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Tagged ‘Canada‘

WATCH: Biomass – an Ecological Facade | A Massive Threat to the World’s Forests

WKOG disclaimer: Keep in mind while watching this film that while Dogwood Alliance may publicly denounce Enviva’s biomass (the burning of trees) practices, Dogwood Alliance has partnered with Coca-Cola along with other corporations and NGOs to create the Carbon Canopy Group – a coalition “that seeks to leverage markets for ecosystem services” [Source] and “offset” pollution via carbon credits. More false solutions. In fact, one could easily argue that biomass stands to cut into future profits to be made by the expanding commodification and privatization of trees/nature by Dogwood Alliance, Coca-Cola, Staples et al. (You can read more about this is the upcoming segment of the ongoing Divestment series.)

 

 

NGOization: Depoliticizing Activism in Canada

New Socialist

May 25, 2014

By Dru Oja Jay

psf2

Across Canada, movement organizations are preparing for the People’s Social Forum, coming up in August. There’s a buzz of excitement and anticipation in the air as committees elect delegates, and strategies are debated. When hundreds of activists gather in Ottawa in a few months, we will be drawing from a rich, long-simmering cauldron of theoretical discussion and insight issuing from astute on-the-ground observations.

Members of a variety of organizations will gather to debate proposals and hear reports from paid organizers. Thousands will gather in major cities, and crowds ranging from dozens to hundreds are expected in smaller centres. In Kenora, a delegation of Indigenous activists are expected to present a proposal for a major change in the role of First Nations in Greenpeace campaigns. In Montreal, a left tendency within the membership is said to be preparing a resolution that would shift the Council of Canadians’ considerable campaigning clout to align more closely with the explicitly anti-capitalist student movement.

In BC, the Sierra Club will hold a series of general assemblies, bringing together its thousands of members for similar discussions. Canada World Youth, Engineers Without Borders, KAIROS and Amnesty International are holding local meetings to select delegates and discuss priorities. Southern Ontario is aflutter with activity as cross-sectoral workers’ committees meet independently of their unions to discuss strategies to proactively prevent the next plant closure and fight it with broad public support if it goes forward.

The question of which alliances to prioritize building when Canada’s still-nascent social movements gather in August is at the forefront of all these conversations. Which strategies will prevail? Which ideas will move to the fore? The anticipation is building.

Pure fiction?

With the exception of the People’s Social Forum, which is indeed planned for August 21 to 24 in Ottawa, the above scenario is pure fiction. The organizations listed above do have the membership and financial resources to open such spaces and expect people to take an interest, but few of them use that capacity. This is not an arbitrary fact of life; there are material and historical reasons why it is the case.

Decades of professionalization mean that if any of those organizations tried to hold assemblies like this, they would, at least initially, have trouble convincing people to come. Things would likely get off to an awkward start and require skilled and hands-on facilitation. A political culture of participation, collective decision-making and debate is all but missing. Decisions are made in offices and boardrooms, where professionalized staff preside over donors, petition signers and the occasional volunteer rather than a mobilized or empowered membership.

It wasn’t always like this. We don’t need to idealize the past to realize that there has been a concerted push to make what under other circumstance would be movement organizations into centrally-controlled bodies run by trained professionals. Exceptions to this trend are forever popping up: the environmental movement in the 1970s, the antiglobalization movement of the late 1990s, and most recently Occupy Wall Street are a few of the more prominent examples. But none of these exceptions has put an end to the process of bureaucratization and centralization. In fact, the process seems to accelerate when powerful grassroots movements enter onto the scene.

This process has been dubbed NGOization (after the increasingly-ubiquitous form, the Non-Governmental Organization, or NGO). While NGOization has been going on for decades, the concept is just starting to gain in currency beyond a few academics and grassroots organizers.

NGOization, write Dip Kapoor and Aziz Choudry in their edited collection by the same name, is a process of “professionalization and depolitization” which fragments and compartmentalizes the world into “issues and projects.” It works well, they add, “for neoliberal regimes.”

What NGOization precludes and inhibits is movement-building. Centralized control allows for an efficient mobilization of existing capacity, but it doesn’t provide the opportunities for masses of people to have new experiences, build their own ideas, do their own research, or start their own initiatives. It doesn’t provide the possibility of large numbers of people to decide, together, where to focus their energies or when to divide them.

The driving force behind the process of NGOization is not mysterious. Billions of dollars have been provided to Canadian NGOs to provide social services, dig wells in villages in African villages, support marginalized populations, campaign for environmental protection, and alleviate the effects of poverty. The money comes from government (the federal government spends close to a billion dollars per year on development NGOs alone) and private foundations (millions of tax-deductible dollars are spent annually to support environmental campaigns, for example).

But what do foundations and governments get for their money?

Statement of Solidarity with the Mi’kmaq Warriors

Warrior Publications

by Zig Zag

Dec 2, 2013

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Since the spring of 2013, the Mi’kmaq, along with Native and non-Native allies, have been resisting exploratory testing by SWN Resources Canada in New Brunswick. SWN, a Houston, Texas-based company, is searching for deposits of natural gas in shale rock formations. If they are successful and find significant deposits, they will then attempt to extract this gas using the process of fracking.

Fracking Indigenous Country

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Photo: Mi’kmaq – True resistance

Big Green, Sun Media and Elsipogtog

Counterpunch

October 22, 2013

By Macdonald Stainsby

 

If anyone doubted that it’s a good thing that Sun News in Canada has been both going broke and also denied the ability to force their way onto Canada’s basic cable system (vastly expanding their audience and getting themselves included in most homes with television subscriptions by default), the racist rantings of Ezra Levant in response to the recent RCMP attack on the Mi’kmaq community of Elsipogtog ought to clear it up.

Never Idle: Gord Hill on Indigenous Resistance in Canada

Never Idle: Gord Hill on Indigenous Resistance in Canada

March 18, 2013

[A condensed version of this article appeared in the March 2013 issue of The Portland Radicle.]

Radicle: Could you explain how indigenous power is apportioned in Canada and the Assembly of First Nations?

Gord Hill: The AFN is comprised of all the band council chiefs. We refer to them as the “Indian Act chiefs” because the Indian Act is federal legislation that was introduced in 1876 and it was through this act that the Canadian government imposed the reservation system and the band council system and status, like who is a Native. That’s the main thing about the Indian Act, so since then they imposed these band councils and chiefs onto all the reserves. The Assembly of First Nations was established in the early 1980s and it’s a national organization of these Indian Act chiefs. They’re basically a lobby group with the government. They’re a political organization of the Indian Act chiefs.

Thoughtful, Respectful, and Progressive: Regarding the “Responsibility to Protect”

Zero Anthropology

24 February 2013

by Maximilian Forte

laurentlouis

Some of this has already been raised, in my recent interview with Phil Taylor, plus in an excellent article by Ken Stone, “UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay: ‘Pretext-maker’ for Western Military Aggression,” and by The Wrong Kind of Green (“Must Watch: MP Laurent Louis Exposes International Neo-Colonialists Behind ‘War On Terror’ & ‘Humanitarian Interventions’ in Belgian Parliament“), probably my favourite website right now (see additional articles of relevance from WKG at the end).

At the focus here is a basic, honest response to what is being sold to us by various vested interests as the ideal form of “humanitarian action,” and specifically Western notions of the “responsibility to protect” (R2P). The response is not collegial, civil, comforting–that’s because the speaker has not yet been pacified and tamed, not even as an elected member of a European parliament. However great is the pressure to become structurally adjusted in a normative sense, and aligned with the new white woman’s burden, this speaker (Laurent Louis) bucks that trend.

WATCH: Canadian Aid to Haiti Tied to Mining Interests

 

January 13, 2013

Real News

 

Yves Engler: Strategic objectives of Canadian aid are to strengthen a pro-elite police and advance Canadian commercial interests.

Watch full multipart The Ugly Canadian

Indigenous Masculinity and Warriorism

Indigenous Masculinity and Warriorism

Intercontinental Cry

By Jay Taber

Dec 29, 2012

The warrior spirit is a vastly misunderstood and misconstrued calling. As the voice of the protector, its authenticity is distorted by militarists and pacifists alike. Those who heed the call in today’s world of warped values and political illiteracy must be prepared to deal with both ignorance and ingratitude.

Indigenous Resistance in Canada

Indigenous Resistance in Canada

Intercontinental Cry

By

Dec 24, 2012

While the non-violent direct action of First Nations currently has broad support across Canada, the history of indigenous resistance in Canada shows that the only time Ottawa has taken First Nations seriously is when faced with economic disruption, civil disobedience or armed self-defense. As First Nations organize in opposition to the Canadian government’s current agenda to terminate their human rights and the environmental protection of Canada’s land and waters, they would do well to reexamine their own history, and how they got where they are today. Aiding them in that effort is associate professor Glen Coulthard, a Yellowknives Dene instructor in the First Nations  Studies Program at the University of British Columbia.

War of the Words: Chiefs Issue Ultimatums as Grassroots Dance in Circles

War of the Words: Chiefs Issue Ultimatums as Grassroots Dance in Circles

by Zig Zag

Warrior Publications

January 4, 2013

Flash mob in Edmonton mall, December 2012.Flash mob in Edmonton mall, December 2012.

There are three entities currently struggling for control over the grassroots Native mobilization that has spread across the country: the Idle No More’s  (INM) middle-class founders, Indian Act chiefs, and chief Spence herself.  It is in our interests as grassroots people that all of them fail in their efforts and that the autonomous, decentralized self-organization of our movement become more widespread.

Despite their working relationship with many Indian Act chiefs, the founders of Idle No More (INM) publicly distanced themselves in a statement issued on Dec 31, 2012. This was in response to chief Theresa Spence’s demand that other Indian Act chiefs “take control” of the grassroots mobilizing that has occurred.