Fracking Opponents Create Sandstorms in Minnesota

Successful nonviolent action often hinges on fusing the transcendent with the everyday. While it frames the struggle in visionary terms like “justice,” it does so in ways that we can touch, feel, see and experience up close. So, for example, the civil rights movement’s lunch counter sit-ins in the 1960s indissolubly linked the trans-historical crime of racism with the need all of us have to eat three times a day, driving home monumental injustice in terms most people could viscerally grasp: an obstacle to straightforwardly meeting the most basic of human needs. American revolutionaries got the point across about their British overlords by pitching a colonial staple into Boston harbor. Gandhi shook the same imperial system 150 years later by illegally making salt. Both cases pointed out the crises of their time by using material both highly symbolic but also utterly at hand, thus managing to transform an often abstract and elusive form of oppression, the overarching machinery of empire, into a reality that people could touch — and, by touching, change. Now, sand has entered the mix.

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