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Trump and the Road Ahead: Spearheaded by the Native Student Alliance, University of Denver Students, Faculty and Community Protest Meeting of National Pipeline Executives

November 15, 2016
some of the 1000 or so students, faculty and community members that protested the meeting of national pipeline executives that took place on the University of Denver Campus. Main theme of the demonstration - No to the Dakota Access Pipeline...although there were signs and banners about everything that matters.

Some of the  upto 1000 or so students, faculty and community members that protested the meeting of national pipeline executives that took place on the University of Denver Campus. Main theme of the demonstration – No to the Dakota Access Pipeline…although there were signs and banners about everything that matters.

Coloradans gearing up against Trump.

Yesterday in Denver there were 1000 or so protesters downtown at the Civic Center, many young people among the crowd.  Good speeches, good spirit to stand up to the post Trump victory right-wing onslaught. Today there were (by my unofficial estimate) another thousand, maybe more, at the University of Denver (D.U) protesting a meeting of national pipeline executives taking place on the campus. Tomorrow the students at Metropolitan State University in downtown Denver are organizing a walk out

Dickens’ quote about the worst of times, the best of times comes to mind here in Colorado and across the nation.

Yesterday in Denver (Sunday, November 13, 2016) there were 1000 or so protesters downtown at the Civic Center, many young people among the crowd. Good speeches, good spirit to stand up to the post Trump victory right-wing onslaught. Today, only two days later, (by my unofficial estimate) another thousand, maybe more, gathered at the University of Denver (D.U) protesting a two day meeting of national pipeline executives taking place on the campus and the ongoing construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline project passing through Native sacred ground in North Dakota.

The University of Denver protest meeting was organized by a Native American student group, the Native Student Alliance, less than a week ago. Given the brief time allotted to organize the protest, the turn out at the traditionally “sleepy” University of Denver was surprising and a reflection of the national mobilization taking place across the nation and the world against the proposed policies of president-elect Donald Trump. Both people associated with the university – students, some (not many) faculty – and the broader community participated.  Again good speeches, good spirit as the crowd continued to swell in the late afternoon. After the speeches a spirited and peaceful march started circling the building (the Hotel Management building) where the pipeline execs were holding court.

Later, at night,  in an act of civil disobedience,  protesters shut down the intersection of Evans and University Ave. chanting “Water is sacred, water is life.”

The Native Student Alliance protests will continue tomorrow(Wed, November 16, 2016). The protest program will include remarks by Iliff School of Theology Native professor, Tink Tinker and remarks by other faculty at both the University of Denver and the Iliff School of Theology.

I include here the comments of my former colleague Alan Gilbert, who also attended the rally and march.

The business school at the University of Denver held a pipeline conference with oil executives.  No critical voice or conversation allowed.  Police stood in the doorways.  Students from outside the hospitality school could not go in, even to pee.  In some places, money talks…

I and Paula Bard attended a protest gathering that grew to a thousand over several hours, snaked around the building and up again beyond Anderson Academic Commons, marched in the street.  Even in the building, the determined dollar signs could not avoid hearing us.  Water is sacred.  Global warming is destroying the planet and all life.

An activist from Standing Rock gave a large number of us instruction on nonviolent protest, including two lines imitating demonstrators and the hostile.  This is an old and admirable training procedure from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (you can find it in the segment of Eyes on the Prize on one organized by James Foreman for Mississippi Freedom Summer).

We are part of the many actions here and around the world.  Bernie Sanders spoke eloquently in front of the White House, and Obama should wake up, remember himself, join in.  Masters of the Pipeline and Trumpi0la, you will not succeed.  The whole world is watching.  And everyone, including businesses who are alive (not including those who organized this conference) know that the only future- humanity’s future – is with solar and wind…

Pipeline Politics

The pipeline execs probably had one strategy for dealing with a Hillary presidential victory and are, in their two days on the D.U. campus developing another, more aggressive one now that Donald Trump has won the presidency. Indicative of this is the title of the forum the oil and gas people have organized on the second day, “countering opposition through community engagement” – a direct reference to the opposition of pipeline construction projects of both the present Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota and the Keystone Xcel Pipeline project which was sidelined as a result of local opposition along the pipeline route.

Among Donald Trump’s campaign promises was to resurrection Keystone Xcel and push through with the Dakota Access project. There are currently several thousand – as many as seven thousand at last I heard – people at the Standing Rock site opposing the Dakota Access project spearheaded by a unified effort of some 280 indigenous nations here in the increasingly disunited United States.

As they scare rather easily, I am pretty certain, having taught there for many years, that the university administration was nervous by the demonstrators, as the latter unsparingly exposed what D.U. is all about in some detail. In any event it was a peaceful , well organized protest with a clear message: insuring the fate of the earth by opposing climate change at a time when the president to be is committed to increasing the country’s dependence on fossil fuels – just the opposite of what is needed. I appreciated the fact that several former colleagues had the courage to participate as speakers.

Elsewhere in Denver, tomorrow (Wednesday, November 16) there is a planned student walkout at the Metro State University on the Auraria Campus downtown from 3-6 in the late afternoon. Let’s see if they can match D.U. in numbers and spirit. Expect I’ll be there too. Like many social movements in the past in this country, much of the political energy is coming from the country’s youth,  student population, spearheaded by non-white communities.

2016-11-15-dapl-protest-10

another one of the same event; the photo does not do justice to the size of the demonstration. ..

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