Filed under: Action, Analysis, Development, Environment, Northwest
Submitted to It’s Going Down
At the time of this writing, on November 14, 2016, railroad tracks leading into the Port of Olympia have been barricaded and a camp erected in an effort to prevent a shipment of hydraulic fracking proppants from reaching the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota. The tracks belong to the Union Pacific Railroad and are under the jurisdiction of the Union Pacific Railroad Department. Those on the blockade anticipate special agents will eventually arrive and attempt to clear the barricades. They will most likely be backed up by the Olympia Police Department, the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department, and the Washington State Patrol. It is likely that local law enforcement will attempt to encircle the barricades while the Special Agents of the Union Pacific Railroad supervise the clearing of the tracks.
The Union Pacific Railroad was established in 1862 and helped to colonize the last remnants of free land in the United States. Cities and farms sprang up wherever the company built a train station or laid new tracks and by the 1870s the Union Pacific was one of the main engines driving capitalism westward to the Pacific Ocean. During this time period, Union Pacific train were under constant attack by indigenous people, bandits, and saboteurs. There were not enough US Marshals to police all the tracks and every train in the country, so private companies began to spring up to meet this need. The most notorious of these was the Pinkerton Private National Agency. Their symbol was the all seeing eye. Their first job was providing security for Abraham Lincoln.
This private company helped track down and stop the banditry and sabotage plaguing the Union Pacific Railroad. By the 1880s, the era of the western outlaw and the indigenous bandit had been all but extinguished. At this point, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency had expanded its client base from railroad tycoons to captains of industry like Andrew Carnegie, the steel baron of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1892, the Pinkerton Private Detective Agency sent 300 of its agents to break a strike at the Homestead Steel Works outside of Pittsburgh. In the battle that followed, 9 members of the steel workers union were murdered before the Pinkerton’s surrendered. Following this incident, the private detective agency became the most loathed in the US and the term “pinkerton” is still widely used within the labor movement to designate a scab or private enforcer of capitalism.
Eventually the Union Pacific Railroad created its own police force separate from the Pinkertons. It was made up of Special Agents who were dedicated solely to protecting the Union Pacific. These agents were deputized by the federal government and thus subject to more oversight than a private agency. They were given all the power of a US Marshall and had permission to evict farmers, shoot bandits, and investigate any potential acts of sabotage. The model of this organization was soon emulated by a new organization called the Bureau of Investigation, the precursor to the FBI. Just like the Union Pacific Police Department, the FBI still retains the designation of Special Agents for its employees.
— Amelia Dickson ? (@Amelia_Oly) November 12, 2016
Today, the Special Agents of the Union Pacific are currently investigating the barricades erected on the railroad tracks in Olympia. They have access to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database and can investigate anything related to the railroad tracks. They are coming to Olympia and will attempt to remove the barricades so the fracking proppants can reach North Dakota.
It is appropriate that the blockade be facing the same agency that birthed both the FBI and every major private security company in the US. All of them were created to protect capital and for no other reason. This is their only function. When the Pinkertons come, be ready to converge on Downtown Olympia and help maintain the blockade. Support those locking down on the tracks or defending the barricades. Engage in swarm tactics and create new barricades further down the tracks. Help keep people out of jail, help everyone stay safe, help stop the proppants from reaching North Dakota.#OlympiaBlockade