inc. is contracted to construct.

  • Louisville, Kentucky - Westbound commuters traveling on I-64 in Louisville were greeted with a display from Anti-I-69 road activists early on the mourning of June 5th. Critics of the development say that it will lead to the outsourcing of jobs, and destroy thousands of acres of forest and wetlands.

  • Evansville, Indiana, U.S. - On June 16th tree-sitters blocking Interstate 69 were forcefully evicted by local police. Along with ground support activists, the tree-sitters were arrested and held in Warrick County Jail. Since the eviction, numerous solidarity actions have commenced in various locations.

  • Bloomington, Indiana, U.S. - Opponents to I-69 held a torch-lit march through the streets of Bloomington on June 21st.

  • Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S. - On Monday, June 23rd at 1:30 PM Kalamazoo residents opposed to I-69 visited the DLZ Corporation in Kalamazoo for an office demonstration. They entered the building prepared to read a statement but were instantly harassed by an employee. He screamed obscenities, shoved the woman reading the prepared statement, and insisted that there was no office manager or anyone to discuss the impact of I-69 with. The Kalamazoo residents opposed to I-69 marched through the office with drums and whistles and exited the building.

    The office seemed to instantly be aware that they were being protested. They did not want to talk or hear a word of what the residents had to say. The following letter was left on several desks and at the main desk.

    Dear Kalamazoo Neighbors,
    We are writing to inform you of something that is of great importance. Though you maybe unaware of this, your current place of employment, DLZ is in league with some very dark and disturbing things that are happening to the world we live in. You might be aware of the fact that DLZ is one of many companies that is helping in the formation of highway development in Indiana, the extension of Interstate-69. Now though this may seem to be “Business as Usual” or “Just another development in a long line”, this particular project is so much worse. Interstate-69 is part of a massive undertaking that is spreading across states, countries, and indeed continents. It has been talked about for decades and gone under many different names. The NAFTA Super Highway, the North American Corridor, and Plan Puebla Panama are only a few.This expressway is a small part in the globalization of our world. To explain this further, jobs here at home are being moved across borders, the products of which will be shipped here, via I-69, to those currently unemployed. These jobs of course are going to be exploiting the global South. Not only will this further harm some of the most super-exploited people on Earth, but miles upon miles of forests, wetlands, farms, and homes will be destroyed and/or displaced from the construction of this expressway. Between jobs going over borders, products being shipped in, farms being destroyed and the utter destruction of the natural world here at home and abroad, it seems obvious to those of us in Kalamazoo that the completion of this expressway is an atrocious, repugnant act. It is opposed by those in its line of destruction, those in other countries, and now by us in Kalamazoo.

    It is with this in mind that we write you. We want you to be aware of the fact that what DLZ is doing is wrong and under the watch of people throughout the country, and the world at large. Rather than just bear witness to this injustice, we demand that this project be stopped and that it be discarded. We stand in Solidarity with our brothers and sisters who will lose jobs because of this. We stand in Solidarity with those whose homes are being destroyed. We stand in Solidarity with those who are being exploited in Central and South America. We stand in Solidarity with the farmers who will now be putting down their tools and who will be left in the gutters of development because of the actions of DLZ. We as residents of Kalamazoo, as friends, as neighbors, and acquaintances of yours demand that YOU stop this highway.
    And in Solidarity with those oppressed,
    The Residents of Kalamazoo Opposed to I-69

  • Hicksville, New York, U.S. - On the morning of Tuesday June 24, employees of HNTB's 40 Commerce Place office in Hicksville, NY arrived at work to find the building defaced with spray paint. "DEAL WITH I-69 DEAL WITH US" was written across the front of the building. HNTB is Kansas City Missouri based architecture and engineering consulting firm working on the I-69 development.

    Employees were at first unable to get inside because locks to both the front and back doors were tampered with and filled with glue. Other slogans were painted on the sides of the building and all the windows and front door were covered in etching paint. HNTB's Hicksville location on Long Island was soon removed from their website.

  • Maryville, Illinois - On June 30th vandals targeted the Maryville offices and a company car of I-69 consultant Bernardin, Lochmueller, & Associates. The car had all four tires slashed, headlights, windows, and mirrors busted out. The office building had its locks glued, windows smashed, and exterior painted with “187 ON I-69″ and “THE FRONTLINE IS EVERYWHERE.”