“Nothing in the world is as soft, as weak, as water.
Nothing else can wear away the hard, the strong
and remain unaltered.
Soft overcomes hard
Weak overcomes strong.
Everybody knows it
Nobody uses the knowledge.”
Lao-Tzu, Chapter 78
“We are water. ”
Saying of the Standing Rock Sioux
Something important is happening, and you are part of it. The Sioux at Standing Rock, North Dakota, are protecting water, and it is a battle of mythic dimensions. It’s like the Bhagavad Gita or Lord of the Rings. It’s Mordor vs. Middle Earth, money power vs. people power, wealth and weapons against love and solidarity.
The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) threatens the water supply of 18 million people, starting with the Sioux. American megabanks have each invested hundreds of millions of dollars in DAPL. Militarized police are pushing it through. The pipeline represents the force of world capital and militarism, oil and money, arrayed against Earth and a courageous group of Natives who won’t back down, who react only with prayer and love.
We know these kinds of conflicts usually don’t end well. But this time, world capital is up against a global movement of millions of people. People are coming to Standing Rock; they’re donating; they’re speaking out.
This isn’t political action as we have known it before. This is spirit brought into the physical world. The approach of Standing Rock could transform politics and society.
The Indians’ basic method is prayer. They block bulldozers and pray. They confront the Sheriffs and the Army Corps of Engineers with prayer and symbols of peace. When non-Indian supporters try to use more disruptive tactics, the Indian leadership stops them.
Some may pray to a Great Spirit or God. Sometimes they pray to water. People are welcome to pray to whomever they feel moved; it doesn’t matter who.
The use of prayer and nonviolence flows from a different way of seeing political struggle. The Indians say, “We have no enemies.” Their slogans are “Water is Life” and “We are Water.” They want people to understand the mystical truth that we are all water, so we are all one and should treat each other that way.
It’s not us vs. them. The Indians say there is no “them.” They pray for the law enforcers who are assaulting them; they pray for the Corps of Engineers. They might even pray for the oil company executives and bankers, although I haven’t heard that.
This spirit politics fills me with hope, even if it’s desperate hope. It’s bringing us back to the Tao, back to Nature, back to God. When the police are ordered to abuse people who are praying for them, it has to have an effect on the cops. There are real people inside those Star Wars storm trooper uniforms they wear. Cops have been refusing orders; new ones keep having to be brought in.
Perhaps some of this will impact police work in other areas. Possibly we could use behavior like this in urban movements, as Black Lives Matter have occasionally done. Letting police know they are loved and prayed for might change their willingness to use violence. If significant numbers of police and soldiers decide they can no longer serve this cruel and destructive regime, things might change rapidly.
Maybe this can’t happen, I don’t know. If oppressors don’t see you as people, it will be hard to change their minds. But I ask myself, what other approach is there for social change? Demonstrations don’t work; the Iraq war and Occupy Wall Street showed that they can be safely ignored. Work stoppages are limited, because little of value is produced in America anyway. Elections are fixed. Violence seems hopeless and counterproductive, since capital is a hundred times more violent and a thousand times better armed than we are.
Maybe prayer is the way. The power of prayer hasn’t produced much social change before, but there has never been such, massive, coordinated prayer, backed by so many millions of people around the world. It’s not about sitting in your room and praying; it’s taking prayer into the streets and in front of the machines. It’s faith communities standing up for human rights and the natural world.
Another powerful change flowing from Standing Rock is the consistent leadership of Native people. Thousands of other people, including white folks, have come to help, but they haven’t taken over. People of all kinds are working together under the leadership of people of color. They could be a major force in overcoming racism in this country, which would be essential to any hopes of justice and peace here.
Eternal love, respect, and blessings on the Native leaders who have called this movement into existence and provided such powerful leadership. They are showing the world a new way forward.
The water way
“Water is life” and “We are water” are unique in the history of political slogans. They are mystical truths worth meditating on. If we are water, we are one. Having realized we are one makes us far stronger.
Water is finite, vital, and irreplaceable. It should be the most valuable thing in the world, yet our current economy and technology treat it as worthless. We value fossil fuels and profits over water, which means over life itself. Corporations happily sacrifice Earth’s remaining water for fuels that are extracted and burned, and for chemicals that pollute the water forever. We can’t live like that.
This struggle isn’t just about one pipeline. If a movement can stop this one, maybe we can stop them all. Perhaps we can unite to find ways to slow down and survive global warming. Perhaps we can build a better life together.
Some scientists say global warming is already far past the point of no return, and we are all doomed. This could be true, but no one can be certain about the future. We have to try, and Standing Rock leads the way. We need miracles, but maybe by uniting with the power of water, miracles can happen.
Please help. Go to Standing Rock, contribute money, send supplies, call officials and the Corps of Engineers, go to local demonstrations, write letters, think of other ways, be creative. Don’t sit this out. There may not be another chance.
Standing Rock Legal Defense https://fundrazr.com/sacredstone?ref=ab_a6Cqnd
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe http://standingrock.org/news/standing-rock-sioux-tribe–dakota-access-pipeline-donation-fund/
Donate items from the Sacred Stone Camp Supply List: http://sacredstonecamp.org/supply-list/ Take them yourself or get friends to do it.
Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council – https://www.holisticlivingschool.org/standing-rock-medic-healer-council/
Call these agencies and demand they stop attacking peaceful defenders of Water:
ND Office of the Governor Jack Dalrymple: 701-328-2200.
Morton County Sheriff’s Department:701-328-8118 & 701-667-3330.
ND National Guard: 701-333-2000
These calls do make a difference. Governor Dalrymple backed down on his threat to blockade the camps. They’re feeling the pressure.
President Obama 202-456-1111
Call the Army Corps of Engineers and demand that they reverse the permit for the pipeline: (202) 761-5903
Call and/or e-mail the company building the pipeline. Lee Hanse Executive Vice President Energy Transfer Partners, Telephone: (210) 403-6455 Lee.Hanse@energytransfer.com. Let them know we’re watching.
If you have an account in a corporate bank, contact them and tell them you are moving your money out until they withdraw their investments in the pipeline. Then do it. Credit unions are a good alternative for most people.