Importantly, local grassroots community organising has formed the base of the anti-fracking movement across the nation and now people in the Kimberley are turning their attentions to the proposed industrialised gas fields on a massive scale across the Canning Basin and coal mining in the Fitzroy Valley.
Resistance tactics have ranged from the passing of local shire or community-wide bans on fracking, community science and monitoring, to sit-ins at corrupt politicians’ offices and numerous blockades of drilling sites, pipeline construction sites and wastewater injection facilities. Across Australian grassroots resistance is playing an important role. Mainstream environmental NGO’s have taken center stage in anti-fracking organising, focused largely on seeking legislative moratoriums or bans.
While professional activist groups offer a wealth of valuable resources and experience navigating environmental law, their larger organisational imperatives and agendas can limit the vision of movements and lead to compromises and decisions that aren't in the best interests of local communities and in some cases even the ecosystems. It’s important that community organisers be aware of organisational power dynamics when collaborating with NGOs, so as to maintain local autonomy, emphasising power from below and direct involvement of community members in decision making is vital. It’s a united community power, their motivation, intent, networks, history and connection that carry successful campaigns.
It doesn’t make any sense to focus on fracking as a single issue. Even if fracking or oil drilling itself was totally banned, we know the more industry will be back soon with a new and ever-more destructive form of resource extraction.
Conflict over fracking in the Kimberley and within all Australian’s major Water Basins will undoubtedly be increasing in the years to come, as environmental problems and water shortages grow ever more severe and people grow ever so Fed Up.
Solidarity isn’t just about feel-good charity or lending a helping hand, it’s about building mutual partnerships that can sustain joint struggle and support collective well-being in the long term. Solidarity grows from being strongly rooted in your own struggle and recognising our deepest values and needs in the struggles of others. Solidarity demands that we know ourselves and where we stand. That entails things like learning our family/ancestral stories and the history of the land we are living on, reflecting often on what is most important to us and why, and locating ourselves and our complicities in the larger structures of oppression. To live in solidarity with indigenous self-determination, we must also be seeking self-determination ourselves. Together, we determine the future; we issue the Social Licence to operate.