In the Face of Threats and Ferocious Cold:
Continuing to Stand Strong at Standing Rock... and Spreading the Struggle
December 12, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Over the past week, there have been important developments in the resistance to the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline (DAPL) that threatens the water and tramples treaty rights of the Standing Rock Sioux in the western Dakotas. Revolution reported on how thousands of people, including a contingent of veterans, went to Standing Rock to stand with people threatened with eviction by federal and state officials (see coverage here). Revolution Clubs mobilized around the country and sent a delegation to stand with people there, and connect them with organizing for an actual revolution (see “Revolution Club Delegation to Standing Rock: An Unforgettable Inspiring Experience”).
As brutal winter in the Dakotas sets in, a coalition of four groups have put out a message that they are going to stay at Standing Rock. Others are joining them. The groups are: The Indigenous Environmental Network, International Indigenous Youth Council, Honor the Earth, and Sacred Stone Camp. They will support each other and work together. People who are staying are prepared to withstand sub-zero temperatures, as well as ongoing threats by authorities to the camp. And they need stepped-up support from around the country, and the world.
At the Standing Rock encampent. (Photo: John Packard)
At the same time, this is a critical moment to spread the resistance and build support for Standing Rock. On December 10, thousands of people, from many walks of life, converged in downtown Los Angeles to protest construction of DAPL. This week in New York City, there will be concerts and events in support of Standing Rock. At this very sharp turning point in the struggle, it is significant that thousands participated in the LA protest, and that actions are taking place around the country.
Los Angeles, December 10. (Photo: Special to revcom.us)
Activists at Standing Rock have been subjected to terrorist threats and attacks from local reactionaries. In an important response last week, Shaun King wrote a column in the New York Daily News, “Masked white men in North Dakota terrorize the indigenous people of Standing Rock—just like the KKK.” (December 9). King, who has a large following opposed to police brutality against Black people, wrote: “The day of white men in masks targeting and terrorizing people of color who are standing up for their civil and human rights did not die in the 20th century. It’s happening right now in North Dakota, in the shadows of Standing Rock, to those who are protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through sacred lands and important water sources.”
On December 4, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers forbade the construction of DAPL under Lake Oahe, a section of the Missouri river adjacent to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. But the companies building DAPL immediately went to court to try to get a a federal judge to overturn that decision. So it’s very, very important that people continue to mobilize, and continue to resist, to stop this pipeline, to stop the genocide of Native American people, to stop the poisoning of the Earth.
The risks, and stakes, remain high in this battle—both for what it means to the struggle against 400 years of genocide against Native peoples, for the environment, and for the future.
As we wrote recently in Revolution, “The truth is this: America Was Never Great! Only a revolution—a genuine communist revolution that aims to institute the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America as its framework—can end the oppression suffered by the Native peoples, as well as other oppressed nationalities, and can end the insane plunder of the environment by the capitalists. Battles like the one in Standing Rock can be and must increasingly be built as part of strengthening the movement to make that revolution. And in the shadow of the looming fascism of Trump, the struggle for the basic justice of the demands of the water protectors in Standing Rock takes on even greater significance.”
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