Do You Support or Oppose DAPL Property Destruction?

Dear Friends,

Before we ask “What Would Jesus Do?” with regards the destruction of equipment along the Dakota Access pipeline, I’ve got two other asks:

1. Sign the petition demanding that Senate Republicans, not Iowa taxpayers, pay the settlement in Kirsten Anderson’s sexual harassment lawsuit. Click here.

2. Sign the petition calling on Gov. Reynolds to remove Richard Lozier from the Iowa Utilities Board for his blatant conflict of interest. Click here.

When it comes to oil pipelines, heavy equipment, valves, fences and other property owned by Dakota Access, we don’t have to ask “What Would Jessica and Ruby Do?” {Check out the conversation on the July 24 Fallon Forum 7.24.17 podcast.}

Unicorn Riot reports video of Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya removing letters from the IUB sign.

At a press conference Monday in front the Iowa Utilities Board, Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya confessed to sabotaging a whole lot of Dakota Access property over the past seven months. (Read their official statement here.) At the conclusion of the press conference, to drive home their point, they pulled out tools and began removing the IUB sign. That’s when State troopers stepped in and arrested them.

Jessica and Ruby have sparked a critical conversation about whether such actions are violent or non-violent, effective or ineffective — a dialogue more important now than ever. As the unholy collusion of Big Business and Big Government becomes less and less accountable, more and more disgruntled Americans are embracing tactics that, historically, have been regarded as extreme, dangerous and counter productive.

Usually in my weekly blog, I come at you with a strong opinion. Today, I’m going to leave you hanging as I want this to be a bottom-up, free-flowing dialogue — one that analyzes conscience-based property destruction from both a strategic and moral perspective. I’ve already received a lot of feedback on both sides of the issue (check out my Facebook page and weigh in with your own thoughts).

Back to my original question: “What Would Jesus Do?” If a poll were taken today, I suspect a solid majority would oppose what Jessica and Ruby did.

But what about Jesus overturning the money changers’ tables in the Temple? Violent or non-violent? Effective or non-effective?

What about the colonial “Sons of Liberty” dumping tea in Boston Harbor in 1773 to spark the American Revolution?



What about Gandhi’s burning of English-made cloth to ignite a movement to liberate India from dependence on foreign goods?




And what do we make of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s comments in The Trumpet of Conscience? “I am aware that there are many who wince at a distinction between property and persons — who hold both sacrosanct. My views are not so rigid. A life is sacred. Property is intended to serve life, and no matter how much we surround it with rights and respect, it has no personal being. It is part of the earth man walks on; it is not man.”

This is not a comfortable conversation, and none of the examples I cite are black-and-white. During my three decades of activism on behalf of people, planet and political reform, I’ve come down against property destruction as an acceptable form of non-violent protest. But I can’t ever recall participating in a detailed, analytical discussion of the topic. Perhaps now is the time for that, as the strategic and moral relevance of the conclusions we draw may prove more timely than ever.