On the 9th of November, hundreds of marchers took to the streets for the “Our Generation Our Choice” march against climate chaos, racism, and militarized policing. Simultaniously, a rally was taking place in front of the White House protesting Benjamin Netanyahu’s, visit begging Obama for more military aid. When the climate march arrived at 16th and H, they stopped and blockaded the intersection. Police tried and failed to prevent the two protests from joining forces.
Police attempted to close the crossing into Lafayette Square from H st, permitting people to leave but not to enter. This failed as Palestinian protesters who crossed to interact with the climate marchers defied police and returned to their rally. meanwhile, police were blocking traffic several blocks away from the closed street as they usually do. The resulting traffic jams surely would have complicated an effort to move Netanyahu around by motorcade. The location of the blockade may have been a surprise for police, as a line of cars was trapped on H st. Drivers in expensive luxury cars leaned on their horns. Finally police were able to extract the traffic jam from the back. Police chose not to attempt to arrest the blockaders, instead simply waiting things out.
When marchers finally left 16th and H, the Palestine protesters marched out with them, fusing the two protests into one. Both protests were in part about colonialism. The Middle East is subject to colonialism to extract oil, and US support for Israel provided the colonists with a difficult to dislodge base in the region. Extraction of fossil fuels, minerals, and uranium on Turtle Island also comes part and parcel with colonialism. An estimated 30% of remaining fossil fuels in the so-called “United States” is on land even the US government admits is Native American land.
The march and blockade was called “Our Generation Our Choice” and was composed mostly of young people with a lot to lose from climate chaos. The keynote speakers at the pre-march rally were two Lakota youth from South Dakota, one of whom lives just five miles from the route of the defeated Keystone XL, which was known as the Black Snake to the Lakota. One of the speakers said racism, poverty, and pollution of the land from uranium mining have created conditions so dire that young people are committing suicide or killing each other off at a rate that threatens the future of the tribe. Yes, genocide against Native Americans is ongoing, and now just as when gold was first found in the Black Hills greed is the motive.
The failed Keystone XL and all that oil fracking and “man camps” in North Dakota are but two of the most blatent examples of domestic colonialism. The former Harper regime’s behavior towards First Nations is Occupied Canada is another example. These are also examples of resistance, as Native and non-Native people have joined hands and killed off pipeline after pipeline in both countries. Enbridge is looking at possibly losing ALL their new tar sands projects north of the Canadian border, and the Keystone is dead. With investment shifting away from fossil fuels, tar sands projects are being cancelled. In addition, Shell has given up their offshore arctic drilling plans after spending billions of dollars and fighting protesters who blockaded one of their ships only to drill a dry hole.
The intersection of 16th and H completely blocked by “Our Generation Our Choice”
The Palestine protest in front of the White House against Netanyahu’s visit to beg for more US aid
Our Generation Our Choice marching to the blockade
The combined protests marching on K st instead of expensive cars full of corporate lobbyists