FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Elizabeth Warren’s Shameful Exploitation of Standing Rock Victory

Photo by AFGE | CC BY 2.0

Photo by AFGE | CC BY 2.0

Throughout the efforts to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, Senator Elizabeth Warren, as she did during the Democratic Primaries in her refusal to endorse Bernie Sanders, stayed on the fence to avoid any political risk. Despite portraying herself as one of the most progressive politicians in the country, Senator Warren has been displaying the same penchant for political expediency, and same political cowardice that has incited resentment from millions of voters toward the Democratic Party establishment.

Warren has previously claimed to be Cherokee, though she has never provided evidence to support her claims, and has perpetuated racist stereotypes to defend herself. “Quoting an aunt of hers, Warren said one of her relatives supposedly “had high cheekbones, like all of the Indians do,”” wrote Simon Moya Smith, a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation and culture editor at Indian Country Today, for CNN. Smith added that Warren failed to defend Native Americans during the presidential election in response to Donald Trump’s use of the pejorative racist term “Pocahontas.”

When the opportunity called for Warren to stand up for Native Americans, joining in the fight to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, Warren was nowhere to be found. But as soon as the Army Corps of Engineers announced it would not grant the final easement for the pipeline’s construction, instead initiating an environmental impact study to explore alternate routes, Senator Elizabeth Warren immediately swooped in to exploit the Dakota Access Pipeline for political points now the political risk in doing so has been substantially mitigated, and to provide herself with plausible deniability that this was her stance all along.

 

“I don’t know how anyone could watch the news and not be horrified by what’s happening at Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota,” wrote Senator Elizabeth Warren in a Facebook post on December 4. But Senator Warren kept her horror and outrage to herself until she could reap the maximum benefits from it.

“For months, the Standing Rock Sioux and thousands of others have opposed a pipeline that many believe risks contaminating the tribe’s water supply,” Warren said, without acknowledging that for months, Senator Warren failed to support the Standing Rock Sioux and thousands of others to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Warren added, “the Standing Rock Sioux are not animals to be corralled – they are human beings. Good, passionate human beings who have stood together in the middle of a North Dakota blizzard this past week, and stood together for many weeks before, to fight for what they believe in. They should be treated with respect and basic human decency.” Where was Senator Warren when the Standing Rock Sioux and the water protectors were being treated with disrespect and abused by police? Her silence when those injustices were occurring are contrary to the progressive image Warren has built for herself in the Senate.

Then in the post, Warren jumps back onto the politically safe fence. “The construction workers and laborers at Standing Rock are also human beings – and they weren’t the ones to decide where to build this pipeline. They are good, hard-working people who are just trying to do their jobs. They also should be treated with respect and basic human decency.” This statement infers that the pipeline’s construction workers faced threats from the water protectors, which is grossly untrue, as a buffer of abusive North Dakota police kept the water protectors away from the construction. Though Warren cites evidence of water protectors being disrespected and abused, she cites no evidence the pipeline workers faced any abuse at all, because they didn’t. Rather, what Warren is doing allows her to maintain good standing with the bulk of her progressive base and appease the interests and influences of wealthy Democratic Party donors.

Warren demonstrated during the Democratic Primaries that she thrives on being in the middle, the most politically safe, professionally polished position for a politician. Her rallying cries against the establishment, and against injustices only come at opportune moments when there are political rewards to gain from speaking out. But in the primaries, she avoided endorsing either candidate, only to fall in line behind Hillary Clinton immediately after the primaries ended to reap the benefits of supporting the winner.

Once again, Warren is siding with the winner after a victor has emerged, though she keeps her stance open with rhetoric in support of the pipeline workers, as the pipeline’s construction will still be completed, and its re-route is not set in stone as the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision could still be overturned when Donald Trump becomes President.

More articles by:

Michael Sainato’s writing has appeared in the Guardian, Miami Herald, Baltimore Sun, Denver Post, Buffalo News, the Hill, Alternet, and several other publications . Follow him on twitter: @MSainat1

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
August 22, 2019
George Ochenski
Breaking the Web of Life
Kenneth Surin
Boris Johnson’s Brexit Helter Skelter
Enrique C. Ochoa – Gilda L. Ochoa
It’s About Time for Ethnic Studies in Our K-12 Schools
Steve Early
A GI Rebellion: When Soldiers Said No to War
Clark T. Scott
Sanders And Bezos’s Shared, Debilitating, Basic Premise
Dan Corjescu
The Metaphysics of Revolution
Mark Weisbrot
Who is to Blame for Argentina’s Economic Crisis?
Howard Lisnoff
To Protect and Serve
Cesar Chelala
A Palestinian/Israeli Experiment for Peace in the Middle East
Binoy Kampmark
No Deal Chaos: the Brexit Cliff Face and Operation Yellowhammer
Josue De Luna Navarro
For True Climate Justice, Abolish ICE and CBP
Dean Baker
The NYT’s Upside Down Economics on Germany and the Euro Zone
August 21, 2019
Craig Collins
Endangered Species Act: A Failure Worth Fighting For?
Colin Todhunter
Offering Choice But Delivering Tyranny: the Corporate Capture of Agriculture
Michael Welton
That Couldn’t Be True: Restorying and Reconciliation
John Feffer
‘Slowbalization’: Is the Slowing Global Economy a Boon or Bane?
Johnny Hazard
In Protest Against Police Raping Spree, Women Burn Their Station in Mexico City.
Tom Engelhardt
2084: Orwell Revisited in the Age of Trump
Binoy Kampmark
Condescension and Climate Change: Australia and the Failure of the Pacific Islands Forum
Kenn Orphan – Phil Rockstroh
The Dead Letter Office of Capitalist Imperium: a Poverty of Mundus Imaginalis 
George Wuerthner
The Forest Service Puts Ranchers Ahead of Grizzlies (and the Public Interest)
Stephen Martin
Geopolitics of Arse and Elbow, with Apologies to Schopenhauer.
Gary Lindorff
The Smiling Turtle
August 20, 2019
James Bovard
America’s Forgotten Bullshit Bombing of Serbia
Peter Bolton
Biden’s Complicity in Obama’s Toxic Legacy
James Phillips
Calm and Conflict: a Dispatch From Nicaragua
Karl Grossman
Einstein’s Atomic Regrets
Colter Louwerse
Kushner’s Threat to Palestine: An Interview with Norman Finkelstein
Nyla Ali Khan
Jammu and Kashmir: the Legitimacy of Article 370
Dean Baker
The Mythology of the Stock Market
Daniel Warner
Is Hong Kong Important? For Whom?
Frederick B. Mills
Monroeism is the Other Side of Jim Crow, the Side Facing South
Binoy Kampmark
God, Guns and Video Games
John Kendall Hawkins
Toni Morrison: Beloved or Belovéd?
Martin Billheimer
A Clerk’s Guide to the Unspectacular, 1914
Elliot Sperber
On the 10-Year Treasury Bonds 
August 19, 2019
John Davis
The Isle of White: a Tale of the Have-Lots Versus the Have-Nots
John O'Kane
Supreme Nihilism: the El Paso Shooter’s Manifesto
Robert Fisk
If Chinese Tanks Take Hong Kong, Who’ll be Surprised?
Ipek S. Burnett
White Terror: Toni Morrison on the Construct of Racism
Arshad Khan
India’s Mangled Economy
Howard Lisnoff
The Proud Boys Take Over the Streets of Portland, Oregon
Steven Krichbaum
Put an End to the Endless War Inflicted Upon Our National Forests
Cal Winslow
A Brief History of Harlan County, USA
Jim Goodman
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is Just Part of a Loathsome Administration
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail