This is the transcript of an address on national liberation struggles of indigenous peoples which I gave at a Pittsburgh rally organized by ANSWER Coalition on February 19, 2017.
My friends, the struggle of indigenous peoples against the racist and genocidal program of European settler-colonizers has been raging since before the inception of the US empire.
But somehow, many of us had got the impression that the contradictions between the white settlers and the indigenous nations were a mere matter of history. Some of you are aware of the vicious genocide perpetrated by the white settlers against indigenous Americans: a murderous and methodical holocaust which extinguished the lives of more than ten million people and wiped entire cultures off the face of the earth. What many are not aware of is that the liquidation of indigenous and oppressed nations in North America is still underway by the US State, proceeding without interruption.
When our undocumented comrades are torn from their homes, families and communities by ICE agents, this is the merciless hand of the Settler State. When our brothers and sisters in the Black Nation are unjustly imprisoned and even murdered openly on the street by State forces, this is the jackboot of the Slavery State. And when oil pipelines are diverted onto the land of indigenous nations, make no mistake: this is extermination for profit, the faceless horror of finance capital.
I am of course referring to the poisonous Dakota Access Pipeline which is being imposed on the Sioux Nation—a disruption to the environment which lies underneath a critical water source and threatens to devastate the Sioux way of life. Last year the cries of oppressed people and their allies rang out clearly: “Water Is Life, Oil Is Death!”
Indeed, already in December a nearby pipeline has spilled 176,000 gallons of crude oil into the Ash-Coulee Creek in North Dakota. So, what do we say when the oil barons and their State proxies tell us that these water-poisoning pipelines pose no threat?
We have to wake up. Petty lip service to the national struggles of indigenous peoples will no longer suffice (in fact, it has never sufficed!) Already Obama’s ineffective last-minute delay of the DAPL construction has been reversed by the Trump administration—in the end, it was nothing more than play-acting, a leap toward a legacy which does not belong to him. Many of us were shocked by the open vulgarity of Trump’s political program—but for the inmates of this prison house of nations, this evil empire, it has long been clear that all US presidents are united under a basic program of chauvinism and national oppression.
It is time we realize that we can only stop the devastation of our planet and its peoples by shattering the institutions of settler-colonialism, racism, imperialism, and most of all, the enemy which lies at the heart of all these contradictions: Capitalism itself.
Long Live The Struggle Of The American Indian Peoples For National Self-Determination! Long Live Palestine!