Upwards of 2,000 people attended the Don’t Frack New York demonstration yesterday, Monday, August 27 in Albany, N.Y. That’s a lot of people on a work day in the last week of August.

But it wasn’t just the numbers that were impressive.

It was the vision articulated by numerous speakers at the pre-march and post-march rallies that Cuomo should be rising to the challenge of history and connecting with the history of past NY state leaders like Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Instead of allowing fracking, he should embrace a green energy program to make NY a national leader in the absolutely essential shift away from fossil fuels to the clean, jobs-creating and totally possible renewable energy economy we urgently need.

It was the determination that, if Cuomo bows to the demands of a profit-hungry gas industry and unleashes them, thousands of people are prepared to put their bodies on the line, risk arrest and jail, to physically disrupt and stop fracking operations. 3,200 people had signed a “pledge of nonviolent resistance,” if necessary, in advance of the demonstration.

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It was the spirit of unity, the talk from the stage about the family that this no-fracking movement has become, about the friendships and connections that have been developed as people have joined together throughout the state in their towns and cities to take a stand against the frackers.

It was the mix of people from the grassroots with national leaders like Josh Fox and Bill McKibben and prominent personalities like Debra Winger, not just on the stage as far as the speakers but in the interactions on the parks and street over the course of the almost four hours of the action. It had the complete feel of a grassroots people’s movement that understood that, as we campaign to stop fracking and build a genuine democracy where the people, not the corporations, rule, we need to interact with each other in ways which are respectful and participatory.

Finally, it was the feeling that, no matter what Cuomo does, the no-fracking movement in New York will move the whole movement against fracking and climate change and for a new society forward.

Thank you, New Yorkers, for leading by example at this critical time.

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