#NoDAPL Is A Laboratory For Alternative Living, Help Sustain It

As a blogger I spend more time than I would like to admit scrolling through the curt vanity of celebrities, organizations, and friends on my Twitter feed. Sometimes Twitter connects me with great material and interesting, real-time news. This week I received a link for a letter-writing campaign targeting the the Army Corps of Engineers renewed review period, which lasts until February 20, 2017, for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

I oppose the pipeline and any developments in our infrastructure that do not first ask how will this project help life on earth survive climate change, and how can this help the most people. Pipelines still all spill. Climate science still tells us that we have to keep 80% of fossil fuels in the ground to, hopefully, avert the worst of climate change. And I am still on the side of the people risking their freedom and safety to stop a pipeline which will release crude oil into the Missouri River.

Sep 4, 2016 protest in response to construction workers bulldozing a burial ground deemed sacred by the ND Sioux. Photo Credit: NoDAPLArchive.com.

Another aspect of the DAPL resistance that inspires me, in a similar vein to the Keystone XL resistance, is that they are doing the legwork to innovate social practices. They are bringing together low- and high-tech living to support a community of thousands through an intensely cold winter. Water protectors are living in teepees while they work on the Internet. Water protectors are opposing State violence peacefully from horseback. Water protectors are sleeping in tents at night and flying drones in the day to take video of the construction site and police activity for both strategic and media related purposes. The water protectors are engaged in a rebellion against industrial pollution and modern consumerist lifestyles. People have sold property to move to a few fields in North Dakota and live in tents. They disobey the laws which they think should be disobeyed and they accept the legal consequences of their actions. Their commitment to nonviolent direct action in the face of less-than-lethal violence, despite the propaganda campaign to claim the contrary, seems monolithic compared to the roadblocks, banner drops, marches, rallies, and sit-ins of the modern left.  

The #NoDAPL community, and #NoKXL to an extent, have largely succeeded. They managed to get a halt to the project through Obama after 7 months of nonviolent public pressure and direct action. They garnered masses of public support through their guerilla media tactics, once having hundreds-of-thousands of people sign in at Standing Rock on Facebook in an apparent effort to confuse law enforcement officer’s efforts to surveil the protesters. They received hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in donations to help keep their fight going. One month before President Obama denied the easement, December 4, 2016, a troop of over 2000 military veterans joined the protesters to engage in nonviolent direction and protect the water protectors from an evacuation ordered by the governor in anticipation of a snow storm.

The battle of the water protectors has renewed my confidence in the idea represented in the protest chant “I believe that we can win”. President Trump’s renewal of the project means that the fight will continue. It means that this new synthesis of simple living and modern strategies of nonviolent civil disobedience will have more time to develop in the lab. And it means that humanity will, hopefully, have another chance to celebrate a victory over the mindset that pollution and environmental destruction are necessary for progress.

An image of Oceti Sakowin camp from a Drone. Photo Credit: Brendan Norrell, here.

With the forced removals of 76 water protectors last week, their cause needs support again. Veterans Stand, the organization of veterans who supported the camps in December, has vowed to not let the project be completed.

The least you can do before February 20 is to send a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers expressing your support for the water protectors. The easiest way to do that is by following THIS LINK where you can send a prewritten or self-researched letter to their Assistant Deputy of Policy and Legislation, Gib Owen. If you can do more consider donating to them and supporting this laboratory for future resistances, or if you are physically and mentally capable of dealing with the cold, contact one of the camps, go to ND, and take part in their grand experiment.

 

The Camps

Sacred Stone, Sicangu Oyate, Oceti Sakowin 

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