The line is drawn, what side are you on? Do you believe in democracy or corporate capitalism? You can’t believe in both because the two concepts are contradictory. There is no such thing as a corporate capitalist democracy and the tragedy now unfolding at Standing Rock demonstrates that ugly truth. The water supply of 16 million people is threatened for the sake of corporate profits. In response to that threat, the people have made every possible objection through so called democratic channels. They have petitioned the courts and overwhelmingly contacted their “representatives”. They have held rallies and waived signs. They have made phone calls and written letters. They have even placed their bodies peacefully in front of the threat as water protectors. If this nation state was even remotely democratic, the pipeline would already have been cancelled. But as the standing rock controversy so clearly demonstrates, we are subjects of a corporate state, not citizens of a participatory democracy. Voting is a game designed to distract people from the reality that would otherwise be obvious. The government serves the interests of capital not the interests of citizens.
Nevertheless, all is not lost. We just have to engage the opposition on the proper playing field. Stop pretending that the government can or will save the day. Smiling Barry doesn’t give a potato about you and your water supply. Neither does the Trumpster or the department of injustice or the corp. of engineers. They don’t work for you. They work for the corporate state. The theatre of operations is capitalism not democracy so the only thing that counts is profits. As such, if you really want to help the cause of Standing Rock, you have to go after the profits. Accordingly, there are a few substantial things you can do.
1. If you have money or investments in or through Wells Fargo, Citibank, Bank of America, Chase, or any other institution that is invested in the Dakota Access pipeline, take all the money out today. It would be helpful to write a nice polite letter to said institutions explaining why you are removing the money. You could put the money in your local credit union instead, or in a different bank or in your mattress or in a hole in your backyard. You could even send some of the money to the water protectors. The reality is: If you are writing letters or making phone calls to “representatives” in government and you still have money in these institutions, you are fooling yourself.
2. Put your body on the line. Go to standing rock to join the water protectors. Do not take this action lightly. It is not a “free speech zone,” a pep rally or a rock concert. It is an occupation.. a resistance to corporate power. The situation is escalating and becoming more dangerous by the day. If my information is correct (it may not be). Energy Transfers is contractually obligated to complete the pipeline by December 31. If they do not complete it by then, the amount of money they charge for gas flowing through the pipeline will be subject to market price instead of the contract price agreed upon when the pipeline project was begun. Since the price of gas has fallen from almost a hundred dollars a barrel to less than fifty, that’s a difference of billions of dollars. In other words, if they can’t get it done by the 31st, the project will no longer be economically viable and will probably get cancelled. If the water protectors can hold off the black snake for that long, they may very well win the battle. (Of course, smiling Barry will probably step in and take credit for cancelling it with some bullshit rhetoric about democracy, but the real reason will be economics). Anyway, because of the fast approaching deadline, the corporate state has issued a notice of eviction to the water protectors for December 5th. They are threatening to arrest and forcibly remove the water protectors on that date. With billions of dollars on the line and thousands of protesters, things are likely to get very very ugly. If you are going to Standing Rock for the month of December, I commend you for your bravery. But please, understand the consequences. The stakes are very high and so are the risks. But no matter what you do, stick to the stated principle of the water protectors and practice non-violence. Violence causes more violence. If you think that you can out shoot or out gun the corporate state, you are a fool. You are playing into their hands. The only method that can possibly win is non-violent resistance. Be especially aware of the agents of empire who will undoubtedly be sent to infiltrate the water protectors and use violence so that the state will have an excuse to respond with violent oppression. That is the way the corporate state operates.
3. Send money and/or supplies to the water protectors at Standing Rock if you can’t go yourself. The front lines of any battle always need supply lines and thanks to modern technology, you can probably help the water protectors by sending them financial or material support from the comfort of your living room. However, as the situation continues to escalate, the corporate state will do its best to blockade such supplies and if you do attempt to provide them with financial assistance you will probably end up on corporate state’s database of uncooperative serfs.
4. A radical non-violent strategy: Beginning in the late 1970s and continuing through six consecutive presidents (democrats and republicans), the U.S. economy has undergone a process that can best be described as financialization. The end result of that process is that most ordinary Americans don’t have much financial equity anymore. The amount they hold in bank savings accounts is minimal so the big banks won’t give a shit if a few people remove their savings and put it in a credit union instead. The facts on the ground are: most Americans have debt and a credit line instead of substantial savings. Access to capital is based on how much you can borrow rather than how much you have. They call it leverage in the business world. Anyway, the point is… millions of Americans have credit cards (junk bonds for little people) issued by the above mentioned institutions (Wells Fargo, Citibank, Bank of America and Chase, etc.). On those credit cards, they have an outstanding balance, a monthly payment that includes interest and available credit. The easiest thing you can do and the least you can do is transfer your credit card balance to an institution (your local credit union or a different bank) that is not invested in the pipeline. While such an action is beneficial and the right thing to do, it won’t effect the bottom line of the big banks by too much because the institution you transfer to will have to pay off the big banks. If you really want to threaten the financial well being of the big banks, I would suggest organizing a nationwide boycott of monthly payments on credit cards. Send your monthly payments to the yet to be established, “Standing Rock First Amendment Legal Defense Fund” instead. Make a photocopy of your check and send the photocopy to the big bank in question along with a letter that says something like this: “Pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Citizens United, it is firmly established in U.S. Law that the payment of money is a form of political speech protected by the first Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. I believe it is fundamentally wrong to use my money to invest in an oil pipeline that threatens the water supply of 16 million people. As such, I am choosing to direct my monthly payments to the people protecting the water instead of to the people threatening the water. If you do not fully credit my account for this payment or in any way damage my credit rating for this action, I will consider it a violation of my first amendment rights and pursue legal action for compensatory and punitive damages against you.”
This is, of course, a very risky strategy for an individual to pursue. If only a couple people did it, they would simply lose their credit cards and ruin their credit ratings as the big banks would simply ignore the letter. While the proposed legal action under the first amendment and Citizens United is theoretically possible, it would be a very long and time consuming court battle and lawyers don’t usually work for free. If, however, several hundred people or several thousand people could be convinced to participate, their monthly credit card payments could be pooled by the “Standing Rock First Amendment Legal defense fund” to pay the lawyers to bring the first amendment case against the banks. I, personally, have the Internet organizing skills of a Neanderthal and my time is fully occupied chasing a toddler. But if someone out there is skilled in that department, I would encourage them to start a petition or a group or whatever organizational form they can think of to get people to sign up for such a boycott. Ideally, you would want to get as many people as possible to sign on in advance and have everyone send their first amendment letter instead of payment on the same day. Actually, the mere existence of a large enough number of people who are willing to participate would apply significant economic pressure on the institutions in question.
I should probably emphasize before closing that I make the above radical suggestion as an outsider rather than as a potential participant. I started practicing organic economics 22 years ago. Accordingly, I have no credit cards (only a debit card) and no “investments” in greed machines (corporations). If everyone listened to me, they would withdraw all their money from globalized greed machines (multinational corporations) and invest it in the communities where they lived instead. But that would be a non-violent economic revolution so it’s probably just a pipe dream.
Finally, I would like to say that my heart and soul goes out to the good people at Standing Rock. I am sending them my prayers, my thoughts, my good vibes and my positive energy. Thank you for doing what all the serfs throughout the country should start doing if they would only wake up and see reality. Resist the corporate empire with determined non-violence.
I stand with Standing Rock.
This essay is not copyrighted. Feel free to share it with anyone and everyone. Copy it or paste it or plagiarize it in any way you like.