Criminalising Standing Rock
It is not the first time that the US government has used all means necessary to stifle activism and resistance.
The recent revelations of the Intercept, exposing how the US government is treating environmental activism at Standing Rock as an "insurgency", should not come as a surprise. The Intercept's investigation reveals that security firm TigerSwan has been working closely with at least five states to target the protesters of the Standing Rock camp as "jihadists", aiming to destroy and delegitimise the whole movement and those standing in solidarity with it.
But this is not the first time that governments and corporations have used any means necessary to keep the status quo in place. And it won't be the last.
It is crucial to understand and treat these actions not as random acts but as part of a broader context of repression and pacification of civil society. There is a global pushback against activism or what some have called "shrinking space", and this process has taken different forms. The methods used can be pure repression (violence against human rights defenders, attacks on freedom of assembly, movement, speech ...) or include more subtle approaches, such as philanthropic protectionism and exclusion of organisations and charities from the banking system.
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