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Our Way or the Highway

Inside the Minnehaha Free State

Our Way or the Highway
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US$ 51.00
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Construction plans for the reroute of Highway 55 through south Minneapolis sparked an environmental movement that pitted activists against public authorities in one of the most dramatic episodes in the city’s history. Mary Losure was there; as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio she witnessed the neighborhood’s transformation from a quiet street to the center of an emotionally charged standoff. Fueled by idealism and anger, a diverse coalition banded together to try to stop the highway expansion. Beginning in 1998, this group sustained protests for more than one year and eventually faced an unprecedented show of force by law enforcement.In Our Way or the Highway Losure offers an inside view of the activist subculture that converged into a makeshift encampment dubbed the "Minnehaha Free State." Here, a retired stenographer befriended EarthFirst! members and appeared in the organization’s national journal, fist raised in protest of the destruction of her home. A pipe fitter abandoned his old life to defend what he believed to be the sacred sites of his Dakota ancestors. A dreamy, dreadlocked seeker hitchhiked to Minneapolis and spent days perched in a doomed cottonwood tree. A police lieutenant watched the trees fall and felt surprising sympathy for the activists’ beliefs. Engagingly written, Our Way or the Highway reveals the motivations, perceptions, and dynamics of those involved in this conflict of wills and ideals.Among the issues Losure explores are the roles of ecoanarchism and grassroots activism in the age of globalization. This fascinating subculture, brought to the spotlight during protests over the World Trade Organization in Seattle and Genoa, has been largely undocumented in the mainstream press. With a practiced reporter’s eye, Mary Losure shows the activists’ world and the way the establishment views them, and ultimately she lays bare the power of the existing order and the fragility and absolute necessity of dissent.
University of Minnesota Press; August 2002
245 pages; ISBN 9780816693436
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