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Stand With the Sioux or We All Lose

How do the very rich turn the very poor against each other? They find exploit any minor difference in one group to use against them or they use the blame game--and it’s worked so far. That used to be the Republican’s forte--causing dissent where there was none, but now the Democrats are borrowing from the Republicans’ playbook. The Democrats are now aligned with the corporate capitalists and have turned against the people and especially union workers. The Republicans have always been against unions and they spent lots of money to convince nonunion workers that unions were wrecking their chances at a good job. The workers I knew who bought into this philosophy that unions were taking their jobs had to work until they died. Race baiting has given way to blaming all refugees or all Muslims for terror attacks. Today, we have another pipeline fight: corporations versus First Persons, who are protecting the land and water. The 1 percent will stop at nothing to keep their riches and power, while the defenders are literally putting their lives on the line. Neither of our two main political parties have uttered a word, lifted a finger or gone to North Dakota to investigate what is happening. Ignoring the First Persons is nothing new. It’s happened since the day the white stepped foot on this continent. The First Persons and African Americans share a lot of similar history, mistreatment and government exploitation. This latest rebellion by the Sioux is reminiscent of what happened in 1973 at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, at the Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation. The Federal Bureau of Investigation declared war on the movement, used strong-armed tactics, and ended up framing Leonard Peltier for questionable offenses. Peltier has been in prison for more than 40 years. Could this happen again over the opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock Sioux land. There has already been arrests, injuries and desecration. We often hear about how law enforcement are killing innocent African Americans, but seldom if ever hear about the murder by law enforcement of First Persons. America’s First Persons are killed by police at a rate higher than any other group. We need all of the 99 percent to stand together so we can fight for and defend what little we have left, especially our earth, environment and climate. The media has, for the most part, ignored coverage of this atrocity. As if the pipeline wasn’t bad enough, Bakken wants the pipeline to run under the Missouri River—what could possibly go wrong? The only ones who have been arrested, beaten, pepper sprayed and had their sacred burial grounds desecrated are the protestors, not the people working for the corporations. The two corporations that have the most money in getting this pipeline built are Energy Transfer Partners, with $3.75 billion, and Sunoco Logistics Partners, with $2.5billion. And true to corporate greed, raping the land of its resources, they show no respect for anyone or anything that gets in the way of their profits. We either stand with the Sioux or we all pay the price when we can no longer farm or graze our land, drink our water or breathe our air. This needs to change. And, while we’re fighting for the Sioux’s rights, we need to keep fighting for $15 an hour minimum wage now, not in two or six years. We need relief from student debt. We need single payer healthcare for all. We need to bring back unions with pensions. We need to take care of our earth and its climate. We need to elect people who think like us and support us.

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