Monday, January 16, 2017

The Winter in 2017 Part 5

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Standing Rock

For long centuries, the Native Americans have fought against oppression. Today, the heroic indigenous people and their allies are protesting and fighting back against the corporate interests who want to build the Dakota Access Pipeline on sovereign land. This pipeline has no environmentally sound benefit and it is against the people’s wishes in the territory. On April 2016, tribal members started to protest the 1,172 mile proposed Dakota Access Pipeline construction. They set up camps along the banks of Lake Oahe in North Dakota. By August, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed suit in federal district court in Washington D.C. They are filing suit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is the primary federal agency that granted permits used for the construction of the pipeline. Also, the NoDAPL movement grew and many people among many walks of life have expressed support and solidarity with the Native American human beings who desire that pipeline to not be constructed. In August 22, 2016, protests help to block the construction sites at Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The protests are led by the Standing Rock Sioux who said that their drinking water was threatened by the pipeline. The small Sacred Stone Camp grows by the thousands. The people there made up over 200 tribes in September of 2016.  In an act of disrespect, Dakota Access bulldozers on September 3, 2016 plow a 2 mile long, 150 ft. wide path through the sacred tribal burial ground. The Sioux contested the permits for that land in its lawsuit. Protests continue on the anniversary of the Whitestone massacre, a day in 1863 when the US Army killed more than 300 members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. Video surfaces in September of private security attacking Native protesters with dogs and mace. At least 30 people were pepper-sprayed and six people, including a child, were bitten by dogs, according to tribe spokesman Bear. In September 6th, the U.S.  District Judge James Boasberg agrees to temporarily halt construction on a portion of the pipeline—too late to save the Standing Rock Sioux burial ground, but enough to stop the bulldozers ahead of a more final ruling, expected September 9, as to whether construction will be allowed to continue. This movement is one of the largest Native American protests in American history.

The authorities in North Dakota use tactics of intimidation, threats of arrest, and arrests to harm the protest movement. Yet, they only motivate protesters even more to fight for justice. Water protesters are arrested and jailed without bond after locking themselves to construction machinery.  Morton County Sheriff pursues felony charges on those arrested. 23 people and their charges are named. As of 9/14 a total of 69 individuals have been arrested for protesting actions. The Judge  drops injunction against tribal leaders allowing them to protest lawfully. In later October 2016, the police again used brutality against water protesters in Standing Rock. Protesters were maced and beaten at the hands of the police. 141 people were arrested. Many buffalo came around the hill and the protesters watched them in awe. It symbolized how the buffalo was slaughtered by the U.S. government over 100 years ago and now the Native Americans are being violated of their rights in our generation. As the police closed in on the water protectors, they drew inspiration from the Black Lives Matter movement chanting, "Hands up, don't shoot." Black Lives Matter activists have expressed their support for the Standing Rock protesters--sending a delegation to Standing Rock over the summer and, this week, calling for renewed solidarity in the wake of the most recent repression. Palestinian rights supporters, labor unions, and other progressive human beings have expressed solidarity with Standing Rock activists. What we see is that the state allowing human rights abuses via an occupying army against the original inhabitants of the American soil.

The Standing Rock human beings are defending the environment and promoting tribal sovereignty. America was founded on the genocide of the Native Americans and the enslavement of African people. We reject oppression. In the wake of the decision (on September 9, 2016), the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army, and the Department of the Interior issue a joint statement, acknowledging the district court's opinion but refusing to authorize construction in the Lake Oahe area, near the protests. The departments ask Energy Transfer Partners to voluntarily cease all construction within 20 miles of the region until it can be determined whether the construction is in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act. In November 20, 2016, the police utilized some of the vicious acts of violence against the protesters in North Dakota. The event happened at a bridge near the main Oceti Sakowin resistance camp by the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. Later, authorities expressed a brutal assault on water protectors. The attack started after a group from the camp tried to clear the nearby public bridge. The authorities blocked the area with military equipment chained to concrete barriers. Police moved in. The footage records the police attacking unarmed protesters with rubber bullets and concussion grenades. They fired flares and grassfires developed. They attacked the protestors with high pressure streams of water form water cannons and fire hoses. More than 100 activists were injured. Many people lost consciousness and one person went into cardiac arrest, but revived by medics. The most seriously injured appears to be 21-year-old Sophia Wilansky from the Bronx, who was struck by a concussion grenade as she tried to bring water to protesters under assault. She may lose her arm as a result. Sophia's father Wayne Wilansky sobbed as he told reporters about his daughter's condition. "In America, she's hit with a grenade," he said. "She's not in Iraq or Afghanistan...And they're trying to kill her." We will never forget what these crooked cops have done. Therefore, we will continue to stand up for the people of Standing Rock 100%.

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We are reminded everyday of what we have to do. We should use 2017 as a crucial opportunity to build in our communities. Doing something is better than doing nothing. One of the greatest things to do in our time is to fight poverty and to promote STEM fields for the youth (especially for the poor as a way for use to combat the digital divide). Additionally, we must advocate social, racial, environmental, and gender justice. We believe in justice for all and it is crucial for revolutionary change to transpire in the world. With all of the issues in the world, we believe in peace still. Believing in peace has nothing to do with having naivete. It has nothing to do with blatantly ignoring the problems of the day. It has to do with seeking peace as a long term goal that we are greatly devoted in achieving. We have the right to advocate for the same principles of excellence, justice, and human dignity. That precisely entails that we promote true education. Education doesn't deal with just random memorization of information. Education deals with analyzing information, applying facts to enable authentic, progressive social change. That is why we reject excessive militarism and a lust for the glamorization of the expansion of nuclear weaponry. This is why precisely we believe in compassion sent to the refugees (of any color), because of the just writ of treating our neighbors as ourselves.

The common cold would be blamed on BLM by racists if they desire too. Many people have brought up great points. First, we all condemn the assault against the young white person by 4 people. Likewise, the media doesn't report massively on the black disabled person who was assaulted and raped by a sick white racist. That racist was never sentenced in long prison time. Double standards exist. Racism and police brutality have a long history in Chicago and throughout the nation. The victims of gun violence and their families in Chicago are readily disrespected by many quarters in mainstream society. Some want band aids on this problem instead of comprehensive, revolutionary solutions. BLM has changed the world in causing more people to be aware on certain issues from policing to criminal justice matter. BLM should never be scapegoated for this incident. We have to use vigilance as many have stated. Extremist white people have shown their face for years and centuries in America. Still, some people refuse to believe their demented agenda of austerity, the assault on human rights, and the total disregard of the general welfare. The ACA should be improved upon not totally scrapped. If the ACA is gone completely, then millions of people would be stripped of health care. It is better to expand health care services and promote improvements instead of eliminating the whole thing. It's trying times.

There is no true liberation without the fair distribution of the wealth. The vast majority of the wealth on this Earth is controlled by the 1 percent. Since the oligarchs control most of the state, the power of the oligarchy must end in order for the power of economics and politics to be controlled by the masses of the people. Power to the people for real is a goal of mine. Everyone deserves a fair opportunity in life. The situation is that structures of oppression from economic oppression, racism, sexism, etc. exist. We should do our part to eliminate those structures of oppression in order for true freedom to flourish in the world. All human beings born on this Earth has intrinsic value and are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Likewise, no human is an island. In other words, all people, who have reached many accomplishments, have received help along the way. Therefore, we should create self-determination in our lives. There is nothing wrong with innovation and creativity. Building up our own institutions is fine with me. We are human beings and human beings are very resourceful and dynamic. There is nothing wrong with celebrating individual greatness. We are a great people. The deal is that in addition to that, we have to help the poor and the homeless. There is no liberation without the poor and the homeless getting the resources for them to develop their own sense of freedom and happiness. In essence, we have the right to condemn injustice and call out the mistakes of America.  There is no freedom without workers having living wages, health care, and other parts of the general welfare that people fought for. Also, we have to do deal with the environment. The Flint disaster taught all of us that environmental issues should never be placed into the back burner. Individual achievement alone is not what we desire. We desire the masses of our people in our community to grow and develop. We live in a class struggle and record income inequality must be combated. Also, I will continue to show the truth that Black is Beautiful.

Creating this peace will not be easy. Still, we have the capability though to formulate cooperation, negotiations, and strong diplomacy with other countries in order for solutions to transpire. History has taught us about how negotiations can bring positive results. The practical nuclear test ban treaty of 1963 (during the time of the Cold War when debates raged on what to do) was instituted by negotiations. The Voting Rights Act was achieved by the acts of heroic men, women, and children who didn't waver in their commitment to social justice. Therefore, we should not be naive in the world, but we should enact mutual tolerance, an end to evil enmities, and the focus on human improvement in our world society. So, we have faith. I remember hearing that faith can move mountains. A faith that can move mountains has certainly been true. For example, Harriet Tubman had faith and she saved so many lives in the Underground Railroad. The faith of so many heroes along with factions caused tons of progressive change in our land to help black people (as Black is Beautiful. I believe in black liberation), other minorities, women, immigrants, etc.

Always embrace your greatness. I certainly encourage everyone to be great. Greatness has nothing to do with ego or selfishness. Greatness is loving your being and expressing yourself to benefit yourself and others. It is also about honoring the dignity that you have. We shouldn't underestimate the power of unsung heroes and the power of truth. We will keep on going and:

Still, we rise.

By Timothy

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