Magazine article Earth Island Journal

From the Editor

Magazine article Earth Island Journal

From the Editor

Article excerpt

On October 29, 1979, on the 50th anniversary of the great stock market crash of 1929, I went with some friends to Washington, DC to demonstrate at the Department of Energy offices on L'Enfant Plaza. It's an action that some of you young folks--and even some of you old folks--might not have heard about. We were protesting the DoE's work on nuclear weapons, we assembled peacefully if stridently at the Department offices, and we successfully blockaded the building. The DoE shut down that day: no one got in, no business got done, and no one was hurt or arrested.

But there was a bit of tension. Federal cops tried to break the line at several points to let Carter administration functionaries into the building. We demonstrators locked arms and resisted. At one point during the day I found myself at the end of one of these chains of demonstrators, with nothing on my right to hold onto except a sheer marble wall. Weighing about a hundred pounds less than I do now, I was a weak point in the line, and the cops noticed. They started pushing on me pretty hard.

And just as my fingers were about to be ripped from the little marble ridge I'd been holding onto, an arm like a tree trunk slipped around mine and held firm. I took a deep breath--the first in a while--looked at my feet, and resisted being moved. Just like a tree standing by the water. The police pushed for a few more minutes, then relented.

I looked at the owner of that big arm. A middle-aged, muscular, balding man smiled at me, unabashedly friendly. …

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