"Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Alright. I've been trying to write a "thank you" letter to the brave people at Standing Rock, but I am not sure that it would ever be adequate to the task. I tried to think of some technical stuff to write, but it just comes off as "too cold" for the situation. So, I'm just going to try and talk, I guess. I'm going to tell you why it matters to me and offer up a couple ideas I have on how to combat the situation. You can take from that whatever you like.
This matters to me because it is clearly defined, and easily observed by the masses for, quite possibly, the first time in history. It is an almost PERFECT microcosm of what is going wrong in the world today, at least, as I see it. There are questions of racism, environmental degradation, corporate greed, lies and promises/treaties broken, and these are but a few of the issues. In the technically advanced world that we live in, there is no justifiable reason for building more chains that only slavishly strap us to fossil fuels, especially when they come from tar sands oil. Just like in the days of "union busting," OUR governmental "protection" "forces" are being used to protect the only actual citizens our politicians really care to protect, the American corporate citizen, the profiteer, and the monied racketeer. Not only is ANOTHER treaty being violated, it is being violated against US citizens, which to me, is just a slap in the face. Further, these violations are such that these people, very arguably, are within their right to return with "force" against the government that is oppressing them and violating their sacred lands. However, to this day, the Lakota peoples at Standing Rock, and all Native Americans for that matter, find themselves woefully outnumbered and left to resort to more peaceful means of defense, however ineffective they are, lest they lose what little they have left, or worse, their lives and the very existence of their people.
It is clear that they cannot use any other kind of "force" because of how quick the government would be to unleash an almost war like response against them. This is oil we are talking about, after all.
There is, still, another way to increase the power of the non-violent "force" that the Standing Rock defenders have available to them. They can make use of the legal access to federal records that comes through the Freedom of Information Act, 80 Stat. 250 (1967).
If these INDIVIDUAL officers are sent copious amounts of information on how they are being used against the PEOPLE of the United States by some corporations, solely for profit; perhaps, minds can be changed. Ask them to see reason, to use their sickdays, or to take their vacation time, so that hey can get out of the work they are doing. They can be given arguments as to why their actions are actually in violation of the Constitution. That is a strong force to an individual, to have people from around the country, or possibly the world, contacting them at their offices and HOMES. I would not recommend being aggressive or hostile in any communication, however. Another way this "force" can be used is with fax numbers and black pages, which serves the purpose of, again, showing numbers, and a hint of malevolence, to these people who do not seem to see what they are doing. Get creative.
I'm just talking here because I feel it needs to be done. The important thing to understand is that this is not going to go away. If there is a change in anything, I would assume anyone reading this would consider it a positive gain. Each little success can set a new precedent, especially if it is done without the use of conventional "force." President Obama has said, "We go as high as they go low." While this seems to fit the tone of the situation, it also seems that at this particular moment, he is not doing all that he can to stop this situation from getting out of hand. As he he prepares to step down from the office of the President of the United States, he has a chance to do something really great here, but he, as of yet, has given only lip service, which I feel just goes to show, along with other things, where his environmental policy really lies. The police/guard there have used "force" to a level that is...what? Freakishly abhorrent? Horrifically violent? The President can end this problem by simply redirecting the pipeline. What is he waiting for?
This why this is all relevant to me. This is being played out on every scale of every level of our socio-political system and every level of our government. If you don't own part of the 90% of this country's wealth, this is happening, or will soon happen, to you, if nothing is done to stop it. If you're not among the elite 1%, this is happening to you. If this microcosm fails, what fails next? How much "force" are you willing to use to NOT let this American microcosm fail?