Workers' Voice mailing list
November 25, 2016
RE: Solidarity with Standing Rock!
For months now, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline have stood firm against repression and violence. On Sunday November 20, with temperatures going well below freezing, the police sadistically used water cannons for hours against the protesters, as well as tear gas, rubber bullets, and concussion grenades. This caused about 300 injuries, including many cases of hypothermia, with a number of protesters needing immediate hospitalization. Appended to this article is an appeal by the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council on Monday that describes what happened.
Today, Friday, the US Army Corps of Engineers has given the Standing Rock Tribe an ultimatum with a letter declaring, in effect, that the blocking of the pipeline must stop by December 5 and the main protest camp must be abandoned. It threatened more arrests of protesters after that time, and washed the government's hands of any responsibility for providing the "necessary emergency" medical care for those that were injured by police violence. Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, declared in response that "Our tribe is deeply disappointed in this decision by the United States, but our resolve to protect our water is stronger than ever." He also added that "Although the news is saddening, it is not at all surprising given the last 500 years of the mistreatment of our people."
The violence against the protesters reflects the attitude of the US bourgeoisie towards the indigenous people. For example, in cities across the US, they are murdered by police at rates similar to that experienced by black people, the rights of the tribes are constantly violated, and their reservations are subject to gross environmental contamination. It also reflects the zeal of state officials and the US Army Corps of Engineers to defend the huge profits of the energy companies. During the protests against the pipeline, there have many injuries, there have been attacks against medics, and many arrests, including charges threatened against film-makers and journalists.
The violence against the demonstrators also reflects the hypocritical attitude of the Obama administration. At the White House Tribal Nations Conference in September, Obama pontificated: "I know many of you have come together, across tribes and across the country, to support the community at Standing Rock and together you're making your voices heard. ... this moment highlights why it's so important that we re-double our efforts to make sure that every federal agency truly consults and listens, and works with you, sovereign-to-sovereign." But he hasn't spoken against the atrocious use of water canons, the attempts to suppress press coverage, or the other police violence. And now the US Army Corps of Engineers is giving its ultimatum. This is paving the way for the increased suppression of the movement that we can expect from the reactionary Trump administration that will be inaugurated in January.
This hasn't stopped the struggle against the DAPL. As it has proceeded, support for Standing Rock has spread across the US and Canada. Protesters have set up camps in and near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, a town inside the Standing Rock reservation. 280 or more Tribes and First Nations are represented at the protest site, and a number of other supporters have come. People have brought medicine, food, and other supplies to the protest camp. In the US, the National Day of Solidarity with Standing Rock Protesters on November 15 saw demonstrations from Los Angeles in the West to New York City in the East, including Chicago, Milwaukee, New Orleans, and elsewhere, with some protests taking place near the offices of the US Army Corps of Engineer. And recently, a number of veterans announced that they would "assemble as a peaceful, unarmed militia" at the protest site in order to "defend the water protectors from assault and intimidation at the hands of the militarized police force and DAPL security." Meanwhile, in Canada, the statement "85 First Nations and Tribes condemn Enbridge's role in the violations at Standing Rock and call on [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau to speak out" was issued on October 31. And there have been demonstrations or meetings in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver, BC, Victoria, and elsewhere, and even in a number of very small communities in British Columbia.
The DAPL, if completed, will stretch almost 1,200 miles from where oil is extracted by fracking from the Bakken oil fields to its terminus in Illinois. Its route crosses under the Missouri River just a half mile north (upstream) of the Standing Rock reservation, which relies on this river for its water. A spill from the Dakota Access Pipeline would poison the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux and threaten the water used by many other people as well, and the route also passes through certain of their sacred land. The building of this pipeline and the expansion of the environmentally catastrophic method of fracking is part of a frenzy on the part of energy companies to extract more oil and gas and build more pipelines. It's known that the world must abandon fossil fuels if we are to prevent runaway global warming and environmental catastrophe. But the energy companies are doing their best to extract as much oil and gas anyway.
The pipeline companies claim that the DAPL is safe, although in fact the pipeline was redirected away from its original route that would cross the Missouri river upstream of Bismarck, North Dakota, to instead pass near Standing Rock. Moreover, pipelines are continually having accidents. Just last month on October 21, a mere rainstorm caused floods and landslides resulting in 55,000 gallons of oil and gas spewing from a ruptured pipeline in Pennsylvania, and reaching the Susquehanna River. This was an 8-inch pipeline run by Sunoco Logistic Partners, whose parent company is Energy Transfer Equity (ETE), which is building the DAPL, so this suggests that ETE pipelines like the DAPL won't magically be better than other pipelines. If anything, the pipelines of Sunoco Logistics seem to be particularly dangerous. A report in Reuters states that, "Sunoco Logistic spills crude more often than any of its competitors with more than 200 leaks since 2010, according to a Reuters analysis of government data." And guess what: ETE is having Sunoco Logistics buy out Energy Transfer Partners, the ETE subsidiary that is presently the main company building the DAPL.
The struggle against the DAPL deserves the support of everyone concerned with the environment and all anti-racist activists.
Solidarity with Standing Rock!
Stop the pipeline and stop fracking!
rights of the indigenous people!
-- by Joseph Green
Excerpted from the Standing Rock Medic + Healer Council FP page:
Appeal from the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, November 21, 2016 3:00pm
Prepared by Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council at the Standing Rock Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance Camps
The Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council responded to a mass casualty incident that began at 6pm yesterday evening. Approximately 300 injuries were identified, triaged, assessed and treated by our physicians, nurses, paramedics and integrative healers working in collaboration with local emergency response. These 300 injuries were the direct result of excessive force by police over the course of 10 hours. At least 26 seriously injured people had to be evacuated by ambulance to 3 area hospitals.
Police continuously assaulted demonstrators with up to three water cannons for the first 7 hours of this incident in subfreezing temperatures dipping to 22F (-5.5C) causing hypothermia in the majority of patients treated. Chemical weapons in the form of pepper spray and tear gas were also used extensively, requiring chemical decontamination for nearly all patients treated and severe reactions in many. Projectiles in the form of tear gas canisters, rubber bullets, and concussion grenades led to numerous blunt force traumas including head wounds, lacerations, serious orthopedic injuries, eye trauma, and internal bleeding.
Every emergency medical unit from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation responded to the incident and additional ambulances were sent from Cheyenne River Sioux tribe (South Dakota), Kidder County, and Morton County. 3 seriously injured patients were transported directly by ambulance from the scene and another 23 patients were transported by ambulance after initial assessment and treatment in camp. Injuries from the mass casualty incident include:
• An elder who lost consciousness and was revived on scene
• A young man with a grand mal seizure
• A woman shot in the face by a rubber bullet with subsequent eye injury and compromised vision
• A young man with internal bleeding who was vomiting blood after a rubber bullet injury to his abdomen
• A man shot in the back near his spine by a rubber bullet causing blunt force trauma and a severe head laceration
• Multiple fractures secondary to projectiles fired by police
The Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council condemns the excessive police violence and calls upon law enforcement to cease and desist these nearly lethal actions. Specifically, we demand the cessation of water cannons in subfreezing temperatures.
Our volunteers performed well under challenging circumstances last night, but we would not have been able to do this without the help of water protectors and local community members who transported patients to our clinic, organized warming spaces, and provided food and tea. We specifically want to thank the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe EMS services for their excellent response and highest quality care in an unprecedented situation. "They were phenomenal. They recognized the severity of what we were dealing with, it could have been a lot worse" said Jazmine, a volunteer physician from the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council.
Donations for the medical and public health response can be made to the Standing Rock Medic & Healer council at www.medichealercouncil.com/donate.
Water is Life, Mni Wiconi
Contact: Michael Knudsen, Medic Coordinator
and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe ethno-botanist Linda Black Elk, PhD
– firstname.lastname@example.org <>
Posted on November 28, 2016