Political Matters: #BlackLivesMatter at MOA

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mordecai_specktor_some.jpgOn New Year’s Eve two years ago,

Idle No More, the activist movement for Indian rights that started in

Canada and spread across North America, staged a round dance at the

Mall of America that drew hundreds of participants. When the group

tried to repeat the event on Dec. 31, 2013, organizers Patricia

Shepard and Reyna Crow were arrested when they entered the mall.

In a way, Idle No More’s tactics

were the precursor to the Dec. 20 #BlackLivesMatter demonstration,

which brought several thousand folks, a mainly young, racially

diverse group, to the East Rotunda of the largest mall in America.

On one of the busiest Christmas

shopping days, MOA officials brought in dozens of private security

guards, and cops from around the Twin Cities reinforced the

Bloomington PD troops trying to repress the demonstration against the

recent police killings of unarmed black men and children. In the end,

the huge throng that came to the mall on a Saturday afternoon forced

the assembled security force to do what it could to contain the

protest, by closing about 80 stores and blocking off aisles leading

to the packed rotunda. There were 25 arrests, according to press

reports.

MOA officials whined to the press

about protesters intruding on their (taxpayer-subsidized, publicly

accessible) private property and the inconvenience to holiday

shoppers from the mass demonstration. Thankfully, the Bloomington

riot cops behaved with restraint and the protest proceeded in a

boisterous and nonviolent way.

In the next phase, Bloomington City

Attorney Sandra Johnson told WCCO-TV that she is planning to file

criminal charges against the organizers of the demonstration. The MOA

will be calculating the amount of lost sales; and Johnson will tote

up over overtime costs for police. This sort of aftermath is very

familiar to me, as my son, Max, was charged in trumped up conspiracy

after the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul. He and

seven others, the RNC 8, faced a variety of felony charges, and were

prosecuted in Ramsey County District Court for more than two years.

Then the cases fizzled out: charges were dropped against three

defendants, and several others were offered deals that amounted to

the proverbial slap on the wrist, with no jail time.

In any case, the community should do

what’s necessary to provide a legal defense for the

#BlackLivesMatter organizers. Hopefully, large numbers of people can

be mobilized in the future for protests drawing attention to

environmental disasters in the making (PolyMet’s proposed

copper-nickel mine, the Keystone XL pipeline, etc.).

Ma’iingan, Brother Wolf, protected

From the Minnesota Department of

Natural Resources Web site: “Effective Dec. 19, 2014, Minnesotans

can no longer legally kill a wolf except in the defense of human

life. A federal judge’s decision to immediately reinstate

Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Minnesota,

Wisconsin and Michigan place the animals under protection of the U.S.

Fish and Wildlife Service.”

As I wrote here, in May 2012,

ma’iingan, our brother, the wolf, was removed from the endangered

species list, in April 2011. In January 2012, the U.S. Fish and

Wildlife Service removed protection for gray wolves in the western

Great Lakes states; then Minnesota and Wisconsin quickly passed

legislation to open up areas for hunting and trapping wolves.

On Dec. 19, U.S. District Court Judge

Beryl A. Howell ruled on a motion brought by The Humane Society of

the United States, and other animal protection groups, deciding that

wolf management in the western Great Lakes should be returned to

federal control.

“In the short time since federal

protections have been removed, trophy hunters and trappers have

killed more than 1,500 Great Lakes wolves under hostile state

management programs that encourage dramatic reductions in wolf

populations,” Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief

counsel for animal protection litigation at HSUS said. “We are

pleased that the court has recognized that the basis for the

delisting decision was flawed, and would stop wolf recovery in its

tracks.”

Tribes in the western Great Lakes

region have opposed the recent hunting and trapping seasons for

wolves, establishing reservations as wolf sanctuaries. Non-Indian

hunters apparently were thrilled to have the opportunity to kill

wolves for trophies; and it appears that a lawless element will

ignore the Dec. 19 court decision.

One person commented on the Minnesota

Deer Hunters Association’s Facebook page: “All this partisan

judge did was declare open season on wolves. Regular Joe hunters are

sick and tired of being ignored…. Great job your honor you did way

more damage to your pressious [sic] wolves than any regulated hunting

season ever could. Shoot, shovel, shut up.”