The struggle against DAPL is far from over; the black snake still lives.
In the face of thousands of people still streaming into Standing Rock, including a flood of veterans, continued mass support, militant stand offs with the police, and increasing solidarity actions across the world, the Army Corp. of Engineers threw a curveball to the resistance as they declared that the pipeline should in fact be rerouted and that if construction continues, DAPL will face fines. While some are celebrating this as a victory and the media is proclaiming it so in order to dry up support and send people home, most people aren’t buying it. As Johnny Dangers wrote:
Headlines do not stop pipelines. Today is NOT a Victory. I want to make that crystal clear.
Do not fall for the headlines or propaganda. I am not leaving Sacred Stone Camp and I urge all Water Protectors to listen to your heart and your prayers to stay until the Black Snake is Dead. You trust my reporting because I give you the hard truth so I will give you that now.
I have no faith DAPL will not Drill under the Missouri River because of these words! The fine is small and they don’t respect the law or human rights. I showed you in numerous photos and videos earlier this year of DAPL’s continuing work during the injunction. People celebrated headlines then as well. It didn’t stop them.
I have no faith that President Elect Trump will not do whatever it takes with the full power of the US Government behind him to make this pipeline happen. He will overturn or change whatever needs to occur to do so. ALL rules go out the door with Trump when he is in office in January.
There is still currently a standing Eviction Order for the by US Army Core and this could easily be used to pressure the camp to leave the Treaty land. If the numbers at camp go way down as I expect from these headlines and statements by even GreenPeace “claiming victory” it will be easier to attempt to force the remaining Water Protectors out.
I can see Morton County Sheriff and DAPL Private Security currently in the hills across the Cannonball River riding around. The monstrous militarized concrete barricades blocking the highway where police laughed as they aimed Water Cannons in below freezing temperatures at innocent people remain. The Constantine wire on Turtle Island and all throughout the hills remain.
The Army Core suspended the decision baring an Environmental Impact Statement and DID NOT DENY the permit to cross the Missouri River. That is an important legal distinction currently being misreported by many news outlets who don’t understand the nuance.
Moving the pipeline 10 miles north through a re-route is fully unacceptable and continues to put the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s drinking water and that of millions in direct harms way. Climate change is already causing extreme weather and I find this option to be another bait and switch false solution if chosen.
I urge you once again to support the struggle.
Indigenous militants like Zig-Zag pointed out that much of the on the ground reaction to the ruling (to stay put and defeat the project once and for all) is flying in the face of official tribal leadership. As they wrote, “Standing Rock Sioux tribal chair tribal chair Dave Archambault II’s [stated in a] statement that protesters should now go home…” Other commenters noted the connections between liberals wanting the resistance to now fade and the coming of the Trump regime:
No, the DAPL is not dead. No, we didn’t win. No, no, no. It’s a trick. The Army Corps of Engineers has declined to grant the easement for Energy Transfer Partners’ drilling under Lake Oahe. This isn’t the same as denying it outright. “What it means is that they will do a limited Environmental Impact Study before allowing the drilling. The EIS could take months, by which time Trump will be president and they hope all the water protectors leave so they can finish the pipeline quietly with no media attention.
Tribal chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, Dave Archambault, who is closely aligned with the Democratic Party, issued a statement full of praise for the Obama administration. “We wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost gratitude the courage it took on the part of President Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and to do the right thing,” Archambault said.
The decision actually does nothing to “correct the course of history,” constituting only a brief delay before the next administration takes office, committed to a full-blast development of oil, gas and coal deposits, regardless of cultural, environmental or democratic concerns.
Last week, the Trump transition team released a memo announcing the support of the president-elect for completion of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, which is financed by a consortium of US and global banks and would transport 50,000 barrels of oil a day from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota to southern Illinois. The statement asserted that Trump’s position was not connected to his personal investment in Energy Partners, the Texas-based company leading the project.
The maneuver to delay final construction of the pipeline and possibly make minor changes to its route was immediately hailed by sections of the Democratic Party. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who has been elevated to the leadership of the Democratic Party in the Senate, issued a statement declaring, “I appreciate very much President Obama listening to the Native American people and millions of others who believe this pipeline should not be built.”
In a blow to further undercut the resistance, the Standing Rock Chairman has now proclaimed the protests to be “over” and that all non-Sioux should leave the area:
The chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota told Reuters on Monday that he would like people who are not Sioux to leave the protest area near the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“I’m asking them to go,” Dave Archambault III told the wire service, saying that the Obama administration “did the right thing,” and that he hoped to “educate the incoming administration” of President-elect Donald Trump.
“Nothing will happen this winter,” he said.
But Trump will not only go after finishing DAPL construction, but also in actually privatizing Native reservation land:
Native American reservations cover just 2 percent of the United States, but they may contain about a fifth of the nation’s oil and gas, along with vast coal reserves.
Now, a group of advisors to President-elect Donald Trump on Native American issues wants to free those resources from what they call a suffocating federal bureaucracy that holds title to 56 million acres of tribal lands, two chairmen of the coalition told Reuters in exclusive interviews.
The group proposes to put those lands into private ownership – a politically explosive idea that could upend more than a century of policy designed to preserve Indian tribes on U.S.-owned reservations, which are governed by tribal leaders as sovereign nations.
The tribes have rights to use the land, but they do not own it. They can drill it and reap the profits, but only under regulations that are far more burdensome than those applied to private property.
But while the Democrats from Bernie Sanders to Obama attempt to claim victory in an attempt to send everyone home and end the epic struggle in North Dakota, the funders of the Dakota Access Pipeline made it clear to everyone that has always, they continue to give zero fucks:
DAPL says it will drill anyway — without a permit. Oceti Sakowin water protectors urged to stay in camp. The Army Corps of Engineers denied DAPL Permit! The announcement was made live in the Big Circle at Oceti Sakowin Camp, live on Standing Rock Spirit Resistance Radio. Now from the Camp: DAPL is expected to pay the fines and continue drilling without a permit. At Oceti Sakowin Camp, they urged people not to leave the camp, because DAPL might drill anyway, without a permit. “Stick around and make sure that doesn’t happen.”
To that point, The Guardian wrote:
…[T]he companies behind the pipeline, who have the backing of the incoming Trump administration, have insisted the project would still go ahead. “Nothing indicates for us to pack up and go home,” said Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “Our native people have reason to be distrustful.”
Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics, the companies behind the project, called the ruling a “purely political action”, accused the Obama administration of abandoning the rule of law “in favor of currying favor with a narrow and extreme political constituency”, and said the pipeline project would go ahead.
As snow began to fall, activists said that they wanted people to remain at the camp and called for more to arrive.
Klee Benally of Indigenous Action wrote:
Celebrate the victories we have, but stay vigilant. The NEPA process is not designed to serve Indigenous interests. We’ve experienced this through the desecration of sacred places such as the San Francisco Peaks. We’ve had Environmental Impact Statements facilitate desecration of sacred places under the Obama administration so just imagine what the Trump administration’s EPA is going to look like. Fascists like him have been trying to gut the NEPA processes for years. To fully stop these pipelines we have to also shut down the systems that generate them. Protect all sacred places, bring the struggle home. Celebrate, pray, organize, and continue to fight back.
The Trump administration could easily approve the project early next year. The Obama Administration has never guaranteed the water protectors or the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that they would use force to stop Dakota Access from drilling under the river without a permit, if necessary. The Army Corps has not yet agreed to pursue a full EIS for the entire length of the pipeline.
Organizers continue to call for every day of December to be “a day of #NoDAPL action” against the investors of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Over 100 solidarity actions worldwide have already been registered for the coming weeks as the encampment continues to stand their ground.
As we speak, hundreds of cars are continuing to stream into Standing Rock and the surrounding encampments, as many are still preparing for the DAPL project to continue forward as the threat of violent eviction from the police is still loomings. Calls are still going out for continued actions against DAPL and it’s world as it seems clear that the resistance isn’t going anywhere. As those on the ground bunker down for the long haul, those of us on the outside of the camps must ask not only what can we do to support the struggle – but also how can we expand and deepen it.
In that spirit, let’s get to the news.
Actions continue across the US against not only the Dakota Access Pipeline, but also other massive pipelines and resource extraction projects, which is only going to accelerate under Trump as the president-elect has reported that they will finish DAPL construction along with reopening Keystone XL. As Andrew O’Reilly wrote:
President Obama’s eight-year effort to rein in the energy and mining industries with environmental regulations will likely come to a halt under President-elect Donald Trump, who is poised to green-light key job-creating projects from the Atlantic Coast to Alaska.
With the election of Donald Trump — and a transition team that includes GOP energy lobbyist Mike McKenna and outspoken climate change skeptic Myron Ebell — both sides now see their fortunes reversing amid Trump’s promise to rescind Obama’s signature Clean Power Plan and jump-start oil, and natural gas projects.
Meanwhile at Standing Rock, veterans have poured in to aid in the blockade, and even participated in a ceremony asking for forgiveness in participating in ongoing genocide of Native peoples. Jon Eagle Sr. wrote:
I witnessed something powerful and profound today. Wes Clark Jr and the assembled veterans took a knee and collectively asked for forgiveness for the genocide and war crimes committed by the United States Military against tribal nations in this country. Leksi Leonard Crow Dog on behalf of the tribes in attendance accepted and asked for forgiveness for any hurt that might have been caused June 25, 1876 when the Great Sioux Nation defeated the 7th Cavalry. The last thing he said to the veterans was, “… and today we forgive and ask for world peace.” All the veterans replied in a single unified voice, “WORLD PEACE!!!!”
The Native Veterans filed through the ranks, shaking hands and giving each other hugs. There were alot of warriors with tears in their eyes.
Meanwhile, solidarity actions and protests continue across North America and the world in solidarity with #NoDAPL:
— submedia (@submedia) December 5, 2016
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) December 1, 2016
— Fight For 15 Chicago (@chifightfor15) November 29, 2016
— FANG (@FangCollective) November 30, 2016
— Anonymous News (@Anon_Eu) November 26, 2016
— Kirsten (@rosegoggles) December 2, 2016
On December 2nd, Mississippi Stand put a message out stating:
This morning, around 4am, the Dakota Access Pipeline was successfully pulled beneath the Des Moines River.
This underbore operation, featuring a piece of machinery called a Horizontal Directional Drill, is the same type of operation that is still being fought at Standing Rock on the Missouri River.
The pipeline resistance is widespread. Notable recent highlights include numerous bank lockdowns in Minneapolis and Rhode Island. The Minneapolis Wells Fargo lockdowns from yesterday ended by negotiating a conversation between the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and Wells Fargo regarding DAPL divestment.
Local organization has resulted in real progress in the fight against DAPL and Big Oil in general – please organize locally and apply pressure on Banks to defund the pipeline.
We stand in Solidarity with Standing Rock. We denounce fossil fuel extraction and stand for the sustainability of future generations. With these principles in mind we move forward from this battle to continue the war against the Black Snake.
Despite a media blackout, strikes, actions, and arrests of Fight for $15 fast food workers continued, as workers marked the 4th anniversary of the movement. Arrests took place around the country, as heavily armed police came down on demonstrations; the first organized since Trump’s win in early November. One worker wrote:
This week I joined thousands of fast-food, airport, home care, and other underpaid workers in a day of action to demand a $15-an-hour minimum wage and the right to join together on the job. This was my first strike.
I never thought that I would be out in the streets protesting, but I also never imagined that I would have a job working for a multi-billion dollar corporation making poverty wages. I can’t survive on what I make now and, as a single dad to three kids, making the decision to go on strike was an easy call.
— Ramon Morell (@ramonmorell) November 30, 2016
— Ricardo Nester (@NesterTweets) November 30, 2016
— Ricardo Nester (@NesterTweets) November 29, 2016
The protests have also picked up steam from drivers at Uber and Lyft; businesses which are celebrated as an easy way for millennials to earn quick cash. Uber and Lyft drivers are part of the growing ‘precariat’ economy, which millions are now becoming a part of as the economy restructures itself. Many drivers are now working over 10-16 hours a day while making only about $10 per hour, while the corporations rake in billions and drivers have to cover their basic car expenses. As one report wrote:
[A]irport baggage handlers, Uber drivers, fast-food cooks, cashiers, hospital workers, and others strike to disrupt the U.S. service economy. It marks the first time that Uber drivers will be joining in a Fight for $15 action, showing that the labor collective is growing, with gig workers protesting side by side with more traditional labor.
Protests are scheduled at 20 major airports and outside McDonald’s franchises throughout the country to “underscore that any efforts to block wage increases, gut workers’ rights or healthcare, deport immigrants, or support racism or racist policies, will be met with unrelenting opposition by workers in the Fight for $15,” the organization said Monday.
In addition to showing solidarity with immigrants, people of color, and workers nationwide, the actions will also take on Uber, a central figure in critiques of the U.S. “gig economy”—which many say exploits workers under the guise of offering them flexibility and autonomy.
— Jackie Ward (@jackie_ward) November 29, 2016
— Fight For 15 Nor Cal (@NorCalFF15) December 1, 2016
Meanwhile, in Flint Michigan, two years have passed since the city’s water first became impacted and 400 days since it was declared undrinkable. Many city residents claim that the situation is only getting worse. One resident stated:
“Unfortunately, the situation in Flint is getting worse. Our lead is in the 4-digits and our bacteria is 3.8 million plate count. The longer they wait to change our pipes, the worse our water gets. We have about 500 pipes replaced out of 29,000-plus lines that need to go,” Melissa Mays, a Flint resident of 15 years and co-founder of “Water You Fighting For?”
One Flint resident is also speaking up about harassment she has gotten for breaking the story about the crisis:
Since the time her four children started losing their hair and breaking out in rashes in late 2014, LeeAnne Walters has played a central role in exposing the systematic poisoning of the water supply in Flint, Michigan. This week, Walters has publicly revealed for the first time that her husband, a 17-year veteran in the US Navy, has endured months of daily humiliation, threats, and punishment at work in an effort to silence her.
“It has been heart wrenching to watch them try to destroy my husband on a daily basis,” LeeAnne told the WSWS. “Never in a million years did I think we’d be fighting the Navy for our livelihoods after fighting for our lives in Flint.”
Tragically, in Oakland, CA, a massive warehouse fire has led to the deaths of up to 40 people. As one article stated:
The currently confirmed death toll makes this the worst building fire in the United States since 2003, when 100 people died in a night club fire in Rhode Island.
The use of antiquated and unsafe industrial buildings for housing and entertainment is driven by soaring property values. The median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Oakland jumped 19 percent from a year ago to $2,700 in February 2016. The median income for renters in Oakland is only $3,000 a month. This creates a large gray market for informal housing and arts venues.
Landlords see no profit in bringing old buildings up to code, or even maintaining them, when they would make far more holding the land until they can sell it to a developer who would just tear the old building down. For their part tenants are hesitant to demand safety measures that would see them evicted, or result in their rent being increased.
According to tax documents, the 4,000 sq.-ft. warehouse was assessed as being worth only $43,000 in 2015. By comparison, individual artist studios in the area rent for more than that each year. Just a few blocks away from the Ghost Ship, an old cotton mill built in 1917 and closed in 1954 was converted into 74 live/work loft apartments in 2006. Each unit in the refurbished building rents for roughly $2,500 a month.
A wave of racist, sexist, and homophobic attacks have taken place across the country in the aftermath of the Trump campaign which the SPLC has documented here. We should all be continuing to think about what self-defense means and how to bring people together, while at the same time working on speaking and organizing with people from a wide variety of communities and neighborhoods.
Spencer Sunshine, Chip Bartlett, and many others have teamed up to produce a groundbreaking report on the Patriot Movement in Oregon and its impact on grassroots, anti-racist organizers such as the Rural Organizing Project (ROP) in the area. From the description of the report:
This guide was developed by Political Research Associates in partnership with Rural Organizing Project through extensive research on the right-wing movements and by pooling the local expertise of rural progressive community activists and scholars. It exposes, explains, and offers alternatives to this movement.
Milo, the far-Right and anti-feminist blogger with Breitbart who gained fame after harassing women in the video game industry and is now known for mainstreaming the ideas of the white supremacist ‘Alt-Right,’ has now started his tour of college campuses. Resistance is planned at most stops. View more info on his tour here and view planned counter-events here.
Lastly, an archive of the antifa paper from Toronto, On the Prowl, can now be found here.
Fire to the Prisons
In NYC, people marched to close rikers island:
— Ash J (@AshAgony) December 4, 2016
Meanwhile, in Alabama, members of the Free Alabama Movement (FAM) continued to report on waves of violence:
"November 9. CERT entered Holman @ 6am with dangerous weapons while the men were sleep n beat them like they were animals. We need help."
— FreeAlabamaMovement- (@FREEALAMOVEMENT) November 23, 2016
A pattern has emerged where ADOC brass a sending in the CERT team to stir up violence and then leave the populace to turn on each other
— FreeAlabamaMovement- (@FREEALAMOVEMENT) November 23, 2016
— FreeAlabamaMovement- (@FREEALAMOVEMENT) November 6, 2016
At the time of this writing, 990 people have died at the hands of US law enforcement.
A Chicago police sergeant shot and killed 19-year-old Kajuan Raye after believing Raye “matched the description” of a battery suspect and had allegedly pointed a weapon at the sergeant. Chicago police, however, did not recover the alleged gun.
Approximately 150 people marched from Mineola to the Garden City Police Department’s headquarters to protest the alleged beating of a retired Long Island corrections officer.
Newsday reports 53-year-old Ronald Lanier, who is African-American, claims that two white Garden City officers handcuffed him and beat him after mistaking him for a shoplifter last Wednesday.
The former Nassau County jail guard says he was treated for bruises at Winthrop-University Hospital following the incident.
In support of his claims, the protesters walked about more than a mile from the supermarket where Lanier was allegedly beaten to police headquarters. There demonstrators expressed their desire to have the officers relieved of their duties.
Finally, the police officer who shot and killed Walter Scott as the unarmed man attempted to flee from him; only to later attempt to cover up the shooting by claiming that Scott ‘grabbed his taser,’ was let free of all charges by a jury. As one writer pointed out:
On Monday, Slager walked out of the courtroom after a judge declared a mistrial because one of the 12 jurors could not “with good conscience consider a guilty verdict.” Later, the prosecutor reportedly told Scott’s family that Slager will quickly be retried.
If Slager were a civilian, he would likely spend the rest of his life in prison for shooting an unarmed person who was fleeing an encounter. But Slager is a police officer, and they often walk free after they’ve used lethal force on a subject ― regardless of whether it was justified.