by Scott Starbuck, SanDiego350
The past two terms, my students asked why I support Standing Rock Sioux’s nonviolent protest against Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access Pipeline. In the fewest possible words, these two RISE videos explain why: Part 1 and Part 2. I am grateful cnbc.com reported that 4,000 veterans, and many others, from as far away as Norway, are supporting this effort.
One of my favorite thinkers, Isaac Asimov, said, “[Y]ou do your best to disprove your own findings.” which is what I did before I threw my support behind the Sioux. In other words, I read Energy Transfer Partners’ claims and positions, and compared them with those of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their supporters. However, I didn’t stop there. I called former North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple’s office and had a conversation with his secretary.
“Oh, do you mean the protesters?” she asked.
“Some people call them that,” I said, “but I, and others, call them ‘Water Protectors.'”
I know some of my friends may take the other side, and I can only encourage them to watch the two RISE videos above then look closely at both sides of the argument. Regardless of one’s position, there is no way to explain-away major bank-financed dogs biting nonviolent people protecting their tribal burial sites and water for all future generations. Everyone saw false assurances of oil companies blasted away with the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, and on Dec. 12, 2016, The Guardian reported “Electronic monitoring equipment failed to detect a pipeline rupture that spewed more than 176,000 gallons of crude oil into a North Dakota creek, according to the pipeline’s operator, about 150 miles from the site of the Standing Rock protests.”
I noticed activists and creatives insisting our nonviolent actions can be as important, or more important, than our writing. I couldn’t agree more. Yesterday, The Seattle Times reported about Ken Ward “No conviction for activist who shut down TransMountain pipeline.” While I would never support this kind of activity without nonviolence training, proper planning, and deep reflection of possible risks, I, like the jury, understand why honest-hearted people nonviolently risk 20 or more years in prison to do these kinds of acts. Ken Ward and the other four “Valve Turners” will be presenting at San Diego First Church of the Brethren, 3850 Westgate Pl, on Monday, February 13 at 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM PST. Here is the event notice. A suggested donation is $20. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.