By Crow Qu’appelle

(Originally Published in Slingshot: Issue #127, Summer 2018)

On December 18th, 2017, two Canadian anarchist comrades were sentenced for their role in a 2015 direct action in which Enbridge’s Line 9 was shut down. Their affinity group accomplished this by physically closing a manual valve, thus proving that it was possible to safely shut down pipelines. This action, the first of its kind, inspired a wave of similar actions, including one in which 5 pipelines in 4 different states were shut down simultaneously.

At the sentencing, the judge gave the defendants a lecture. “You were convinced”, he said, “that it was correct”. He went on to compare the action with terrorist attacks such as Boston Marathon bombing and the Bataclan massacre in Paris, because all of these actions were ideologically motivated.

This judge is a representative of the very same Crown that has been responsible for atrocities much worse than the Boston Marathon bombing or the Bataclan massacre. The genocidal residential school system was presided over by many judges, and the human cost of this system has been much greater than the terrorist acts the judge cites. How dare you chastise our comrades, as if they were errant children, for disobeying your Law, when much greater atrocities have been committed by people using the Law as their weapon? It is your moral code, not ours, which is ill-conceived and naive.

You are old, and will not live to see the full extent of the coming cataclysm wrought by climate change and the crises it will precipitate. For those of us who must live with the consequences of your generation’s failure to address the ecological crisis, we cannot tolerate the rape of Mother Earth that Enbridge and their malignant ilk daily engage in. Would you rather that we wallow hopelessly and helplessly, watching the web of life upon which our survival depends deteriorate further and further? The political channels you would have us believe in have clearly proven their inability to address the planetary crisis.

In your inane lecture, you compared Frederick Brabant to Hitler, for the reason that they both believed in a cause. The election of Hitler was legal, the actions of those who protected Jews from the Holocaust was illegal. The actions of slave-owners who whipped slaves was legal, the Underground Railroad was some outlaw shit. The residential school system was legal, indigenous ceremonies were forbidden. It is an idiotic abasement of the human faculty for reasoning to equate lawful with right, and unlawful with wrong. The law, in every country, is created by its ruling class, according to the interests and inclinations of that class. What you are saying is, in effect, Might makes Right, and in doing so you place yourself in the spiritual company of the judges of countless oppressive regimes, who have legitimized terror and torture by upholding the Law.

There will come a day when the actions of water protectors will be seen in the same light as those who fought against slavery and imperial conquest in earlier generations. While we await that day, we will continue to fight in defense of Mother Earth, on behalf of future generations and all our relations, consequences be damned.

And make no mistake – our movement is growing. Those with their fingers on the pulse already know this – the rest of you will soon enough.