Humanist Feminist Circle: Women Lead Charge for Another Keystone XL Victory
oday was... quite a day. The bell that people struck last August when they sat in at the White House to block the Keystone Pipeline was still resonating. Not loudly -- the oil money in Congress muffled the sound. But loudly enough that we squeaked through by a 4-Senator margin, defeating a Republican amendment mandating the pipeline's construction.
A year ago almost no one had heard of the pipeline. Even four months ago, a poll of 300 "energy insiders" still found 97 percent predicting it would get its permit. But it didn't -- TransCanada can of course re-apply, but that will be another battle, down the road. For now, people power (the largest civil disobedience action in 30 years, 800,000 messages to the Senate in a single day, bodies encircling the White House shoulder to shoulder five deep) overturned the odds.
And though most Americans don't know it, today is also International Women's Day, appropriate in this case because many of the very strongest fighters against this project right from the beginning were women of unusual distinction.
I was reminded of that earlier this week, when Debra White Plume was arrested on the Lakota reservation for blocking trucks carrying giant equipment up to the tar sands. She's an eloquent fighter, part of the large crew of indigenous leaders who were the first to sound the alarm about the tarsands and have been at the center of the battle ever since. But this time she wasn't outside the White House or at a Congressional hearing -- she was on a lonely reservation road with a small crowd of other people facing down giant semis and tribal police. You need to read her full account of what happened, both because it's powerful and because she's a great writer. My favorite passage:
On the ride home from jail, I shared with my children my jail time, they were curious what the cell looked like and what I did in there for 3 hours. I told them it was empty, nothing in there but a toilet, not even drinking water. I told them I just paced back and forth, and read the grafitti scratched into the walls that said "this cell is 11 by 6," "Tristan loves Luke," "Angel and Wildflower have outlaw love," and "I used to work here, now I am IN here." My teens were sad, but understood why this happened, and they were glad me and their Poppa were coming home.
Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.