Direct Action to Stop the War / Chevron Richmond Refinerly
Jené Despain respondent
1. Your name, names of collaborators or collective name (aliases are fine).
2. Name of activity, campaign, project etc…
Anti- War Direct Action and Rally: Chevron Richmond Refinery
3: Is this activity affiliated with any other groups?
I was part of an autonomous group of people working in conjunction to the demonstration’s main organization. Although most members of our team work for a variety of bay area NGOs, as a unit, we were non-affiliated with any specific mobilization
4. Dates of activity (month, year, duration, is it ongoing?).
The action took place in front of the Richmond, California Chevron refinery on March 15th, 2008.
5. Location(s) of activity (city, street, store, gallery, web site, be specific).
Richmond, California located in the bay area.
6. Type of activity (please attempt to classify the tactic).
The team I participated with deployed a banner from a set of light posts across the intersection at Chevron headquarters main entrance. Our banner was hung in alliance with a larger organized rally protesting Chevron’s involvement in the war on Iraq. the company’s plan to expand this refinery, its negative environmental and health impact upon the community of Richmond, and Chevron’s contribution to global warming.
7. Target and goal of activity.
Each person who participated in the organization/deployment of this action had numerous personal desires for the overall outcome of the March 15th Chevron action. I can only speak for my own goals.
Because of multiple accrued charges in a short amount of time, I was instructed by the judge at my last hearing in NYC to “take a break” from civil disobedience or pay serious consequences. Not one to usually heed the demands of authority figures, I normally would have continued to add arrests and charges to my criminal record. But after a serious legal incident that threatened to stick me with 9 felonies, I decided to pull back from throwing wrenches in the system and work on other rewarding aspects of my life. The Chevron action came at a time when I was ready to jump back into a “high risk” role and was thrilled with the opportunity to work within a self-organized group again. It had been almost 4 years since my last arrest, and I was anxious to get into a harness.
I feel passionately about ending the war on Iraq, halting our nation’s usage of fossil fuels, and preserving safe health conditions for my local neighborhoods. Yet my reasons for becoming a climber in this action were mainly self-indulgent. I wanted to fly again. Wanted to challenge my skills as a climber and a team player. Wanted to feel the rush of getting popped by the cops. Wanted to do something dangerous for a cause that I believed in. Potential political impact was an added bonus.
8 Please describe the activity in a paragraph.
On the morning of March 15, 08, a parade of people marched through the main streets of Richmond, with their mayor, in protest of Chevron’s negative impact upon their immediate neighborhoods’ and the greater globe. The march arrived at its destination, Chevron’s national headquarters, and was joined by a group of demonstrators participating in a blockade lockdown and a team of climbers deploying a banner.
9. What was the outcome of activity?
I’m not sure what was the ending result of the action. My team of climbers and our support people left after a couple of hours of participation. As we were leaving a group of people began to blockade the police barricade in front of Chevron’s entrance. I heard in the news that some arrests were made, but I didn’t personally witness any. The action received national press coverage and the attention of multiple local bay area residents.
10. What did you learn from this activity?
Of the many things I learned by participating in this action, I was most fascinated with the updated information about Chevron’s active, lucrative destruction of this planet. Chevron is the 2nd largest American oil company, the 4th largest company in the United States, and the 7th largest company in the world. Chevron owns 7.8 billion barrels of oil reserves and reported an annual profit of $18.7 billion during 2007. The level of this greed and the destruction and death associated with it astounds me.
12. How do you measure success for this activity?
This action was successful for me in that I received my chance to get back into the business of civil disobedience. Climb training, communicating, and trouble shooting challenges with my team was a great opportunity to practice my skills. We had awesome support from the crowd. Overall, I had a lot of fun attempting to create positive global change while air dancing 30 ft. up.