Defend Rockaway: Creating a Zone of Struggle this Summer and Fall

Saturday, June 14th 2014, 6PM
16 Beaver, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10004

I. Resistance in the Rockaways

This Monday, construction began on the Rockaway Delivery Lateral Project, a pipeline that will bring hydro-fracked “natural gas” into New York City, furthering our material complicity in the decimation of rural land and water and the exacerbation of the global ecological crisis. Recently, discussions have taken place with residents of the Rockaways, urban gardeners, and Native American groups whose activities, lives, and sense of place will be disrupted by construction and the pipeline, as well as activists who have exhausted avenues for intervention in the regulatory process but remain fervent in their opposition to the project.

This Saturday we hope to involve more people and networks in a conversation about building long-term resistance in the Rockaways, comparable to struggles against infrastructure in Europe (No TAV in Italy, struggles against gold and copper mining in Greece, and the ZAD in France as well as recent indigenous resistance against extraction in the United States and Canada (

What kinds of relationships need to be developed with residents of the area immediately affected by the pipeline, as well as those affected by the forms of extraction it promotes, in order to build a movement that can last for longer than a few hours, days, or weeks? How can resistance to the project coalesce with struggles residents are already engaged in against gentrification and exploitative development and for affordable housing, alternative economic models, and resilient building? How can the struggles against the pipeline be animated and sustained? And how to create, as have the longer-term struggles that currently inform our sense of what is possible, a relationship and sensitivity to place already felt by residents, gardeners, indigenous groups, and others?

II. Occupy 2.0: People’s Climate March September 2014

On the horizon for this nascent movement is a call that has been put out by and other groups for a major convergence (“the largest single event on climate that has been organized to date”) in New York September 20th-21st in advance of the United Nations Climate Summit called by UN secretary Ban Ki Moon on September 23rd (,

The call puts those hoping to resist in the Rockaways in a similar position to the whatever singularities and commoners responding to Adbusters’ call for a “Tahrir moment” on September 17th over the summer of 2011.

In this case, a mainstream organizations has framed a march around a broad platform of demands addressed to world leaders for more sustainable management of the global economy. The call presents an opportunity to frame our responsibility to human and non-human life in terms of territory and resistance rather than economic management and political representation, in terms of our material capacity to sustain ourselves autonomously from the State, Capital and in resistance to its infrastructure (often where the two – Capital and State meet).

As the Occupation of Wall Street opened up a space that gestured at the possibility of living otherwise, we would hope Defend Rockaway would become a space in which reproducing life in the absence of corporate agriculture, fossil fuels, pipelines, private property, rent, wage labor, and political representation would become a real possibility, one that could spread to other parts of the city and beyond.