WHAT WE’VE RELEARNED FROM THE DAPL FIGHT…

April 12th, 2017

Back on 28 March, in response to a Guardian Long Read by Rebecca Solnit, I wrote:

Occupy was to millennials, perhaps, what the anti-war movement was to me and my fellow boomers. In many ways we lost our way in the ’70s and ’80s, but even then protest, the desire to fight for that society in which everyone counts, smoldered and even, at times flared, as Solnit describes.

We work towards that perfect society by studying the past; by building on the strategies and organizing principles of others.

President Donald John Trump has galvanized a core of Americans who were first awakened by the Occupy Wall Street movement in ways I don’t think the billionaires thought possible. Consider how in the last 36 hours millions of Americans became so outraged by United Airlines brutality that the company’s stock dipped.

That is a good outcome. The better outcome will follow from that rage repeated again and again until the billionaires and their political puppets become very, very scared.

Ellen M. Gilmer, reporting in DAKOTA ACCESS: No end in sight for courtroom battle for E&E News, writes:

Lasting legal fallout over the Dakota Access pipeline remains to be seen, but other impacts of the conflict have already taken hold.

Chief among them: a greater sense among developers of the risks of rapid public organizing against a project.

“They don’t want to attract the attention of the protests more than anything else,” said Brandon Barnes, litigation analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence. “The companies are used to contending with permitting and legal challenges. These things happen all the time. But the new variable now is social media.”

Organizing and campaigning against projects that affect Indian Country may be more important than any courtroom battle, activist Chase Iron Eyes said.

“It’s pretty clear that United States jurisprudence doesn’t really have a grasp or a respect for Native nations,” he said. “We’re not going to win by hiring the best lawyers. That’s not how this works.”

No, Mr. Barnes, that is not how protest works in a world where news is no longer restricted to three national networks or even corporate-controlled broadcast media. In a world where the internet dominates, controlling the message becomes impossible and the resistance is no longer futile.

The Standing Rock protest is just the first of dozens? hundreds? of such examples of We The People exercising our constitutional right to assemble and protest peacefully.

We The People will recover what we’ve lost and push forward.

(And yes, we can, and do, have a sense of humor about all this.)

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