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                You might be asking yourself how exactly is the process of natural gas extraction class warfare? Coming from a small town in upstate New York I have seen the devastation that the last 30 years of economic austerity can suck the life from a town. Hundreds of factories shutting down with no excuse other than it’s cheaper to manufacture goods outside of the country. Family farms being shut down because big Agriculture has taken over our system of farm subsidies has been overtaken by big agriculture. Rural America needs a solution that is more than just the attack on the rural working poor, we deserve the dignity to have clean water, and air. Rural America needs a solution not a band-aid, and unfortunately to some people Natural gas development or Fracking is that solution. But they are wrong and the advocates for natural gas development in the Southern tier, and other heartlands of rural America are really advocating for just one thing austerity.

                  Fracking does nothing to solve 30 years of economic austerity in the Southern of New York or any rural part of America for that matter. If anything it creates a systematic assault on the working rural poor and farmers. We as citizens of the rural heartland have been given an ultimatum. Somehow we are supposed to accept the fact that natural gas development is good, and will bring jobs to the Southern Tier of New York. Somehow that our counties on the tip of New York, the most impoverished counties in all of New York State will have to endure the economic and class experiment that is the Natural Gas industry. If one analyzes the closest example of what can go wrong in a town which the fracking industry has passed through, one only needs to look at Dimmock P.A. It is this town that is the model of what can go wrong with fracking, and shows how natural gas development is a class war against the rural poor. It shows that farmers who have no other alternative other than accepting natural gas development on their land, because these farmers have no access to capital. What this represents is rural working class families being forced into an agreement that not only destroys their lands but also their communities. When there is no alternative to natural gas development it shows that government will not do what it should to fulfill its end of the social contract. What fracking brings is ruin to small farmers, whose land is destroyed by methane contamination.

                 Make no mistake of it Fracking is class warfare, it presupposes the idea that because we live in an area that is economically depressed the effects of fracking can only be helpful for our communities. That is the same logic that leads to our roads being destroyed and crime increase within our communities. It pits the rural working class against a growing migratory working class that are subject to the pressures of loneliness and isolation. This class warfare stratifies our towns in a manner in which they have not been stratified before. It creates the class of migrant workers who do not connect to the local communities, which is why we see the increase of crime. The loneliness of disenfranchised and dislocated workers forced to work in the name of profit for a company which gives his family their only source of livelihood is our enemy as well. When Chesapeake Energy or Halliburton brings these workers whose communities have been put through the same processes, it is just a repeat game. Fracking divides the town even more into those haves and have nots, because it increases the amount of capital that some landowners may have. But that capital is cursed for these landowners cannot sell their lands once they are contaminated with methane.

            When the conservatives talk about a class war they are correct there is a class war going on in this country. But it is not a class war on big oil or big gas it’s a class war and disenfranchisement of the poorest people in this nation. People who have farmed land for generations and left to survive as best as they could when it was no longer profitable for companies to buy crops from American farmers. The class war is on them, and it is based on the simple fact, that our geographic and economic location makes us so desperate that we are willing to poison ourselves. While that may be true to some people it should not be a general agreement. This forced development of our communities into an industrialized wasteland will turn our economies into those of boom and bust. Do not accept the idea that we need to develop natural gas or face bankruptcy. We should be demanding factories in upstate New York, not letting Republican politicians funnel money into their own pockets while pushing the poisoning of our lands. Our families have as much right to water as people in New York city or any urban area. Make no mistake about Fracking and all that surrounds it is class warfare.

Paolo Cremidis

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