Friday, January 27, 2017

Water Protectors On Duty

By now everyone's heard that Trump has "restarted" the Keystone XL Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline "shut down" by Obama. I use the scare quotes because what's actually happened is a little less declarative than the Narrative would have it.

Obama didn't actually shut down the pipelines, he deferred final decisions on them to a later time, when he was out of office. Trump has not restarted them, he has picked up the ball where Obama left it, and is considering whether to run with it.

I split hairs like this because what is actually going on in this chaotic situation often varies quite a bit from the Narratives put out by the White House and countered by the media. There are lies and lies and more lies, in a blizzard of falsehood -- coming from all sides -- and it's almost impossible for the Rabble to sort out fact from fiction under the circumstances.

Chaos is the key, and keeping things as chaotic and unpredictable as possible appears to be the way Trump intends to rule until he is deposed.

But he's not the only one who can play that game.

Not by a long shot.

Meanwhile up in frozen North Dakota, the Water Protectors were planning to decamp from Sacred Stone and Oceti Sacowin, packing up and moving away from the Standing Rock reservation and setting up camp again at other reservations by invitation. This was to be a voluntary evacuation, but it was in line with the SRS Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault's repeated requests (orders?) that the Water Protector camps be vacated "for the safety" of the campers. Or something.

His position was that while the Environmental Impact Statement ordered by Obama was being prepared, protection/provocation by Water Protectors was counter productive. The less conflict at the site during the process, the better in his view. There have been recent incidents of violence (by police) against Water Protectors at the Backwater Bridge, a continuous flashpoint at Standing Rock. Archambault said he wanted the bridge reopened,, and that couldn't happen so long as incidents of violence kept happening there.

So he issued another request/order that the Water Protectors leave, and he and the tribal council essentially seized the millions of dollars raised for the Water Protectors and declared it tribal funds to use as the tribal council determined. I don't know what happened to the warehouse full of supplies sent to the camps, but last I heard, the tribe was refusing to release them to the camps.

As a point of reference, there have been widespread Water Protector actions primarily against pipelines all over the country since things calmed a bit at Standing Rock. This is the kind of activism that takes on a life of its own, and by spreading out so much -- rather than being concentrated in one spot -- the Water Protectors are ensuring their survival come what may.

It's not unlike the way Occupy dispersed after the coordinated violent crack down against it in 2011 and 2012. While I haven't got around to updating my Occupy links -- many are dead now -- I am quite aware that Occupy is still around and is still active, though for the most part they keep a low profile. As one of the Occupy mottos says, "You can't kill an idea."

That's pretty much where things stood on Monday. On Tuesday everything changed when Trump signed his pipelines memorandum. Keystone XL and Dakota Access were suddenly placed on the track for eventual approval, regardless it seemed of anything else.

The evacuation of the camps at Standing Rock halted and a call went out for Water Protectors to return -- so long as they were physically able to do so and could be self-sufficient once there.

The call did not go out from Archambault, it was issued by Chad IronEyes, one of the Standing Rock Sioux activists who has stayed on top of the evolving situation there and who has occupied the space between the Tribal Chairman and Council and the Water Protectors.

I haven't checked the activist notices today yet, but after Trump's action, there were demonstrations by Water Protectors and their allies in many cities throughout the country. As the Water Protectors reassemble in North Dakota, the state is preparing to force the issue and prohibit protest in so far as they can by law. They've even come up with some kind of law that legalizes running down protesters who block roads -- as long as it's an "accident."

Yes, well. We've already seen that happen during the actions last year. Sport, dontchaknow.

And there have been violent incidents at the Bridge in which numerous Water Protectors and allies have been injured by rubber bullets, water cannon, and other weapons wielded by the police. They've even set up a missile launcher apparently to shoot down drones flown by Water Protectors in order to document what's going on.

Please understand, this is all a dry run for the eventual suppression of any and all popular revolts and uprisings that might come to pass in the future.

The Indians at Standing Rock know this; many of their allies do too. But the general public remains oblivious.

I've pointed out in other fora that serious protest action in the United States has historically been met with serious and deadly force. Kent State is a well known example, but there were many others in those days and previously. Massacres of Indians, of course, were routine in the 19th Century, but strikers, protesters, and other activists who were perceived as threats by The Powers That Be were frequently subjected to use of deadly force by private guards as well as the National Guard and police, occasionally by the Regular Army.

People who understand this history of suppression of dissent know that the Water Protectors, as some of the most successful activists in recent times, are at severe risk of injury or death at the hands of the authorities, no matter where they are, but particularly so in North Dakota. I don't know how many have been injured so far, but hundreds were injured during the action on November 20-21 when water cannon were first turned on the activists at the Bridge.

This is deadly serious.

I've pointed out that the Water Protectors have been showing the way to effective resistance under the current circumstances. They are rebels, yes, but they are not in the mold of past resistance efforts. They are a step beyond them. First, they are grounded in Native American spirituality, something a lot of Anglos like to play with, but something few of them understand or can relate to. It's a different way of looking at the relationship between the Spirits and the People. It's a much more powerful thing than most Anglos can imagine, and it's part of the reason why so many of the Water Protectors can endure the suppression and the violence unleashed against them by the authorities. It's a reason why the Water Protectors understand they might lose from time to time, and they understand the Dakota Access Pipeline might be completed no matter what they do, but that in the end, they will be vindicated and victorious.

They  have endured so much so far, and the struggle is re-engaged, not only at Standing Rock but all over the country now.

It is part of the emerging struggle against the forces of wealth and power so perfectly expressed through the elevation of Trump and his cronies to run the government of these United States.

Water Protectors have led the way. They are the vanguard.

Where the struggle goes from here, we'll have to wait and see -- unless, of course, we are involved in actions to change the situation for the better.

No comments:

Post a Comment