by Diane Wilson
Follow Diane’s day-by-day account of the latest Global Hunger Strike against Formosa Plastics. You can join her by signing up here.
Had an entirely different truck in the ditch today. A white one to take the place of Ol’ Red until she is fixed. There is an ace mechanic in town, but he has 40 broke vehicles in his yard! I’m one of 40 and just arrived. Fingers crossed!
So the white truck must have confused the businesses, contractors and company men because everybody drives a white Ford or white Chevy and I’ve got a white Chevy that I’m parking at Formosa Plastics for now. I had a few people think my space had been invaded by some contractor. But no. I drug out all my flags! Six of them! I was identified quite soon.
Today is day 18 and it feels rough in the morning, but give it an hour or two and the energy comes from someplace. Not sure where. I manage to get everything set up: the banner and flags and billboard that I tape to the truck that says I’m 18 days in. I sit in my chair and rest after that. Today I had a couple visitors and a few Zoom calls. The trick is to keep the phone charged. After 18 days though I get a little confused and have to think awhile to remember where I put the charger.
I have no idea why I didn’t remember to take a picture of the truck and the flags I stacked in the ground. Its quite grand. And soon comes the big tent. An occupation!
Now I’m home and I’m going to bed. I look at the clock. It’s 6:14pm. Don’t care. This camper is going to bed. Before I sign off, below is a letter to the chairman of Formosa Plastics Group I wrote today.
Dear Mr. Chairman,
I don’t know what you are doing today, but I’m on my 18th day on a water-only hunger fast and sitting in the ditch in front of Formosa Plastics, Point Comfort, Texas. I can see the reactors and the administration building from where I sit. I have been in this ditch for 18 days. The reason you well know. On May 31st we spoke before your officers and shareholders in about our concerns and our issues in the communities we call home. After our talk, you promised to get back to us soon. You did not.
Then more recently, in September and before we had a congressional briefing about the situation with your company in Vietnam, we sent you a letter and let you know what we were going to do at the briefing. We also let you know that if we didn’t get a response that we would be launching a global hunger strike. Again, you did not respond, and we launched our Global Hunger Strike in front of your subsidiary, Formosa Plastics, Texas. Currently, we have over 12 countries who have joined the strike.
The purpose of this hunger strike is very upfront and valid. We want Formosa Plastic Group to be accountable for their destructive business practices, and, in particular, for this hunger strike, to be accountable for the 2016 Formosa Ha Ting Steel factory discharge that devastated the fisheries and the lives of thousands of fishermen in Vietnam. I know Formosa Plastics likes to tout how sustainable and green they are becoming. I see the zero emission trucks go by. I have seen the articles written by some engineers and lawyers bragging about Formosa Plastics, Texas sustainability. That is not right. I talk to your workers. I know what goes on inside the plant and I am a plaintiff in the lawsuit that found Formosa Plastics Texas guilty of 2,500 Clean Water Act violations in 2019. It was our Consent Decree that monitored Formosa Plastics, Texas and found them violating the Clean Water Act 537 times and penalized them 13.3 million dollars since.
If your company truly wants to paint yourself as sustainable and a good corporate citizen, then you will first have to be responsible for all the damage you have done in Vietnam and compensate the fishermen. Until then it is all just talk, talk, talk. We will continue this Global Huner Strike and I, personally, will remain in front of your Gate 3 in Point Comfort, Texas until we have a genuine response from you all. Thank you.
San Antonio Bay Estuarine Waterkeeper
International Monitor Formosa Alliance (www.4IMFA.org)