Picket Against Pipeline Funder Wells Fargo

“South Bend, Indiana”—Customers attempting to enter the E Mishawaka Ave Wells Fargo branch encountered Rising Tide Michiana’s picket line. About a dozen demonstrators rejected the bank’s funding of several fossil fuel pipelines that threaten to poison water supplies, infringe on indigenous people’s lands and communities, worsen flooding, kill wildlife, and destroy livelihoods. They also opposed the pipelines’ contributions to global warming and ecological breakdown.

Julie Dye, a Potawatomi elder who attended the picket, observed,

Indigenous people have been stewards of Turtle Island for millennia, and will never stop speaking out against the likes of Wells Fargo, that actively contribute to ecological devastation and the destruction of sacred sites all across the country for big profits. Corporate funding of new dirty fuel projects at the expense of all living things is unscrupulous and unholy.

Wells Fargo has financed many of North America’s largest oil and gas pipeline projects, including Bayou Bridge, Rover, Atlantic Coast, Keystone XL, Trans Mountain, Line 3, Mariner East 2 and Mountain Valley. Wells Fargo has faced waves of protests in response to these investments in oil pipelines and their awful track record with foreclosures and fraud.

Rising Tide Michiana organized this local picket after frontline resistance groups—including The L’eau Est La Vie Camp, Appalachians Against Pipelines, Camp White Pine, and Wakpa Wasté Camp—called for coordinated actions this month to “#RiseTogether” against fossil fuel pipelines. Actions this month around the continent of Turtle Island (North America) protested the pipeline funders Bank of America, Citi Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of Tokyo, Credit Suisse, andRoyal Bank of Canada.

Local demonstrators carried a banner, “Against the Pipelines and their World.” This slogan expressed opposition not just to fossil fuel projects but also to the colonial, heteropatriarchal, white supremacist, capitalist world that enables such destructive infrastructure. They said dominant social infrastructure currently privileges profit and authority over life, community, and freedom. The phrasing also referenced the struggles of other ecological campaigners “against the NDDL airport and its world” and “against the Dakota Access pipeline and its world.”

Demonstrators asked customers to consider moving their money to a local bank or credit union. They explained that coordinated pressure and direct action from around the country could pressure the bank to stop funding destructive pipelines. The organizers are planning a direct action training to share skills for ongoing direct actions.

Rising Tide Michiana describe themselves as “the Michiana branch of Rising Tide, a decentralized movement committed to fighting the root causes of climate change. Opposing all forms of colonialism, capitalism, and oppression, we envision a world where people organize horizontally to support each other and live in harmony with the Earth and its creatures. We recognize that we live on Potawatomi land, and we stand in solidarity with the oppressed and downtrodden of this region and the world—human and nonhuman.”

For more information on #RiseTogether, see nobayoubridge.global/risetogether/. For more information on Rising Tide Michiana, see rtmichiana.org.