Coast-to-coast solidarity with Standing Rock resistance
Solidarity actions in support of Standing Rock resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline are proliferating from coast to coast throughout the U.S. In New York City, multiple #NoDAPL actions are ongoing, including weekly support rallies called by Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network. They have exposed the role of G4S — the global security firm that staffs Israeli prisons and detention centers used to crush Palestinian resistance — whose guards are now also assaulting and terrorizing Standing Rock water protectors.
From Oakland, Calif., National Nurses United is deploying a second team of registered nurse volunteers to support water protectors with medical and first aid needs. Participating RN Amy Bowen said, “As a nurse, I understand the necessity of preserving and protecting our water. Water equals life, and the Dakota Access Pipeline threatens the health and well-being of millions.” (Facebook: Labor for Standing Rock, Nov. 7)
On Nov. 5, over one hundred protesters gathered in downtown Rochester, N.Y., to support the Standing Rock occupation and denounce the Dakota Access Pipeline project. The protest was organized and attended by a wide variety of individuals and groups, including local Native American organizations and Workers World Party.
“It’s not a matter of if the pipeline will explode. It’s a matter of when,” said protest organizer Athesia Benjamin. “That water in the sacred land is too precious to be threatened and corrupted.” (13wham.com, Nov. 5)
Benjamin told WW reporter Lydia Bayoneta: “It is racism that has led to the militaristic assaults on the protesters at Standing Rock.”
Members of local Native American groups spoke and led chants and songs in their own languages, emphasizing both the importance of cultural traditions and access to basic necessities, like clean water for the community in North Dakota.
“We have to keep our resources and lands protected for future generations,” said Rohsennase/Dalton LaBarge (Mohawk) of Rochester. “We’ve saved our languages, we’ve saved our traditions. We’re letting people know that we’re still here.” (Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Nov. 5)
Protest organizers announced they’re collecting canned goods, cold weather clothing, blankets and sleeping bags to send to protesters in North Dakota who plan to stay in Standing Rock camps into the winter.
Philadelphia activists responded to the Red Warrior Camp call for Global Solidarity Action in the wake of brutal government attacks on Native American land defenders at Standing Rock. The Philly protesters held a march of resistance on Nov. 2. After rallying on the west side of City Hall Plaza, 200 participants walked two blocks into the building with the local office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. ACE’s authorization has been key to allowing DAPL to be built.
On the second floor mezzanine, demonstrators chanted and listened as leaders described the group’s letter demanding that ACE “reconsider and rescind any and all permits or easements” for DAPL on Native lands. After half an hour, an ACE representative appeared and accepted the document but made no comment. The boisterous, sign-carrying crowd walked out, its mission fulfilled.
Later that afternoon, a smaller group marched out of Westchester University, near Philadelphia, to confront the local branch office of DNB First Bank, one of many funders of the DAPL construction. The protest, called by Students for a Democratic Society-WU, condemned “state-sanctioned violence and repression” against the Standing Rock water protectors. Protesters presented their target with a letter of demands, which included withdrawal of its financial backing. Two officials in suits came out to read a statement denying the bank has any funds invested in the pipeline. That they had to emerge from their offices to acknowledge the protest speaks to the growing power of mass solidarity with Standing Rock resistance.
Lydia Bayoneta, Gene Clancy and Joe Piette contributed to this article.