For anyone wondering why I took a break from Mark Zuckerberg’s facial recognition and association tracking database, the answer is simple. I think you are doing it wrong. That is the public opinion, at least. I have no confidence in the friend bomb, as, for the most part, it bombed.
Since this was written nearly two weeks ago, it still holds true. I have spent that time thinking of Seattle in 1999, or Genoa in 2003. Or Taksim Square. Egypt. Hong Kong. Or even Germany last weekend when over 80,000 filled the streets to announce their displeasure with TTiP and CETA. These activists here, today, have it all wrong.
Consider the ruptured Colonial Pipeline in Alabama with its absence of outcry. Or the Terence Crutcher shooting with its predictable narrative, the same narrative mirrored by the defense of the James Boyd murderers.
So here it is.
I know, I know…..hearing that you’re doing it wrong is probably the point that you’ll stop reading, but perhaps you will hear me out.
By “it”, I don’t mean activism in general. I am referring specifically to the North Dakota pipeline resistance. Not that I agree with another big business clear cutting the landscape to make a profit. I don’t. In fact, I concur with just about everything that has been said in support of the indigenous nations and others peacefully protesting against the bulldozers and suits.
Over the last several weeks, the narrative of this issue has been co-opted, and no one has really noticed. On the contrary, the change in narrative has been so widely accepted that the fervor surrounding it remains intense and committed to the cause. The failure, though, is twofold. First, by allowing the co-opted rhetoric, the resistance has adopted a lower quality argument that, in its design, creates disunity, not the unity called for by many tribes, groups and organizations, as well as individuals. Second, by peacefully protesting while under physical attack by private organizations and by utilizing the court system for relief, many activists that I am aware of are hypocritically forsaking many of their supposed deep rooted ideologies and supposed well thought out beliefs.
Let me explain.
Originally, the fight against the pipeline mirrored the fights against Keystone and other contemporary pipeline projects. That fight valued renewable energy sources over fossil fuels, and, more importantly, valued the protection of clean water. In time, however, the fight that I’ve witnessed, or, I should say, the jaw flapping I’ve seen online, has centered on the potential destruction of native burial sites.
Now, if you want a cursed pipeline, building it over ancient Indian burial cairns is how you get cursed pipelines. But let’s just examine this objectively. As a supposed sovereign nation, the Standing Rock Sioux have a right, duty and obligation to protect that which is of historical and cultural value on their lands. To put it bluntly, dead Indians matter.
To assume, though, that the Sioux Nation is, in fact, sovereign, and these lands are tribal lands, then the acts of the Army Corp of Engineers and Dakota Access Pipeline and Energy Transfer Partners are committing an act of unprovoked aggression and an act of war. This act of war has been accompanied not only with the destruction of natural lands, but also with the physical assaults on protestors perpetrated not just by the police forces, but hired contractors – mercenaries – as well.
And yet, there is little discussion of this invasion as an invasion. There is little discussion of issues of sovereignty. And, sadly, what was once an issue with strong arguments supporting the future availability of a non-renewable, essential resource for which no alternatives exist, much of the discussion concerns an issue, albeit legitimate and important, that only affects a very few thousands of a particular race. A poisoned water supply, however, could jeopardize millions, and would be completely culture blind.
Furthermore, the tactics employed in support of this secondary reasoning – water preservation for present and future generations being the primary, significantly stronger reasoning – make hypocrites of many involved. While I firmly believe that nonviolent resistance has a time and a place, it does not have every time and every place. Many that are making the pilgrimage to Standing Rock, and many more standing in support of it, have come across at some point as holding many Voluntaryist ideologies, if they are not full blown anarchists. Under either ideology, nonviolence falls, more often than not, under the umbrella of the Non-Aggression Principle. Under either ideology, violent behavior in self defense is not only acceptable, but a moral imperative.
Under the sovereignty framework, self defense against hostile aggression would not only be justified, but a morally sanctioned command for the Sioux whose territory is being invaded. Under the clean water preservation framework, self defense against hostile aggression and jeopardization of the water supply would not only be justified, but a morally sanctioned command for the millions living in the Missouri watershed region. And for the individual, nonviolent protesters, self defense should be a natural response to being doused in pepper spray, physically assaulted, and left to be a treat for Fido and Barksana. That the aggressors in this case were contracted by a private company is further evidence that such assaults should not be tolerated, one, and, two, should be responded to in kind. I am certain that many of these activists, when attacked in such a way in their own homes would not stand there and silently consent to be viciously mauled or chemically poisoned. If so, have a Darwin Award.
The other tactic employed here is the legal one. Take it to court. Why not? We are a nation of laws, and a lawsuit happy nation at that. Meanwhile, the fundamental principles of anarchy do not and cannot allow for such tribunals, especially when those tribunals have been shown over and over again to be illegitimate. Many of these activists frequently quip that things in this country (and world) are so messed up that they cannot be changed from the inside. These comments are often in relation to the elected branches of government. The same should also hold true for the judicial branch, and voting harder just doesn’t really work there either.
The logical inconsistencies between electoral politics and judicial wrangling cannot be overlooked. Although, when committed to being nonviolent martyrs, a lawsuit is really all that remains. Even Sovereigns (or whatever moniker they want to use today), State Nationals, militias, etc. will espouse principled arguments against certain federal legislative or executive action, but then maintain the virtues of the court system. Newsflash: it’s the same Hydra. If an activist refuses to run for office due to the futility of affecting change from within, then what logic is there in going to court to fight for a ruling based on lesser reasonings (because that’s the most effective legal argument) that can ultimately be legislated over and the continued invasion legally justified?
This pipeline protest isn’t whiskey or taxes. It’s not even about the pipeline, of which there already exist 2.5 Million miles of extant pipelines already in this country. This stand, notably in Standing Rock, is the moment that people from all cultures in this country come together to realize that corporations are not people, that water is life, that the future of the people matters, that the legal system is broken, that the electoral system is broken, that the police are on the wrong side of Justice, and that in this moment, violent self defense is called for. This is the moment that the people of this country should be coming together to finally fight back against the violence of the federal corporate government and the private corporations for which that government’s laws exist to protect.
Keep doing what you’re doing, but please, for the love of clean air and clean water, do it for the right reasons. However, due to an unfortunate sleep walking lack of critical thought, or even logically consistent thought, this moment will go to waste, for the burial spots of those already wasted. For one to believe that the activist communities have been infiltrated, one only need to see that such infiltration need not be perpetrated by another person. All that is necessary is to see the discussion controlled and the narratives change. As such, the subversives are subverted.
Since thoughts and narratives are democratic, and I know that I’m in the minority, I refuse to subject myself to the tyranny of the majority. Anne Frankly, continued association, in this moment, is an unintended violent attack on the frayed ends of my sanity.
Yes, I believe that many of you have syriasly flawed reasoning leading to disturbing actions. I still care about you. But for a moment wasted, so is a life.
I can’t tell you what to do, or how to do it. So for that, I’ll see you guys later.