We feel the energy in "Black Lives Matter" and "We Are All The 99%" and "I Can't Breathe."
The fossil fuel divestment movement doesn't have that great rallying cry. "Leave It In The Ground" sounds like a placeholder for the shout that will stop the oil drill. Sitting in the white noise of downtown Manhattan, in the jarring construction and screaming cop cars - I ask myself why the Earth movement lacks its powerful spoken words that we all use.
Re-purposing the word "Fracking" in "Frack-Off" and "No Fracking Way" and all those pungent near-profanities, does carry that punch because we shouted them. We watched grandmothers handcuff themselves to excavator equipment. Is it the physical activity during the actual use of the word that raises its decibel level? Yes. Words come from bodies and what bodies do to make words gives the phrases their mouth-to-hear magic. Words that only circle around safely inside the media don't make change.
The resistance to fracking and its pipelines was less effective when it was led by middle class institutions that were uncomfortable with the risk of arrest. But think of Gil Scott-Heron. We can hear Cesar Chavez, Nina Simone, Harvey Milk, Malcolm X --- their voices ring out. They committed physically and spiritually and we listen to them. And we are aware as we listen to them that they were always at risk.
We repeat their hot words to our fellow activists, and together we shout the words in rhythm as we do what always needs to be done to make change: trespass, shout, refuse and affirm and dare.