Shell No! Kayaktivism in Seattle

This April 17, 2015 photo shows a group of kayakers letting out a yell after successfully pulling up a protest sign as they practice for an upcoming demonstration against Arctic oil drilling, in Elliott Bay in Seattle. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said Monday, May 4, 2015, the Port of Seattle can't host Royal Dutch Shell's offshore Arctic oil-drilling fleet unless it gets a new land-use permit. Shell has been hoping to base its fleet at the port's Terminal 5, near where protesters plan a mass kayak protest later this month. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

This April 17, 2015 photo shows a group of kayakers letting out a yell after successfully pulling up a protest sign as they practice for an upcoming demonstration against Arctic oil drilling, in Elliott Bay in Seattle. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said Monday, May 4, 2015, the Port of Seattle can’t host Royal Dutch Shell’s offshore Arctic oil-drilling fleet unless it gets a new land-use permit. Shell has been hoping to base its fleet at the port’s Terminal 5, near where protesters plan a mass kayak protest later this month. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Every day that we can stall them is a good day.
John Sellers, co-founder of The Ruckus Society

This is a cross post from Kate Aronoff at Waging Nonviolence.
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Seattle has become a hub of anti-extraction activism. Protests began on May 14, when Royal Dutch Shell — bucking city residents and officials — docked its Polar Pioneer off the Emerald City coast. The towering 400-by-355-foot oil rig is en route to the Arctic, where it is scheduled to begin drilling operations this summer. The largest demonstration yet happened May 16, as hundreds of “kayak-tivists” swarmed Seattle’s Terminal 5, where the Polar Pioneer is docked. Since then, protests against the rig have been ongoing, and show few signs of letting up.

This week, Kate Aronoff spoke with Puget Sound resident John Sellers, a global justice movement veteran and father of two, who has been active in the Shell No coalition, leading up to the water-born protests in Seattle’s Elliott Bay. Sellers, a former Greenpeace activist, is a co-founder, long-time executive director and now board president of the Ruckus Society. He currently serves as director of the Other 98 Percent.

KA: How did the Shell No coalition form? What is it doing?

JS: The Shell No Coalition formed a couple of months ago in response to the fact that different political solutions, legal solutions, weren’t happening. It didn’t look like the [Seattle] Port Commission was going to capitulate and stop Shell from coming in. Seattle, in general, has had a strong climate movement, especially around climate action and direct action; 350 Seattle and Rising Tide have been very strong in creating powerful actions to stop coal trains, oil trains and tar sands oil from coming into the refineries around here. So, thankfully, we started out with a really well-developed climate justice movement. Then, it was really helpful to have an NGO like Greenpeace that gets action and gets climate justice at a DNA level be here and be willing to work. They’re working in coalition with the other big NGOs on the legal side of it, but they’ve also been willing to throw down with the direct action movement.

Click HERE to read the rest of the interview.

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