We Are Number One

Now comes artist-poet Robert Montgomery, through an essay written for the esteemed Dark Mountain Project, and excerpted below. The images are from his series of watercolour texts.

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This Is Your Fight

We are pleased to relay the following press release from the National Lawyers Guild, announcing a criminal complaint against Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirschmeier and other law enforcement agencies for unjustified and excessive use of force against the peaceful assembly of Water Protectors at Standing Rock.

Images with editorial captions added by DP.

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POLICE RIOT AT STANDING ROCK

POLICE RIOT AT STANDING ROCK

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DOMESTIC TERRORISTS ASSAULT PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY WITH WATER CANNON

DOMESTIC TERRORISTS ASSAULT PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY WITH WATER CANNON

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Meanwhile, at least two thousand military veterans have committed to Stand With Standing Rock, and will begin to arrive this weekend. Veteran and former Baltimore police office Michael Wood writes:

We are veterans of the United States Armed Forces, including the U.S. Army, United States Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard and we are calling for our fellow veterans to assemble as a peaceful, unarmed militia at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation on Dec 4-7 and defend the water protectors from assault and intimidation at the hands of the militarized police force and DAPL security.

 We currently have over 2,100 Veterans on the roster. We’ll be standing alongside peaceful water protectors, who’ve endured violent attacks from the private security funded by DAPL and more brutality and arrests at the hands of militarized police and DAPL security. We have full support of the Sioux tribe elders and will be cooperating with them every step of the way.

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Violence of the Incompetent

Our title descends from Isaac Asimov, “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” So it goes with the varied forces of “order” deployed at Standing Rock, and their unhinged use of excessive weapons, better suited to the battlefield. Using such weapons against unarmed, peaceful Water Protectors is both cowardly and criminal.

Consider the violence committed against Sophia Wilansky, a recent college graduate who joined the Water Protectors in expression of her own deeply held conviction that the ongoing exploitation of fossil fuels amounts to wanton ecocide. While exercising her constitutional right to assemble and protect the water supply, Ms. Wilansky was viciously attacked by police with rubber bullets and an explosive concussion grenade, severely injuring her arm.

SOPHIA WILANSKY PRIOR TO HER INJURY AS THE RESULT OF CRIMINAL INCOMPETENCE

SOPHIA WILANSKY PRIOR TO HER INJURY AS THE RESULT OF CRIMINAL INCOMPETENCE

Here is the testimony of volunteer medic Brandi King, who served as an Army medic for eight years, upon witnessing the wounds inflicted upon the young woman:

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The Morton Sheriff Department, compounding the cowardice of using such a weapon against Ms. Wilansky by fabricating a ludicrous explanation from some delusional alternative univese, released the following statement:

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Democracy Now asked Ms. Wilansky’s father, Wayne Wilansky, to respond to such explanations:

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As for the use of water as a weapon deployed in sub-freezing weather conditions, we turn to Angela Bibens, a coordinator with the Water Protector Legal Collective, as quoted in The Los Angeles Times:

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Next comes Jesse Lopez, a surgeon and volunteer medic at Standing Rock, as quoted in The Intercept:

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Such actions constitute a criminal abuse of power; the perpetrators must be held accountable, and brought to justice. Returning to Mr. Wilansky:

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Technologies of Predation

Writing in The Guardian, Jameel Jaffer describes the background for his important new book, The Drone Memos. The image is from James Bridle’s ongoing series, Drone Shadows.

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Now we turn to Gregoire Chamayou, who more fully explores the philosophy behind such technologies of predation in his book Manhunts. Below, his introduction, with more Drone Shadows:

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Finally, we return to Jaffer, as quoted in a lengthy discussion of his work published by The Intercept:

A lot of those things that the Obama administration has described as constraining are executive branch policies that can be reversed relatively easily by the next administration. That’s the unfortunate truth. This book coming out now is both great and awful. I’ve been proved right — I guess that’s good. But on the other hand, I’m ambivalent about spending all of this energy complaining about the Obama administration when something much worse is on the horizon.

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Rage Against the Elites

Among the hundreds of commentaries churning Tuesday’s bitter butter, two stand out for DP consideration, the first from Naomi Klein, with its core argument excerpted below:

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HISTORICAL ROOTS FOR A BLEEDING EDGE PLATFORM COMPANY

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Next we have The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald, in an analysis that echoes his previous dissection of the Brexit “surprise”:

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The Logic of Hatred

Now come a few devastatingly accurate paragraphs from Cameroonian philosopher Achille Mbembe, as excerpted from a longer essay in Radical Philosophy. The equally as devastating images are from the studio of Ana Teresa Fernández, paintings that document her performance; blacking out her self.

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Here in America, our finitude appears imminent, if not fully thought.

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In Contingent Collaboration

Now comes poet/lawyer Monica Youn, with an essay on both the fascinations and the politics that are entangled down there among the buried roots of words. Excerpts below, with an image first from Rosamund Purcell, and then from Richard Kurtz.

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Youn’s most recent book of poems, Blackacre, is available from the excellent Greywolf Press. Consider her Interrogation of the Hanged Man:

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Of Genocide and the Pipeline

Today, since we are far away from our vast editorial office complex, we serve as relay for an important message from Kelly Hayes, a founding member of the Chicago Light Brigade and an organizer with We Charge Genocide.

Emphasis on final two sentences added by DP.

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Yes, everyone should be talking about climate change, but you should also be talking about the fact that Native communities deserve to survive, because our lives are worth defending in their own right — not simply because “this affects us all.”

So when you talk about Standing Rock, please begin by acknowledging that this pipeline was redirected from an area where it was most likely to impact white people. And please remind people that our people are struggling to survive the violence of colonization on many fronts, and that people shouldn’t simply engage with or retweet such stories when they see a concrete connection to their own issues — or a jumping off point to discuss their own issues. Our friends, allies and accomplices should be fighting alongside us because they value our humanity and right to live, in addition to whatever else they believe in.

Every Native at Standing Rock — every Native on this continent — has survived the genocide of a hundred million of our people. That means that every Indigenous child born is a victory against colonialism, but we are all born into a fight for our very existence. We need that to be named and centered, which is a courtesy we are rarely afforded.

This message is not a condemnation. It’s an ask.

We are asking that you help ensure that dialogue around this issue begins with and centers a discussion of anti-Native violence and policies, no matter what other connections you might ultimately make, because those discussions simply don’t happen in this country. There obviously aren’t enough people talking about climate change, but there are even fewer people — and let’s be real, far fewer people — discussing the various forms of violence we are up against, and acting in solidarity with us. And while such discussions have always been deserved, we are living in a moment when Native Water Protectors and Water Warriors have more than earned both acknowledgement and solidarity.

So if you have been with us in this fight, we appreciate you, but we are reaching out, right now, in these brave days for our people, and asking that you keep the aforementioned truths front and center as you discuss this effort. This moment is, first and foremost, about Native liberation, self determination and Native survival. That needs to be centered and celebrated.

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The Ultimate Exit

In the ever-expanding Annals of Hubris and Delusion, we turn to recent comments made by two distinguished physicists who appear to have caught the same strain of Space Fever presently burning through the ranks of the world’s billionaires. First up: Freeman Dyson, in the pages of the New York Review of Books:

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Words shocking in their shallowness, from a scientist of such stature: what evidence can Dyson summon to justify his view that humans merit such an expanded role, as “creators of a living universe”?

The historical and environmental record actually suggests the opposite, namely that we destroy and contaminate everything that comes within our grasp. Untethered from any empirically grounded evidence, Dyson sounds like a fairground barker, urging dim punters to pony up for the ET Fun House.

Then we have Stephen Hawking, writing in the Guardian:

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Oh my. First, Hawking takes note of the “ever-increasing risk” of being wiped out; yet somehow this does not diminish his ardor for signing up for one of Dyson’s Ark “seeds”, conveyed we suppose by the likes of Bezos and Musk.

Rather than confront the limitless appetite for violence and environmental damage exhibited in centuries of human behavior, and the consequent implications for evolutionary biology, Dyson and Hawking become mouthpieces for a Grand Exit Strategy for those who have amassed sufficient plunder: ad astra!

DP correspondent Jon Swan writes:

It is more thrilling to imagine finding life –  even if it is only a speck of bacteria – deep within a frozen ocean of another planet, which Congress has directed NASA to do in its Europa mission, the centerpiece of its Ocean Worlds Exploration Program, than to try to heal a wounded planet. And more thrilling yet to imagine establishing human colonies in space, as billionaire Elon Musk hopes to do on Mars, and as do even such respected scientists as Freeman Dyson and Stephen Hawking, who, in his latest book, writes, “I think the human race has no future if it doesn’t go to space.” 

There can be little doubt that our species will wiped out on the planet that gave birth to us if we turn away from the reality that surrounds us and focus our hopes and dreams — and spend our treasure — on starting a new life in outer space. But is a species that is willing to turn its back on the plight of seven, eight, and soon nine billion lives and to spend billions on providing for the escape of a privileged few worth preserving?  

A very good question; and as the Cold War heats up all over again, we suggest a far more plausible endgame for the human adventure, one more consistent with the scientific and historical evidence:

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We Sing For Water

On this Indigenous People’s Day, we open our ears to the words and songs of the Water Protectors at Standing Rock and elsewhere around the world.

We are grateful to the DP reader who steered us to an essay by Chickasaw Nation writer-in-residence Linda Hogan, excerpted below. The images are from a No Dakota Access Movement video that can be accessed by clicking within any of the frames.

We also take time today to honor the memory of Berta Cáceres and other brave protectors of sacred and essential resources who have been murdered over the past year by the agents of ecocidal capitalism. Let us wake up!

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