Standing Rock Is Our Civil Rights Event

November 30th, 2016 - by admin

Bill McKibben / The Guardian & Josh Fox / Democracy Now! – 2016-11-30 01:36:43

Shot in the Back and Maced on November 2

(November 6, 2016) — Last Wednesday, as Water Protectors attempted to cross a river for prayer services, a police officer on a boat did the unthinkable!

“When American citizens can be shot in the back by law enforcement, we have a major problem.”
— Christian, Progressive

Standing Rock Is the Civil Rights
Issue of Our time — Let’s Act Accordingly

Bill McKibben / The Guardian UK

LONDON (November 29, 2016) — When John Doar died in 2014, Barack Obama, who’d already awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, called him “one of America’s bravest lawyers”. Without his courage and perseverance, the president said, “Michelle and I might not be where we are today”.

Doar was the federal lawyer sent south by the Kennedy and Johnson justice departments to keep an eye on the explosive centers of the civil rights movement. Those White Houses didn’t do enough — but at least they kept watch on things.

Doar escorted James Meredith to classes at the University of Mississippi, and helped calm crowds at the murder of Medgar Evers; he rescued activists from mobs during the Freedom Rides. A figure of history, in other words.

But history is just news from a while ago. Right now, we’re seeing a scene as explosive as the Freedom Rides or the bus boycotts play out in real time on the high plains of the Dakotas. And it’s a scene that desperately needs some modern-day John Doars to keep it from getting any worse.

Representatives of more 200 Indian nations have gathered at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in an effort to prevent construction of an oil pipeline that threatens the tribe’s water supply, not to mention the planet’s climate.

It’s a remarkable encampment, perhaps the greatest show of indigenous unity in the continent’s history. If Trump Tower represents all that’s dark and greedy in America right now, Standing Rock is by contrast the moral center of the nation.

But the peaceful protests have been met with repression that closely resembles the work of Bull Connor, as the pipeline company’s hired guards began by using dogs, and the local sheriff escalated from pepper spray to using water guns in freezing weather, “sonic cannons” and rubber bullets.

Clearly the authorities are attempting, a la Birmingham or Selma, to goad nonviolent protesters into some kind of reaction that will justify more repression. They’ve used every trick in the book, including arresting reporters and shutting down camera drones to make sure they’re operating in the dark.

So far the Native Americans and their allies have held back despite the most intense provocation — for instance, the pipeline company bulldozed sacred sites and ancient graves the day after the tribe handed a list of their locations to a federal court.

Now the Army Corps of Engineers has announced that they’re revoking the permit under which everyone is camped at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers as of 5 December.

So far the Obama administration has announced at least a short delay before granting the final pipeline permits. But that delay could expire at any moment, adding to the tension in the camp. Clearly the administration needs to do much more: the entire pipeline, which underwent an “antiquated” approval process, needs a full environmental review — by a body other than the project’s own developer.

Yes, Donald Trump will likely overturn the delay. But Trump’s not president yet; this tragedy is playing out in the Obama years.

Along with other actions, the federal government needs to grant the Sioux tribal government request to send justice department observers — contemporary John Doars — to the Standing Rock reservation to ensure that the local authorities don’t keep escalating the situation. They should do it because it’s right, and also because it’s a historic moment.

Arrest of Journalists and Filmmakers Covering
The Dakota Pipeline is a Threat to Democracy

Josh Fox / Democracy Now!

Back from Standing Rock
Josh Fox / International Wow Company

I just spent the past week at Standing Rock. It was my second trip to report on the unprecedented, indigenous led movement to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

There I witnessed North Dakota police attacking “Water Protectors” seeking to protect the Missouri River from potential oil spills. It is as if the last 500 years is being played out in front of us, and for the most part, the mainstream media is ignoring the story and the police and government are ignoring the very laws they are sworn to uphold.

We have to stand with Standing Rock.

We must take a stand for indigenous sovereignty. We must take a stand to stop this fracked oil pipeline from contaminating the drinking water of 17million people. We must take a stand for the climate and keep this oil in the ground.

I’m working on a new short film about the courageous Water Protectors. It’s an urgent project that needs to be completed immediately and today I’m asking you to help me finish it. This video I made with NowThis got nearly 30 million views, people are eagerly waiting for more stories from Standing Rock. (Click to Watch).

With your support we can complete this compelling film and help spread the message and mission of the Climate Movement and Standing Rock. From Gasland to How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change, I am eternally grateful for all the support you have shown for our reporting the past 8 years. With all the will in the world, it simply could not happen without your understanding and generosity.

International WOW Company is the nonprofit that produces all of my work and other important projects, such as Lee Ziesche’s Thunderdome, USA. The International WOW Company has been an active nonprofit for 20 years, producing film, theatre, tours, rallies and supporting the crucial work of artists/activist across this country.

Please see and share my other reports from Standing Rock. These stories need to be heard.

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