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TIA #75: Native People Are Using Tiny Homes to Fight a Pipeline

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Welcome, to This Is America, May 27th, 2019.

In this episode, we speak with Kanahus Manuel of the Secwepemc First Nation who is a life long land defender and currently is involved in the ongoing campaign of the Tiny House Warriors. In the summer of 2018 in so-called British Columbia, out of a ceremonial gathering, the Tiny House Warriors launched a protest encampment aimed at stopping the construction of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline, (to listen to our interview with people at Camp Cloud fighting the same pipeline, go here).

For over the last year, the tiny homes have served as a home base for the growing movement, which has also fought the construction of ‘man-camps,’ or concentrated temporary cities housing pipeline workers. As we discuss and many studies have pointed out, there is a direct linkage between man-camps and an increase in assaults, kidnappings, and killings – especially targeting indigenous women.

As one VICE article wrote:

Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline currently transports Northern Alberta crude through British Columbia to Metro Vancouver ports. The pipe crosses through more than 500 kilometres of Secwepemc territory – land…never ceded to Canada.

The protest camp is taking shape weeks after Canada took ownership of the Trans Mountain project, which has faced massive opposition from First Nations and environmentalists. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has declared the $7.4 billion pipeline a matter of “national interest” while opponents say it’s an ecological disaster waiting to happen.

In our discussion, we talk about how the Tiny House Warriors have used the space they have created to not only fight back against the construction of the pipeline, but also create a new world worth defending. We close by discussing the future of the movement against climate change, how people can support the struggle, indigenous sovereignty, and much more.

All this and more, but first, let’s get to the news.

Living and Fighting:

In the last several weeks, we’ve seen large turn outs to antifascist actions. In at a State park in Burns, Tennessee, over 100 people protested against the American Renaissance conference, which led to several arrests. In June, another white nationalist gathering will take place, featuring speakers including Richard Spencer and David Duke. Last weekend in Dayton, Ohio, over 1,000 people took to the streets against the KKK, despite a massive police build up and local politicians telling people to go home. In the end, only a handful of KKK members actually showed up.

Lastly, today on May 28th, neo-Nazi and owner of the Whitewater Grille, Rick Tyler, spoke in front of a tiny crowd while over 100 people protested outside. Rick Tyler is most well known for running for public office and losing numerous times, and promoting his failed campaigns with large billboards that read, “Make America White Again.”

Today the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 3557, which as one report wrote:

Texas lawmakers voted to approve a controversial measure that would make it a felony for protesters to interrupt the construction of oil pipelines. Under House Bill 3557, “impairing or interrupting” a pipeline would become a felony punishable by up to two years behind bars. Damaging a pipeline during construction would carry even stiffer penalties, becoming a third-degree felony with up to 10 years in prison time. Gov. Greg Abbott’s is expected to sign the energy industry-backed bill into law.

In Miami-Dade, about 100 school children and supporting adults converged on the Homestead child detention facility, the sight of daily protests, in order to deliver over 1,000 letters and other messages of solidarity to the children locked inside. The Miami Herald reported that guards rejected the letters. Currently around 3,000 children are held in the facility and numbers are expected to grow.

In other headlines, Republicans blocked a $19 billion dollar disaster relief bill, but in Florida passed through one that will allow teachers to legally carry firearms, a policy that was promoted by the NRA in the wake of Parkland shooting as a means to sell more weapons. Neo-fascist Steve Bannon and white nationalist Kris Kobach are working with the crowd funded campaign “We Will Build the Wall,” (Kobach is now on as general counsel for the project), an online campaign to crowdfund money to pay for wall construction. The group hopes to build several miles of fence. The Trump administration is also cracking down on some of its own people, directing researchers at various government bodies to “strip references” to climate change in speeches and only write about climate projections that go up to 2040 and not the end of the century. It will also force the National Climate Assessment to omit “worse case scenarios.”

Students in Portland staged a walkout, in response to school administration’s handling of continued racist incidents on campus. In Miami-Beach, students also walked out of class to demand action on climate change.

In Los Angeles, the LA Tenants Union and other groups are mobilizing against the mass eviction of many long term residents in one complex where rents have gone up by 200%. In Matamoros, Mexico, a wildcat strike by taxi drivers kicked off. Meanwhile in New Haven, California, a strike by teachers has now entered its second week.

Finally, tomorrow is the start of the trial of Dr. Scott Warren of No More Deaths and there is a call to pack the court in solidarity. Check out the No More Deaths website for info on how to support him during the court proceedings.

Upcoming Events:

  • May 30th – June 3rd: Earth First! regional rendezvous in Hudson Valley. More info here.
  • May 31st – June 2nd: North American Anarchist Studies Network presents Emergent Horizons in Atlanta, Georgia. More info here.
  • In June be on the lookout for ‘Running Down the Walls’ events happening across the world to benefit Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) chapters.
  • June 12th – 19th: Save the Mattole Direct Action Convergence in Northern California. More info here.

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Rainbow Ridge Direct Action Mobilization! June 12 – 19, 2019 in so-called Humboldt County RSVP to check in, get directions, and get more details on what to bring – [email protected] Logging season is upon us! Do you want to take part in the ongoing direct actions to protect the Mattole forest? With the spring rains abating, Humboldt Redwood Company has their greedy eye on the mighty trees gracing the precious ridges of the Mattole watershed. Come to base camp to train and prepare to join in backwoods action with like-minded forest rebels! There are also many roles to fill in base camp. All are welcome! Base camp will be located at an outdoor group camp. If you have specific accessibility needs, please be in contact via [email protected] . Vehicle parking is quite limited, so please be in touch to coordinate rides. As the situation escalates, forest defense in the Mattole has become a year round effort. Your involvement can make a big impact! Monetary and gear donations also help make it happen! Online Fundraiser at – http://tiny.cc/supportbasecamp RSVP to check in, get directions, and get more details on what to bring – [email protected] #savethemattolesancientforest #showupatthethrowdown #stophabitatdestruction #banglyphosate #glyphosate #roundup #extinctionrebellion #anthropocene #directaction #swarm #buzzword

A post shared by Blockade Babes (@blockade.babes) on May 25, 2019 at 8:20pm PDT

  • June 14th-17th: Fight Toxic Prisons conference. Gainesville, Florida. More info here.
  • June 15th – 23rd: Wild Roots, Feral Futures in Southwest Colorado. More info here.
  • June 19th: Mobilize against Nationalist Solutions conference. More info here.
  • June 29th – 30th: Southern Regional Organizing Assembly of the IWW in Richmond, VA. More info here.
  • August 3rd-11th: Institute for Advanced Trouble Making in Worcester, MA. More info here.
  • August 16th-18th: Indigenous Anarchist Convergence in so-called Flagstaff, Arizona. More info here.