Root Force writes:
Dear friends and supporters of Root Force,
After a long process of discussion, reflection and consultation, we have decided to shift the focus of the Root Force campaign. As part of this change, we are creating a broader place within Root Force for autonomous anti-infrastructure organizing in the US, while maintaining the emphasis on Latin American solidarity. We are excited about this new direction, and hope you will read on to find out more about the changes and how you can get involved.
The Evaluation Process
In October, after a year of road shows, presentations, articles and other efforts at building Root Force, we began an in-depth analysis of the campaign. What had we accomplished in one year? Where did we need to put more effort? What were the strengths and weaknesses of our campaign strategy to date?
The clearest positive change that we have seen come from Root Force (as well as from allied efforts like the fight against I.-69) has been a sharp upswing in anti-infrastructure analysis and rhetoric over the past year and a half, particularly in radical environmental circles. In addition, we have repeatedly heard that Root Force’s articulation of a strategy designed to take down the system is both inspiring and empowering.
Inspired by Root Force, an affiliate group formed in Portland, Oregon, that has used a systemic anti-infrastructure analysis to tie together struggles against La Parota, dams in the US Northwest and corporate globalization.
But the effectiveness of the Root Force campaign has been hampered by two serious shortcomings. First, in spite of our efforts to disseminate contact information for the companies involved in La Parota and the Anillo Periferico, not much action against those targets has taken place. Without a lot more action, there is no way to generate enough pressure to have an effect on these companies, let alone on the projects themselves.
The second problem has been the difficulty of maintaining reliable communication and getting up-to-date information from our allies in Mexico and El Salvador. This makes it hard to know what is happening with the projects on the ground, and if the companies involved are changing.
So, based on feedback from supporters around the country and our own internal discussions, we have come up with a plan to refocus and restructure Root Force.
The New Root Force
The core of Root Force is an emphasis on strategic direct action against the expansion of global trade infrastructure. As those of you who have seen our presentations or read our literature know, the global economic system cannot maintain itself without expanding this infrastructure.
Yet for a variety of logistical reasons, we have found it difficult to focus direct action against projects not happening in the US. For this reason, we are broadening our emphasis from La Parota and the Anillo Periferico to global trade infrastructure in general. We will no longer disseminate contact information about the companies involved in these two projects, based on the ineffectiveness of this strategy to date.
We are not giving up on the struggles against La Parota and the Anillo Periferico, and information about these projects will remain on our web site, along with contact information for the government agencies involved in spearheading them. We have been in contact with the communities resisting these projects to explain that our efforts so far have not been effective, and we will continue to pass on any specific requests they may have for active solidarity from people in the US.
Root Force will now focus on four main areas:
1. Promote anti-infrastructure analysis and action, based on the recognition that infrastructure expansion is a weak point of the system. We will continue to articulate the Root Force analysis and strategy through presentations and other public venues.
2. Provide resources to anyone fighting infrastructure. We aim to make our literature more accessible and useful to anyone opposing infrastructure expansion. In addition, we will make our presentation easy to adapt and provide the resources so that anyone can feel empowered to use it.
3. Make it easy for people to plug in to anti-infrastructure organizing, even if there is no current anti-infrastructure campaign nearby. As part of this, we hope to provide an extensive directory of anti-infrastructure groups and campaigns on our web site. We will provide resources and suggestions for incorporating an anti-infrastructure analysis into any campaign or struggle.
4. Facilitate connections and information sharing between groups andcampaigns that are working against infrastructure. As part of this, we will have a regularly updated section on the front page of our web site that people can read for action reports, news stories, analysis and campaign updates related to the struggle against infrastructure expansion.
We will also be making a concerted effort to reach beyond the circles where we have done most of our outreach so far. This will involve not only giving presentations to different groups of people, but also direct approaches to other organizations and movements that are working against infrastructure, to see how we can assist in their struggles.
To keep the concept of “infrastructure” from becoming too abstract, we will continue to use La Parota and the Anillo Periferico as examples of infrastructure projects in Latin America. Within the US, we will focus on the the 6 interstate highways that the Department of Transportation (DOT) has designated as “Corridors of the Future” (I-5, I-10, I-15, I-69, I-70, I-95). The DOT has identified congestion on these roads as a major threat to trade and (seriously) “the American way of life,” so it’s pouring tons of federal resources into expanding them. This includes not only widening, but also building entirely new roads and bridges. In the case of I-69, the DOT wants to build new highway all the way from Michigan to the Mexican border.
We will provide more specific resources for those opposing Corridors of the Future.
There are lots of opportunities to get involved in shaping the new Root Force. We are still looking for feedback on other ways to achieve the four goals listed above. We are actively looking for groups that are working on infrastructure issues and would love to add information about your campaigns to our web site. We are seeking news sources and other resources about infrastructure, global trade infrastructure in particular.
Are you interested in getting more information to help you organize your own anti-infrastructure campaign? Are you interested in giving a presentation about how infrastructure is a weak point of the system? Want to combine the two by forming a Root Force affiliate group? Get in touch!
And of course, we are always still looking for researchers and translators, and we can always use monetary donations to help us cover our costs. You can make checks out to “Root Force” or donate via Paypal at rootforce.org.
Everything we have said about the system is still true. It is destroying everything that we love, and killing the very planet we depend upon for life. Defending ourselves against it is not enough — we must identify the weak points and attack. And it is still a house of cards. A strong enough push in the right places can bring the whole thing crashing down.
Tear it Down,
The Root Force Collective