YDS Statement in Solidarity with Standing Rock

Statement passed by the YDS Coordinating Committee on September 1st, 2016

Ever since 1492, the indigenous peoples of North America have faced relentless violence and attempts of cultural genocide from external power structures. From historic abuses, such as the Trail of Tears; to contemporary injustices, such as the epidemic of suicide among indigenous youth, or the almost inhumane living standards on reservations in modern times. The spirit and resolve of the first peoples to live on the land we now call the United States of America has been intentionally and mindfully oppressed for centuries. Thus, to see the people of the Standing Rock Reservation in the Dakotas stand up against the expansion of the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline through their lands, and across the Missouri River, their source of fresh water is to see an awakening of the heart and mind to which we all should bear witness and show solidarity.

It must be noted that the push to build the Dakota Access pipeline is not just a continuation of historic attitudes and policies, but also a reflection of how government and capital treat both the oppressed and exploited and the public at large. Both in Flint, and now on Standing Rock, we have recently seen clearly the ramifications of a government that prioritizes the interests of corporations over the people; a government that would rather authorize pipelines carrying a toxic pollutant for profit than clean water for public health. Take the comments of the chair of the Standing Rock Reservation, Dave Archambault II, who said, “The [Army Corps] puts our water and the lives and livelihoods of many in jeopardy...We have laws that require federal agencies to consider environmental risks and protection of Indian historic and sacred sites. But the Army Corps has ignored all those laws and fast-tracked this massive project just to meet the pipeline’s aggressive construction schedule.” Private business, standing to profit massively from the construction of a pipeline from the shale fields of Western North Dakota to Illinois, benefits from the federal government and the Army Corps of Engineers taking the side of capital over the public and most oppressed of us all. Historic sites, sovereign tribal lands, and access to clean water are irrelevant in the pursuit of dirty money. It is this violation of basic dignity and essential human rights that is yet another notch in the belt of big business over the masses; those to whom they hold nothing but contempt, and see nothing but profit.

The Young Democratic Socialists (YDS) notes that it was the work of young indigenous activists, under the banner of ReZpect our Water, who first brought awareness to this issue by speaking out, and embarking on a symbolic run from their homeland in the Dakotas to Washington, DC.Tribes and nations from all over have expressed solidarity to the folks on Standing Rock, and at least 70 have delivered goods such as fresh water. YDS calls for those who wish to act in solidarity do so through local action and material support. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is currently asking for individuals to contact their elected officials stating their opposition to the pipeline, and are soliciting donations to support their legal battle and clean water supply. More information, including messages of solidarity from tribes and other organizations across the globe, can be found on their website at standingrock.org. It is imperative that, at this time, all those who believe in racial justice and environmental protection to come together and stand up and pledge solidarity with those at Standing Rock.

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Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump

February 17, 2017 · $20.00 USD

Location: MayDay Space
Where: 176 St Nicholas Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
When: Friday, February 17th at 6 PM to Sunday, February 19th to 4 PM

Political Context

This Presidents’ Day weekend, the Young Democratic Socialists will gather for our annual winter conference in New York City titled Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump. We did not choose the name lightly. In doing so, we call for leftists to collectively confront Trump and Trumpism at every possible opportunity. When a Trump administration attempts mass deportations of undocumented workers, when it attempts to register Muslims or roll back worker protections, when it attempts to take away reproductive, LGTBQ, civil, or any other rights, then we must militantly resist to prevent such measures.

To succeed, this must be explicitly socialist resistance. With liberalism having repeatedly shown itself incapable of combating the far right, it is now the time for socialists to openly declare our place in building the mass, multi-racial, and working class movement necessary for defeating the Trump administration. In this struggle, millennials will play an outsized role. That is why this conference comes at such a critical time—together we must create spaces for democratic and strategic discussion, spaces to gain organizing skills, and most importantly, spaces to form networks of young radicals for the future struggles ahead. These spaces will only come together if socialists come together. Join us this Presidents Weekend and help ignite the movement to defeat the Trump administration, continue the political revolution, and build the socialist alternative.

Key Deadlines

  • January 8th: Travel Scholarship for Air Travel (for application see below)
  • January 15th: Travel Scholarship for Non-Air Travel (ex: bus, car, train, etc.)
  • February 3rd: Early Bird Registration Ends - Tickets prices go up from $5 to $10
  • February 10th: Free Housing - We have limited free housing. You need to first register, then you will be sent an application for free housing.

Apply for a travel scholarship here! (First Deadline January 8, 2017)

Check out the working program (subject to change)