RFK Jr.: “Sometimes It’s a Lonely Battle”

15 01 2009



Robert Kennedy Jr. calls for fight against ‘corporate feudalism’

January 12, 2009 – 8:32PM


Attorney and activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said Monday that the country’s water protectors must fight “corporate feudalism” and oppose the large-scale farming operations that pollute waterways.

Kennedy, the chief prosecuting lawyer for New York-based Riverkeeper, was the keynote speaker Monday night at a water-protection meeting in New Bern, NC.

“We’re not just fighting to preserve our property values, or because there’s a bad stink in the air,” Kennedy said. “This is the same drive that drove … people to stand up against feudalism. And that’s what this is; it’s corporate feudalism.”

Kennedy spoke at a meeting hosted by Waterkeeper Alliance, a national nonprofit organization that exists to provide resources to water-protecting groups across the country. The Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation asked the alliance to hold its three-day summit in New Bern. It runs through Wednesday.

Kennedy said the United States has strong environmental laws, but they are not often enforced because those tasked with enforcement often feel corporate pressure to look the other way. That’s why the country’s laws have a “citizen-supervision provision” that allows water protectors to take on violators of environmental law, he said.

“Sometimes it’s a lonely battle,” he said. “But you’ve got to die with your boots on.”

Kennedy, the son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, said fighting the large-scale hog farms became important to him when he saw how many people had been “radicalized” by their contact with the industries.

Kennedy called former Neuse Riverkeeper Rick Dove one of his heroes. He recounted how the lifelong Marine retired to be a fisherman and quit when he noticed that many of the fish he was catching had lesions.

That made Dove decide to apply for a then-open riverkeeper position in Eastern North Carolina in the early 1990s.

“He doesn’t like it when I say this,” Kennedy said of Dove. “But he was a lifelong Republican before he got involved in all this.”

Kennedy said that caged-animal farming operations, commonly called CAFOs, are an “apocalyptical evil that comes into … communities and steals the health of their children.”

He said that because of his organization’s efforts to save the Hudson River, it is now the richest water body in the North Atlantic. Riverkeeper started with a group of commercial fishermen who wanted to protect the waters that they worked.

“The first act in any tyranny always starts … with the privatization of public resources,” Kennedy said.


Story from: http://www.newbernsj.com/news/kennedy_43480___article.html/_.html




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