This site is kept by Boyce Richardson, journalist, writer and documentary filmmaker, of a leftist persuasion.
Saturday, September 2, 2017
Quote of the day, September 2 2017: from John Bellamy Foster
From an interview published in an e-bulletin in Socialist Project, called “A
Resistance Movement for the Planet,” by socialist environmentalist John Bellamy
Foster, Professor of Sociology at the University of Oregan, and editor of
struggle at Standing Rock has left an indelible imprint on today’s
environmental struggle. It was a great victory, even though with Trump’s
election the conditions were set for the overriding of what had been won.
Indigenous peoples once again demonstrated, as they have over and over in
recent years, their leadership in the struggle to protect the environment. The
water protectors stood fast while they were hosed in subfreezing weather,
subjected to non-lethal bullets and tear gas, and dogs set on them. The whole
world gasped. It was difficult not to recall the struggles of the civil rights
era in the Jim Crow South. The battle was primarily to protect the water which
was threatened by drilling the pipeline under the Missouri River. But everyone
understood – and not just environmentalists that joined them, but especially
the Indigenous peoples themselves – that this was a battle for the whole earth.
For me, though, the high point was near the end when thousands of U.S. veterans arrived en masse, approaching Standing Rock in long
winding lines of vehicles strung out over miles, to provide a “human shield”
for the water protectors. They declared that they were standing with the
Indigenous peoples – and even taking it upon themselves to apologize on bended
knees for the history of U.S. treatment of Native Americans. It is no accident
that the government gave in a couple of days after that. The conflict that would
have ensued would have drawn untold numbers of people to the environmental
resistance and, in that sense, would have been a full-scale disaster for the
powers that be. So they chose to pull back at that point. But what really made
this so important was that it represented an act of solidarity cutting across
the lines that have historically divided us. It is the emergence of human
solidarity in the hour of need in this way that tells us that we can win.