What is the relationship between the oil industry, the government-- powerful, faceless entities-- and the human beings who live here on the Gulf Coast?
The Raging Pelican is a two-year-and-running free print publication created in the wake of the BP oil disaster to elevate the voices of those along the Gulf Coast impacted by the destructive forces of government and industry. It is a collectively-run grassroots newspaper that advocates regional solutions to regional problems: community control of community resources.
There was a lot of press attention in those first few months of the BP oil disaster. People from other places came to the Gulf Coast, got in front of cameras, and told our stories to the world. Many did the best they could, but many were deeply compromised by their employers' own relationships with the vast wealth of global energy corporations. When they'd filed their reports, shot their footage and gotten their funding, they packed back up and disappeared.For those of us who live here, there's nowhere to go.
For the Houma tribe members whose lands are being swallowed by rising tide, for the Cajun fisherfolk whose ties to this land and water go back generations, the Gulf Coast isn't an address; it's an identity. We must tell our own stories-- not rely on big media to tell them for us.
While every issue and article are available free on our website, the Raging Pelican is first and foremost a print publication, because many affected by the oil industry and its enablers don't use computers as their primary means of getting information. We've distributed our newspaper throughout the bait shops, bars, coffee shops, protests and church meetings across the Gulf South, as well as nationwide through independent bookstores, infoshops and touring bands who take our publication on the road with them.
We don't serve any party or national/international agenda. We have no advertisers or advertisements. We aren't funded by foundations, non-profits or political groups, and we sure as hell don't answer to them.
The Raging Pelican is a beautiful publication, because the Gulf South is beautiful. We're not a wall of text. Besides articles and interviews, every issue has gorgeous artwork and poetry, to keep us uplifted and inspired against the oily waves of toxic despair. The Raging Pelican is itself a bulwark against despair. Go to our website, read our work: it's angry, but it's hopeful. We know our cultures and our ways of life are worth fighting for. We fight because we have no alternative; no other means of survival remains.
Especially as New Orleans and Alabama lose their daily newspapers, we're stepping up our game. We're shooting for a regular publication schedule-- Every penny of what we raise will go to the costs of printing, mailing, and distributing the Raging Pelican. If we go above our goal, that extra will go to future issues. The Pelican is an all-volunteer undertaking. My seventy-year-old mother copyedited issue three. None of us get paid. Our contributors, from communities spanning the full diversity of the Gulf South, are also unpaid. We all do this because it matters.
The first three issues we covered ourselves, out-of-pocket, but publication and distribution keep getting more expensive. Now that we're approaching a circulation of 10,000, we're reaching out to you in the broader community of allies across the Gulf and beyond, those who face similar struggles in your own parts of the world and who know what we're up against down here.
Please, help support the Raging Pelican-- please give, and maybe even more importantly, spread the word to others. These are small ways to support a much larger struggle facing communities from Nigeria to Pennsylvania to Venezuela. Let us learn from each others' examples, as we in the Gulf South have learned from the resistance efforts of brave Alaskans who came down to share with us their experiences with Exxon-Valdez.
This is a fight for survival. Not just for dolphins and shorebirds and shrimp-- though we love them all, particularly shrimp-- but for humans. Please help us elevate these voices of resistance and document this struggle.
- (30 days)