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“This is my act of love” – the shut down of the trans Canadian/US pipelines

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, October 15th, 2016 - 31 comments
Categories: activism, climate change, disaster, Environment - Tags: , , ,

On Tuesday, the last day of the four International Days of Prayer and Action with Standing Rock, climate justice activists from Climate Direct Action shut down all five coal/tar sands pipelines crossing the Canadian/US border by turning off the manual safety valves, and then waited until the authorities came to arrest them.

The reactionary forces have reacted, including the arrest yet again of independent media covering the action, but one of the things that stands out for me is the age of the activists. Here in their own words,

There is no plan of action, policy or strategy being advanced now by any political leader or environmental organization playing by the rules that does anything but acquiesce to ruin. Our only hope is to step outside polite conversation and put our bodies in the way. We must shut it down, starting with the most immediate threats — oil sands fuels and coal.

– Ken Ward, 59, of Corbette OR

For years we’ve tried the legal, incremental, reasonable methods, and they haven’t been enough; without a radical shift in our relationship to Earth, all that we love will disappear. My fear of that possibility is far greater than my fear of jail. My love for the beauties of this world is far greater than my love of an easy life.

– Emily Johnston, 50, of Seattle WA

Like mothers everywhere, I act from a deep love that extends to all children and young people, and all living beings on this planet. I have signed hundreds of petitions, testified at dozens of hearings, met with most of my political representatives at every level, to very little avail. I have come to believe that our current economic and political system is a death sentence to life on earth, and that I must do everything in my power to replace these systems with cooperative, just, equitable and love-centered ways of living together. This is my act of love.

– Annette Klapstein, 64, of Bainbridge Island, WA

I am here to generate action that wakes people up to the reality of what we are doing to life as we know it. All of our climate victories are meaningless if we don’t stop extracting oil, coal and gas now.

– Michael Foster, 52 of Seattle WA

Because of the climate change emergency, because governments and corporations have for decades increased fossil fuel extraction and carbon emissions when instead we must dramatically reduce carbon emissions; I am committed to the moral necessity of participating in nonviolent direct action to protect life.

– Leonard Higgins, 64, of Eugene, OR

climate-direct-action-activists
Coverage from Democracy Now! including footage of the action and interviews with the activists (video and transcript).

Donations to the legal defence fund can be made here.

31 comments on ““This is my act of love” – the shut down of the trans Canadian/US pipelines”

  1. Invisible Axe 1

    Reminds me of that book ‘Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee’, where the Native Americans would give in to the ‘white mans law’ & get shafted again & again & again. I love these brave people & what they are doing.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Given the state of the US, let’s see if they get charged under Federal terrorism laws.

    • Siobhan 2.1

      From 10 hrs ago, so old news maybe..Breaking: ND Prosecutor Seeks “Riot” Charges Against Amy Goodman For Reporting On Pipeline Protest

  3. left for dead 3

    Direct action gets Satisfaction, Thanks weka.

    • BM 3.1

      Also get bankruptcy and a bit of time in the big house.

      • left for dead 3.1.1

        What are you on about BM ?. Maybe have a cuppa and a lie down, then explain that gaff.

        • BM 3.1.1.1

          Just pointing out that their actions may have dire consequences for their financial situation and personal freedom.

          I wouldn’t be surprised if the justice system comes down on these protesters like a ton of bricks, let them serve as a warning for others.

          [fair enough BM, but given what the protestors themselves said about it, it seems an odd comment and makes me wonder if you haven’t bothered to read the post – weka]

  4. weka 4

    Edward Snowden ‏@Snowden 5h5 hours ago

    This reporter is being prosecuted for covering the North Dakota oil protests. For reference, I face a mere 30 years.

    https://trofire.com/2016/10/13/documentary-filmmaker-faces-45-years-prison-covering-pipeline-protest/

    (Deia Schlosberg was documenting the 5 pipeline action)

    • weka 4.1

      Edward Snowden Retweeted
      Josh Fox ‏@joshfoxfilm 1h1 hour ago

      North dakota authorities have released Deia @deiafilm but have confiscated her footage & will not release it.Totally unacceptable. @Snowden

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      What we’re seeing is the same type of oppression that the people in the USSR saw and it’s being done solely for the benefit of the corporations.

      This is what capitalism is: Oppression of the people for the benefit of the rich.

      • weka 4.2.1

        There’s some weird thing going on with the local authorities near Standing Rock. One of the known water protectors got stopped at a check point (yes, there are check points continuously around the area), and his drone and footage were taken on the basis that he was going to be charged. This was footage showing that the construction company was breaking an injunction by working too close to the river.

        The people who stopped him searched the car illegally, took the gear illegally, and refused to say who they were. They were wearing law enforcement uniforms, so were assumed to be on duty, but their refusal to give their name or officer number made people think afterwards that they’re moonlighting for the private security firm as well (which locals seem to think is happening) and in this case were not there as law enforcement. All that was filmed. That’s dodgy as fuck, and yep, the company has its oily fingerprints all over it.

        On the other hand, one of the county sheriffs has withdrawn his people from doing the patrols I think, so there are some good people in there trying to do the right thing too.

  5. weka 5

    Meanwhile, Amy Goodman, a journalist who runs Democracy Now! had criminal trespass charges laid against her a few weeks ago while covering the Standing Rock actions. The prosecutor decided she wasn’t a proper journalist, and named a journalist he followed at Rolling Stone as being a proper one. That journalist knows and has worked with Goodman and so wrote a piece for RS on her long and dedicated career as a independent journalist, what that means, and why the charges should be dropped,

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/taibbi-on-amy-goodman-arrest-for-covering-dakota-pipeline-story-w444754

    Goodman was at the action where private security guards set their dogs on to the protest group (that included children) and pepper sprayed them. The video went viral (14M views on FB). Then the Federal Govt stopped the pipeline on govt land and asked the company to voluntarily halt too. Five days after the action charges were laid against Goodman.

    • Pasupial 5.1

      From a slightly different context, but brought to mind nonetheless:

      There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it — that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ciO2SN3iNM

  6. Siobhan 6

    Jimmy Dores account of Militarized Police Arresting Shailene Woodley while protesting the DaKota Pipeline.

    Obamas America. Hillarys America.

    [thanks Siobhan, will have a look. I think I’ll keep this post US-election free. Better to make those comments elsewhere, cheers – weka]

  7. Wayne 7

    Shock, horror, people arrested for interfering in a pipeline? Who would have guessed? Ask Lucy Lawless what happens in NZ?

    It would have also happened in Sanders America if that had happened. So far as I am aware he was not advocating the end of the rule of law.

    However I do note that the US seems to have exceptionally long maximum sentences for all sorts of things compared to NZ. In large part it explains why they have four times as many people in jail on a per capita compared to NZ.

    • weka 7.1

      You appear to be the only one shocked at that Wayne, and given I said in the opening paragraph that the activists waited to be arrested (it took some time for the authorities to cotton apparently), I have to wonder if the post largely went over your head.

  8. Wayne 8

    weka

    Except that a number of the commenters seem appalled that they were arrested. That such arrests could only be as the result of the actions of a reactionary, oppressive government. That is why I made my comment.

    I was suggesting that in any western democracy this is what happens when people knowingly and deliberately interfere with someone else’s property rights. Oil pipelines have existed in the US for over a century. They are not about to disappear. The rights of their owners (essentially one of non-interference) are enforceable under the law.

    That was the point of my Lucy Lawless comment. Under any conceivable govt in New Zealand (including a Green led govt) that is what would happen to anyone interfering in a serious way with someone else’s rights, Including those of oil companies. The police don’t take direction from the govt of the day as to who they should arrest. They apply the law as it is. Even a Green led government would not change the law to that extent.

    Though presumably Lucy and her friends would be satisfied by a ban on offshore oil exploration, and I guess any oil exploration on land as well. Though I suppose even a Green led govt would not actually close down the existing Taranaki oil industry.

    • weka 8.1

      “Except that a number of the commenters seem appalled that they were arrested. That such arrests could only be as the result of the actions of a reactionary, oppressive government.”

      I think you just made that up Wayne, but feel free to link to some specific comments.

      Most of the comments in this thread are about the arrest of journalists, or a celebrity protestor who was picked out to target, or the illegal seizure of property of a protestor who wasn’t even on an action. CV is about the only person who directly says anything about the arrests for the pipeline action and he just ponders on whether the charges will be upped.

      I used the term reactionary in the post, referring to other aspects than the arrest of the activists (I was thinking about the arrest of the journalists).

      Oil pipelines have existed in the US for over a century. They are not about to disappear. The rights of their owners (essentially one of non-interference) are enforceable under the law

      Non-violent direct action has been around a long time too, and is not going to go away. Read the post. People of your generation are talking about the moral imperative here. You and BM seem to be wanting to make out that somehow they missed the implications of their actions. They make it clear they know.

      The NZ legal and protest situation is obviously quite different than the US, so not sure of the point of that part of it.

      • Garibaldi 8.1.1

        Wayne can’t seem to understand that the system of ‘democracy’ we are meant to have has been totally subverted to favour corporate insanity. The simple fact is direct action has to be taken to stop the destruction of our environment. The more that do it the better.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1

          +1

          The profit drive is what’s killing this world and thus we need to stop it and that means getting rid of the corporations.

    • adam 8.2

      So Wayne you gone over and joined the reactionaries, I always peg you for a conservative, not a wingnut. If you read peoples comments, most were shocked that the authorities arrested the journalists.

      JOURNALIST, thought the big spelling might help.

      Because arresting journalists, starts making them look like Stalinist Russia – No?

    • Macro 8.3

      Though I suppose even a Green led govt would not actually close down the existing Taranaki oil industry.
      It would certainly stop Fracking and the further exploration off shore.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.4

      in any western democracy this is what happens when people knowingly and deliberately interfere with someone else’s property rights

      Indeed. People are well pissed off with oil companies destroying everyone’s property, not to mention everyone’s biosphere and ecosystems. It wouldn’t be so bad if they hadn’t deliberately lied and denied and denigrated their betters.

      The tenor of your remarks suggests that you endorse and support these criminals. So much for personal responsibility and the lip service you pay to lawnorder.

      I doubt the “claim of right” defence is available in the USA. Even if it were, I’m picking you and your criminal associates won’t stop until we invoke our right to self defence and the defence of our children.

    • George Hendry 8.5

      Kia ora, Wayne 🙂

      As the thread is still quite short, it wasn’t too hard for me to reread all the comments (eleven or so) made before you made your first comment at 12.21pm.

      As Weka did, I’d invite you to cite the comments you describe as expressing ‘shock, horror’. Are you busy, or are you prepared to admit that there actually aren’t any?

      The five this story is about ‘interfered with property that wasn’t theirs’ then waited for ‘the authorities’ to arrive and arrest them for their ‘crime’. Neither they nor anyone else here today has seemed either shocked or horrified at either the arrests or the confiscation of evidential footage.

      ‘I was suggesting that in any western democracy this is what happens when people knowingly and deliberately interfere with someone else’s property rights.’

      Basic truth, but generously seasoned with untruth.

      Which is why the party (pipeline company) which first knowingly and deliberately interfered with someone else’s (Standing Rock people’s ) property rights did so with almost complete government support and connivance.

      Wealthy US (and elsewhere) companies that want to do something wrong sometimes first try to make it legal (you know this but I believe those who pay you would rather you didn’t say it). Having obtained the legal right to commit the intended wrong they then proceed with it. Little can be done to stop it, however it can at least be video recorded and published to allow the wider public to evaluate what may be ostensibly being done in their name.

      A company doing something not only legal but also right would presumably have no objection to being seen doing so. What objection then to be seen ‘exercising their legal rights’ could account for their wish to suppress the evidence of their actions?

      I understand (please correct if necessary 🙂 ) that you are a highly qualified lawyer, and as such would know the huge nuisance caused by evidence that seems to go against the case you are trying to make, and how tempting it would be to suppress it if you could.

      Serco was able to go on lying about Mt Eden prison until fight club video appeared, which has led to many changes (though not nearly enough). Though Serco appear to have accepted payments which, in terms of their performance, were neither rightfully nor even legally theirs (read stealing) and to have lied about/suppressed relevant evidence of their (mis)behaviour , the consequences they have faced seem remarkably unlike what is supposed to happen in a western democracy when people ‘knowingly and deliberately interfere with someone else’s property rights.’

      Why ? Because, Wayne, to be blunt, and I think you know this as well, they are big , rich, and supported by cronies in high (made so by the rotten things they do) places.

      Thank you for contributing to this debate in a spirit of such obvious bad faith. Having read many of your posts along similar lines, I think that here at last I’ve found one where you show your partisan disingenuousness beyond reasonable doubt.

  9. BlueSky 9

    When democracy fails like it is in America (NZ being eager to follow) and people allow the corporations to buy politicians and laws the that suit them the only alternative is for people to take direct action. It is a very sad indictment on the democratic process in America that this has to happen and that we watch in horror the current presidential circus.

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