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We Will Not Be Silenced: The Fight for Our Climate — and Our First Amendment

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“According to this lawsuit, if you opposed the Dakota Access Pipeline, you’re a terrorist.”

That was the very accurate headline on this past August, when Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company behind the Dakota Access pipeline, filed a broad legal assault against Greenpeace and many other organizations that opposed the highly controversial fossil fuel project.

Why should you care? Because this lawsuit represents a many-faceted and very real threat to everyone’s First Amendment rights to protest and organize in defense of people and planet.

As Robert Reich explains in this video, this is a clear example of a SLAPP suit, which stands for “strategic lawsuit against public participation.” Speaking about this suit to Grist, Tara Houska, a tribal attorney and national campaigns director at the indigenous environmental nonprofit Honor the Earth, defined a SLAPP suit as “a way to try to silence free speech by trying to cost the defendant — organizations or movements or individuals, sometimes — money.”

But these types of lawsuits are far from the only threat. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, more than 30 separate anti-protest bills have been introduced in the country since Nov. 8 last year.

The American tradition of dissent and protest is crucial to social progress — from the civil rights movement, to the women’s rights movement, to the LGBT rights movement and onward. And these actions are desperate attacks by desperate corporations and politicians looking to take down anyone who speaks the truth in this country — that includes Indigenous leaders fighting for their rights and to protect their water, supporting organizations like RAN and Greenpeace, or responsible journalists who report the facts.

But these attacks won't work. There is a broad and growing movement that is supporting Indigenous and grassroots leadership to stop disastrous pipelines like DAPL, the Keystone XL pipeline, and other projects that threaten clean water, destroy communities and slice through Indigenous lands. We are following the money and telling banks like JPMorgan Chase to stop backing these projects. We are working with partners from the Gulf Coast to Canada. We are witnessing greater support from people who are saying “Enough is Enough — it’s time for a clean energy future.”

We are standing firm against corporate greed, against human rights abuses, against governmental overreach, and against threats to our future.

They think they can stop us from fighting for people and planet.

But we are just getting started.


Anti-protest bills would 'attack right to speak out' under Donald Trump

According to this lawsuit, if you opposed DAPL, you’re a terrorist


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  • Julieanna Thomson
    commented 2017-12-20 11:34:02 -0800
    Thanks for bringing this out. There should be legislation penalizing these companies for SLAPP cases, bigtime, not with just little “punitives”, once proven that the case is an intimidating SLAPP to People’s Rights!! I fought one once, successfully, ridiculous accusations (a totally satirical case) which produced results in my favor and also required attorney’s fees to be refunded to me; the Ruling also produced punitive damages in my favor – which didn’t even get paid, or only slightly so, in the bigger case against “THEM” – the hoodlum-corporation taking advantage of People!!
  • Aleatha Guerin
    commented 2017-12-10 07:57:07 -0800
    It is time, before it is too late, for our people, our nature and land, our animals, our freedom, our way of life to stop Donald Trump, Michael Bowe and any other trying to take away our RIGHTS. We, the American people will NOT be silent or lay down and roll over to big bossiness, and greedy, self seekers…… We must stand together as did our forefathers and all those who have fought and died to obtain and protect our rights…. Please America and all those around the globe who care about our planet. WE MUST PROTEST !!!!!!
  • Rosa Borisova
    commented 2017-12-09 11:41:15 -0800
    The American people, Mother Nature and non – human animals are controlled, overruled, dismissed, disrespected by selfish, greedy, arrogant, crippled, careless individuals. It’s absurd, unacceptable and self – destructive! The time to change that is NOW. Each dollar and each person counts. It’s not science : we can no longer let EVIL thrive, if we want to live in peace, harmony and health.