In a victory for Indigenous resistance inside U.S. colonial borders, thousands of Standing Rock Sioux people and supporters at the Oceti Sakowin or Seven Council Fires encampment in North Dakota celebrated after they forced the Obama administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to back down on Dec. 4, 2016.
The eight-month-long militant protest demanded the blockage of the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a $3.8 billion oil pipeline financed by a consortium of imperialist banks. The pipeline was slated to transport 50,000 barrels of oil a day from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota to southern Illinois.
The encampment drew in thousands of Indigenous people and allies and galvanized the support of millions of people throughout the world. The Standing Rock Sioux people were fighting to defend their water supply, Lake Oahe, and their Indigenous land which was stolen during hundreds of years of genocidal assaults by the U.S. government and white settlers of the oppressor nation.
During the months of the Standing Rock encampment, the protesters were brutalized by the police and National Guard who used police dogs and water cannons to attack them. The cops and National Guard shot rubber bullets and tear gas in the people’s faces and used concussion grenades against the encampment which numbered the elderly and children among its ranks.
Despite winter blizzard conditions, many protesters remained at the camp this week, knowing after 500 years of experience, that the U.S. government is a lying, murderous, treacherous force. One Standing Rock member stated, “It’s not over. It’s never over. They say one thing and do another.”
Indeed, Obama’s actions were only for show since the inauguration of Donald Trump will take place this month. Last week, the Trump transition team announced the support for the completion of the pipeline by Donald Trump who has a personal investment in Energy Partners, the Texas company leading the Dakota Access Pipeline project.
Capitalism built on the enslavement of African people and the genocide of the Indigenous people
The African People’s Socialist Party states unconditionally that this land belongs to the Indigenous people and that neither the U.S. government nor any white person has a legitimate claim to property here.
The Standing Rock struggle is just the latest in the resistance of the Indigenous people who have fought fiercely against invasion of their lands by white illegal aliens who committed every despicable act that humans are capable of inflicting. To paraphrase African People’s Socialist Party Chairman Omali Yeshitela from his book “An Uneasy Equilibrium: The African Revolution versus Parasitic Capitalism.”
Chairman Omali stated that capitalism “was born in disrepute, of…rapes, massacres, occupations, genocides, colonialism…”
As Chairman Omali explains, capitalism was founded on the assault on Africa, the kidnapping and enslavement of African people and the theft of their freedom, dignity, labor, land and resources.
Capitalism was also built on the genocide of the Indigenous people and the theft of their land which constitutes the land base of North and South America today.
The assault on Africa and the Indigenous people of this land and the colonization of the majority of the peoples of the planet transformed an impoverished Europe under feudalism into the seat of power for parasitic capitalism that terrorized humanity, stole their labor, land and resources for the benefit of white people and white power.
History of white terror against Indigenous people
White workers came by the millions to the Americas to find our future and the road to prosperity on the backs of African and Indigenous people. We became the white people’s State, voluntarily carrying out the aims of colonialism in unity with our own ruling class at the expense of Africans and the Indigenous people.
We lynched and tortured Africans by the thousands in hideous popular spectacles to maintain our position on capitalism’s pedestal; we armed ourselves, murdered and terrorized the Indigenous people and stole their land to build our fortunes.
During the California gold rush in the 1850s, the state of California paid out over a million dollars a year to white settler colonizers to bring in the scalps of the Indigenous people. We kidnapped Indigenous girls and sold them to the gold miners as sex slaves.
At numerous massacres of the Indigenous people, white colonizers tossed little babies back and forth on our bayonets while holding their screaming mothers down. We murdered the women, cutting out their uteruses and vaginas to make into saddle horn covers and hat bands.
The Indigenous people fought tirelessly century after century led by heroes known as Tecumseh, Cochise, Geronimo, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and countless other powerful leaders of the resistance armies whose war strategies were so brilliant that they are studied today by the imperialist army of the U.S.
Today, one in four Indigenous people living in the concentration camps called reservations lives in dire poverty. The poverty rate at the Standing Rock reservation is 43 percent.
On the Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, the unemployment rate is 80-90 percent with a suicide rate of twice the U.S. average, an infant mortality rate that is three times the U.S. average and a life expectancy that is in the 40s, the lowest of the U.S.
Opportunist white people attempted to redefine Indigenous national liberation struggle
During the encampment, an assortment of white organizations and activists invaded the Standing Rock protests and attempted to redefine the Dakota Access pipeline struggle as an environmentalist issue, as opposed to a struggle of the Indigenous people to reclaim their land, resources and sovereignty.
Organizations like the Sierra Club wrested leadership of the struggle into their own hands, raising up the pipeline as the reemergence of the American environmentalist movement.
This so-called environmentalist movement was born through “settling the West” by means of genocidal terror and extermination of the majority of the Indigenous people, the same people who had taken care of the land as its rightful custodians for thousands of years.
Anarchists and other white lifestyle activists engulfed the encampments, resulting in sharp criticisms from the Indigenous people: “White people are colonizing the camps,” stated one protester. “I mean that seriously. Plymouth Rock seriously. They are coming in, taking food, clothing and occupying space without any desire to participate in camp maintenance and without respect of tribal protocols.”
As the Indigenous people stood down the colonial State with seriousness and courage, white people gathered around campfires, drinking beer and playing guitar. As a protester reported, “These people are treating it like it is Burning Man or The Rainbow Gathering,” two drug festivals enjoyed by white people.
If white people are serious about wanting to stand in solidarity with the Indigenous people, then we have to be under the leadership of the African working class-led struggle to overturn colonialism and parasitic capitalism for once and for all.
The African People’s Socialist Party recognizes that Africa is the birthright of African people everywhere and that this land of the so-called “Americas” is land of Indigenous people.
The struggle of the Indigenous people at Standing Rock is part of ongoing resistance that includes the waves of Spanish-speaking Indigenous people coming across the illegitimate colonial border separating the Mexican people from their own land.
The Uhuru Solidarity Movement, working under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party, organizes in solidarity with African national liberation, reparations to African people and an end to parasitic capitalism, the basis for the return of the land of the Indigenous people.
Join the Uhuru Solidarity Movement!