In two elementary school rooms, a huge divide

Pipeline democracy vs. corporatocracy in the battle against the Kinder Morgan pipeline

On Oct. 28, I attended the pipeline showdown at the Northfield Elementary School with the contestants being Democracy vs. Corporatocracy, or the majority of the voting public versus Kinder Morgan.

Democracy is a system of government in which power is vested in the people, who rule directly, rule through freely elected representatives, or - simply stated - rule by the majority.

“Corpratocracy,” on the other hand, is defined as an economic and political system controlled by corporations and corporate interests.

People who live in multiple Massachusetts communities along the potential pipeline have spoken out about possible gas leaks, environmental damage, and lower property values. Northfield held a townwide meeting last May, where 421 voters opposed the proposed pipeline, versus 78 proponents.

In New Hampshire, with petition warrant articles on the ballot, voted in multiple communities to approve the proposed Kinder Morgan Tennessee Gas Pipeline Northeast Expansion Project, voters in Winchester, Rindge, Fitzwilliam, Amherst, Brookline, Troy, Richmond, Greensville, Mason, Litchfield, Merrimack, Milford, Pelham, and Temple have also overwhelmingly opposed the project.

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The juxtaposition of democracy vs. corpratocracy was on display in its fullest meaning at this recent meeting in our school cafeteria.

Democracy was represented by representatives of multiple organizations who opposed the pipeline, almost all of them volunteers with displays and information about renewable-energy options, protecting the state public lands, and lands already held and protected by land trusts such as the Mount Grace Land Trust. Individuals freely entered the cafeteria without body scans and bag searches.

Corporatocracy was represented by Kinder Morgan in the school's gym, where as many as 50 Kinder Morgan employees in their blue corporate shirts stood around their various displays and buffet dinner attempting to answer the questions from oppositions and proponents.

To enter the gym, I had to run a gauntlet of state and Northfield police, to get frisked and or body scanned.

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The Kinder Morgan representatives refused to acknowledge the fact that in the last decade there have been 180 pipeline explosions, fires, and evacuations in 24 states from Kinder Morgan-constructed pipeline infrastructure.

Corporate representatives also refused to acknowledge that in August 2015, the company agreed to pay an out-of-court settlement of $27.5 million to resolve investors' claims it artificially inflated more than $3.2 billion in payouts it collected from a pipeline partnership.

Over the past year, a democratic process has taken place throughout the communities, a process that will be most adversely affected by the construction of the Kinder Morgan fracked gas pipeline infrastructure.

Over the years, Americans have witnessed firsthand how Corporatocracy is practiced overseas.

In his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins stated that “economic hit men are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars.”

These hit men hired by corporations secure the necessary resources for America's insatiable appetite of various resources. In this case, Kinder Morgan is trying to influence the voting public to view the proposed construction of a fracked gas pipeline favorably, even though the voting public does not want it.

This time, Democracy needs to win out in order to benefit all of our future.

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