Diane Wilson, author of An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters, and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas. Diane Wilson was arrested in Houston on December 5th while infiltrating a fundraiser for recently-indicted U.S. Representative Tom Delay. At the time of her arrest Diane was wanted in Texas on Criminal Trespassing charges from 2002, when she had climbed a tower at Dow Chemical to protest the company's continued irresponsibility following its 1984 chemical disaster in Bhopal, India, where 150,000 people were poisoned. Diane refused to turn herself in for the trespassing charges until Warren Anderson, former CEO of Union Carbide, turned himself in to the Indian government, where he has been wanted for thirteen years for the Culpable Homicide of thousands in Bhopal. Diane eventually served a 150-day sentence.
Diane is a really inspirational woman... she talks of her transition from a very quiet person who never spoke in public, to being an extremely committed and outspoken activist. She explains how she came to participate in civil disobedience, which included her notorious act of chaining herself to a Dow Chemical tower and dropping a banner exposing the company's guilt in the murder of tens of thousands of people in India, in what became one of the world's worst ecological disasters to date (except for, say, civilization at large).
She also talks about the horrible conditions in the prisons she has been in, particularly in Texas. This includes the daily threat of rape that women face, their complete lack of rights, the absence of access to a process to file complaints or learn of one's legal options, and the fact that the ever-present race and class inequalities are extremely exacerbated behind prison walls.
"In my experience, why i started civil disobedience, is that it did not matter what you did, they are going to get whatever they wanted. So if it's a matter of, 'Well, are you just going to let your home go?' And this was my home. They were taking it over. There were going to destroy it. You weren't going to get any help from the agencies or the politicians. So I decided they were not going to get it. I drew a line in the sand and I said they are not getting it."
"And I believe in things unseen. So I don't think the only power moving things is just our little conscious, logical, linear movements. I think there is other stuff out there. And so, I work with that, I work with that belief, and I believe in commitment, putting yourself at risk. Putting yourself totally out there on the edge. I think we have to be as committed to peace as the administration is committed to war and death. We have to be that committed. And I think anything less, I think we're fooling ourselves. I truly truly do."
For more info on the Bhopal chemical Disaster, check out the Bhopal Information Center.