When you want to stop a pipeline from being built, it's time to throw a party. That’s the thinking behind this weekend's Block (Line 3) Party, where organizers are bringing together artists, musicians, and community for some free speech and direct action training.
Local artist Rory Wakemeup is part of event planning. He is employing tactics similar to what he used while protesting at Standing Rock.
“One thing art does is that it humanizes our efforts, and it allows us to send our message out,” he says. “Without art to convey our message, that narrative can be taken from us, and we can be labeled anarchists or terrorists by the media.”
Things get started this Friday on the steps outside of the Capitol, as resistors will ask the governor to stand strong against the proposed Line 3 oil pipeline. From there, the protest moves to the Public Utility Commission for a party that will include a clean solutions energy fair and art tents. A community meal will be served, followed by an evening concert featuring Thomas X, See More Perspective, Jayanthi Kyle, and Anne Humphrey.
Wakemup has helped organize the art tent. At PUC, visitors can bring their own T-shirt or fabric for artists to print on with designs inspired by water protection and social justice, including the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women movement. “The two are tied,” he says. “These oil camps tend to exploit Indigenous women specifically.”
All funds raised at the event will go toward sending similar art tents to the Turtle Island Camp in White Earth, Minnesota, where folks are resisting Line 3. Wakemup hopes to provide tents and supplies, in addition to training water protectors to create art.
After Friday festivities, the action will continue on Saturday with a water ceremony at the Mississippi, followed by direct action training. People will also be heading to the March for Science at Mears Park.
Meanwhile Wakemup, who always brings a mixture of art and activism to his work, will also be part of the Right Here Showcase at Off-Leash Area’s Art Box this weekend.
Wakemup sees the performance as what he’d like to manifest in the real world. “It’s a kind of training or operations manual,” he says.
For more info on the Block (Line 3) Party, visit www.blockline3party.org.