Solidarity Halifax joins in the demand to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline and Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement. We stand in full solidarity with Indigenous communities on the front lines of the struggle against these pipelines, and with everyone supporting those on the front lines.
Oil and State
The decision of the Trudeau Liberals to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline is deeply troubling.
Many who are anti-capitalist support nationalizing industrial assets. Many support public and democratic ownership as one potential alternative to capitalist control.
But the Kinder Morgan buyout is not an alternative to capitalist control – it is an extension of it. It is another example of how, under capitalism, profits are privatized and risks are socialized.
It is another example of how the Canadian state, driven by capitalism, is built on the concentration of wealth and the destruction of Indigenous communities and their territories.
It is another example of how government is subdued by capital. Right now in Canada, that means big oil commands the Trudeau Liberals.
To be clear, the state is subsidizing the infrastructure for a private and profit driven industry. This should not be perceived as an investment to help the state fund transitions away from oil.
Colonialism is Class War
The big oil executives and their politicians know that this is our risk and their reward.
They are aware of how often pipelines leak. They are aware of the effects of tanker ships on marine life. They are also aware of the catastrophic effects that tar sands oil has and will have on our global climate.
Nowhere is big oil’s toxic drive to expand more evident than with Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline, running from east-central Alberta to northwestern Wisconsin. Marketed as a safety-oriented replacement of an existing pipeline, the proposed rebuilding of Line 3 will double its capacity and it will cross through several Indigenous reserves and sacred grounds in both Canada and the United States.
Minnesota’s Department of Commerce and an Administrative Law Judge made recommendations against approving Enbridge’s proposal. Multiple directly impacted tribal nations have also refused consent for Line 3 to cross their lands; having been disregarded by the state apparatus, Indigenous water protectors are prepared to put their lives on the line in a clear echo of the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Former Bank of Canada governor David Dodge drew the line most clearly when he said of the Trans Mountain project: “There are some people that are going to die in protesting construction of this pipeline.”
That ‘some people’ refers to Indigenous communities fighting for their livelihoods. There are other people who would die from the construction of this pipeline: communities experiencing more frequent and extreme weather events, primarily lower-income communities and those in the global south. Eventually, that ‘some people’ will be all of us.
Another World is Possible – and Necessary
We acknowledge that economic development is necessary for both Indigenous communities and workers in Alberta, British Columbia, from coast to coast. But our goals for economic development and stable employment cannot be met at the expense of Indigenous communities and the environment.
We can make a justice-based transition to green energy that truly benefits everybody. We can have social and democratic ownership of the things we need without sacrificing each other for it. We can stop the attacks on Indigenous sovereignty and rebuild our communities based on principles of Peace and Friendship.
But this won’t happen without a fight. Capitalism cannot and will not resolve this. We have to fight on the ground – together, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, as the peoples exploited and constantly divided by those who control our lives and profit from injustice. The people, united, will never be defeated.
You can support grassroots struggle against the Trans Mountain pipeline and Line 3 through these initiatives: