Revolution Club Delegation to Standing Rock: An Unforgettable Inspiring Experience
December 12, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Arriving at the Standing Rock encampment. (Photo: John Packard)
Pitching the tent. (Photo: John Packard)
On their second day at Standing Rock, the Revolution Club marched up the hill into the camp chanting “1, 2, 3, 4, slavery, genocide, and war, 5, 6, 7, 8, America was never great.” We then filed into a long single line of people, which, to my understanding, totally encircled the camp. While up there, a Native couple from Canada did an interview for Facebook live with two of us from the Club about what our shirts were all about, who Bob Avakian is, and what kind of revolution we are talking about. The interviewer said she was the first female to be a tribal peacemaker. They signed up for an e-sub to Revolution.
Along the way, we came across a banner welcoming people with the message “Standing Rock Awakens the World.” People entering the camp were posing next to it, and we did as well (above). We also encountered a huge white banner with red letters demanding “Free Red Fawn.” We later learned that Red Fawn, an Oglala Sioux activist, was serving as a medic when the police raided the front lines of the Standing Rock resistance on October 27. During a showdown, three officers tackled her, threw her to the ground, pointed a gun to her back, and then charged HER with attempted murder of them! She is facing 20 years in prison. Thousands have signed a petition at change.org demanding that the charges be dropped and her release from custody. (Photo: Special to revcom.us)
Revolution Club delegation in their tent at Standing Rock.
One of the tents at the encampment.
(Photos: John Packard)
Cornel West (center) and Carl Dix (right) with a member of the Revolution Club delegation
Saturday, December 3, as the first vehicle with members of the Revolution Club got within sight of the Standing Rock encampment, everyone began snapping pictures with their phones. While we had all followed the battle at Standing Rock on revcom.us, actually seeing the camp live was different. We were filled with awe.
The entire road along the entrance was lined with colorful banners brought there by people from all over the country and across the globe. Next to a Palestinian flag, a large green banner with white lettering read “From Palestine to Standing Rock, We Are United.” A blue banner with a gorgeous painting of a Native warrior on horseback was ringed with the words, “Kiowa Tribe Oklahoma,” Others read: “Respect Life, Water is Sacred”; “Roslyn Wa Stands with Standing Rock”; and “No DAPL, People Over Pipelines.”
Along the way, we came across a banner welcoming people with the message “Standing Rock Awakens the World.” People entering the camp were posing next to it, and we did as well (see photo). We also encountered a huge white banner with red letters demanding “Free Red Fawn.” We later learned that Red Fawn, an Oglala Sioux activist, was serving as a medic when the police raided the front lines of the Standing Rock resistance on October 27. During a showdown, three officers tackled her, threw her to the ground, pointed a gun to her back, and then charged HER with attempted murder of them! She is facing 20 years in prison. Thousands have signed a petition at change.org demanding that the charges be dropped and her release from custody.
Behind the banners we could see the outlines of the camp. Pointing up from the snow were tepees, tents, RVs, a yellow school bus, and other structures.
As we pulled into the camp, the excitement was palpable. We donned our 2XL and 3XL shirts over our winter gear. The mighty, mighty revcoms had begun to arrive at Standing Rock. Over the next several hours, more vehicles carrying Club members arrived. When everyone was there and had put on their shirts, we were an awesome sight: 17 mighty, mighty revcoms had answered the call from revcom.us for delegations from the Revolution Clubs to pour into Standing Rock for the showdown looming on Monday December 5, when authorities had threatened to evict the camp.
We were young and old. Black, Latino, and white. Born in the U.S. and other parts of the world. We had come from NYC, Cleveland, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Antelope Valley in Southern California, and Phoenix.
This was the start of what for all of us was an unforgettable and truly inspiring experience. We forged bonds with each other and with people at the camp from small towns, reservations, large cities from all over the U.S. and different parts of the world. Livingston, Montana. The Northwest Territories in Canada. Fargo, North Dakota. The Nez Perce reservation in Idaho. A small town in New Hampshire. Humboldt County, California. Germany, France, and more.
With our labor we contributed to a new communal kitchen and group sleeping quarters—erecting a 20-plus-person army tent, solidifying it with bales of straw and finding heating to keep it warm. This tent became our staging and sleeping area while there. People from neighboring tents and tepees joined in to help and joined meetings we held. Through this we got to know many of the people who were part of the infrastructure of the camp—people responsible for erecting housing, feeding people, looking out for the sick, and more. Everywhere there were volunteers—some who had been in the camp since the start and others who had only been there at day or two. A Native woman, who put up a tent inside our tent, talked with Club members about the history of her tribe.
Everywhere we went, we brought the message that there is a way out of this madness—Revolution, Nothing Less. Over and over and over, people came up to us, asking, “Who is BA” after reading our shirts. We introduced many, many people to Bob Avakian, the leader of the revolution, and the new communism he has forged. Over meals, and as people gathered to stay warm, we dug into the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America with people from so many different places and walks of life. We discussed what socialism leading to communism would look like, why revolution was necessary and possible. We went through the pamphlet “How We Can WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution” with people.
The call “In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse To Accept a Fascist America” got out widely and people collectively grappled with us about what it would take to actually stop the Trump regime from consolidating power. All over the camp you could see people with Revolution newspaper. A young man from North Dakota and his friends met with Club members and discussed plans for forging a Revolution Club there. A young man from LA joined our meeting and laid plans to get with the Club there when he got back home.
Several of us noted that you could see the seeds of the communist future in the morality of the encampment. While not its conscious motto, much of the camp seemed to run on the principle “from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.” This stood in contrast to many traditional, outmoded, and patriarchal ways of thinking, which were also part of the camp ethos.
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