Pipeline Resistance in the Trump Era
On November 15, tens of thousands of you took to the streets at hundreds of actions from California to Ireland to say #NoDAPL.
I was amazed as the beautiful photos flooded in. It’s been an intense and challenging week for everyone, and yet so many people found the strength and defiance to take their grief, resilience, and inspiration to the streets to make it clear that we are not backing down. We are fighting harder than ever.
2016 has permanently changed what it means to be fighting for a just and livable world. The fight at Standing Rock has ignited the nation in a way nothing else has. Pipeline resistance grounded in indigenous rights and youth leadership has leapt into the public consciousness in an unprecedented and inspiring way. Simultaneously, we’re facing the daunting prospect of four years with a bigoted, sexist, racist man controlling the Oval Office.
Reflecting on the last few days, months, and years, I’ve come to three main conclusions:
The odds are more alarmingly stacked against us than any other time in recent memory. We need to rally around the battles that most impact the communities Trump is already targeting, many of which are on the front lines of oil infrastructure.
We need to develop our local and state decision makers into allies and champions who will go to bat for our communities. If we prepare them with the backing of a movement, we have power to face the intense opposition from the federal government.
We have nothing to gain by compromising. Our movements need to be stronger, more defiant, and more vocal than ever before. Strategic escalation and a refusal to compromise our moral authority are not options but necessities in our new political reality.
We’re facing uncharted territory as a movement, but I’m more sure than ever that taking on fossil fuel projects at the local level are a critical part of our path forward. These projects are physical assaults on our communities, and as such, the resistance to them is also deeply rooted in our local sense of place and community, wherever we are.
And while we have lost a lot of our leverage at the federal level, oil companies still have to grapple with county and state regulatory processes to build their pipelines. This gives us a unique foothold in a political reality where the federal government is diametrically opposed to protecting our communities, resources, and liberties.
Together, we can erode the capacity, financial resources, and social legitimacy of the corporations, like Energy Transfer Partners and Enbridge, that back the Dakota Access pipeline and seek to run similar projects through all of our backyards. This starts with knitting our geographic communities together more tightly than ever for the fights ahead.
That’s why I’m facilitating 12 digital town halls between November 30 and December 15. Here’s the schedule:
Each digital town hall will bring together young people, community members, and leaders in local pipeline and oil infrastructure resistance movements to:
Identify our most urgent regional battles,
Build resilient networks based in relationships, and
Brainstorm local strategies to defend our rights against a Trump administration.
I’m walking into this with as much uncertainty as you. I can’t promise you answers, but I can promise you time and space where we can figure out those answers together.
Now is the moment to reach out to one another and build the communities and alliances that will ultimately triumph against hate, greed, and bigotry.
The last week has reminded me powerfully of the incredible strength, resilience, and love that pours out from our communities in times of crisis. I won’t sugarcoat it: it’s going to be a gritty four years. We need to hold each other, our communities, and our work with as much love, defiance, determination, and courage as we can muster. We are bold and beautiful beyond measure, and a Trump presidency is going to test that in a way most of us have been scared to imagine. We will need to more strength and unity than ever—and we have it. We are strong enough to make it through this together.