This letter is written in response to the statement that Walz running for governor in 2022 would be helpful to Democrats. Many Minnesotans will not vote for Walz again. I’ll first note the many voters he lost after his state police froze 640+ anti-police brutality protestors that cold November night on I-94. But being an environmentalist involved with Line3, I will focus on why a lot of us, and a lot of indigenous people, are done voting for Walz.
There Walz was in northern Minnesota campaigning, telling indigenous people that his decisions on Line3 would be based on treaties made with tribes in northern Minnesota. Their response was to conduct a Georgia-style voter recruitment drive that rallied many indigenous people and environmentalists in northern Minnesota and the metro area to vote for him. He lied to us and betrayed northern Minnesota lands that, as soon as courts gave them jurisdiction, tribes protected and beautifully conserved. Walz enabled a pipeline that goes through 40% of the nation’s fresh water, which has led to many habitat-fouling frac-outs, drained wild rice lakes, and aquifer breaches, one of which the state allowed Enbridge to ignore, and it’s been draining for a year. Recently, Enbridge poured concrete into it, but many, including geologists, are skeptical that the problem is resolved. Walz’s DNR refuses to disclose the sites of other aquifer breaches, leaving many locals wondering how much mud Enbridge is injecting into their water sources. A geologist fears it could be millions of gallons. This, with Walz saying if there’s any problems, there will be accountability.
What we get is state collusion. His administration meets with Enbridge whenever Enbridge wants, while never meeting with tribal officials or environmentalists. He has never toured the drainages, nor said one word about them. The aquifer got breached because Enbridge ignored a 10-foot down-drilling permit, and, as usual, did what it wanted, and drilled at least 20 feet down. For this it was fined $3.3 million, a small percentage of the funds they allocated for damages, and was charged with a misdemeanor, while his [Walz’s] attorney general, Ellison, has been bumping up the misdemeanor charges of many Line3 protestors to felonies, despite receiving over 8,000 emails and uncounted phone calls asking him to drop all charges. These are nonviolent protestors who have already experienced Enbridge-funded local authorities’ physical assaults, rubber bullets, pepper spray, solitary lockups, and lawyer targeting. Looming next for northern Minnesota is Glencore’s Polymet mine. Glencore would probably win the contest for the world’s foulest mine. We dread Walz being governor again with that on the horizon.
If Democrats expect to win the 2022 governor’s race, they need to run a better candidate, a trustworthy progressive and environmentalist who wants to protect Minnesota’s resources.
Also, it’s important to distinguish between Republicans’ voter-diversion ploy, the Legal Marijuana Now Party, and the Grassroots Legalize Cannabis Party, which has been around for decades and is not manipulated by Republicans. Will Democrats take the clue that running who’s endorsed by the Grassroots Party could help them win elections? It seems like Democrats would rather lose to Republicans than let a progressive get into state office.
Ed Felien responds:
I agree that Walz should be criticized and challenged for his action/inaction on Line 3 and for his handling of the National Guard in 2020. I believe the best and most effective way to challenge him would be for a left/DSA candidate to run against him for the DFL endorsement for governor at the Minnesota State DFL Convention. Progressives are in coalition with the liberals in the DFL, but we are not subservient to them. If they want to carry the urban areas, then they need our support. We vow to support the endorsed candidate – that’s the basis of the coalition. We think that strategy will be more effective than standing outside in the snow. If you want to be part of formulating a progressive strategy that has some possibility of success, then you should become a member of DSA and support the coalition within the DFL.
Disclaimer: these opinions are mine alone. I am not an officer of DSA. I hold no official position. I have been a member for almost 20 years, and I believe DSA is the best vehicle for creating a just and fair society for all of us, but I speak only for myself and not for the organization.
Connie Bonniwell is right. The next looming environmental tragedy would be the Polymet copper mine in the Boundary Waters. Obama canceled their lease. Trump renewed it. And, on Jan. 26, Biden canceled it again. It is not going to happen as long as there is a Democratic president and a DFL governor of Minnesota.
Any ultra-left or special interest party that siphons off votes from DFL candidates supports Republican candidates. The DFL-controlled House passed a bill to make marijuana legal, but it died in the Republican-controlled Senate. As I wrote last month:
“The Republicans control the State Senate by one vote. In 2020 Tyler Becvar was the Legal Marijuana Now candidate in Senate District 27. He posted a video on his Facebook page promoting the Republican candidate in that race, Gene Dornink, who beat DFL Sen. Dan Sparks by 1,902 votes. Becvar got 2,500 votes.”
It is my belief that the only effective strategy for reaching the promised land is to link up with as many like-minded people as you can find, and make friends with people you disagree with on some issues. Find a common program and fight for it. I think the struggle of Bernie and AOC and others to try to pass Build Back Better was heroic. Their failure has been a smashing success. People can now imagine a better world, and they can demand it.
Take your fight to the DFL.
You’ll find friends there.