Letter published in New York Paper Calling for Land to be a Birthright

Colin Donoghue colind at veganmail.com
Tue Oct 16 23:38:34 BST 2012

The letter is response to the local government's maneuvering to bulldoze a
community garden with 140 plots that have been continuously cultivated for
over 30 years, for an unneeded business development that could easily go
elsewhere.  The underlying push of the government is the age old one:
prevent people from living naturally (mainly via deceiving them) so you can
exploit and oppress them with your corporate partners.

Page 6 of the current issue: http://tompkinsweekly.com/ or read in full

I was excited by the headline to the article "Community Gardens Lease
Extended" (Tompkins Weekly, Oct. 1), but as I read on realized that the
garden lease "renewal" is actually a fast-track to termination of the
lease, a termination to be followed by bulldozing of the gardens.  They
will technically renew the lease, at first, but, like a Trojan horse, with
conditions for early termination, and these conditions can be met almost
immediately; so it can be expected this termination will be imminent.  The
"renewal" is actually a pathway to termination; another example of
Orwellian doublespeak so common in the political world.  This deceptive
tactic and language can be directly glimpsed in one of the conditions for
early termination of the lease: The developer must provide “relocation,
construction and the establishment of a management framework for a
substitute garden.”  If you read that sentence quickly you might think they
were talking about relocation, construction and construction of a new
garden, and miss how by inserting the words "management framework" the
condition becomes practically meaningless; a "management framework" is not
an actual garden, it's a vague notion that could be interpreted to be as
little as a quickly thrown together single page document filled with more
vague language.

To quote again from the original Tompkins Weekly article, the underlying
truth of what's happening, beneath the deceptive public relations, is "once
the conditions/terms are satisfied, there is a guarantee that the lease
will be terminated" and "even with the conditions contained in the
resolution... there’s no guarantee that an alternative site for the
Community Gardens will be found."  So, guaranteed bulldozing, no guaranteed
replacement.  All the conditions can/will be satisfied quickly; this
resolution isn't just "not perfect", it's the means to the same end that
Ithaca residents protested months ago, protests which caused the officials
to stall the original resolution passage; they've since been working on
making the language of the resolution more deceptive so they can still get
what they want (a bulldozed garden replaced by some business), with minimal
outcry from the public, so as to keep the illusion going that they are
"representatives of the People", who "support the health and well-being of
the community as a whole."  This bulldozing would be completely wrong.
 What Ithaca (and other communities) need are more gardens, not more
business developments; therefore we need more protest, calling these
officials out on their deceptive public relations.

Gardens can provide healthy and fresh veganic food, greater mental and
physical health, ecological restoration and greater
self/community-sufficiency, crucial natural education and empowerment for
children, adults and the disabled, greater food security... there is
perhaps nothing at all better for a community, and yet,* we are told by
City officials that by creating more tax revenue from another business,
they can provide services better than what a free and natural relationship
with the Earth can provide; this is a major illusion and deception.  Are a
few more jobs and some more tax revenue that may or may not be used
beneficially (revenue that the community has no direct control over) really
better than an empowered community able to provide for themselves in a
healthy and cooperative way?  Why do we need these jobs and social services
in the first place?  Because of a very fundamental, omnipresent and crucial
injustice that this proposed garden bulldozing points to directly:
government, in collusion with corporations, prevent communities and
individuals from living naturally and sustainably on the Earth, through
land control, cost and taxation, making them monetary-slaves, rather than
free and natural women and men.*  This is the root of most of the problems
we observe in our society, a root that unfortunately has been completely
overlooked by most social-justice and environmental advocates who focus
solely on the branches of disturbances that grow from it. In this time of
ecological crisis (and continuous economic struggle for the 99%), this root
definitely needs to be faced and dug up.  *Why do humans have to pay other
humans just to grow some vegetables for their families? Is this not the
real root of poverty and exploitation?  I, among others, believe a fair
share of land and water for the purpose of greater self-sufficiency should
be a birthright of all women and men*; I know that's a lot deeper than
typical media fare (and therefore possibly "inappropriate"), but if we
don't focus on real solutions it's just going to be more of the same, e.g.
another bulldozed garden, another disempowered and exploited community,
another parking lot over paradise; the exact opposite direction our society
should be moving in.

Colin Denny Donoghue
Ithaca, NY

“To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards out of men.” -Ella
W. Willcox
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