From Revcoms at Standing Rock:
Thousands Act Together in Solidarity with the Struggle at Standing Rock
November 20, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
November 16—Since last reporting from Standing Rock, there have been some incredibly dramatic shifts in society. A reactionary, white-supremacist, neo-Nazi movement has been called forward and emboldened by Trump’s victory. Already there have been more than 400 reports of harassment and assault—and most of these incidents have happened in schools and universities. At the same time, a movement of tens of thousands has taken to the streets night after night, shutting shit down, disrupting business as usual, to oppose this racist, misogynist fascist who has been elected president of the United States.
We have been following all the coverage of these demonstrations on TV and it has given us tremendous joy to watch our comrades in the Revolution Clubs and thousands of other determined people taking this kind of righteous stand, and refusing to back down! Now more than ever, the struggle here at Standing Rock needs to grow and become even more strengthened and determined.
For several days straight, there have been direct actions in the Bismarck/Mandan area, with many people courageously putting their bodies on the line to further delay and halt construction of the DAPL. Above: Protesters and cops face off during march from state Capitol to the Federal Building, November 14, Bismarck, ND. (Photo: Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)
Dakota Access Pipeline protesters block rush hour traffic, New Haven, Conn., November 16, 2016. (Photo: Peter Hvizdak/New Haven Register via AP)
Yesterday was the National Day of Action in Solidarity with Standing Rock. Thousands participated in demonstrations in 300+ cities in all 50 states, as well as throughout the world. Prominent voices who participated included actress Shailene Woodley, who was also arrested at Standing Rock several weeks ago; actors Mark Ruffalo, Susan Sarandon, and Scarlett Johansson tweeted in solidarity; and actors Patricia Arquette, Rosanna Arquette, and Frances Fisher joined actions on the ground at Standing Rock.
Here at Standing Rock, more than 1,000 people took action, with approximately 200 putting their bodies on the line in a direct action at a DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline) construction site, where several people were pepper-sprayed and arrested. About 900 people marched from inside the main encampment to the nearby Rosebud camp to pray and create a piece of art together—a human medicine wheel that was captured from above.
For several days straight, there have been direct actions in the Bismarck/Mandan area, with many people courageously putting their bodies on the line to further delay and halt construction of the DAPL. This is a very good thing. The authorities have responded with arrests. And at an action to blockade where DAPL keeps construction equipment, a driver leaving the site pulled a gun and reportedly fired six shots in the air. He was questioned by police but not arrested!
A young white person from Colorado, who had just gotten out of jail after being arrested for participating in a direct action, talked about how there was an even greater need, now that Trump had been elected, to continue with these kinds of actions and not back down or slow down. Some of the more intellectual youth here—both Native and non-Native—who we’ve spoken to feel that this Trump victory does not change anything, that their focus remains defeating the pipeline, and they will continue to fight. Among the Native elders, this also seems to be the dominant take on the Trump victory, while also appealing to Obama to stop this pipeline. However, some of the elders more feel that now is the time to prepare for more intense struggle and more bold action. Some of the more rebellious youth see the current situation as an opportunity to rally more people to stand up and fight, both against this pipeline but also for an all-the-way revolution. Some people who identify as gay or queer have expressed fear that they will not be able to return home after this struggle is over, or that the home they once knew will no longer exist.
It is also important to note that it is nearly impossible at the encampment to get online access or cell service to be able to see what has been going on in society in relation to the Trump victory. Many people here have almost no contact with the outside world on a day-to-day basis. So it came as news to many when we talked to them about the outpourings of people day after day, night after night, across the U.S. in response to Trump—and people were very excited to hear about this. Some of those who did hear of the outpourings described them as “riots” because of what they had heard on the mainstream news.
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We have been getting out the call “In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America” to people at Standing Rock, and we have gotten a lot of positive responses and unity with this call. People are mainly in agreement that Trump is a fascist, and his proposed program of mass deportations; criminalization and demonization of all people of color as well as Muslims; denying women their right to abortion; further destroying the environment; and overall fascist agenda cannot be allowed to be carried out. However, many do not immediately see the effect this has on the future of the struggle here at Standing Rock. There is also the contradiction of this encampment being a form of action in and of itself, and some people not seeing the need to respond to the Trump victory much beyond what is already happening here.
At the same time, we have had some very substantive discussions with people who are confronting the reality of what a Trump victory will mean for the future of this struggle, the environment, and humanity as a whole. We have spoken with some Native people who are very concerned with the direction things are headed—and we’ve gotten into the need for people to resist now, but also going forward to build for an actual revolution to get rid of this system once and for all. We got into questions of how a revolutionary socialist state would be set up with the overthrow of capitalism-imperialism, and how the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America deals with the question of oppressed people, including Native Americans.
These Native people we engaged with expressed serious concern over the question of sovereignty. So we got into this, and about the need for the strategic orientation of a United Front under the Leadership of the Proletariat against this system; why it is, in fact, in the interests of the Native people and all other oppressed nationalities to come together to overthrow this system at the soonest possible time; how a radically different socialist economic and political system would take actual measures to ensure the right of oppressed people and overcome the whole legacy of brutal oppression, including the right to autonomy, in the New Socialist Republic in North America, and to ensure the flourishing of oppressed people.
In going forward here, we are continuing to get this call out very broadly. We hope to meet with some of the more organized forces and leadership here to get into what they think of this call, and what they think is needed here in the face of the Trump victory. We are also giving people quantities of this call as well as “HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Actually Make Revolution” to get out to their circles here, as well as back where they are from. We are also continuing to meet with folks who are serious about engaging with the work of Bob Avakian and what is in “HOW WE CAN WIN.”
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