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Here Come the Vets! Reinforcements at Standing Rock

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“Over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season’.”

— Martin Luther King

There is an amazing development going on related to the Natives’ struggle at Standing Rock. US veterans are gathering and plan to join the struggle at Standing Rock. This could develop into something big. Finally, US soldiers have a chance to fight for the American people. Fighting this just cause could bring back meaning into the devastated lives of so many courageous soldiers; soldiers, who all too often have become so depressed and sorry for their actions, and what they have become, that they are on drugs or commit suicide etc.

This struggle offers a much more attractive alternative: fighting for justice with the US constitution and against the corrupt political system and the US oligarchy that sent them into illegal and insane wars to kill thousands of innocent people and destroy nations.

As one of the Veterans explains in his text (LINK HERE) “After Two Wars, Standing Rock is the First Time I Served the American People- ‘I’ve been on the wrong side of history’”: “I was in Iraq when President Bush announced the “surge” in January 2007. I was in Afghanistan when President Obama announced the “surge” in December 2009. But it wasn’t until I visited Standing Rock in October 2016 when I actually served the American people. This time, instead of fighting for corporate interests, I was fighting for the people.” Will Thompson.

President Obama and his establishment oligarchy must be nervous for this development. Just think of the democratic perspective. Most Americans may very well take a greater interest in what is at stake at Standing Rock. In the struggle between poor Native people and volunteering veterans fighting with them against corrupt political system and an oligarchy, that has betrayed the American people for decades; it should not be too difficult to take the just stand.

What about the police? For how long will their loyalties stay strong against poor Natives and justified protesters, some of them tough veterans? We already have reports of policemen refusing to go back to Standing Rock. Risking to take the lives of justified protesters by shooting them with rubber bullits, use water canons at low temperatures etc. is not exactly meaningful for policemen, who have dedicated their lives to protect the American people and work for law and justice.

Why not make a real Superman: a people’s army of Just Veterans?

“If we know, then we must fight for your life as though it were our own – which it is – and render impassable with our bodies the corridor to the gas chamber. For, if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night. Therefore: peace.” Brother James

This specific development at Standing Rock could be the beginning of a more general kind of concerted action by veterans. As Karl Marx explained our human nature: first, we imagine it, and then we go on making it in reality. Can you imagine a real Superman fighting for good and just causes? Well it seems to be happening right now. And I think it is very possible to imagine a more general real ‘people’s army’ fighting for the American people made up of veterans, who have grown up to become simply very tough, wise and just.

This offers something the US Army has never really been able to provide: the opportunity to fight just causes and thereby gain a deep true sense of pride. No amount of money, in fact nothing in the world (except love of course) beats true pride as something worth fighting for. That this opportunity should develop in the current struggle at Standing Rock is truly just, historic and symbolic.

The veterans’ very understandable feeling of righteous anger from what has been done to them can be put to good use in this and similar struggles. And there are plenty to fight considering the US oligarchy’s continued cynical actions toward the country and the American people.

 

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Lars Jørgensen is a sociologist and lecturer living in Varde, Denmark.

CounterPunch Magazine


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