You are here

pipelines

DC IWW Resolution on Standing Rock

Official Statement by the DC IWW General Membership Branch - November 19, 2016

The DC General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World wish to express our solidarity with the water protectors at Standing Rock who are resisting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on their tribal lands. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and those fighting alongside them, are on the front lines of environmental struggle in North America, standing against corporate power and greed, against government collusion with private interests, and above all against the planet-killing depredations of the industrial capitalist system.

To the water protectors at Standing Rock, we say the following: Your struggle, to defend your own communities, health, dignity, and livelihoods, is a clear lesson to all who love freedom and justice: there is not, and must not be, any separation between fighting for Mother Earth and fighting for our lives. Protecting the Earth from destruction is an act of collective self-defense. The Sioux phrase, “Mitakuye Oyasin” -- “All Are Related” -- is similar to the old IWW slogan, “An injury to one is an injury to all,” reminding the working class of its common identity. By fighting the Dakota Access pipeline, the water protectors-our fellow workers- at Standing Rock protect not only themselves but millions of fellow workers who could potentially be impacted by the Dakota Access Pipeline.

By taking action to defend your water and land, you have struck powerful blows against the corporate action exploitation of the Earth. Your struggle is supported and appreciated. We encourage all groups and all peoples concerned with the exploitation of our Earth for profit to support the water protectors at Standing Rock.

In Harmony with the Earth! Mni Wiconi! Water Is Life!

LIUNA’s Rank-and-File is Challenging Union Leadership on Standing Rock—and Beyond

By Kate Arnoff - In These Times, November 7, 2016

To date, several unions have come out in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, including the Communications Workers of America (CWA), National Nurses United, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and the 2 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Terry O’Sullivan—General President of Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA)—has few kind words for them. In a letter from late October, he called them “self-righteous,” “a group of bottom-feeding organizations” that “have sided with THUGS against trade unionists” and showed “a truly amazing level of hypocrisy and ignorance.”

 “LIUNA will not forget the reprehensible actions and statements against our members and their families from the five unions listed above,” O’Sullivan warned. “Brothers and sisters, for every ACTION there is a REACTION, and we should find every opportunity to reciprocate their total disrespect and disregard for the health, safety and livelihoods of our members.”

But will union leadership take “ACTION” against its own members, many of whom are bucking O’Sullivan’s position and choosing to stand with Standing Rock? The fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline is creating and revitalizing alliances between indigenous communities, greens and labor. In short order, these newly strengthened ties could have a significant impact on the energy industry and the next president alike.

LIUNA Local passes message of support for Standing Rock

By Richard Mellor - Facts for Working People, November 6, 2016

Facts For Working People shares the following statement of support from a union for the Standing Rock fighters.  The union member raised this issue in her local union and it was voted on and approved. While it is important for individual union activists to support the struggle in North Dakota it is crucial that we take this issue up in the workplaces and the union hall. Messages have more strength when they come from our local organization.

What is as important even if one’s attempts to get a local union to pass a resolution or write a statement in support, loses as vote, is that a debate takes place, positions are taken and the sides have to be heard. This helps workers understand the issues, some will change their mind, some won’t, at least not immediately, but consciousness will be raised and the union and all workers will benefit from it win or lose the argument on the day. A leadership that is opposed to an issue is also forced to openly defend their position rather than avoid debate entirely. Ask your relatives, neighbors and friends if they are in a union and if they are ask them to introduce a message or resolution in support of Standing Rock. You can even help write it.

Thank you sister for your efforts.

From Chaous Riddle LIUNA City of Madison local 236

Brothers and sisters in Madison Wisconsin are aware that the City of Madison has passed a resolution to stand in solidarity with Standing Rock against the pipeline. Most also know that one of our alders was arrested there.

I brought it up in my union, LIUNA* local 236 when I got an invite to stand with other unions there. I wrote and introduced the statement below. The membership voted unanimously to stand with Standing Rock against our own organization. They understood that we were going against the LIUNNA International leadership’s position and knew we would feel repercussions from this stance. They then took a vote and unanimously voted to send me as their ambassador with our message of solidarity.

Below is the statement from LIUNA 236 in Madison Wisconsin in solidarity with Standing Rock

A statement by City of Madison LIUNA local 236

We at LIUNA local 236 feel the need to take a stance on the issue. We know many unions are for the pipeline and just as many are against it. Due to how our city is situated between several large bodies of water that is a part of the Mississippi watershed we strive as a whole to keep our lakes clean.

Because of the nature of our job we know that unlike air, water is a closed loop. What we have is all we get. Our lakes provide untold amounts of recreation along with what comes out of our taps. It must remain clean. The city government has worked with the indigenous tribes here to try and preserve their heritage. As a diversified group we also understand wanting and keeping a heritage. We feel there would be more and better sustainable jobs if we invested in other types of energy that were not fraught with so many accidents. We stand proudly and in solidarity with the city of Madison, her citizens and the people of Standing Rock against the pipeline. After all, this is Madison. 

Thank you City of Madison LIUNA  local 23

At the time I and my union were under the impression that we would not be the only local there however we had a feeling we would be the only LIUNA local.

After I got there I found out it was individuals and not actual locals. I stood up anyhow because my union knew we would be the only LIUNA local. My union wants to do the right thing and what we were hoping for was that other LIUNA locals would follow us. We might be small but we have no fear and that makes us mighty!

Because I am LIUNA I was at first was met with suspicion and hostility. However once they found out why I was there I was received with open arms.

IWW Member Brenna Cain: Why I Am With Labor For Standing Rock

By Brenna Cain - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, November 3, 2016

Brenna Cain from IWW 610 talks about the importance of defending the human rights of Native Americans and supporting their efforts to protect the Missouri River.

IWW Member Liam Cain: Why I Am With Labor For Standing Rock

By Liam Cain - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, November 3, 2016

I Just got back from a brief but inspiring trip to North Dakota with Labor for Standing Rock. Here Liam Cain from LIUNA Local 1271 / IWW EUC talks about the importance of defending the human rights of Native Americans and supporting their efforts to protect the Missouri River. Mni Wiconi - Water is Life

Standing Rock and Beyond: Big Oil’s Corporate Dislocations and Extortions

By Wendell G Bradley - CounterPunch, November 4, 2016

If a corp (o’rat) wants to be criminally normal, here is how it must think/act:

Conceive of a project that is bigger than ever, yet still propagandizable as ‘in the public interest’.

Such capitalization, in the billions, makes it eligible for government-engineered (made-easy) credit access, and with regulatory approval already ‘play-booked’, for example, as with oil and gas.

Make the project as ‘venturesome’ (risky) as possible, thus bondable only in those high-yield categories the especially brave, free market entrepreneurs alone dare to inhabit, ostensibly creating benefits for everyone.

Big banks are anxious to use their tax-gifted, ever accumulating slush funds (already in the hundreds of billions) to financially ‘correct’ low interest environments.

Such projects are said to deserve their automatic (publicly guaranteed) insurance policies against any/all failures, given they are integral to ‘our’ economy, especially as general job creators.

‘Too big to fail’ projects are not subject to the free market, democratic process. They are not about ‘informed consumers making rational choices’. Foreign Trade Agreements, for example, are made in secret. Slick advertising of the effective kind, affordable only by big, corporate money, is highly successful in shaping public attitudes. The corporately touted basis for ‘free markets’ becomes undermined.

Indeed most risky, big project ideas (think internet) are developmentally funded by public money, at places like MIT. Upon corporate adoption, such tax-financed, highly promoted developments will yield insured, private profit, not free market trials under creative competition.

A particularly instructive ‘case in point’ is fracked oil and its delivery. At current and expected prices ($50/bbl), US oil is largely uneconomic to produce and pipeline to market. For example, the break-even price for both the Bakken (ND) and Niobrara (CO) oil fields has proven to be, on average, at least $75/ bbl (includes acquisition, leasing, capitalization, and transportation charges).

Of course some wells, a few percent in very localized ‘sweet spots’, can still yield profits. However, large scale projects such as the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), if based on total-formation output figures, will prove wholly unjustified–least of all for any public-benefit argument used to justify takings of private property, say by eminent domain proceedings.

For example, it simply does not make economic sense to justify DAPL’s $5 billion project cost on the basis of 400,000 bbl/day Bakken production if 90% of that oil, 360,000 bbls/day, is transported simply to recover some revenue from bad, initial investments at the wells.

The environmental degradations from the daily pipeline releases experienced across the US are huge. However, such costs do not figure into official economics. They are simply dismissed from accounting as ‘economic externalities’—another of the privileging violations of actual free market cost/benefit.

At current oil prices, the Bakken has few ‘economically recoverable’ reserves–the only ones that count in Securities Exchange calculations of legitimate investment. Accordingly, the future of legitimate oil development’s production/transport per the Bakken is highly speculative; too much so to establish any clear public benefit from DAPL. For example, if today’s proven oil reserves provided all US consumption, their depletion would fail energy independence in only 1.5 years.

Under a full accounting, DAPL’s justifications for forcible ‘takings/leasing’ finally evaporate altogether. For example, according to the International Energy Agency, two-thirds of all oil reserves must stay in the ground if economically devastating climate change limits are to be heeded. DAPL approval is therefore a form of climate denial, one directly counter to Obama’s professed doctrine requiring special review for all additions of climate-influencing infrastructure.

So, why take oil’s public risks, such as its economic and environmental dislocations from pipeline ruptures, when clean, renewable solar is currently available, more economically. For example, solar produces utility-level electricity at less expense than does oil production’s natural gas complement, according to our National Energy Lab (Berkeley). Renewables are even replacing oil in production of plastics and clothing.

Clearly, the oil industry is experiencing a market-based decline known as ‘creative destruction’ under solar penetration. It can no longer compete, even though hugely subsidized. Exxon, the world’s leading oil company, experienced stock price declines (17%) apparently due to profit declines (17%) since 2014, and had a credit rating reduction to its lowest value in 17 years.

The smart money is ‘going solar’; divestments and bankruptcies in oil are increasing (105 filings since 2015; expecting around 200 overall).

Oil is rapidly becoming the dinosaur of energy, yet it continues to enjoy developmental subsidies, world-wide, of about a million dollars per day. Oil is not a rational-market operation.

Indeed, oil’s bigger-than-ever project justifications, such as DAPL, can only be entertained within a captive regulatory framework whose blatant defiance of rational, democratic choice is increasingly being understood as a form of Class Warfare, one enabling an economic elite to extort wealth from a 70% disenfranchised public (Princeton study.)

Witness the deep, gritty awareness at Standing Rock, ND where indigenous people are the first to make all of the above crystal clear in their direct resistance to Big Oil as Water Protectors. What can be more fundamental to well-being than that?

Labor For Standing Rock Announces Union Camp

By Cliff Willmeng, Michael Letwin, and Steve Ongerth - Labor for Standing Rock, October 28, 2016

October 29-30, 2016: Labor Mobilization in Support of Standing Rock, First Nations, in Opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline

“We at Oceti Sakowin Camp welcome any and all support from our Union brothers and sisters. This camp stands to protect our sacred water and support a new energy paradigm, jobs and work in green energy fields. We welcome your support in any ways you feel appropriate, join us in paving a new road to a sustainable future for many future generations.”

--Message from Standing Rock Council to Labor for Standing Rock, 10/13/26.

In response to calls from Standing Rock, please join a coordinated labor mobilization on the weekend of October 29-30!

For more details, download this pamphlet (PDF).

Also, please donate to this campaign.

Water Protector Activists telling the story of the Pipeline Access Protest in Iowa!

How to support Standing Rock and confront what it means to live on stolen land

Berkley Carnine and Liza Minno Bloom - Waging Nonviolence, October 13, 2016

A month after President Obama told the Army Corps of Engineers to pause construction on the Dakota Access oil pipeline, the Standing Rock Sioux and those supporting them still find themselves in a dire struggle to protect their water and land. With winter approaching, the 300 tribes that are now represented at the Camp of the Sacred Stone in North Dakota are preparing for a lengthy battle.

In their effort to protect water, life, ancestors and future generations, indigenous peoples are also demanding that corporations, the U.S. government, and settlers respect the treaties and indigenous self-determination. This is widening an existing dialogue and expanding ties of solidarity to include more of us who are of white European descent occupying indigenous land.

As support for those at Standing Rock grows, it is important that allies also confront the fundamental questions of what it means to live on stolen land and how to transform colonial relations in a way that creates a viable and just future for all communities and the planet. After almost a decade of engaging in request-based, volunteer solidarity organizing with indigenous groups fighting relocation in Black Mesa, Arizona due to coal mining, we have learned and honed a list of action steps for non-Native individuals just getting involved, as well as a set of best practices for activists already working on other organizing efforts.

As people of European descent who benefit from both white privilege and settler privilege, we understand that our work and writing is most effective when it is developing and acting upon a mutual stake in decolonization. This means focusing on the responsibilities specific to our position, which is inherently different from that of indigenous and non-Native people of color. Nevertheless, their organizing, along with much activist scholarship — some of which is linked to below — has helped inform this list of action steps and set of best practices.

The Power Behind the Pipeline

By Krystal Two Bulls, Red Warrior Camp, Scott Parkin, and Patrick Young - CounterPunch, October 13, 2016

The “Dakota Access” Pipeline (DAPL) is a $3.8 billion, 1,100 mile fracked-oil pipeline that is currently under construction running from the Bakken shale fields of North Dakota to Peoria, Illinois. DAPL is slated to cross Lakota Treaty Territory at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation where it would be laid underneath the Missouri River, the longest river on the continent.

Construction of the DAPL would impact many sites that are sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux and numerous other indigenous nations. DAPL would also, engender a renewed fracking-frenzy in the Bakken shale region, as well as endanger a source of fresh water for the Standing Rock Sioux and 8 million people living downstream.

This massive infrastructure project is being built and financed by a complex network of dozens of shady oil companies and banks with presences all over the world. Research into the pipeline’s ownership shows us that virtually every major bank in the world is financially connected to the companies involved in the project and numerous oil and gas companies will have ownership interests in the project. But who is driving the construction of the pipeline, and more importantly who has the power to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline?

Pages

The Fine Print I:

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) unless otherwise indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s, nor should it be assumed that any of these authors automatically support the IWW or endorse any of its positions.

Further: the inclusion of a link on our site (other than the link to the main IWW site) does not imply endorsement by or an alliance with the IWW. These sites have been chosen by our members due to their perceived relevance to the IWW EUC and are included here for informational purposes only. If you have any suggestions or comments on any of the links included (or not included) above, please contact us.

The Fine Print II:

Fair Use Notice: The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of scientific, environmental, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc.

It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal or technical advice.