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Pacifism as Pathology

BLACK LIVES MATTER RESISTS UHURU MOVEMENT’S MESSAGE OF BLACK POWER

The Burning Spear

July 14, 2016

 

L-R: Kalambayi Andenet, Yashica Clemmons and Gazi Kodzo; members of the Uhuru Movement.

TAMPA––Black Lives Matter held a demonstration and a march at the Lykes Gaslight Park on July 11, 2016. The demonstration was held in response to the murders of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, LA and Philando Castillo in Chicago by police. The Uhuru Movement made it a point to be at that demonstration.

The Uhuru Movement did not go to fight racism or to remind anyone that we matter. We went to spread the ideas of African Internationalism, the theory of the African (black) working to the masses of Africans who gathered in search of answers to ending the genocide being committed against us in the form of police murders.

The demonstrators noticed the comrades of the Uhuru Movement as soon as we exited our vehicles and got in formation.

Our large red, black, and green flags were held high as comrades organized themselves behind the banner which showed the picture of Pinellas County sheriff who murdered three African girls––Dominique Battle, Ashaunti Bulter and La’Niyah Miller––in St. Petersburg, FL.

Colonial media reporters flocked to the members of our Movement immediately once they saw our flags, the banner and heard shouts of “Uhuru.”

Gazi Kodzo was interviewed by St. Petersburg’s channel 10 news. He explained our purpose for attending the demonstration.

The comrades of the Uhuru Movement approached the crowd silently, but our presence screamed out to the people that we were an organized, disciplined and uncompromising force for liberation.

Evangelizing African Internationalism at the demonstration

Comrades Kalonde and Muteba circled the crowd, passing out fliers with information about our “3 Drowned Black Girls” campaign.

Protestors held signs with the two recent victims’ names, as well as signs that read “stop police terror.” There was an African man wearing a T-shirt with the words “Am I next?”

They had various speakers who addressed the crowd over bullhorn. One such speaker criticized African people and blamed us for the oppression that we face. He stated that Africans “need to clean around our own yard first.”

The next person to speak was a sister who referenced Dr. King’s message of peace and nonviolence. She stated that the police are here “to protect and serve” and ended almost every statement with “in Jesus name.”

The weak, vague and passive messages came to halt once members of our Movement spoke to the crowd.

Yashica Clemmons, mother of Dominique Battle––one of the three girls who drowned at the hands of the sheriff’s deputies of Pinellas County––told her story after being introduced by comrade Gazi.

Mike Reed, a resident of Tampa, broke down in tears as Yashica spoke. He told The Burning Spear that he was crying because “they don’t give a f*ck about us.”

International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) president Kalambayi Andenet set the crowd on fire after Yashica’s speech.

She delivered a clear, direct message to the demonstrators which educated them on African Internationalism, unlike the speakers before her.

Kalambayi told the crowd, “We [the Uhuru Movement] understand that the system cannot be fixed. We want a new system.”

Her message was so strong and revolutionary that Kelly Benjamin––a white organizer for the Service Employees International Union––attempted to silence her. He attempted to get the African members of his organization to silence her, however they refused.

He then tried to remove Kalambayi himself and take away the megaphone himself. He was met with fierce resistance from our comrades in the Uhuru Movement, as we chanted “let her speak.” The rest of the demonstrators, thoroughly engaged in our revolutionary message, joined into our chanted and demanded that Kalambayi speak.

Benjamin was forced by all the demonstrators to stand down.

Kalambayi continued and encouraged Africans and and white people to join the revolutionary organizations of the Uhuru Movement. “Join a revolutionary organization. That is the only way that Africans will be free,” said President Kalambayi towards the end of her powerful speech.

Benjamin, now red in the face, then attempted once more to silence InpDUM’s President by invading her personal space. He was met with resistance by comrade Aaron, who demanded that Kelly “back up.”

Ultimately, one of the organizers of the march, an African individual, and perhaps one of the members of Kelly’s organization, also aided comrade Aaron in getting the now-enraged Kelly to back down.

Benjamin, left without any other option, then begged our comrade Chimurenga for the Megaphone which Kalambayi spoke into.

The comrades of the Uhuru Movement passed out fliers, received petition signatures and even received new member sign-ups from the Africans in the crowd.

Members of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement––the white people who work under the leadership of the Africans of the Movement––also received new member sign-ups.

The Revolutionary Vanguard of the African Working Class

The crowd’s handlers proceeded to corral the demonstrators into the street to march.

Comrades of Uhuru Movement organized into our march formation under the leadership of African National Women’s Organization(ANWO) President, Yejide Orunmila.

The movement moved with razor sharp precision while staying several paces behind the Black Lives Matter demonstrators.

A number of demonstrators who showed up to the protest, were won to the movement and marched with us towards our end goal, instead of being led blindly by the Black Lives Matter group.

The demonstration moved on to “shut down” the highway. Comrade Yejide made the decision for our comrades to not continue in that direction. We turned off and made our way back to the Gaslight Park.

This was a strategic move for us as we are not struggling to be arrested. We are fighting for our freedom.

The Movement did a summation of the march in a nearby parking lot. The people who left the original march to follow the Uhuru Movement remained present for this as well. They united with our politic and our goals and expressed that they will be joining our Movement.

Kenneth Johnson, told The Burning Spear, “The Movement said what needed to be said.”

The Uhuru Movement is a cohesive unit of Africans united under a single political line.

We are always clear that we want freedom. We understand that the State is designed to oppress the African people through violence and terror.

The State is only here to “protect and serve” the interest of the white ruling class––white power.

Black lives won’t matter until we get Black Power. Africans must come into political organization and join the Uhuru Movement and the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP). We have solutions to the oppression that we face as Africans in the U.S. and worldwide. We must work to overturn colonialism, that is the only way that we can prevent police murders.

We urge every African to come into political life, and join the Vanguard of the African working class. Visit JoinAPSP.org.

Black Power Matters!

Join the African People’s Socialist Party

Join the Uhuru Movement!

We are winning!

 

NVDA Training Teaches White Paternalism at Camp Standing Rock

Wrong Kind of Green

September 16, 2016

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What the white man seeks to destroy and what the non-profit industrial complex is financed to carry out: the destruction of the Indigenous Warrior culture. This is not news to native people, however, this reality is all but lost on today’s white “left”. Photo: Mohawk Warriors, Oka Crisis, Canada, 1990. Photograph: Armed warriors at Kanesatake during the 1990 “Oka Crisis.” / Gazette John Mahoney (CTY). [Further reading: Part II of an Investigative Report into Tar Sands Action & the Paralysis of a Movement, September 19, 2011]

The following comment is from a film director who just returned from the camp at Standing Rock. What she witnessed is the historical paternalism that is reminiscent of the ‘Indian schools’ where proper comportment was wholly identified as the ability to assimilate into Anglo structures. We thank this person for recognizing and  sharing what she witnessed. That this took place on native land – shows egotism and white paternalism still very much exists, is being taught/modeled (via NGO “training”/*NVDA dogma), has no bounds – and no shame. (*non-violent direct action)

Camp participant:

“I just returned from the camp at standing rock and I can report that this[referencing the article: All Eyes On Dakota Access – All Eyes Off Bakken Genocide] is exactly what has happened. I sat in on the first two non violent action trainings brought into the camp to help teach protestors how to “de-escalate” even to the point of pulling young men (warriors) aside and chastising them (gently of course) for their anger. They were also told not to wear bandanas over their faces but to proudly be identified. A chill went up and down me. The national guard was brought in a couple of days ago to “help with traffic” and now today protestors (called ” protectors”) were arrested by guards in complete riot gear. This will not end well.”

The following is an excerpt from the report: All Eyes On Dakota Access – All Eyes Off Bakken Genocide, published September 13, 2016:

Enter #NODAPL Solidarity

One would be hard pressed to find on any website such extensive NVDA (non-violent direct action) dogma as found on the #NoDAPL Solidarity website (created on August 29, 2016 by Nick Katkevich, noted liberal strategist who is the co-creator of the group FANG – Fighting Against Natural Gas). Especially in light of this website being meant to be interpreted as representative of Indigenous resistance. Yet, Indigenous peoples do not espouse NVDA as an ideology – this is the ideology belonging to and peddled by the NPIC. The fact is, Indigenous peoples retain a deep-rooted (and enviable) warrior ideology – deeply ingrained in the Indigenous culture. This is what the NPIC seeks to destroy. Because of the arrogance and paternalism of those within the NPIC, they even believe they will be successful in doing so. This site is sponsored by Rising Tides North America (RTNA), which can be identified under the “Friends and Allies” (North America) section on the 350.org website. Many view RTNA as a sister org. to Rainforest Action Network, with a more radical veneer, the common link being Scott Parkin: “Scott Parkin is a climate organizer working with Rainforest Action Network, Rising Tide North America and the Ruckus Society.” (see the multitude of Ruckus documents/links on screenshot below). [Source]

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Further irony arises when one takes note of the Martin Luther King quote on the “indigenous led resistance” website (see screenshot above). Ask yourself why Indigenous resistance would choose to quote MLK (a long-time favourite co-opted and sanitized icon of the NPIC), rather than a quote from their own warriors.

Leave it to white “leftists” to retain their unwavering belief they have the right and superior knowledge to manage/shape how Indigenous struggles should be led. This is the same “left” (funded by the establishment) that has failed at virtually everything except for the main task assigned by the elites they kowtow to: keeping current power structures intact.

dakota-org

And yet…

Although the white left would never believe it to be true, the Indigenous Peoples have a wisdom and knowledge the Euro-Americans lack altogether. They are not part of our depraved society. So why would wise people succumb to the whims of the NPIC? There is perhaps a very good reason why the tribes standing with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are not opposed to the white left saturation who will never fail to rush in front for the cameras: to place them in front to stop the bullets from being fired (“Don’t Shoot”). Indigenous peoples have been subjected to horrendous racism since the first European colonizers arrived, which continues to this day. The reality being white activists have no fear of being shot and killed by police regardless of their actions, whereby the same actions are opportunities for the state to kill natives, blacks and minorities.

For media sensation and photographs that will travel the globe, those at the helm of the NPIC ensure that publicly, Indigenous Peoples most always appear in the forefront – all while strategizing behind closed doors to take leadership. When they cannot do so, they vacate the movement, work to marginalize and if possible bury, the legitimate work they were unable to take over. The 2010 People’s Agreement (Cochabamba, Bolivia), led by Indigenous peoples, is an excellent example of just this. The white man has proven incapable of involvement if he is not soon in charge. He has proven himself incapable of following, learning, listening… standing behind. Keeping his mouth closed. The ugly reality is that these are racist, fascist organizations, only there to protect current power structures and count bodies. Social media metrics are far more important than disposable people.

“When the Enviros show up, their literature and banner is strung up against the wall. We are pushed into our place. Most have had a bad taste from wasicu hypocrisy.”  — Harold One Feather

Those at the helm of the NGOs that comprise the NPIC will not be joining land defenders that are willing to die to protect their land, people, culture and ancestry. For these cowards, the brand is too valuable, the price too high. The warrior culture too strong (unruly savages!) to contain. Instead they will throw a few crumbs and send their well-intentioned youth followers as the sacrificial lambs to test the waters. The Indigenous that live within the Bakken are the only credible organizers in opposition to the frack oil developments. It is an understood but unspoken reality that within this resistance, people are going to die.

“Much of the camp’s rhetoric is of the “Non-violent Direct Action” type. Lock your arm to this piece of deconstruction equipment and take a picture with a banner for Facebook. But the Warrior Culture that is so rich in Lakota memory seems to counter a lot of the liberal, non-violent, NGO types. Comrades saw what happened in Iowa, heard about the $1,000,000 in damage and got inspired. I wouldn’t say that it was publicly celebrated because the camp’s tactic of “Non-violence” is the image they want to perpetuate. Like I said, it is a tactic… not everyone thinks that is what we need to dogmatically stick to. It is one thing to use Non-Violence as a rhetorical device in corporate media to spread your inspirational actions but it is another thing to preach it as your dogma in your private circles and use it to stop material damage to the infrastructure of ecocide. I see the former being invoked much greater than the latter.” — A CONVERSATION ON THE SACRED STONE CAMP, Sept 4, 2016

One may also wonder about the Pledge of Resistance being “organized” by the CREDO corporation: “Many thanks to our friends at CREDO who organized the Pledge of Resistance against Keystone XL—the Bakken Pipeline pledge borrows liberally from their work.” Bold Iowa, Source]

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Above poster from the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance, 2013

All eyes ON one (single) pipeline.

All eyes OFF the acceleration of genocide of Indigenous peoples in the Bakken.

All eyes OFF Bakken fracking oil.

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Further reading:

All Eyes On Dakota Access – All Eyes Off Bakken Genocide

Obedience – A New Requirement for the “Revolution”

 

Erased By False Victory: Obama Hasn’t Stopped DAPL

Transformative Spaces

September 10, 2016

by Kelly Hayes

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#NoDAPL protesters gather for a boat action in Standing Rock on August 20. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)

 

All Native struggles in the United States are a struggle against erasure. The poisoning of our land, the theft of our children, the state violence committed against us — we are forced to not only live in opposition to these ills, but also to live in opposition to the fact that they are often erased from public view and public discourse, outside of Indian Country. The truth of our history and our struggle does not match the myth of American exceptionalism, and thus, we are frequently boxed out of the narrative.

The struggle at Standing Rock, North Dakota, has been no exception, with Water Protectors fighting tooth and nail for visibility, ever since the Sacred Stone prayer encampment began on April 1.

For months, major news outlets have ignored what’s become the largest convergence of Native peoples in more than a century. But with growing social media amplification and independent news coverage, the corporate media had finally begun to take notice. National attention was paid. Solidarity protests were announced in cities around the country. The National Guard was activated in North Dakota.

The old chant, “The whole world is watching!” seemed on the verge of accuracy in Standing Rock.

And then came today’s ruling, with a federal judge finding against the Standing Rock Sioux, and declaring that construction of the pipeline could legally continue. It was the ruling I expected, but it still stung. I felt the sadness, anger and disappointment that rattled many of us as we received the news. But then something happened. Headlines like, “Obama administration orders ND pipeline construction to stop” and “The Obama Administration Steps In to Block the Dakota Access Pipeline” began to fill my newsfeed, with comments like, “Thank God for Obama!” attached to them.

Clearly, a major plot twist has occurred. But it’s not the one that’s being sold.

To understand that this isn’t the victory it’s being billed as, you have to read the fine print in the presently lauded joint statement from the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior:

“The Army will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe until it can determine whether it will need to reconsider any of its previous decisions regarding the Lake Oahe site under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or other federal laws.”

Note what’s actually being said here, what’s being promised and what isn’t.

What is actually being guaranteed?

Further consideration.

But this next section is a little more promising, right?

“Therefore, construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time.  The Army will move expeditiously to make this determination, as everyone involved — including the pipeline company and its workers — deserves a clear and timely resolution.  In the interim, we request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahu.”

So things are on hold at Lake Oahe until the powers that be think it through some more — with no assurances about how they’ll feel when it’s all said and done. The rest is a voluntary ask being extended to the company.

Let’s reflect on that for a moment: A company that recently sicced dogs on Water Protectors, including families, who stepped onto a sacred site to prevent its destruction, is being asked to voluntarily do the right thing.

But the thing is, they probably will. For a moment. Because what’s being asked of them isn’t an actual reroute. Right now, all that’s being asked is that they play their part in a short term political performance aimed at letting the air out of a movement’s tires.

Presidential contender Hillary Clinton was beginning to take a bit of heat for her silence on the Standing Rock struggle. Between Jill Stein’s participation in a lockdown action, broadening social media support for the cause, and the beginnings of substantial media coverage, #NoDAPL was on the verge of being a real thorn in Clinton’s side. And with more than 3,000 Natives gathered in an unprecedented act of collective resistance, an unpredictable and possibly transformational force was menacing a whole lot of powerful agendas.

So what did the federal government do? Probably the smartest thing they could have: They gave us the illusion of victory.

As someone who organizes against state violence, I know the patterns of pacification in times of unrest all too well. When a Black or Brown person is murdered by the police, typically without consequence, and public outrage ensues, one of the pacifications we are offered is that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will investigate the shooting. It’s a deescalation tactic on the part of the state. It helps transition away from moments when rage and despair collide, creating a cooling off period for the public. “Justice” is still possible, we are told. We are asked to be patient as this very serious matter is investigated at the highest level of government, and given all due consideration.

The reality, of course, is that the vast majority of investigations taken up by the DOJ Civil Rights Division end in dismissal – a batting average that’s pretty much inverse to that of other federal investigations. But by the time a case gets tossed at the federal level, it’s probably not front page news anymore, and any accumulated organizing momentum behind the issue may have been lost — because to many people, the mere announcement of a federal investigation means that the system is working. Someone is looking into this, they’re assured. Something is being done. Important people have expressed that they care, and thus there is hope.

So how is this similar to what’s happening with Standing Rock?

It’s the same old con game.

Federal authorities are going to give a very serious matter very serious consideration, and then… we’ll see.

The formula couldn’t be clearer.

As the joint statement says, “this case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects.”

Discussion.

How many times have marginalized people been offered further discussion when what they needed was substantive action? And how often has the mere promise of conversation born fruit for those in a state of protest?

But this is a great moment for the Democrats. A political landmine has been swept out of Hillary Clinton’s path and Obama will be celebrated as having “stopped a pipeline” when the project has, at best, been paused. After all, an actual pause in construction, outside of the Lake Oahe area, assumes the cooperation of a relentless, violent corporation, that has already proven it’s wiling to let dogs loose on children to keep its project on track.

But Dakota Access, LLC probably will turn off its machines — for a (very) little while. They’ll wait for the media traction that’s been gained to dissipate, and for the #NoDAPL hashtag to get quieter. They’ll wait until the political moment is less fraught, and their opposition is less amped. And then they will get back to work — if we allow it.

Here’s the real story: This fight has neither been won nor lost. Our people are rising and they are strong. But the illusion of victory is a dangerous thing. Some embrace it because they don’t know better, some because they need to. We all want happy endings. Hell, I long for them, and I get tired waiting. But if you raise a glass to Obama and declare this battle won, you are erasing a battle that isn’t over yet. And by erasing an ongoing struggle, you’re helping to build a pipeline.

 

[Kelly Hayes is co-founding member of The Chicago Light Brigade and an organizer with We Charge Genocide.]

All Eyes On Dakota Access – All Eyes Off Bakken Genocide

Wrong Kind of Green

September 13, 2016

by Cory Morningstar with Forrest Palmer

 

“Soon the parade begins again…all the big shot enviros are looking for their token Indians…this Hunkpapa says to remember this day of infamy…they hate us as well….taken nearly ten years ago, waiting for the right moment…” — Harold One Feather 

If nothing else, the *Bold Iowa video published on August 17, 2016 titled Bakken Pipeline: The New Keystone XL demonstrates that the cat is finally out of the bag amongst liberal left campaigners.

“We got essentially Keystone – only more. Clearly an end run.” — Iowa Bold, August 17, 2016

Background:

May 24, 2016: Construction underway on the *Bakken Pipeline, more recently referred to as the Dakota Access Pipeline: “Energy Transfer Partners has 100 percent of the easements needed for the project in North Dakota, as well as in South Dakota, but it is still awaiting U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ permit approval for water crossings. Construction has also begun in Illinois, where 99 percent of easements have been obtained, Granado said. About 90 percent of easements are in place in Iowa.” [*For the purpose of familiarity and continuity, the Bakken Pipeline will be referred to as the Dakota Access Pipeline within this report.]

July 25, 2016:

“The Army Corps of Engineers issued permits authorizing the construction of segments of the pipeline in US waters, one of which is under Lake Oahe. The lake is a reservoir behind the Oahe Dam on the Missouri River; it is approx. ½ mile upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation.

 

Although the pipeline will not cross Standing Rock’s land, the tribe claims that the pipeline’s route passes through the tribe’s ancestral lands and other areas of great cultural and spiritual significance. To the Standing Rock, the Missouri River and Lake Oahe are sacred. . . and legally owned by the tribe.

 

The tribe’s reservation is located in a small section of North and South Dakota, but the original boundaries as defined in the 1851 & 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties were much larger. After the treaties, however, the Black Hills were seized by the US and a series of statutes were passed that further parceled the land. In 1980, however, the Supreme Court held that the lands had been illegally seized from the tribe and ordered the payment of just compensation. The Sioux refused to accept the money, though, because they did not want to relinquish their claim to the land.” [Source]

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laramie-treaty

“This proposed pipeline, it’s going to go right over the 1851 treaty land. That’s what we’re talking about being native domain land. And then of course the powers that be shortened the 1851 treaty down to the 1868 treaty and then said, ‘Here’s what the native people have on what is presently Standing Rock.’ But we’re going by the 1851 treaty land.” [Source]

Construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline began May 24, 2016 (“Union workers have started clearing the path for the North Dakota portion of the Dakota Access Pipeline.”) This  “direct shot” pipeline (frack oil to gulf) similar to the Keystone XL (tar sands to gulf) was proposed by Dakota Access, LLC, a subsidiary of the Dallas, Texas corporation Energy Transfer Partners.  The pipeline commences in the Dakota Bakken and ends in Patoka, Illinois (1, 168 miles – 358 in North Dakota through seven counties, including Mountrail, Williams, McKenzie, Dunn, Mercer, Morton and Emmons at a cost of 3.8-4.8 billion.)

In October of 2014 it was announced that Phillips 66 would own a 25 percent stake in the Dakota Access Pipeline. There is slight irony in the fact Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns shares in Phillips 66. Buffett’s Berkshire first started buying Phillips 66 stock in 2012, increasing its holdings to 14% in February of 2016. Berkshire continues to increase its holding in Phillips 66 from February 2016 to present with its eye on the expansion of oil refineries. Berkshire’s interest in the Dakota Access project (via its 15% holdings in Phillips 66) is insignificant in comparison to the power and profits wielded by BNSF combined with future profits via the rapid expansion of refineries. However, one thing  is clear: Warren Buffett never loses.

In August of 2016 it was announced that Sunoco Logistics Partners would be assisting in the financing of the pipeline while Enbridge Energy Partners and Marathon Petroleum Corp. plan to acquire a portion of the pipeline in a $2 billion deal”. [Source]

We must also keep in mind that Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST) and Tribes are the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Sahnish (Arikara)( MHA) are not representative of the remaining treaty tribes. There are over 500 treaty tribes recognized by the US Federal Government. White treachery continues to divide. As an example, MHA sold out to frack oil, while the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has asked tribes to ban fracking located near water sources. [“The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Council on Feb. 1, 2011 passed a motion to prohibit hydro fracturing on the Standing Rock Sioux Nation:”THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the (Tribal Nation) prohibits in perpetuity any hydraulic fracturing (fracking) or any other process that is toxic on lands adjoining the (name of aquifer) aquifer or its tributaries, or flowing water that has the potential to channel to the (name of aquifer) aquifer and water resources, lakes, underground springs, and wetlands where tribal citizens reside on or near the (Tribal Nation).”]

“We have learned from the land-grab activities that occurred in the early days of the Bakken oil boom on the Fort Berthold Reservation, where hundreds of millions of dollars were lost due to unethical practices by groups/corporations/companies claiming to streamline the negotiating process for the leasing agreements of tribal member allotees. Many members were scammed into lease agreements, only to receive a fraction of the profits that were to be yielded from their lands. We do not wish to see this happen to our members here on Standing Rock.” — [Standing Rock Nation’s Policy Statement on Oil and Fracking, August 12, 2014][Source]

In 2014, lessors obtained the rights to 200,000 acres in the Standing Rock Sioux Nation reservation and surrounding county areas for oil and gas exploration in. (Teton Times)

Refineries, Nuclear and Rail

While all eyes focus on Dakota Access, it is critical to observe what is not being brought to the public’s attention. As another pipeline inches toward completion, in the background simultaneously, refineries are set to expand in the Bakken (at minimum five to start), while future plans to construct small modular nuclear reactors in the Bakken to power shale oil steam extraction are not spoken of. Further, stalling on pipelines which would reduce transport costs, secures rail profits for BNSF. [“As an oil refining company, Phillips 66 is in the one aspect of the oil industry that can benefit from falling oil prices. The drop in prices means that Phillips can buy the crude it refines more cheaply. And it profits from the fact that the price of gas hasn’t fallen as much as the price of oil has. Phillips’ refining profits actually rose last year to $2.6 billion from $1.6 billion in 2014. Source: Warren Buffett’s $1 billion bet on oil, February 5, 2016]

“This project will take trucks off the road and provide a safe alternative to crude by rail.” Commissioner Chairwoman Julie Fedorchak said. — PSC issues permit for Dakota Access Pipeline, January 20, 2016

 

The line, which can carry 470,000 barrels a day, is projected to be in service in the fourth quarter. It gives North Dakota drillers, who have relied in part on pricier rail shipments, access to U.S. Gulf Coast and Midwest markets.” — Woman Who Killed Keystone XL Battling New Pipeline Project (Bloomberg, August 31, 2016) [Emphasis added]

 

The project will also address transportation strains in the Upper Midwest created by the dramatic increase in crude oil production in North Dakota. A lack of rail cars to move grain out of South Dakota has magnified the problem. Tariffs on grain railcars have increased from $50 to nearly $1,400 per car. These cost increases can carve up to $1.00 from every bushel of corn shipped. The Bakken Pipeline will help ease transportation shortages for agriculture and other industries. Energy Transfer Website [Emphasis added]

The purpose of the Dakota Access pipeline is to increase production of both the tar sands oil and the Bakken frack oil. BNSF trains will take the “frackenstein” mix to the highest bidder. Grain cannot complete in what is essentially a BNSF monopoly. One must note that there is no pipeline used exclusively for the caustic Bakken frack oil. The oil that causes bomb train tankers to blow up into fiery infernos resembling hell on Earth.

“They are holding the line against construction of a pipeline that would carry highly flammable, fracked oil from the Bakken oil fields in that state to Illinois. The pipeline would go under the Missouri River…” [Emphasis added] [Source]

Why is it that we can demonize the transportation of these dirty resources via a singular pipeline,  while ignoring the harmful effects of the extraction upon those most vulnerable? Understanding that this constitutes what is perhaps unprecedented ecocide while furthering the ongoing genocide of Indigenous peoples, while at the same time knowing full well that industry is banking on massive increases of the production of fracking oil in the coming decades.

The answer is as simple as Jane Kleeb’s response: “We welcome pipeline infrastructure (not in the Sandhills or that crosses the Aquifer) to ensure ND and MT oil is getting to U.S. markets.” [Source: Bakken Oil Business Magazine, Nov/Dec 2012, Jan 2013 issue] Kleeb’s honesty (albeit within a private communication) is refreshing in comparison to her many alliances. The non-profit industrial complex wants the oil getting to U.S. markets. After all, the privilege of those who comprise the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) – absolutely depend on it. Why people insist on believing anything otherwise is the result of the best marketing and social engineering that money can buy. Who and what the Bakken frack oil destroys – is of no interest.

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The poignant reality is this: if Americans (including some Indigenous leaders) weren’t beguiled and ultimately “derailed” by the elite’s cherry-picked representatives (Mckibben et. al. ) who continually campaigned to instill the gross misconception that the state (focusing on U.S. president Barack Obama) had empathy for Indigenous struggles and ecological devastation, citizens and indigenous peoples may have had a chance to stop the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipelines while they were still on the drawing board. Of course hindsight is 20/20.

Perhaps the most glaring elephant in the room that escapes all discussion, is the fact that for the continuation of the voracious western consumptive lifestyle, the oil must come from somewhere. It isn’t the Indigenous peoples who are reaping the rewards. Rather, like those in the Congo who mine the coltan for our technology, they are the ones paying the price, with their lives. The race by liberals to attach themselves to the Dakota Access resistance as a means of directing the movement in less confrontational ways (as has always been the case) tells us to focus on environmental impacts and climate change (without ever looking in the mirror), while the real issue is this: full out, continued genocide of Indigenous peoples with the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation being ground zero for this experiment being carried out with no legitimate opposition whatsoever from the “progressive left”.

“Right now the Rosebud reservation, the Cheyenne River reservation, the Pine Ridge reservation and my Standing Rock reservation represent five of the 10 poorest places or counties in the United States, according to the 2010 Census. Our state of being is not our fault. We did not cause this. United States lawmakers and their policies caused this. Why?? Greed – and now again, even what little we have left is under attack.” Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman

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Foundation funding ensures the NPIC does not oppose the Bakken frack oil boom – the lifeblood of Buffett’s BNSF. Well over 30 million dollars has been funnelled through the Buffett family NoVo foundation into the Tides foundation – a key foundation which doles money out for pipeline campaigns to carefully selected NGOs within the NPIC. Incidentally, NoVo has become the number one financier of the Tides Foundation. [Source]

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One should wisely note the silence that money can buy within the NPIC considering that even the corporate/conservative media such as The New York Times and The Washington Post have published series on the Bakken frack oil boom and its corrupting influence on the social fabric of Indigenous peoples. Consider that the North American opposition to the Keystone XL (an extension of an already existing pipeline that delivered/delivers oil from the Canadian tar sands to the US) campaigned on the possibility of spills of crude in the Nebraska Sandhills. While in reality, beyond possibility, there were at least 1,100 spills in North Dakota’s stretch of the Bakken during 2011. And although fracking has been protested elsewhere, mainly due to the greatest force of today’s western environmentalism — “not in my back yard”, the Bakken, has developed as it has without so much as creasing the nation’s political discussion. [Source]

 “Anne Marguerite Coyle is an eagle biologist, and just before the boom, she tagged eighteen juvenile golden eagles as part of a routine monitoring effort. All are now dead or gone. In one case, a drilling rig landed close to one of the eagles’ nesting sites, so when that bird disappeared, she asked people nearby what had happened. “Oh, somebody shot that one,” they said. Gunplay, the roads, the rigs, the noise, the trucks, the off-duty oil workers on ATVs, the general disregard for anything living that is the consequence of industrializing a once-wild landscape — these make it impossible to pinpoint oil’s role in the eagles’ fate. But if they weren’t killed by oil, they were likely killed by the things oil brings with it.” ­ — The price of North Dakota’s fracking boom, Harpers, March 2013

 

“This is the last of what my people have. Our people have survived so many things in history. The methamphetamine use, the heroin use, is just another epidemic like smallpox and boarding schools. And the last of the last are going to have to survive. And I want to be in the front lines because that was my vow — to protect my people.” — Tribal police Sgt. Dawn White, Dark Side of the Boom, September 28, 2014

 

“But there is a dark side to the multibillion-dollar boom in the oil fields, which stretch across western North Dakota into Montana and part of Canada. The arrival of highly paid oil workers living in sprawling “man camps” with limited spending opportunities has led to a crime wave — including murders, aggravated assaults, rapes, human trafficking and robberies — fueled by a huge market for illegal drugs, primarily heroin and methamphetamine.” — Dark Side of the Boom, September 28, 2014

Human Trafficking

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A Shared Hope International’s billboards,in the Bakken region put up to raise awareness about child sex trafficking. [Source]

Lost on most Americans is the fact the human trafficking now rampant in North Dakota, is yet another violation by the white man of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty with the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho. Article XI 4th condition: “They will never capture, or carry off from the settlements, white women or children.”

From the human trafficking report “Sex for sale in the Bakken:

From a distant site, supply negotiates with demand.
“I have a little girl.”
“How old is she? Do you have a place to host?”
“13 and yes I have a place to host.”
“Can I hook up with her tomorrow when I get off work?”
“Sure, got cash?”
Lakey says he doesn’t want to use a condom.
“That’s fine.”
And they talk in text shorthand, buyer and seller, about younger girls.
“What age is ur youngest you have?”
“I have younger, but they’re not as experienced as my 13-year-old. I got a 10-year-old in training but I don’t think she’s quite ready.”
Lakey asks to see a photo, and he discusses paying $5,000 for the 10-year-old girl.
For “it,” he says. For owning “it.”
He asks how the seller recruits girls to work for him. How do you keep “the product” from running? He agrees to pay $250 for sex with the 13-year-old.

To add insult to injury, only in the most patriarchal of societies, would the exploited, rather than the predator/perpetrator, be prosecuted. While it is reported that this is slowly changing (agencies state they are now more focused on investigating the traffickers rather than focusing on the continued practise of sting operations targeting and arresting women), in what can only be described as a cesspool, the trafficking, violence and exploitation of women and minors is only going to worsen and accelerate.

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“They treat Mother Earth like they treat women. They think they can own us, buy us, sell us, trade us, rent us, poison us, rape us, destroy us, use us as entertainment and kill us. I’m happy to see that we are talking about the level of violence that is occurring against Mother Earth because it equates to us. What happens to her happens to us.” — Lisa Brunner, White Earth Ojibwe, Program Specialist for the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center [Source] [From the conference entitled, “Protect the Women and Families from the KXL [Keystone Pipeline system] Violence! Say no to Man Camps in Oceti Sakowin Territory!”]

As the Dakota Access gains media attention we witness the very NGOs and NGO “leaders” who have until only recently turned a blind eye to the Indigenous resistance, beginning to latch on like the leeches they are. We’ve touched briefly upon the discourse from increasing numbers of refineries, and Bakken frack oil which ensures continued Indigenous genocide, anomie/social collapse, meth addiction, alcohol abuse, lateral violence, sex trafficking, suicide, poisoned water and soil… the list is long and incomplete.

Willful blindness to the Bakken frack oil also ensures and protects foundation money, BNSF profits, as well as western lifestyle and privilege to 21st century anthropocentrists who brand themselves as “activists”. The ideologies, cultures and aspirations between these two sets of people – North American anthropocentrists (largely white) and North American Indians – could not be more different.

The highly financed NPIC (to the tune of trillions) has quietly begun the necessary task of co-opting a meaningful and legitimate movement. That being the “indigenous led resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline.” This attempt for full co-optation must be considered a given for all legitimate resistance movements for the following reasons:

1) when there is an interest from public and media (which can then provide a means to further brand recognition and feign credibility/legitimacy by the NGO attaching itself to a particular uprising)

2) when a grass roots movement has the potential  to harm or change current power structures, such as economic growth, and/or threaten future decisions that have already been decided upon by elites

Enter #NODAPL

One would be hard pressed to find on any website such extensive NVDA (non-violent direct action) dogma as found on the #NoDAPL Solidarity website (created on August 29, 2016 by Nick Katkevich, noted liberal strategist who is the co-creator of the group FANG – Fighting Against Natural Gas). Especially in light of this website being meant to be interpreted as representative of Indigenous resistance. Yet, Indigenous peoples do not espouse NVDA as an ideology – this is the ideology belonging to and peddled by the NPIC. The fact is, Indigenous peoples retain a deep-rooted (and enviable) warrior ideology – deeply ingrained in the Indigenous culture. This is what the NPIC seeks to destroy. Because of the arrogance and paternalism of those within the NPIC, they even believe they will be successful in doing so. This site is sponsored by Rising Tides North America (RTNA), which can be identified under the “Friends and Allies” (North America) section on the 350.org website. Many view RTNA as a sister org. to Rainforest Action Network, with a more radical veneer, the common link being Scott Parkin: “Scott Parkin is a climate organizer working with Rainforest Action Network, Rising Tide North America and the Ruckus Society.” (see the multitude of Ruckus documents/links on screenshot below). [Source]

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Further irony arises when one takes note of the Martin Luther King quote on the “indigenous led resistance” website (see screenshot above). Ask yourself why Indigenous resistance would choose to quote MLK (a long-time favourite co-opted and sanitized icon of the NPIC), rather than a quote from their own warriors.

Leave it to white “leftists” to retain their unwavering belief they have the right and superior knowledge to manage/shape how Indigenous struggles should be led. This is the same “left” (funded by the establishment) that has failed at virtually everything except for the main task assigned by the elites they kowtow to: keeping current power structures intact.

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And yet…

Although the white left would never believe it to be true, the Indigenous Peoples have a wisdom and knowledge the Euro-Americans lack altogether. They are not part of our depraved society. So why would wise people succumb to the whims of the NPIC? There is perhaps a very good reason why the tribes standing with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are not opposed to the white left saturation who will never fail to rush in front for the cameras: to place them in front to stop the bullets from being fired (“Don’t Shoot”). Indigenous peoples have been subjected to horrendous racism since the first European colonizers arrived, which continues to this day. The reality being white activists have no fear of being shot and killed by police regardless of their actions, whereby the same actions are opportunities for the state to kill natives, blacks and minorities.

For media sensation and photographs that will travel the globe, those at the helm of the NPIC ensure that publicly, Indigenous Peoples most always appear in the forefront – all while strategizing behind closed doors to take leadership. When they cannot do so, they vacate the movement, work to marginalize and if possible bury, the legitimate work they were unable to take over. The 2010 People’s Agreement (Cochabamba, Bolivia), led by Indigenous peoples, is an excellent example of just this. The white man has proven incapable of involvement if he is not soon in charge. He has proven himself incapable of following, learning, listening… standing behind. Keeping his mouth closed. The ugly reality is that these are racist, fascist organizations, only there to protect current power structures and count bodies. Social media metrics are far more important than disposable people.

“When the Enviros show up, their literature and banner is strung up against the wall. We are pushed into our place. Most have had a bad taste from wasicu hypocrisy.”  — Harold One Feather

Those at the helm of the NGOs that comprise the NPIC will not be joining land defenders that are willing to die to protect their land, people, culture and ancestry. For these cowards, the brand is too valuable, the price too high. The warrior culture too strong (unruly savages!) to contain. Instead they will throw a few crumbs and send their well-intentioned youth followers as the sacrificial lambs to test the waters. The Indigenous that live within the Bakken are the only credible organizers in opposition to the frack oil developments. It is an understood but unspoken reality that within this resistance, people are going to die.

“Much of the camp’s rhetoric is of the “Non-violent Direct Action” type. Lock your arm to this piece of deconstruction equipment and take a picture with a banner for Facebook. But the Warrior Culture that is so rich in Lakota memory seems to counter a lot of the liberal, non-violent, NGO types. Comrades saw what happened in Iowa, heard about the $1,000,000 in damage and got inspired. I wouldn’t say that it was publicly celebrated because the camp’s tactic of “Non-violence” is the image they want to perpetuate. Like I said, it is a tactic… not everyone thinks that is what we need to dogmatically stick to. It is one thing to use Non-Violence as a rhetorical device in corporate media to spread your inspirational actions but it is another thing to preach it as your dogma in your private circles and use it to stop material damage to the infrastructure of ecocide. I see the former being invoked much greater than the latter.” — A CONVERSATION ON THE SACRED STONE CAMP, Sept 4, 2016

One may also wonder about the Pledge of Resistance being “organized” by the CREDO corporation: “Many thanks to our friends at CREDO who organized the Pledge of Resistance against Keystone XL—the Bakken Pipeline pledge borrows liberally from their work.” Bold Iowa, Source]

ran-credo-kxl

Above poster from the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance, 2013

All eyes ON one (single) pipeline.

All eyes OFF the acceleration of genocide of Indigenous peoples in the Bakken.

All eyes OFF Bakken fracking oil.

north-dakota-crude-pipelines

Hero Worship in Death Cult

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Sacred beliefs appropriated for the creation of white savior celebrity: Several of our Lakota and Dakota relatives have had visions and dreams. They have been visited in a spiritual sense and have been told that there is a black poisonous snake trying to come among us. Our relatives have said this. [Source] Image: Bold Nebraska and director Jane Kleeb are featured on the cover of the July/August 2015 issue of Omaha Magazine. Photo by: Bill Sitzmann. Snake trainer: Andy Reeves with a Black Mexican Kingsnake

Bloomberg, August 31, 2016,  Woman Who Killed Keystone XL Battling New Pipeline Project:

“One of the most prominent voices among opponents of Keystone XL is now taking on the battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has faced hurdles in North Dakota and Iowa. After organizing grassroots efforts against TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL through Bold Nebraska, an activist group, Jane Fleming Kleeb has turned her attention to Energy Transfer Partners LP’s project. Bold Nebraska has since evolved into Bold Alliance, a group led by Kleeb, that focuses on corporations “threatening land and water,” she said in a telephone interview…

The protests thus far are unlikely to have meaningful impact on the timeline of construction, said Ethan Bellamy, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. in Denver. The worst-case scenario “would be getting a pipeline that is 99.9 percent complete, only to have the all important last 1,000 meters stopped because of a legal fight,” he said.

Jane Kleeb, recently elected as Nebraska’s Dem Party Chair, is founder and CEO of Bold Nebraska (founded in 2010) with an annual salary from her organization of US$100,000.00. In 2016 Kleeb announced the formation of an umbrella group, Bold Alliance, which would include chapters in three other states to start. Kleeb now refers to herself as Bold Nebraska director and Bold Alliance president.

Seed money for Kleeb’s organization was provided by the late Richard Holland. [Source]

Holland, “the Nebraska advertising executive who helped link up one of the great partnerships in business history, the one between Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman Warren Buffett and his deputy, Charles Munger.”

“As one of Buffett’s earliest investors, Holland reaped gains that made him and his wife, Mary, among Omaha’s wealthiest people and most generous philanthropists. While their net worth wasn’t public, their private charitable foundation reported assets of $158.8 million in 2014. — Richard Holland, Who Paired Buffett With Munger, Dies at 95, August 11, 2016

 

“He was a wonderful friend and partner for 60 years and an outstanding citizen both in respect to local and national activities.” — Warren Buffett [Source]

Bakken Oil Business Magazine, Nov/Dec 2012, Jan 2013 issue:

BNSF has been hauling Bakken crude out of the Williston Basin area for over five years. ‘In that time, we have seen the volume increase nearly 7,000 percent, from 1.3 million barrels in 2008 to 88.9 million in 2012, said Dave Garin, BNSF group Vice President of Industrial Products….

 

I received the following response from Jane Kleeb after contacting her about Bold Nebraska’s oppositional stance to the KXL pipeline’s new suggested route through Nebraska: ‘We are waiting for all the conservative politicians who say they care about property rights and family farmers and ranchers to actually give a damn and stand up against this pipeline. We welcome pipeline infrastructure (not in the Sandhills or that crosses the Aquifer) to ensure ND and MT oil is getting to U.S. markets.”

 

The leg from Cushing, OK to the Gulf Coast refineries has already been approved by the states through which it is being laid, as it did not require presidential approval and does not run through Nebraska. On March 12, 2012, President Obama personally announced his approval of “fast tracking” the southern leg of the KXL pipeline to relieve pressure on the WTI crude oil inventories for shipment to the Gulf Coast. Construction has started and is expected to be completed sometime in late 2013….

 

The main contributor to Bold Nebraska is Dick Holland, who has financially supported this progressive political movement in its opposition to the KXL pipeline. Bold Nebraska’s NIMBY approach will only cause further delays in completing the KXL.

Mr. Holland is a good friend of Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, and one of the world’s most successful investors. Any delay in the process by the U.S. State Department in recommending approval for the completion of the full route of the KXL by the President of the United States, will solely benefit the BNSF.

Bold Nebraska is 501(c)4 social welfare non-profit, which makes it exempt from federal income tax. It is not required to disclose investors, nor are donations to the organization tax deductible. [“If you are a donor looking to influence election but do not want to reveal your identity, the 501(c)(4) is an attractive option through which to send your cash.” Source] Bold Nebraska is an affiliate of ProgressNow (another 501(c)(4) group). Founding board members include Wes Boyd, founder of MoveOn.org (Avaaz co-founder) and Rob McKay, chairman of the board of the Democracy Alliance ). It has received funding from the Tides Foundation, the Tides Advocacy Fund (yet another 501(c)4 group), New Venture Fund and Cloud Mountain Foundation.

Kleeb, a former MTV correspondent is also the former director of Change That Works Nebraska and former executive director of Young Democrats of America. Joining liberals before her, the April, 2013 Rolling Stone magazine (a mainstream publication assigned with the task of manufacturing celebrities as chosen by elite foundations) featured Kleeb under the heading: The Fossil Fuel Resistance: Meet the New Green Heroes, Jane Kleeb: The Keystone Killer.

Kleeb’s spouse, Scott Kleeb is the former CEO and President of Energy Pioneer Solutions. It is reported that Scott Kleeb owned 29 percent of Energy Pioneer Solutions, as did Jane Kleeb.

On May 12, 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported that “A $2 million commitment arranged by the nonprofit Clinton Global Initiative in 2010 went to a for-profit company part-owned by friends of the Clintons”.  Prior to this, in 2006 Scott Kleeb lost bids to represent Nebraska in congress. In 2008 he was the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate seat in Nebraska but was defeated.

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The Real Black Snake: The Bakken Frack Oil

The Fort Berthold reservation “has  only six field officers responsible for monitoring more than 1,300 oil wells scattered across more than 1,500 square miles of reservation. Those wells pump out more than 386,000 barrels of oil every day, accounting for a third of all oil produced in North Dakota – the nation’s No. 2 oil producer.” — Tribal Environmental Director: ‘We Are Not Equipped’ for N.D. Oil Boom, May 16, 2015

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An oil tanker truck and tanker train cars on the reservation. Wells there are pumping about 386,000 barrels of oil a day, a third of North Dakota’s output. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times, 12, 29, 2014 [In North Dakota, a Tale of Oil, Corruption and Death Where Oil, Corruption and Bodies Surface.]

mha-refinery

The site for a planned oil refinery on the Fort Berthold Reservation. Its future is being newly debated with the change in tribal government. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times, 12, 29, 2014 [In North Dakota, a Tale of Oil, Corruption and Death Where Oil, Corruption and Bodies Surface.]

“In one case, the surface water intake 14 feet below surface carried BTEX compounds into the Water Treatment Plant resulting in a Treatment Plant shutdown. Benzene was above the EPA’s National Primary Drinking Water Standard Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL). The oil appears to readily disperse as observed during both test conditions and these incidents….Rapid dispersion in flowing water is likely to occur under turbulent conditions.” — Bakken Shale Crude Oil Spill Evaluation Pilot Study, April, 2015

The Fort Berthold Indian Reservation sets a standard on drilling locations. The state and society (as silence must be interpreted as acquiescence) has sacrificed the people of Fort Berthold to live as lab rats (another callous western invention) to determine the full effects of breathing and drinking frack poisons. This shares similarities to a long list of depraved experiments conducted by the US government on non-anglos such as the Tuskegee Experiment. This particular experiment was, a study carried out between 1932-1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service which deliberately allowed the natural progression of untreated syphilis in African-American men under the guise of receiving free health care from the United States government. [Source] One must also be mindful of the fact that in siege warfare, routing an enemy in a stronghold is to poison his water, then he will surrender without a fight. Further, frack poisons will make it to the surface. BNSF is the connection between this hidden devastation.

“The mineral leases offered by the oil industry brought sudden wealth to some of the 14,000 members of MHA Nation. Since fracking took off in 2008, the tribes have collected hundreds of millions of dollars in oil money, but most of the wealth flowed to those who owned property with oil under it. Life for many of the rest remains bleak. — Tribal Environmental Director: ‘We Are Not Equipped’ for N.D. Oil Boom, May 16, 2015

The Dakota Access will mean increased production in both the Bakken frack poison fields and the Alberta tar sands. Many within mainstream activism have been calling Dakota Access the KXL end run, built in tiny pieces. One must consider if this could be classified as a competition as to which nation can sustain oil overproduction: Russia, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and China control the Middle East oil.

When the STOP KXL campaign was launched onto the public in February of 2010 – all eyes that should have been on fracking the Bakken shale and the plans for Buffett’s rail dynasty that would transport it (via BNSF) were instead glued to a phony Keystone XL campaign that not only stopped nothing, but annihilated an entire social structure of Fort Berthold Indigenous Peoples along with their health and poisoned Earth’s ecosystems, while at the same time making Buffett/BNSF billions.

Ensuring the Invisible Remains Invisible

The reframing of the Bakken Pipeline as the Dakota Access by the NPIC now underway (via the continued repetition of the chosen later) must be examined  as a carefully amended campaign strategy. This minor amendment, that few would take note of strategically, reframes the focus in one simple stroke, by making what could (and should) be the focus of environmentalists and social justice activists – the Bakken itself – instantly invisible. When the name Bakken is removed from the equation (campaign) – so are all references to the devastation happening in the Bakken to the Indigenous peoples and all life. When Dakota Access becomes #NoDAPL – an uprising is effectively changed into a logo, then channeled into a social metrics campaign where only numbers count. Within the NPIC, framing and language are everything.

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Above: The original NGO slogan.

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Above: Following what becomes an Indigenous rights story in national media “Stop the Bakken Pipeline” becomes “Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline with the emphasis on the hashtag #NoDAPL.

iowa-bakken

The above poster/meme is one of the more honest ones.  In summary, it’s fine for Indigenous peoples to live and breathe the devastation arising from the Bakken oil fields – but do not dare bring such  devastation and poison to the white man’s doorstep. Collectively, Euro-Americans accept that the Indigenous peoples must pay for the white man’s  privilege and western lifestyle – however high the price.

The Sacagawea Pipeline

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There is a lesser known pipeline being resisted that has not captured the attention of the NPIC. The Sacagawea Pipeline, under construction, is located in Fort Berthold. Lake Sakakawea is the drinking water source for many western North Dakota cities, including those who live on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. Lake Sakakawea covers approximately 243,000 acres of water, 125,000 acres of land and 1,500 miles of shoreline.

The Sacagawea Pipeline Company is developing the 91 mile Sacagawea pipeline to deliver crude from points in McKenzie and Dunn Counties south of the river to points north of Lake Sacagawea. Sacagawea Pipeline Company is a joint venture between Paradigm Energy Partners, *Phillips 66 Partners, and Grey Wolf Midstream.” Grey Wolf Midstream is an affiliate of Missouri River Resources, a Three Affiliated Tribes chartered energy company in North Dakota. The Three Affiliated Tribes are the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Sahnish (Arikara) (MHA). [*Buffett’s firm Berkshire Hathaway now owns 14% of Phillips 66 shares, making it Bershire’s sixth largest holding. Source: Warren Buffett’s $1 billion bet on oil, February 5, 2016]

This pipeline, which is reported as nearly complete, is now under investigation by federal pipeline regulators “after former contractors said the pipeline was installed under the lake without being properly inspected. The current contractor maintains the pipeline was inspected and the allegations are false claims being made by workers who were fired.” [Source]

The Sacagawea Pipeline is pictured under construction on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, in Mountrail County, N.D., near Lake Sakakawea. Amy Dalrymple/Forum News Service

The Sacagawea Pipeline is pictured under construction on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, in Mountrail County, N.D., near Lake Sakakawea. Amy Dalrymple/Forum News Service

One may question why there is growing resistance against the Dakota Access pipeline yet apparently none against this one: “The Laborers Union, which supports the Dakota Access Pipeline being constructed by union contractors, questioned last week why pipeline opponents are so vocal about that project but not speaking out about the Sacagawea Pipeline.” [Source]

It’s fair question. The Standing Rock Sioux Nation sought an injunction based on the claim that the project will damage sites of cultural and historical significance. Contamination of Lake Sakakawea would leave those most vulnerable with no fresh water source.

“Our members find it hard to understand why protesters have targeted a pipeline that’s being built the right way, but we don’t hear a word about the pipeline just installed under Lake Sakakawea that workers say wasn’t properly inspected.” — Kevin Pranis, a spokesman for the Laborers International Union of North America in North Dakota [Source]

What is likely in the case of the late protests against the Sacagawea pipeline is the growing tribal knowledge and concern over the frack oil, as the process pollutes freshwater sources with hazardous chemicals, oil and hydrocarbons, radioactive radon, and biocides – with no process or technique for treating this contaminated water. What is absolute is that it is those who own the media (not coincidentally the same elites that own the non-profit industrial complex) that decide on who and what the media spotlight will shine upon. Native land defenders are essentially ignored, unless it furthers elite interests.

 [Document: Garrison Project – Lake Sakakawea, Oil and Gas Management Plan, North Dakota, 2013]

The Temporary Victory

The irony is that it was none other than Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska who snowballed a campaign against the Dakota Access by establishing a media presence. This is not to say there was no resistance prior to the “arrival” of Kleeb, rather, it is her privilege (and financiers) that allows her to use the media to her advantage while the undercurrent of deep-rooted racism in America ensures little light is shone upon those who are exploited the most. Another fair question is why Bold, 350, Greenpeace, etc. aren’t shining a spotlight on the Sacagawea pipeline. The ugly truth is that it is of no financial or political interest to them.

One could question why Kleeb waited so long to establish media presence with Energy Transfer Partners having already obtained 100 percent of the easements while 22% of the pipeline has “already been welded and lowered into trenches, and three-fourths of the route has been cleared”. [Source]

Consider that although Kleeb was provided a leadership role in the resistance, via the media, she is not a presence at the camp. It is safe to assume that such media presence could secure lucrative funding. After all, that’s the primary driving force amongst NGOs in the NPIC, who share many similarities to ambulance chasing. The definition of ambulance chasing is “a professional slur which refers to a lawyer soliciting for clients at a disaster site”. Employed by the media over time, it later became a derogatory term for direct advertising. This is an accurate description of elite financed NGOs who employ the same tactics. Kleeb appropriates sacred beliefs of the Indigenous by sporting a captive black snake on her arm for personal/celebrity gain, yet one would be hard-pressed to find Kleeb speaking to the plight of those who reside in the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation whose prospects for future generations are grim at best due to the frack oil boom. The real black snake is the fracking – not the pipeline infrastructure – but the toxic fracked crude it transports.

The answer to the question as to why Kleeb waited so long to establish media presence becomes more clear on September 9, 2016: “The Obama Administration Temporarily Blocks the Dakota Access Pipeline | The surprise move came after a federal judge declined to stop the 1,100-mile fossil fuel project’s construction.” Considering the newly elected Nebraska Democratic Party leader Jabe Kleeb, and her partner Scott Kleeb’s very close ties to the democrat party, and her organization’s seed money coming from Warren Buffett’s (Obama’s personal confidant and financial advisor) long-time associate Richard Holland, one could safely theorize that the decision to nix this pipeline was already determined by the elites and its stoppage will be dictated by the state at their behest. Hence, efforts to stop/delay this pipeline (while oil price remains at an all time low amidst a glut) were perhaps no more than theatre to Kleeb and those that started latching on at the late hour. A ruse reminiscent of Keystone XL,  where some are going to win and some are going to lose, but it will be business as usual regardless. With elections around the corner, consider media also threw a bone to accompany the “surprise” announcement:

“Regardless, Dakota Access looks like a tentative success for Native protestors and the climate activists who supported them. It also hints at how actively the current Democratic administration will involve itself in environmental issues, especially when pushed by the climate movement.” [Emphasis added]

In others words, if you weren’t going to vote for Clinton, you should now.

The “surprise” announcement also incidentally honoured 350.org’s campaign that “President Obama could step in any time and say “no” to this whole thing, like he did for Keystone XL.”  In what appears to be a very orchestrated “ending”, in front of the U.S. elections, it’s important to recall that 350.org has access to both Obama and the White House (although one can be certain this is not the only NGO with such access). The reality is, the state does not care about Indigenous people – in America or the world at large, regardless of what the media and NGO circus would have you believe. Indigenous history to present day actions and continued genocide – confirms this to be true without doubt.

The Literal End

“The demons shoot steel lances into our Sacred Grandmother Earth, injecting poisons and explosives, saying leaving a concrete spear will prevent cross contamination between aquifers, including the likely scenario of wellhead abandonment.” – Harold One Feather

From 1947 to 2010, more than 1 million wells were fracked in the Bakken. Industry envisions “an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 wells to frack the Bakken Formation and adjacent stores of oil and gas in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota – up from the area’s current boom of 8,000, one-eighth of which are located on the Ft. Berthold Indian Reservation.” (2014)

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Keystone XL via Google: located by US HWY 12, west of Standing Rock. Note the new massive grain elevators by the new rail line for a future oil transloading facility.

That the rightful caretakers/defenders of the land which today constitutes the whole of United States, represent the poorest group of people in the United States (five of the top ten poorest places being reservations located in South and North Dakota) – while simultaneously being subjected to the effects of environmental, cultural and social devastation brought on by a billion dollar industry composed of hundreds of thousands of fracking wells (there are 300,000 hydraulically fractured wells in South Dakota alone) – is an abomination beyond compare.

Poverty and health problems are rampant. Average life expectancy is below 60.” — Tribal Environmental Director: ‘We Are Not Equipped’ for N.D. Oil Boom, May 16, 2015

While it is true that tribes such as MHA have partnered with industry, dire poverty, the loss of culture due to the relentless pressure of Anglo assimilation (as well as the necessary inclusion of western values) and social breakdown all contribute to a deep desperation for a better life. No one is in a position to judge the responsive behavior of the native to their collective subjugation.

Compare such dire poverty with those  suffering firsthand the effects of fracking oil to the obscene profits as outlined above, and with those of Warren Buffett: “Annual revenue at the railroad has risen 57 percent, and earnings more than doubled to $3.8 billion since Warren Buffett bought it [BNSF] … As Forbes reported last year: His company, Berkshire Hathaway, purchased Burlington Northern Santa Fe for $34 billion four years ago. FORBES estimates its value has doubled since then. Part of the reason: hauling oil out of the Bakken formation of North Dakota.”(Warren Buffett and the Keystone Decision, November 9, 2015[Emphasis added]

A typical Bakken well is expected to continue producing oil for approx. 45 years. After this time, the well is expected to stop producing oil. Over this “life” cycle, this typical well is expected to yield approx. US $23 million in profit to the producer. In July of 2014 oil production in North Dakota hit a record of 1 million barrels of oil per day – up from less than 200,000 barrels of oil per day in 2007. [Source]

Industry has already drilled several thousand wells in the Bakken and expects 20 to 40 more years of drilling in the region. Industry estimates the Bakken region may see 40,000 to 100,000 more wells drilled in the future. Approx. six years ago, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that the Bakken region may contain 3 billion-4.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil. However, with the development of the Three Forks formation, the USGS expects this amount to nearly double. Many in the industry believe these aforementioned estimates are far too low suggesting that up to 96 billion barrels of oil could in due time be pumped out of the Bakken with even higher yields possible as technology improves. [Source]

Bottom line – Indigenous peoples cannot and will not survive this. This is genocide.

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, and Counterpunch. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can follow her on twitter @elleprovocateur]

[Forrest Palmer is an electrical engineer residing in Texas.  He is a part-time blogger and writer and can be found on Facebook. You may reach him at forrest_palmer@yahoo.com.]

Further reading:


Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse | Part I

Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse – Part II

Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse – Part III | Beholden to Buffett

Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse – Part 1V | Buffett Acquires the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

 

 

 

 

 

A CONVERSATION ON THE SACRED STONE CAMP

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September 2016

 

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A NightFall Editor: First off, can you tell us a little bit about the Dakota Access Pipeline?

Anonymous Participant: The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), is owned by a Houston, Texas based corporation called Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. which created the subsidiary Dakota Access LLC that is building the pipeline. The DAPL, also known as the Bakken Pipeline, is proposed to transport 450,000 barrels of crude oil per day (which is fracked and highly volatile) from the Bakken fields of North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. The current route of the DAPL will cross over the Ogallala Aquifer (one of the largest aquifers in the world) and under the Missouri River twice (the longest river in the United States). Dakota Access has systematically failed to consult with tribes and conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In early August, Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge announced that, along with Marathon Petroleum, it will make a significant investment in the Bakken Pipeline System, including the controversial Dakota Access pipeline. As part of their statement, Enbridge also noted that, “Upon successful closing of the transaction, Enbridge and Marathon Petroleum plan to terminate their transportation services and joint venture agreements for the Sandpiper Pipeline Project [a crude oil pipeline proposed for northern Minnesota.]” We know that this influx of resources from Enbridge will only speed up the construction process.

NF: When and how was the Sacred Stone Camp established?

AP: The camp is at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers. This is important location for the Mandan origin story as the place where they came into the world after the great flood. Where the two waters meet, created I?ya? Wakhá?agapi Othí, spherical Sacred Stones (thus the colonizers’ term ‘Cannon Ball River’), but after the Army Corp of Engineers dredged and flooded the rivers in the 1950s, the flow has changed and Sacred Stones are no longer produced. The camp is surrounded by historic burial grounds, village grounds and Sundance sites that would be directly impacted by this pipeline. The water of the Missouri River is essential to life on the Standing Rock Reservation as well as all of the nations downstream. On April 1st, 2016, a group of over 200 supporters, led by forty riders on horse, under the Lakota name, “Chante tin’sa kinanzi Po”, which translates as “People, Stand with a Strong Heart!” left Fort Yates for a thirty mile trek to the camp located just north of Cannonball, North Dakota. They setup up tipis and a sacred fire. This camp has swelled in the past two months and has had multiple satellite camps across the river on private as well as unceded land on both sides of the river.

NF:  What is daily life like in the camp?

AP: Cooking, cleaning, gathering and chopping firewood and hanging out, especially around the campfire sharing food largely defined camp life. There are always families of all generations populating the camp. You can hear the people playing the drum, giving the camp its own heartbeat. Stories and memories are shared like water. Laughter and life are not uncommon. The reality of the situation is that the people have been resisting the U.S. Empire and continuing genocide for so long that the drones and military surveillance flying above the camp the whole day becomes almost forgettable; like living next to a waterfall, the sound becomes a part of the landscape. We do counter-surveillance, logging the enemies movements. We can see all the pipeline construction equipment on the east side of the river. Everyday there are prayers of resistance offered to the water, earth and ancestors. Without the water of life the camp and we would die.

NF:  How have folks at the camp mobilized to stop the pipeline thus far?  Has it been solely a publicity campaign/symbolic protest thus far or have folks directly interfered with construction of the pipeline?  Are there discussions about tactics at the camp?  Did these change after the Army Corps of Engineers approved the pipe- 7 line crossing the river and/or after the arsons affecting DAPL construction sites in Iowa?  As I see it, the camp and the arsons are complementary rather than conflicting tactics for stopping the pipeline; is this generally how people feel at the camp or is there a range of opinions on the matter?

AP: Like with any struggle, the people are not homogenous in thought and tactic. Much of the camp’s rhetoric is of the “Non-violent Direct Action” type. Lock your arm to this piece of deconstruction equipment and take a picture with a banner for Facebook. But the Warrior Culture that is so rich in Lakota memory seems to counter a lot of the liberal, non-violent, NGO types. Comrades saw what happened in Iowa, heard about the $1,000,000 in damage and got inspired. I wouldn’t say that it was publicly celebrated because the camp’s tactic of “Non-violence” is the image they want to perpetuate. Like I said, it is a tactic… not everyone thinks that is what we need to dogmatically stick to. It is one thing to use Non-Violence as a rhetorical device in corporate media to spread your inspirational actions but it is another thing to preach it as your dogma in your private circles and use it to stop material damage to the infrastructure of ecocide. I see the former being invoked much greater than the latter.

NF:  How has the camp’s location on private land affected its character?  I would imagine the fact that it’s on private land gives it some protection against police but also means that if folks at the camp did engage in any illegal activities the land owner would be in a vulnerable position with regards to legal repression.  Is that a concern?  Does the person who owns the land have more say than others about tactics or daily matters at the camp?  What does the decision making process look like?

AP: The question of “private land” is especially difficult to address when we factor in Reservations (or what the U.S. Empire originally called and created them for, Prison of War Camps). The reservations are actually Federal Land. This means that local county and state police cannot enter it. A huge reason why Dakota Access (the company) is not building the pipeline thru the rez but literally a couple hundred meters north of it. When the reservations were created, imperial logic of “borderization” was imposed; meaning, the communal and nomadic lands used for Life were divided by borders: fencing for animal domestication, invisible lines drawn on maps to denote “property” i.e. who owns what, etc. This fundamentally changed people’s relation to land. And this set up the infrastructure/hierarchies for surveillance and policing. The camp exists in a way that resists this imperial imposition. We share food and water without hesitation. We have no leader. We all have knowledge to share and learn from each other. We recognize that the borders we build between ourselves are not “natural” anymore than the flooding in the 1950s by the Army Corps of Engineers is. They do not spread our Wildfire, so we continue to keep the eternal flame lit. Instead of framing things in colonial terms of “legal/ illegal”, it makes more sense at the camp to think in terms of effectiveness; effectiveness of stopping this genocidal project so the people can reclaim their Way of Life.

NF:  How can folks in the Twin Cities support the camp and keep up with what’s going on?

AP: Unicorn Riot has been doing amazing media coverage the entire duration of the camp and you can can thoroughly updated by reading and watching their media at their website “www.unicornriot.ninja” search for tag: DAPL

Visit the camps offical website: sacredstonecamp.org From there you can donate to the legal defense, see what supplies are needed, and more. Lastly, come to the camp! Everybody is welcome.

 

Download the Nightfall September 2016 issue:

https://nightfall.blackblogs.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/236/2016/06/NIGHTFALL-TWO.pdf

 

A Desert Oasis – A Synonym For Mirage

Wrong Kind of Green Op-ed

September 9, 2016

by Forrest Palmer with Cory Morningstar

 

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Cheetahs as accessories: no rainforest required. Cheetahs are status symbols for the ultra rich as they are expensive and  illegal to obtain. (Credits: pixte.com)

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“The world’s first hotel with a tropical rainforest is set to open in Dubai. The Rosemont Hotel & Residences will open in 2018, and will be managed by Hilton Worldwide.” [Source]

It was recently revealed that Dubai is in the midst of building an actual rainforest in a luxury hotel within the city.  According to CNN, this stroke of genius (or more likely, insanity) will have the following amenities available to its guests as detailed by DJ Armin, principal architect and managing partner of ZAS Architects Dubai:

“Inside the rainforest, we’ve created a landscape akin to a full-scale tropical environment — complete with adventure trails, a sandless beach, a splash pool, waterfalls, streams and a rainforest cafe,” says Armin.

There will also be a “prehistoric Jurassic-inspired marsh.”

“Technological features include an advanced sensory rain system that creates a 360-degree experience, simulating the sensation of being surrounded by rainfall without actually getting wet.”

Sensors control where the rain will fall depending on where people are detected.

Water will be collected, stored from condensation and recycled to create a humid environment similar to a tropical rainforest.

The outdoor rainforest will be located on the top level of the entertainment podium that connects the hotel and residential towers.

The project is still at an early stage, but it appears the rainforest will be open to the public as well as hotel guests.

By any rational reasoning, this is a veritable waste of resources that is indicative of the momentary and dwindling spoils of war that man has decided to utilize in its short Pyrrhic victory with the environment itself .  Yet, this is one of many projects that are ongoing by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the country in which the capital city of Dubai resides, to build a desert wonderland for anyone with enough money to experience a ‘genuine heaven on Earth’.

And although this dance with fantasy is beyond delusional as this incessant growth continues presently, there is an acknowledgement by the leaders in the UAE that the ongoing building of this dream world is in danger by their acknowledgement that an absolute storm is brewing in the form of catastrophic climate change.  F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function”, but this missive doesn’t hold true when it comes to conflicting ideas that are manifested in the tangible aspect of everyday life which can’t exist under illogical circumstances.  Hence, the UAE can’t in one hand have an entire economic system  whose solvency is wholly dependent on 85% of its exports being oil and at the same time address the fact that said oil being exported is responsible for the entire region in which the country resides no longer able to maintain human life in the not too distant future.

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And at a more detailed level, this dreamland built by way of the largesse available through the amount of oil produced per day in the country means that the cause of their ultimate demise will be the liquid that lies underneath the feet of its citizens and provides them the economic resources to build such opulent edifices as an artificial rainforest. The UAE is currently producing approximately 2.9 million barrels of oil a day.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a barrel of oil constitutes 0.43 metric tons of carbon emitted into the atmosphere.  This means that the UAE’s oil production is responsible for daily emissions equivalent to 1.25 million metric tons of carbon and yearly emissions of 455 million metric tons.  And although this is a small percentage of the total amount of oil and overall fossil fuels that are drilled, mined and consumed each day, it still illustrates how the United Arab Emirates is complicit in its inevitable demise.   It is but one brick in a wall constituted of the fossil fuel industry that is built upon a global community (mainly Western nations)  consuming 94 million barrels of oil a day (2014 estimates). Yet, it is still a very vital component of the oil equilibrium that allows the economy to function which is to the overall detriment of the physical world we depend on for our continued existence.

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Source: Squares Real Estate

And as the rainforests are an indispensable component of our global ecosystem that sustains life on Earth and has now been relegated to the décor of a hotel for the rich and famous, we must ask ourselves what exactly the frivolity placed on such an important part of our survival is causing at the grassroots level.  To ascertain the precarious situation in which the once expansive rainforest, the lungs of the Earth, are in currently, it is important to look at the destruction that has been caused and its continuing to be placed on its ever weakening back. The rainforests are a network of vegetation that is found  in Asia, Africa, Central America, the Caribbean, as well as small vestiges in the Pacific Northwest, with the largest expanse being that found in South America.  At one time, rainforests covered 14% of the land surface; now it is a mere 6% and dropping precipitously.  This is almost entirely due to man’s insatiable need for consumer growth through extracting irreplaceable resources and minerals from these regions.  At the current rate of destruction, which is about 1 acre each second, the rainforest will be wholly destroyed by the middle of the 21st century, the most optimistic of assessments.  With the loss of this forestation, the diversity of species will continue to fall at apocalyptic rates and ensure that human life will dissolve with all the other species that are being designated for extinction with each passing day.

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Yet, the ornamental aspects of biodiversity ensure that the removal of the rainforest from its natural habitat to a small facsimile amount  will go on unabated for the foreseeable future.  Consequently, the people have been indoctrinated into believing that it is now possible to visit a self contained rainforest with all the Western amenities and luxuries you can imagine at your disposal in the coziest of conditions.

Geoengineering for consumerism within a sweltering desert – branded as sustainability.

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The orangutan is just one species of thousands losing their rainforest habitat to the Western whims (“sustainable” palm oil, “green” biomass, FSC-certified logging, etc.) of industrial civilization.

This is the maniacal ongoing process of removing an actual rainforest from where it can thrive and maintain itself as a living organism and instead transplanting it to an area where not only vegetation is no longer sustainable, but where life itself may be unsustainable in the not too distant future.  It is beyond maddening to see this type of behavior by anyone who is aware of the consequences of our daily actions in terms of the desecration of what may be all living organisms on the planet Earth.

The folly of man is to believe that science will be the magic elixir that will sustain planetary survival outside of a natural word.  Hence, all the components that make a living, breathing planet have no usage any longer as we transition from a natural world to an artificial one. As alchemy, which was at one time deemed a science, has been proven to be useless, at what juncture are we to say that science and technology is rubbish in being ascendant to nature?  As science is at the basis of all advances in a technocratic society, such as the Western world, the problems caused by the resulting technology are increasing at such a rate that any honest assessment must come to the following conclusion:  Even though modern technology may have solved certain woes in societies, subsequent matters have worsened globally through utilization of these technologies that are more numerous in nature and even just as bad or worse than the original troubles.  Wherever the line resides between a sane and insane world, it has definitely been crossed when man actually has scaled to the mythical and illogical heights of believing it can actually displace a rainforest from its natural environment to a replication of sorts in the most unnatural of places.

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“Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah will soon bear yet another pricey piece of “fruit,” with the manmade archipelago—one of three artificial islands in the UAE city—plotting to add yet another item to its long list of lodges by 2017.Sporting an estimated cost of $1.4 billion, the sweet resort—whose interiors will be dressed by London-based company GA Design—is being touted as a “foodie paradise,” with several upscale restaurants (led of course by award-winning chefs) inked into its blueprint, on top of an assortment of retail spots. One of the structure’s coolest components is undoubtedly its sky pool, set to sit 295 feet off the ground near its median.” [Source]

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“This bold project belongs to Deep Ocean Technology (DOT), a company that plans to develop spectacular underwater hotels for luxe travelers. One of these hotels, called the Water Discus Hotel, will be built in Dubai, and it will look very much like an alien spaceship that landed into the coral-populated ocean.” [Source]

As there are definite undertones and intimations of a problem brewing by just the existence of these enclaves, such as the luxury hotels in Dubia, that are used as enclosures to divide the haves from the have nots, there is no glass thick enough or technology advanced enough or place removed far away enough to distance those who reside inside the domes of safety from the ramifications of the same inventions that give them their privileges in life.  Even though the administrators of Dubai have been able to actually devise temporary settings that mirror the mirage of any desert dweller who has lost his mind due to the extremities of heat prostration, the tangible aspects of it are just as imaginary when it comes to the realities of longevity and sustainability.

A mirage is just a mirage – no matter how many people profess its presence is anything but.

 

 

 

 

Days of Celebration – For Those None The Wiser

Wrong Kind of Green Op-ed

September 8, 2016

by Forrest Palmer with Cory Morningstar

 

 

“Mother Water – don’t they understand that you’re a living being? ” — Hija de la laguna, Peru

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Photo: Beautiful daughter of a fisherman. Kalri Lake, Pakistan.

 

Did you know that last week (August 28 – September 2) was World Water Week in Stockholm?  It is an annual week where the world is focused on global water issues. This is an acknowledgement that there is a problem with freshwater scarcity at a global level and an attempt to address it accordingly by the Western world. As commendable as this is on the surface, when you look underneath the rug of that which is comprised of mainstream acceptance that the environmental problems are worrisome (with water being one of almost countless others), it seems as if these various activities can best be described as giving a pretense that there is some actual work being done to solve the particular problems at hand. To demonstrate the flimsiness of it all, the average person is given a veritable buffet of choices regarding which particular problem he or she wishes to personally address by action.

water week 2015.

Therefore, if you don’t actually concern yourself with water scarcity, yet you feel as if species extinction and poaching is a problem, then you can focus on World Wildlife Day on March 3rd. If you are abhorred by the amount of deforestation being committed in this world, then there is always the International Day of Forests on March 21st. If you have a problem with the amount of wetlands being destroyed globally, then you can always circle the calendar on February 2nd to “protest” this ongoing loss loss (a “click” of a mouse defining the word “protest” in the West). And here are some more days that the average citizen can choose amongst an abundance of “protest” throughout the ongoing year:

  • World Ocean’s Day – June 8th
  • World Population Day – July 11th
  • Ecological Debt Day – September 8th
  • World Soil Day – December 5th

And the list goes on and on and on.

And after all these events that have been devised by the Western world over the past few decades to focus on all the particular issues, there has been little to no action achieved in having any effect on the ever worsening ecocide. Therefore, by any unbiased, honest opinion, these daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly celebrations that happen annually are just superficial attempts at the establishment giving the semblance of action on all the issues that are plaguing us as a species and nature as a whole. It is sloganeering for a sparse number of people in the Western world to feel as if they are collectively being socially responsible in regards to our ongoing quixotic war with the environment that we will inevitably lose in the most spectacular of fashions. The most insidious aspect of these days of recognition is what it does to individualize all of these particular issues to give the participants the idea that they are not interconnected. For example, World Ocean’s Day gives a person the ability to “protest” the dire state of our oceans while continuing to emit carbon throughout his or her daily lives that is the cause of ocean acidification, which ultimately is one of the primary issues plaguing all sea life and its environment.

Hence, there is no discussion about an actual change in the daily lives of people in the Western world or the smattering of nations that are attempting to replicate Western lifestyles and also act as the manufacturing base of the Global North, such as China and India.

To illustrate the fallacious aspects of these endeavors, let’s look on the fatuousness of World Car Free Day, which is upcoming on September 22nd. This is a day set aside for people in the Western world to not use their cars one day of the year as a sign of how carbon emissions are an environmental problem. In 2015, the global carbon emissions were at 32.1 billion tons. Although there are peaks and valleys of this during an entire calendar year, this is still an average of 87 million metric tons of carbon emissions daily.

In order to combat this egregious emission of carbon which is the basis for our ongoing atmospheric catastrophe (represented most problematically in climate change), these handful of events that leave it up to the volition of the average citizen to partake in are portrayed (or more likely perpetrated) as shining a light on the problem as a way of ultimately solving a particular issue. All evidence points to this as being anything but the case.

But in order to digest how futile this type of endeavor is, the focus must be on the amount of change elicited at a granular level on this one day of sacrifice. As the United States is hands down the worst perpetrator of carbon emissions globally per capita, in this instance regarding passenger vehicles, the data for this country will be utilized as the baseline for determining the worst possible case scenario regarding carbon emissions due to the cars and trucks in which usage is only being asked to be temporarily suspended for a single day. To begin with, the annual carbon emissions per car in the United States is approximately 4.7 metric tons per year, which means that the daily emission per car is about .012 metric tons.  This means that for the estimated 253 million passenger vehicles on the U.S. roadways there is a total daily emission of 3.25 million metric tons that the U.S. population is responsible for daily.

Therefore, utilizing the most extreme data available being that of the typical U.S. citizen and extrapolating the .012 metric tons emissions to every driver across the world committed to biking for a single agreed upon day, the most that could ever be achieved by ceasing all passenger vehicle transportation globally (with an estimate of 1.2 billion as of 2014) would be 14.4 million metric tons per day, which is a paltry 14.5% of the total global emissions from all sources.   And to further illustrate how miniscule that amount is regarding a day that is only symbolic and not substantive, the 14.4 million metric tons that could potentially be saved on Car Free Day would only be an infinitesimal .04% of yearly emissions.

By all evidence, this is the definition of the term “a drop in the bucket”.

Consequently, this clearly illustrates how the few moments per year that are utilized to bring a certain level of consciousness to the lay people are wholly useless. In perpetuating these annual events as a salve, it gives the individual participant in the Global North the false reality that he or she is actually making a difference in their singular choices of “protest” regarding what they personally feel is an issue.

The great black American social activist Audre Lorde said ““There is no such thing as a single issue struggle because we do not live single issue lives.”. This is no more true than when it comes to the environment when individual choices of what is considered important have no effect upon the global structures that are causing the profuse amount of carbon emissions (i.e., the economic system of capitalism, the reliance of fossil fuels for perpetual growth, the industrial basis of Western civilization, et. al.). Until we as a global community are willing to tackle all these issues at a macro level, then the choices we make as single citizens make no difference in the grand scheme of things and are only used to afford us the ability to sleep better at night with the false belief that we are being personally responsible.

As a global community our daily micro choices make a small difference and as long as the overwhelming majority have the ability to partake in all the endeavors that are the cause of carbon emissions, then any individual choices not to contribute in the readily available ability to destroy the Earth through Western comforts will be for naught.  As we have had a mountainous number of celebratory events since the first Earth Day in 1972 and have seen carbon emissions climb exponentially during this interval, we can say definitively that these aforementioned events have been ineffectual in any change in the behavior of the people in the Global North who are almost entirely responsible for the voluminous amount of carbon emissions.

On the flip side, very few understand that 50% of emissions come from 1% of the world’s population [Source: page 77, Kevin Anderson, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research)] Thus, one can legitimately argue that with over 7 billion people on our finite planet, only 1%-25% of the global populace actually has the capacity to slow down global warming – as they are the very ones creating it. But rather than dismantle the systems and western consumptive patterns that keep such disparities and horrific conflicts intact, the NPIC successfully creates discourse. They redirect what would be necessary and critical gestures to promote gestures that collectively will not disrupt current power structures, which are then in turn, glorified by media in tandem with the non-profit industrial complex.

An example of this would be turning off the water while brushing your teeth, ignoring the massive waste of fresh water due to industrial agriculture and nuclear. [Consider that thermoelectric power plants, including nuclear plants, make up 40% of freshwater usage in the US, while agriculture is responsible for 80-90% of US water consumption] In doing so, we collectively we keep the wealth in the hands of the few at the expense of others, many who live unbearably. Well intentioned gestures become empty gestures at best as long as we ignore root causes of our multiple and escalating crises. This very minority (the 1%, that is anyone who can afford to get on a plane) are brainwashed into believing further consumption (under the false guise of “green) will alleviate our climate crisis – which in reality – only accelerates it. This can easily be compared to the false solution of offsets – essentially little more than a green-sanctioned licence to continue polluting and destroying ecosystems, while simultaneously exploiting the world’s most vulnerable, in the rapid race to convert all natural resources, blood and sweat into capital. Far from calling these what they are – crimes against humanity and cultural acquiescence to global-scale progenycide – our society recognizes this as just another day on the New York Stock Exchange.

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Ultimately, we are past the eleventh hour of doing what is necessary to address all the social changes necessary to combat our ongoing global environmental catastrophe. Time will tell if this will ever be addressed accordingly. Yet, the doomsday clock keeps on ticking. The question is if anyone is listening.

 

‘Activism’ and Its Consequences: Syrian Refugees Are Not Subjects for a Social Media Gallery

Counterpunch

The Italian ‘activist’ was keen on that photo, as if her social media activism career was dependent on it. As if the misery of the poor Syrian child was not palpable enough in his dejected face and his rash-infested skin, she wanted to define a point of absolute misery for a perfect Instagram photo.

So she handed him a bucket filled with rocks collected from the arid Jordanian desert, not far away from the Syria border. He carried the heavy rocks and posed for the photo.

The boy, along with his family, and many others lived in tents in the middle of nowhere. The refugee camp was deemed ‘informal’. It received no water, electricity and not even regular supplies of food, however meagre. The refugees subsisted on what drivers racing at ridiculous speed on a nearby highway would toss their way.

But malnutrition was not the only enemy. No water also meant no washing, and skin diseases is something the Syrian refugees in the informal refugee camp all had in common.

To keep the tents in their intended location, the refugees had positioned buckets filled with rocks atop the wooden poles, thus keeping the tattered tents in place, especially during the gusts of violent sandstorms.

The ‘activists’ took their fill of photos with no particular purpose, aside from exhibiting their peculiar brand of solidarity, which often finds its way to social media platforms, accompanied with seemingly fitting emoticons and generalized, empty truisms: “Please do something,” followed by the emoticon that denotes feelings of anger or, “the children need us,” followed by the emoticon conveying tears, and so on.

Expectedly, their social media friends validate the empty gestures by exalting the courage, heroism and greatness of the person who took the photo. In reality, however, the ‘activists’ have done nothing but aggrandized their false sense of valor, injured the dignity of the proud refugees, while selling them plenty of false hope as they continue to await salvation in the desert.

The baffled Syrian boy, who must have participated in that charade in the hope of getting a sandwich or even a piece of chocolate, carried the bucket of rocks so that the Italian ‘activist’ would produce a photo that was the personification of despair. And it was picture perfect, indeed, followed by a fun-filled trip to the Dead Sea and other Jordanian attractions.

When a friend of mine, who was enraged by the dehumanizing display, conveyed the scene on to me, I was equally distressed, but not entirely surprised. I am all too familiar with that kind of ‘activism’. I was assaulted by it as a child in Palestinian refugee camps, was repulsed by it as a young reporter in Iraq and Lebanon and warned against it as a writer in later years.

This scene happened only a few days ago but, actually, it is a recurring reality, where ‘activists’ – westerners, especially – seek in the Middle East (and all over the world) a respite from their consumerism-driven, often uneventful world. They view their relationships with humanitarian crises as saviors, carrying the ‘White Man’s burden’ wherever they go, yet always aware, if not proud, of their privilege and their sense of superiority.

While there, indeed, exist true humanitarians with a clear purpose and an unmistakable sense of mission and little self-promotion, there are many others who have no identifiable purpose, aside from a fleeting interest, a sense of adventure, and an opportunity to unburden themselves from the nagging guilt.

They know well that the roots of conflict in the Middle East stems from 19th and 20th century colonialism. More recently, they know that the US war on Iraq has destroyed that country and destabilized the whole region for decades to come. They are fully aware of the horrendous implications of western interventionism – including those sold as ‘humanitarian’ interventions – on Libya and Syria and other countries in recent years. The ongoing tragedy in Yemen, which is advertised in the media as a solely internal Arab conflict, is also rooted in the American so-called ‘war on terror’, which shattered the country to pieces and undermined its internal cohesion.

But, for many, this is too messy, too complicated, and ‘too political.’ It is far easier to declare oneself an ‘activist’ and snap a thousand photos which parade victims of war in total isolation from one’s own moral responsibility.

Personal and collective ‘moral responsibility’ is a risky notion, for it invites more than ambiguous feelings of ‘guilt’ that misleadingly spread responsibility for war equally among all; instead, it propels a moral stance, mobilization, political pressure and direct action.

Many have given ‘activism’ such a bad name that the word itself has now become devoid of meaning.

Some use ‘activism’ as a platform to serve pre-existing political and ideological notions, unable to truly grow out of the limited confines of ideas which are mostly governed by groupthink, but never by true experience.

For them, the self-bestowed title ‘activist’, is self-validating and is often used to shut out those who dare to have opposing views.

Others position themselves as saviors – for example, saving the children of the Middle East – but would shy away from ever articulating a bold political stance against their own governments and their own culpabilities in ongoing wars and tragedies.

Although they might not be constantly aware of it, such ‘activists’ hold on to the legacy of Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘The White Man’s Burden’:

“Take up the White Man’s burden, Send forth the best ye breed

Go bind your sons to exile, to serve your captives’ need.”

They are utterly blind to their own transgressions and perceive their victims in an apolitical vacuum, or as victims of their own wrong-doing.

Humanitarianism is not a photo op: it is not an adventure; it is not a vacation; it is not a stress or guilt reliever; it should not be an expression of cultural hegemony or driven by a sense of superiority, and must refrain from selling false hope.

A true humanitarian activist is one who is able to make a tangible difference in the lives of others – focused, sensitive to cultural sensibilities, compelled by a tug of moral responsibility, able to read political contexts and daring enough to hold accountable those responsible for war and other collective tragedies.

Chances are the Syrian child with the bucket full of rocks had his photo exhibited to the delight of many other social media ‘activists’.

Yet chances are, he is still hungry and waiting.

(Italian writer Roman Rubeo contributed to this article.)

 

 

[Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is: ramzybaroud.net]

The Continued Branding and Co-optation of MLK

 

“Martin Luther King Jr. stood for revolutionary transformation; he is used today to support policies that he fought against.” [Source: The Co-opted MLK]

 

DeRay - McKesson-as-Martin-Luther-King-Jr-1024x602

Above image from Style Influencers Group: “Activist, Organizer and Baltimore Mayoral Candidate Deray Mckesson as Martin Luther King, Jr., Nick Graham shirt and tie, Stylist’s own ring.”

Style Influencers Group, Connecting Influencers and Brands: “With a network of the most powerful influencers in the digital space, SIG is the best option to connect dynamic brands with high quality content creators. SIG fosters meaningful relationships between consumers and brands by creating organic awareness, driving consumer engagement, and boosting brand loyalty among a multicultural audience with billions of dollars in spending power.”

 

Style Influencers Group Partners

The Real Problem with Jill Stein

Libcom

August 16, 2016

by Scott Jay

 

“The problem is not with Stein herself, rather the problem is with the entire conception of what the Left is and should be and how it ought to make decisions about moving forward”

 

The real problem with Jill Stein

 

Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for President, has come under widespread attack from Hillary Clinton’s unscrupulous supporters, but the real problem with Stein is how and why she became the most prominent left-wing candidate in the first place.

As we approach November, the attacks on Jill Stein will only increase from Hillary Clinton’s most enthusiastic supporters. These people are horrified by the possibility–however unlikely–that Donald Trump will become the next President of the United States, but they do not seem to be so horrified at the prospect of Hillary Clinton becoming President. They will largely be aware of Clinton’s support for the war in Iraq, her role as an architect of various brutal interventions as the Secretary of State in the Obama administration, her support for her husband’s policies of expanding mass incarceration, and her support for mass deportations. Yes, they will be aware of all of these. But they can put it all aside.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, is so bad because he rubs it in your face. That is abominable. Supporting Clinton, on the other hand, gives liberals a nice warm feeling. Sure, she has problems, they will say, but don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Then, in the next breath, they will declare that Jill Stein is the worst person who has ever walked this planet, because her very existence challenges the narrative of nice, warm-feeling liberalism in support of Hillary Clinton.

This is a problem for those of us on the radical and revolutionary spectrum of US politics, because we have to be clear about the utterly bankrupt attacks from Clinton’s defenders, but we also must have an independent critique of Jill Stein and the Green Party from our own perspective, and not from the neoliberal war hawk perspective.

A number of criticisms have circulated in recent months about Stein’s political platform, as well as the Green Party’s, which are not necessarily the same. Sure, we can point out some of her positions that we disagree with, and for some people there will be a litmus test that Stein cannot pass. There is nothing wrong with this. If sex work is the most important issue to you, and you are dissatisfied with her attitude on sex work, then you should not support her, and you should focus on sex work organizing. The radical community, and hopefully sex workers, will be better off for you having done that. Practical organizing over real issues that affect people’s lives will always be more worthwhile than electoral organizing.

The real problem, however, is not with any particular political position that Stein holds. Any person in her position will have some views which are just not good enough in some cases and that some radicals, rightly, cannot go along with. But the real problem is not in her political views, but in how she has become elevated by various forces on the Left to become the semi-official electoral representative of anti-capitalist struggle.

The real problem with Jill Stein is not so much with Stein as it is with the Left itself.

Why Jill Stein?

We need to ask this question, over and over again, because so many of our radically-inclined comrades are so unwilling to do so. Why Jill Stein? There are many people with politics as radical or even more so than hers who could be in the position she is in now. But they are not. Why is this the case? There is a simple answer to this question: the Green Party.

Stein has become the de facto leader of many on the Left because she won the Green Party nomination for President in 2012. This gave her the profile she has had for the last few months, has given her access to the media and has made her the presumptive and then the actual nominee for the Green Party in 2016. In other words, many people have decided that the Green Party is going to be the official channel by which these decisions will be made. This, and the fact that she has not completely discredited herself the way that some Greens have, is enough for some Leftists so that now “Jill Stein” is the answer to every political question.

Let that sink in for a moment. The Green Party in the US has a history of running candidates who use the party and then dump it for a career in Democratic Party politics. It is worth reviewing the role that the Green Party has played in helping the Democratic Party.

Audie Bock was an active Green Party member for several years when she ran for California State Assembly in 1999 as a Green, won, and then soon after left the Green Party. By 2002, she was officially a Democrat and ran against Congressmember Barbara Lee, stating that Lee’s opposition to the Afghanistan war was unpatriotic.

Rebecca Kaplan was also a mainstay of the Oakland Green Party for many years, running for City Council several times before winning in 2008. In order to earn the support of the Alameda County Central Labor Council, she changed her party registration to Democrat. She won the election and has been on the Council as a Democrat ever since. Kaplan remains a favorite of white progressives but does as little as anybody else on the Council to stop the police from killing Black men.

Ross Mirkarimi was a leading activist in the Green Party in San Francisco for several years and played a prominent role as an organizer for Ralph Nader’s campaign and the Green campaign for Matt Gonzalez for Mayor of San Francisco, which was a genuine threat to the candidacy of Gavin Newsom. Mirkarimi later won election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, changed his registration to Democrat, and then won election as Sheriff of San Francisco County, in charge of the jail system where guards forced gladiator battles between the inmates. Mirkarimi lost re-election in part due to charges that he battered his wife.

Jane Kim is currently a Democrat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors but she ran previously as a Green before switching her allegiance. Nonetheless, she is considered one of the most progressive members of the Board even though she supported a billion dollar “reform” of the City and County workers’ pension. She is currently running for a position in the California State Senate, for which she has earned the endorsement of Bernie Sanders.

Kaplan, Mirkarimi and Kim are all major political figures in Oakland and San Francisco. They all used the Green Party as a stepping stone into the Democratic Party, building left-progressive credentials and developing a base of support, then abandoning the Green Party when it suited their career. Of course, the Green Party cannot control every individual that enters its ranks, but it has shown no interest in doing anything about this problem. It appears to be perfectly happy to be a stepping stone for other people’s political aspirations. So long as there are people coming into the Green Party and campaigns that get some support and so long as there is an active base, everybody can feel like the Green Party is doing something positive and that is about all they want.

When people say that the Green Party can be an alternative to the Democratic Party, I wonder which Green Party they are talking about. This is the party that in 2004 ran David Cobb against Ralph Nader (who ran as an independent) because Nader was too opposed to the Democratic Party. Instead, Cobb ran a “safe state” campaign to assure that he would not hurt John Kerry’s chances against George W. Bush in states where the race was close. Fortunately for Cobb, his campaign was so irrelevant that it hardly mattered.

This is the party which has given Jill Stein the stamp of approval to be the official candidate of the Left. Had she not won the nomination in 2012, nobody would be talking about her today as an independent or anything else. There is something fundamentally wrong with a process where this party is left to decide who will be the Left’s official voice for a year or more.

Keynesian economics vs class struggle politics

This process leads us to two further problems with Jill Stein of which there is little recognition from her supporters. First, what does Stein have to offer? She regularly critiques inequality and racism and war, and that is useful. But what does she offer herself? The problem is, her answer to most questions is: “This is what I would do as President.” Burdened by student debt? I will cancel it! The President can appoint a Federal Reserve chair who will do that. Can’t afford healthcare? I will pass single-payer healthcare! Don’t have a job? We are calling for 20 million jobs!

That a person in Stein’s position can say that she will do these things is utterly ridiculous. Try telling poor people that Jill Stein is going to create 20 million jobs and give them free healthcare. While you are at it, you might as well promise them a monorail. They will laugh in your face like the charlatan that you are. She will do no such thing. Ever. She should not promise to do such things. The only way out of the immiseration of class inequality, racist violence and gendered oppression is mass organizing, resistance and revolt among working people. Which I am sure that Stein supports, but her propaganda is entirely focused on the various Keynesian measures that she will supposedly pass as President.

Stein may want to hold up the legacy of Eugene Debs, but she seems hardly interested in doing so in a meaningful way. Instead of telling working people what he would do as President, Debs was committed, over and over again, to telling people what they must do to challenge the capitalist system. “I would not be a Moses to lead you into the Promised Land,” Debs famously said, “because if I could lead you into it, someone else could lead you out of it.” His message to working people was, you have to go out and fight for the world that you want to live in and create it yourself, and it will take great sacrifice and struggle, sacrifice which Debs was more willing than most to make himself, spending many years in prison for his political organizing.

It would be great if Stein or anybody else wanted to run a campaign like Debs, a propaganda campaign whose sole purpose was to encourage people to revolt. Sadly, nobody wants to. The problem is not just that there is no great labor leader today like Debs, who led a an illegal railroad strike that was crushed by the military and later helped form the IWW. No, there are no labor leaders like that today, but that should not stop anybody from running a campaign with his message, right?

The problem is, everybody loves Eugene Debs but nobody wants to be Eugene Debs. They are embarrassed to say that working people have to revolt, that they should not trust leaders including themselves, that the poorest and most oppressed of our society have the most power to transform it, much more so than self-promoting candidates, bureaucrats and academics. No, you don’t say these things among polite company.

While there is a lower class, I am in it; and while there is a criminal element, I am of it; and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.

No, the Left today feels much more comfortable explaining how a modest tax increase on the richest one percent could pay for single-payer healthcare and a Green Jobs program, and if we could just convince enough college students and adjunct lecturers to organize for this then maybe some broad left-wing formation could develop that might be powerful enough to fight for it.

But that gets us to the other problem with Jill Stein.

Mental waterboarding

During the Greek negotiations with the European Union in the summer of 2015, all of the promises of SYRIZA were suddenly put to the test. The gruelling negotiations were often described as a coup, as the EU would impose its own sovereignty over the Greek people to bleed them even more than they already had. That there was no plan for this, the most likely outcome, says quite a bit, but that is another story.

What concerns us is that, during the negotiations stories came out that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was under so much pressure from the EU that it amounted to “mental waterboarding.” Considering the fate of Salvador Allende in Chile in the 1970s, Tsipras might consider himself lucky. Nonetheless, we now know that he was not willing to stand up to this pressure and folded.

In the post-SYRIZA era, we now have to ask of every person who wants to pose themselves as a social movement leader, what will you do in the face of “mental waterboarding?” This is a gruesome question to ask, but it has to be asked, not because this is how things turned out in Greece, rather because this is how everything always turns out everywhere. Neoliberalism will not face a serious challenge without responding with at least this much pressure. In the Green Party, we do not even get to mental waterboarding, instead everybody voluntarily abandons the facade of political independence as soon as they get anywhere near a position of power.

It would be nice if, as a gesture, these topics were taken up with some vigour among the Green Party and its supporters, but they are not. They do not even want to bother with the basic steps of trying to assure that various candidates are not going to just use the Party as a stepping stone for their career.

So, is Jill Stein ready for “mental waterboarding?” Has anybody even bothered to ask this question? If not, what do they expect to happen when she takes office, cuts the Department of Defense in half and ends funding to Israel? “We do not expect her to really do any of these things,” they will answer, and that is a good answer. We should follow that answer to its logical conclusion. But the point here is, when similar political forces approach some position of power, whether it is SYRIZA or the local Green Party candidate for City Council, these questions are rarely asked. When they are, a cadre of fools emerges from the woodworks to question why you would ever raise these things, as though their ability to end this conversation is going to help anybody challenge neoliberalism.

The reason why these questions are not addressed is because in many ways the Green Party, the Jill Stein campaign, and much of the Left exist largely for the benefit of their own participants. The problem is not with Stein herself, rather the problem is with the entire conception of what the Left is and should be and how it ought to make decisions about moving forward. So long as Jill Stein is fairly prominent and speaks from a fairly left-wing basis, that is enough for her supporters to go home at night and say, “I have done well,” and not worry about other problems, such as what if she is successful.

These difficult questions, the most practical questions there are about building a social movement, are left unaddressed because they pose difficult problems for which there is not really an answer–nor could there be until we actually try it out in practice. These difficult questions only remind the Left of its limitations, but many people prefer to read a book about Debs and put a Jill Stein bumper sticker on their car, maybe even argue with their neighbors about how so many problems could be resolved with a better fiscal policy that is totally reasonable. Unfortunately, such a fiscal policy will never happen and the task of expropriating the wealthy will be left to those who are the least likely to vote in this or any election.

It is not the case that everybody involved in political organizing in the US is simply looking for a warm fuzzy feeling when they go home at night. Rather, there are hundreds and thousands in cities like Ferguson and Baltimore and Anaheim and Salinas and Milwaukee and Oakland who have risen up against police violence. They are not looking for a good feeling, rather they are looking to protect their lives from state forces that want to kill them. They are not revolting out of inspiration over a Keynesian economic program or a promise to cancel their student loans, rather they are risking their lives and their livelihoods to construct a different world because they cannot survive in the one that they have been born into. They have nothing to lose but their chains.

Many of these people are now sitting in prison for years, charged with looting and arson and battery on an officer. They, too, do not want to be Eugene Debs, they simply did what they had to do to survive in a society that wants to destroy them. You do not have to ask whether these people are prepared for “mental waterboarding” as many of them are now suffering the same or worse.

Imagine Stein or her supporters talking to the young man whose brother was killed by the Milwaukee police, who says of the riots that “this is what you get” when the cops keep killing Black people. Or the people chanting “Black power” while a gas station burns down. Or the many people throwing bottles at police who are occupying their neighborhood. Yes, it is perfectly reasonable that a small tax increase will grant universal healthcare and could launch a jobs program, but maybe these perfectly reasonable solutions mean little to the people most consistently passed over by government programs. On the other hand, Stein’s comments about how to “avoid escalations like Milwaukee” suggest how out of touch she is for those whom escalation is a strategy for survival.

These young people, with their record of sacrifice and courage, ought to be the leaders. They are the basis for future challenges against the current neoliberal order, not the Green Party, no matter how anti-capitalist its official program may become.