The Democratic Socialists of America offer our solidarity and gratitude to the Wet’suwet’en Nation for their ongoing struggle to protect their traditional territories and land from the construction of TC Energy’s (a.k.a. TransCanada) 416-mile, $4.7 billion Coastal GasLink pipeline. We also extend our deep admiration and support to the Mohawk, Gitxsan, and other Indigenous and non-Indigenous allies who have occupied railways, bridges, ports, industry offices, and the B.C. Legislature in support of the Wet’suwet’en. They are showing us all the disruptive power of true solidarity and collective resistance.
We reaffirm the stance of DSA’s Ecosocialist Working Group, that stated in response to last year’s raids by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on Unist’ot’en Camp:
[W]e recognize that capitalism, land exploitation, and settler-colonialism are closely intertwined, as capitalism was built on indigenous stolen land. We also recognize the clear role of police in serving the interests of fossil capitalism, as demonstrated time and time again. Finally, we believe that indigenous land rights and self-determination are a crucial aspect of environmental justice and the fight against capitalist extractivism. For these reasons, we are committed to standing with the Wet’suwet’en people and pledge to amplify their struggle as best as we can.
While the opposition to CGL by Wet’suwet’en land defenders is a critical anti-pipeline fight, at its heart it is a confrontation over Indigenous sovereignty, Aboriginal title, and Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination of their ancestral territories. We call on the occupying federal and provincial governments of Canada, the RCMP, and TC Energy to respect Wet’suwet’en laws and hereditary governance which has never been extinguished, and to immediately stand down and remove themselves from unceded Wet’suwet’en lands.
As the clans of the Wet’suwet’en Nation have blocked industry trespass on their territory, they have done so while building and embodying an alternative way of living outside of the confines of the settler-colonialist capitalist state. In the proposed pathway of the pipeline, the Unist’ot’en (one of the five Wet’suwet’en clans) have built lodgings, a healing center and a cultural camp where they use traditional medicines and land-based practices to heal their community; through their system of hereditary governance and law they have effectively protected and tended their lands for thousands of years.
In the face of this resistance, the RCMP has repeatedly responded on behalf of their industry and government overlords with brutal force, raiding the Gidimt’en checkpoint, Unist’ot’en Camp and other sites situated within the Wet’suwet’en Nation. Last year, after one series of raids and arrests, the Guardian reported that “Canadian police were prepared to shoot Indigenous land defenders… The RCMP commanders also instructed officers to ‘use as much violence toward the gate as you want’ and that arrests would be necessary for “sterilizing [the] site.’ ”
Indigenous peoples in Turtle Island (North America) have defied this kind of settler-colonial expansion and extractivism ever since the arrival of Europeans. The movement behind the Wet’suwet’en is part of this ongoing, and spreading, struggle. In solidarity, members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk have blockaded the commuter and freight railway system effectively halting the flow of goods, services, and people throughout Canada. A coalition of Indigenous and non-Indigneous allies are following suit, creating an economic and political crisis for the Trudeau government. In doing so, land defenders are building a powerful counterforce not just against CGL but also the forces of capitalism, settler-colonialism, and imperialism that drive the destructive extractivism that both violates Indigenous lands, and is leading us all towards the precipice of ecological catastrophe.
We call on DSA members to support the solidarity actions that are happening across the continent: you can join one or organize your own. You can find other ways to support the Wet’suwet’en here and donations to the Legal Fund can be made here.