— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) October 24, 2016
Submitted to It’s Going Down
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To all rebels, rabblerousers, radicals, and ruckus raisers: It’s on! In the past 24 hours there have been significant escalations in the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. In North Dakota despite over 120 people being arrested on Saturday, water protectors launched a major offensive on Sunday, setting up a new encampment directly on the pipeline route, and simultaneously erecting 3 major blockades on surrounding highways to prevent police and workers from accessing the site.
“This morning, at approximately 8am central, water protectors took back unceded territory affirmed in the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie as sovereign land under the control of the Oceti Sakowin, erecting a frontline camp of several structures and tipis on Dakota Access property, just east of ND state highway 1806. This new established camp is 2.5 miles north of the Cannon Ball River, directly on the proposed path of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). This site is directly across the road from where DAPL security dogs attacked water protectors on September 3rd.”
Meanwhile, in Iowa the Mississippi Stand encampment has shutdown pipeline drilling operations under the Mississippi River for over 24 hours and are currently blocking an access road with an immobilized RV.
These actions come after weeks of sustained disruptions of the pipeline construction in both North Dakota and Iowa, and the historic blossoming of a resistance camp that has seen the greatest gathering of tribes in the US in over 100 years. While thousands of people from across the country and world hold down the largest and longest running autonomous zone seen in the US in decades, resistance grows across the country.
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) October 24, 2016
Thousands have taken to the streets in cities large and small. Others have occupied banks, blocked intersections, and redecorated oil company offices. Some have decided to take it a step further. On October 11th a group of activists shut down all 5 pipelines carrying tar sands oil into the US from Canada in solidarity with the Standing Rock resistance. Yes, they literally cut off the flow of oil by shutting off emergency valves that are apparently easily accessible. A video put out by Submedia shows just how easy it is to do. On top of this, several mainstream media outlets are reporting that over the weekend of Oct. 15/16, unknown persons torched several pieces of pipeline equipment in Iowa, resulting in nearly $2 million in damage. This comes a month after anonymous individuals torched pipeline equipment at three different sites in one night in the same area, resulting in $1 million in damage.
This is a historic uprising, with incredible public support. It is time to ask ourselves, what are we doing to support, grow, and escalate this struggle for indigenous sovereignty and defense of the land, air and water.
Opening New Fronts
It goes without saying that if you have the means to get out to the Standing Rock occupation, and are ready to commit to the resistance, then by all means get your ass out there. They need as many committed warriors as they can get who are willing to hold their ground against the highly militarized police force. For those who for whatever reason cannot make the journey to Standing Rock, we still have an important role to play in this uprising.
Just as a small band of committed individuals in Iowa with not nearly the support of the Standing Rock encampment managed to open up a second front that the state and pipeline companies must now contend with, we need to explore ways to open new battlelines in the fight against DAPL. As water protectors holding down the frontlines at Standing Rock have escalated, we need to escalate our resistance around the country to show those responsible for the pipeline there will be consequences for building this pipeline on stolen land.
Disrupt Flows of Capital
While the marches and rallies in front of banks invested in the pipeline certainly have their place, we need to expand the terrain of resistance to DAPL. We can look to the Black Lives Matter (and to some degree Occupy) movement to see that the blocking of commerce: highways, airports, railways, ports and shopping districts are a far greater threat to the state and the economy than a lockdown at a bank. What those in power fear most is a loss of control of territory and a disruption of the flow of capital, even if for only an hour or two. It is time to do your research, get a crew together, and shut shit down. Shut it down with a crowd of hundreds of people or shut it down with nothing more than a couple friends and some locks and chains. What matters is you shut it down.
Create New Spaces of Encounter and Occupation
The uprising in Standing Rock has electrified thousands upon thousands of people who have, for one reason or another, been sitting on the sidelines until now. Can we create spaces, temporary or permanent, in our communities where these new folks can find each other, learn necessary skills, deepen their analysis, and ultimately take collective action? This could look like calling an open assembly in a park, a weekend action camp, or a permanent encampment at a strategic or symbolic location from which to organize and launch actions. What matters is that we create spaces where we can find each other, and especially make space for new people to get involved and help grow the struggle. If a small group of people in Keokuk, Iowa can build a secondary encampment literally in a ditch between a highway and the Mississippi River to launch regular actions against the pipeline, than surely folks it better resourced cities and regions can do the same. A small group in northwest Florida has already taken this approach with an encampment against the Sabal Trails pipeline. What are you doing?
Offer Trainings to People Traveling to Standing Rock
As has been stated, lots of new folks are diving head first into this struggle without much experience. This is great. Those of us with a little dirt under our fingernails can be a big help by offering trainings to those going to Standing Rock or otherwise looking to get involved in the struggle. Trainings in direct action skills, know your rights, blockades, security culture, action medical, police tactics, mobile affinity group tactics, and what to expect if arrested are all useful knowledge to have for new folks heading to the occupation.
There is also clearly a need for education on decolonization and cultural appropriation for folks who do not have experience in working with indigenous communities. A baseline understanding of colonialism, genocide, and not being a cultural vampire for people traveling to Standing Rock can go along way in preventing unnecessary conflicts from arising within the camp.
There’s Nothing To It but to Do It
Lets not waste time. The situation on the frontlines is extremely fluid, and it is only a matter of time before another major crackdown happens up in Standing Rock. If you can, get up to the Standing Rock or Mississippi Stand encampments with people, supplies, and a commitment to hold down the occupations. If you can’t, get together with your friends and start organizing for action in your community. Now is not the time to be insular and standoffish to anyone who doesn’t fit into your concept of a committed comrade. Now is the time to take risks and reach out to others who give damn about this planet and start working together to open up new fronts in this battle, occupy space, and collectively shut this shit down.