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Galindez writes: "On Sunday evening in Des Moines, Our Revolution and Bold Iowa held an event as part of the #ClimateRevolution tour."

People protest against the building of a pipeline on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation near Cannonball, North Dakota, U.S. November 2, 2016. (photo: Stephanie Keith/Reuters)
People protest against the building of a pipeline on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation near Cannonball, North Dakota, U.S. November 2, 2016. (photo: Stephanie Keith/Reuters)

“Our Revolution” Stands With Standing Rock

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

03 November 16


n Sunday evening in Des Moines, Our Revolution and Bold Iowa held an event as part of the #ClimateRevolution tour. Emmy award winning filmmaker Josh Fox held a community screening of his new HBO documentary, “How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change.” Fox, who was nominated for an Oscar for his film Gasland, left for Standing Rock the next day.

Our Revolution is also calling for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to take a stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline:

In a mailing to supporters, Our Revolution wrote:

The Dakota Access pipeline would carry some of the dirtiest oil on the planet across four states, putting at risk farms, native land, critical water sources, and our flight against climate change. This week, police arrested more than 100 Native activists and destroyed their encampment in the path of the pipeline.

Hillary Clinton said only that both sides need to come together to find a solution. That’s not good enough. The pipeline must be canceled, and the next president has the power to do it.

Our letter to Hillary Clinton:

The Dakota Access pipeline would threaten farms, poison the water sources for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and contribute to climate change. It cannot be built if we are serious about protecting the planet.

The next president has the power to stop the Dakota Access pipeline. Secretary Clinton, you must stand firm and stop this pipeline, just as President Obama finally canceled the Keystone XL Pipeline.

You can sign on to the letter to Hillary Clinton here.

Josh Fox also talked about Clinton’s statement on the pipeline, calling it a “nothing burger,” and saying “she said absolutely nothing, which is inexcusable at this time.”

The Clinton campaign released the following statement last week:

We received a letter today from representatives of the tribes protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. From the beginning of this campaign, Secretary Clinton has been clear that she thinks all voices should be heard and all views considered in federal infrastructure projects. Now, all of the parties involved—including the federal government, the pipeline company and contractors, the state of North Dakota, and the tribes—need to find a path forward that serves the broadest public interest. As that happens, it’s important that on the ground in North Dakota, everyone respects demonstrators’ rights to protest peacefully, and workers’ rights to do their jobs safely.

While Fox acknowledged that the statement said absolutely nothing, he pointed out that Donald Trump supports the pipeline, so “ambiguity is the best we are going to do in this Presidential election, unfortunately.” Fox continued: “I don’t maintain any illusions that Hillary Clinton as a candidate supports our ideals, but what I will say is we know what her positions are, we read the emails, it is on us when she is inaugurated to also inaugurate the movement, inaugurate the political revolution, and to say we are here and we are not going anywhere, and we are going to make sure that platform is implemented, that our agenda, the people’s agenda, is enforced instantly.”

The incoming chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party, Jane Kleeb, also called for us to be in the streets fighting for the issues we believe in, but Kleeb also believes we have to be “inside the Democratic Party reforming and rebuilding the party that takes us more seriously.” Kleeb argued, “Unless we are inside, unless we are at the table, we can’t continue to make the case against pipelines and fracked oil, etc.” She went on to say, “We need to push Secretary Clinton on climate science, fracking, and on pipelines, because she is not with us yet on these issues.” Kleeb believes that “we have the power to push her to the right place.”

The event on Sunday night opened with local Iowa activists fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline (#DAPL), which comes through Iowa. Ed Fallon, the director of Bold Iowa, opened the program by thanking the three legs of the fight against the pipeline in Iowa, farmers and landowners who are continuing to fight the seizure of their land by eminent domain, Native American allies who have been fighting the pipeline’s path through their lands, and climate activists.

Fallon introduced Matt Olaf, a climate activist from Iowa CCI, to begin the program. Olaf said, “The pipeline is not a done deal; there are still permits pending, and we are pressuring the Obama administration to revoke permits already issued.” Olaf also pointed out that the ongoing construction has been in violation of conditions that were imposed when the Iowa Utilities board granted Dakota Access permits to build in Iowa. CCI is calling for a halt on construction while the company is not in compliance with the conditions of the permit.

Fallon then introduced Cindy Capolis, a farmer and landowner on the pipeline route who has been arrested twice while protesting. Capolis thanked all the supporters for giving her the encouragement to fight on.

The next Iowan to be introduced was Kim Weaver, who is running for Congress. Weaver, who is running against Steve King, got emotional when she talked about the pipeline going through her family’s land. A teary-eyed Weaver said to the crowd, “My dad told me that the pipeline was going through our family’s farm. It’s no longer being farmed, but I understand that the land is sacred. To the water protector [Floreece Whitebull], I am sorry that we have not kept our promises to you, because this is a fight worth fighting. This is a fight that we cannot stop fighting. It breaks my heart to think that our government is taking private land from people for private profit.” Weaver called her opponent a bad man whom she hopes to dethrone on November 8th, but said her fight pales in comparison to the fight against the pipeline.

Weaver’s was not the only emotional testimony presented at the event. The next speaker, a native woman named Floreece Whitebull, “Number 151,” was arrested at Standing Rock. Whitebull began speaking in her native tongue, and then introduced herself, saying she was given the number 151 when she was arrested last Thursday. She described being put in “dog kennels and being bused out.” She said people were met with military force and removed from ceremonial sweat lodges, elders thrown to the ground. Whitebull said, “We have the divine right to protect our children, and what’s going on is wrong ... It has taken this suffering and the trauma that we are incurring for the world to start realizing what’s happening, and if we have to bear the brunt of that then we will, because it is worth it, our children’s lives and our children’s futures are worth it.”

The next speaker was Mekasi Camp Horinek, the director of Bold Oklahoma. Bold Oklahoma, Iowa, Nebraska, and Louisiana are part of the Bold Alliance, a network of states fighting pipelines. Mekasi introduced himself as #4838, the number that was given to him when he was arrested at Standing Rock on Thursday. He called his home state of Oklahoma the pipeline crossing of America and the earthquake capital of the world. Mekasi said that while we are from different territories, we stand together in solidarity. He said he came to Iowa to show his support for all that people are doing to fight the pipeline in Iowa.

Jane Kleeb was the next speaker. Jane wasn’t always an environmentalist. When she formed Bold Nebraska it was to organize Nebraskans around progressive issues that would resonate with mostly conservative farmers. It took a while for a friend of hers to convince her that the Keystone Pipeline was the issue. She attended a community meeting full of angry landowners who were facing having their land seized by eminent domain. Jane had her issue, and they won many battles before finally convincing President Obama to turn down TransCanada’s permits for the Keystone Pipeline. If you remember, the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline was built. They hit a roadblock in Nebraska. After stopping Keystone, Kleeb and other pipeline opponents expanded their fight to stop other pipelines. The Dakota Access Pipeline was one they took aim at when they formed Bold Iowa. It was originally called the Bakkan Pipeline. Bold Iowa, like Bold Nebraska, has targeted organizing farmers and landowners to fight eminent domain. A Nebraska or Iowa farmer may not want to hear about global warming, but they do think the government shouldn’t be allowed to seize their land for use by a private company for profit. On Sunday night, Kleeb told the crowd, “We are all seeds of resistance, and unless we come together and form a strong, united, solid fight against these corporations, they will continue to tear us down … On November 9th, after Secretary Clinton is elected, we have to be in the streets … One thing that Bold is committed to ending is the use of eminent domain for private gain.” Kleeb declared that Bold’s purpose on this planet is to make sure that corporations no longer have that right.

Josh Fox then took the stage to introduce his film and build resistance. Fox spoke about the fact that everywhere he goes people are fighting pipelines. Josh reminded everyone that “neighbor talking to neighbor is more powerful than any corporate interest, is more powerful than any oil company, is more powerful than any pipeline. I have seen that over and over again, when we organize we win, when we say no and we organize and we put our bodies on the line and when we stand up for each other we win … I am so incredibly moved by what is going on at Standing Rock, the energy that was created has gone across the United States and across the world and it has changed the game in what we are doing to resist fossil fuels. It has changed the game in our efforts to stop fracking and tar sands oil and it has shown the world that the fossil fuel industry has no moral standing anymore, that they are brutalizing, racist, and inhuman.” Fox also played his trademark banjo while introducing the film.

The film takes us on a journey to the places hardest hit by climate change. While the stories are gut-wrenching, Fox succeeds at offering hope and showing the incredible spirit of people who should be consumed with bitterness and hate. Remember the quote earlier in the article from Floreece Whitebull, who talked about facing the brunt of the brutality being brought to bear in Standing Rock. In Josh’s inspiring film, that same spirit around the world is highlighted. You can purchase the film on iTunes and Amazon.

As the film was ending, Josh encouraged people to dance along with those dancing on the screen. Climate change, Standing Rock, fracking, pipelines are serious issues, but as Josh captures in his films, we can have fun building community-based resistance. We need to celebrate our victories while we learn from our defeats. We have to continue to support one another, and like Josh said, contribute what we love to the movement and the movement will love us back.

Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott will be spending a year covering the presidential election from Iowa.

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