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Lockdown Therapy for Capitalism

Lockdown Therapy for Capitalism

April 23, 2020

By Hiroyuki Hamada

 

Vogue, Special Edition: Freedom on Hold. The issue has sold out. 

A migrant worker’s child sleeps on a highway in locked-down New Delhi, India, March 29, 2020. On March 30 2020, 8 year-old Rakesh Musahar died of hunger as his family struggled to make ends meet during the lockdown. Rakesh hailed from the Mahadalit Musahar community. He was a ragpicker & sold junk in the market. His father Durga Prasad Musahar was a porter. Rakesh died on Mar 26. His family waited for several hours for local admin. officials to come & make arrangements. However, nobody arrived. Dejected, Durga Prasad & a few other locals finally carried the boy’s body on a cart and cremated him.” [Source] REUTERS – Adnan Abidi

One might think that artists wouldn’t mind being isolated and having more time in studios on account of the current Coronavirus situation.  After all, we spend an enormous amount of time alone, and isolation allows us to have uninterrupted amounts of time to let our imaginations fly.But there are other elements in play when we examine creativity.  For example, it is crucial that we feel safe to expose all our senses to our environment so that we ground our minds properly to our surroundings, harmoniously with all our channels open.

When the “lockdown” started I was at an art residency in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  I lived in a communal setting with twenty other artists and writers.  As soon as public spaces became inaccessible and “social distancing” became the norm at the residency, many of the fellow artists experienced lack of productivity.  I felt an immediate blockage to my making process.

Perhaps, since our society does not make artists’ activities a priority, this might be the last thing one would consider as a serious “problem”.  And to a lesser extent such a concern might be secondary to many artists themselves who will be subjected to enormous economic difficulties.

It is “understood” that this is a “crisis” and we must “fight together“ against our “common enemy” which is the virus.  
But who could blame those of us who are very much suspicious of such a momentum, as we hear “decrees” being issued to dictate our social activities while all instruments of state violence and repression are in place to regulate our behaviors.  
After all we live in the same society which has baselessly demonized Muslims while bombing, colonizing and destroying their countries in the name of “war on terror”.  Young black people have been openly demonized to justify gentrification, mass incarceration, exploitation through substandard labor conditions and so on and so forth in the name of “war on drug” and “tough on crime”.

We know that a “crisis” presents opportunities and tools for the ruling class to shape and perpetuate the social structure.  The system in which they thrive is always “too big to fail” while oppressed people keep failing so that they are safely cornered into hopelessness, cynicism and complacency to the feudal order of money and violence.

Caption: “I’ve joined @voguearabia in the fight against Covid-19 to support their #stayhome campaign, and emphasize the importance of safe habits during the pandemic. #strongertogether

Townships are in lockdown — but many Africans fear hunger more than Covid-19. In South Africa, three people have been killed as police have attacked crowds with whips and rubber bullets for defying a lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Five more were killed in Kenya, including a 13-year-old boy hit by a stray bullet fired by police enforcing a stay-at-home order in Nairobi. In Uganda, soldiers shot and injured two people for riding on a motorbike during a curfew, Population of Kenya: 51.39 million (2018). Deaths with/from COVID19 in Kenya: 14 (April 21, 2020), Getty images, Source

It is not a speculation that there are people who prosper and even benefit during an economic crisis—as smaller business owners struggle, large corporations and banks benefit from huge government subsidies, giving them more power to buy failing small businesses, for example.  And it is a fact that many of those people have enormous economic power to shape the policies that can benefit themselves. It is not a speculation that they would appreciate having strict measures of control against the people by limiting their freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom to travel, or by installing means of surveillance, check points and official certifications for activities that might give freedom to the people beyond the capitalist framework.  It is not a speculation that they would benefit from moving our social interactions to the digital realm, which can commodify our activities as marketable data for the advertising industry, insurance industry and any other moneyed social institutions Including education, political institution, legal institution, and financial institution.  Such matters should be seen within the context of the western history being shaped by unelected capitalists with their enormous networks of social institutions.  In fact, private foundations and NGOs are working with governmental organizations and global institutions to implement potentially dangerous policies of draconian measures as well as financialization of our activities for sometime.  According to researchers—Cory MorningstarAlison McDowell and others, the potential impact of the transformation which is about to take place through the Internet, block chain technology, artificial intelligence, and etc. under the banner of the fourth industrial revolution can be devastatingly inhumane to our species’ path.  Examining those matters must not be subjected to being labeled as “conspiracy” and dismissed.

Needless to say, a draconian momentum against the capitalist hierarchy accelerates hardships of “invisible people” who struggle against economic deprivation and social repression.  How do homeless people “stay home”?  How do people in jail practice “social distancing”?   How are people vulnerable to domestic violence protected?   How do small business owners continue to stay in business?  How do poor people survive while public services and spaces are eliminated, while affluent people are stock piling in their generously equipped gated communities.  How do people with addiction stay sober?  How do people with suicidal tendency secure their dwindling connection to humanity?

Food distributed to homeless migrant workers in New Delhi. The painted circles on the ground are to maintain social distancing. Vikram Patel, Harvard Medical School, April 17, 2020:  “Since the first case was reported in late January, there have been (as of 15 April) about 400 confirmed deaths. During this same period of roughly 75 days, if we extrapolate data from recent years on mortality, over 1.5 million Indians will have died due to other causes.” [Population of India: 1.3 billion (2018). Deaths with/from Covid: 603 (April 21, 2020)]

But those discussions are rare among us.  A hint of doubt can trigger those people who are “fighting together”.  Because once our creative minds learn to live safely in an authoritarian framework of draconian rules and decrees, the narrow framework restricts our thoughts and ideas.  Our minds get weaponized to uphold the authoritarianism as a path to “democracy”, “freedom”, “justice” and “humanity”, which have been mere euphemisms to describe blank checks given to the ruling class.  Once people turn into soldiers of the authoritarianism, the path to the ”solutions” is paved by their  relentless adherence to corporate political parties, official decrees and carefully concocted narratives within the capitalist framework.  Our discussions cease to be mutually respectful exchange, instead, they become battle grounds in which dissenting voices are vetted, attacked and eliminated.

A society that can’t sustain artists is a society that kills minds to care, understand, empathize and share.  A society that enforces its imperatives with fear instead of trust in humanity deprives a healthy mechanism to guide itself.

As I see how public sentiment is developing over the virus situation, I must mention one more thing.  There has been a proven method of silencing anti-capitalist voices within our society, used by media, political figures, corporate dissidents and others.  It requires a few steps.

First, amplify the voices of people who willingly sacrifice those who they consider to hold lower positions than they do in demanding their righteous positions within the capitalist hierarchy.  The voices might come from racist nationalists, patriarchal misogynists, flag waving anti-immigrant activists or heartless Trump supporters demanding old people to die during the coronavirus pandemic.  Those people recognize that an aspect or a policy of the establishment will compromise their lives—after all they are also oppressed by the capitalist order.  However, they do embrace the capitalist order in essence.  They do not tolerate sharing their positions with people who they despise.

Second, claim that you are with victims of racism, misogyny or xenophobia, or old people who are vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic.

Third, falsely equate an anti-capitalist perspective with that of those political villains.

Forth, dismiss those who are calling out the ruling class agenda as “racist”, “misogynists”, “fascist worshiper” and so on.

This method has been very effective.  I am sure that anyone who has expressed a concern over capitalist domination can recall being labeled as what they actually oppose.

The method achieves a few things at the same time.  First, it obscures the mechanism of capitalist hierarchy. Second, it divides people who should be fighting against the system together—obscuring the meaning of class struggle.  Third, it augments the capitalist hierarchy.  Forth, it vitalizes the political legitimacy of corporate political parties which utilize the division.  Needless to say, the narrative of division is actively generated by corporate political parties as well.

It is imperative that we recognize the predicaments of the people who are most oppressed within our society, while we firmly recognize the dynamics within the capitalist hierarchy, and stay away from being a part of the mechanism which safely turns our predicaments into driving forces of capitalism.

I hope above writing can generate much needed discussions on the topic among us.

[Hiroyuki Hamada is an artist. He has exhibited throughout the United States and in Europe and is represented by Lori Bookstein Fine Art. He has been awarded various residencies including those at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, the Edward F. Albee Foundation/William Flanagan Memorial Creative Person’s Center, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the MacDowell Colony. In 1998 Hamada was the recipient of a Pollock Krasner Foundation grant, and in 2009 he was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. He lives and works in New York.]

Netwar at Cherry Point

White Power on the Salish Sea

By Jay Taber

 

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Introduction

In Drumming Up Resentment: The Anti-Indian Movement in Montana, a special report published by Montana Human Rights Network in 2000, author Ken Toole made the following remarks:

“The context in which most people place words like racism, prejudice, and discrimination is the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. In that context, an oppressed minority, African Americans, sought inclusion, a piece of the pie, equal opportunity and integration.

 

The struggle for civil rights in Indian country is different. It rests more on sovereignty and autonomy than on inclusion and integration. The legal framework created by the civil rights activists of the 1950s and 1960s sought to secure equal treatment within existing institutions and law. Indian rights activists, by and large, seek recognition of their right to develop their own law. Basically, they seek recognition of a right to self-determination. This difference is confusing and gives the anti-Indian movement an advantage in the rhetorical arena.

 

Taken at face value, the anti-Indian movement is a systematic effort to deny legally established rights to a group of people who are identified on the basis of their shared culture, history, religion and tradition. That makes it racist by definition.”

Writing further, Mr. Toole examined the organizational infrastructure of the Anti-Indian Movement:

“Over the last thirty years, tribal governments have become more sophisticated about asserting themselves through treaty rights. This evolution has often created controversy. Those who have opposed tribes, fearing Indian governance, have coalesced themselves into the anti-Indian movement. Groups like the Interstate Congress for Equal Rights and Responsibilities (ICERR), Totally Equal Americans (TEA), and the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA) have served as national umbrella organizations for groups that have grown out of local and state controversies. These national groups have focused on federal policy by lobbying in Congress and litigating in the federal courts. However, the power and effectiveness of these national groups is linked to the local anti-Indian groups.

 

In addition to “vertical integration” from local to state to national organizations, the anti-Indian movement also developed “horizontal integration,” or ally relationships with groups and activists in other political and social movements. The anti-Indian movement is allied with the anti-environmental “wise use movement.” There is extensive cooperation between anti-Indian groups like CERA and wise use groups like the Alliance for America. Loose affiliation between anti-Indian groups and the Religious Right is also evident primarily in the electoral arena and state legislature. Finally, despite their best efforts, anti-Indian activists often stumble into the overt white supremacist movement. It is not a surprising stumble since both movements have racist ideas at the core.”

In the conclusion of Drumming Up Resentment, Ken Toole remarked that the public education system is doing a woefully inadequate job of providing information to students on Indian issues. The result, he says, is that citizens are increasingly ignorant about treaty rights and tribal sovereignty. This, he warns, makes them far more vulnerable to the politics of resentment offered up by the Anti-Indian Movement.

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2015 Tsleil-Waututh Blessing Stop. Photo: Paul Anderson

Givers and Takers

On April 6, 2013, I received a request from the editor of the Cascadia Weekly for background on Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA), which had held an anti-Indian conference earlier that day in Bellingham, Washington. On April 10, my article Anti-Indian Conference was published at IC Magazine.

On April 17, the Cascadia Weekly editor published a column titled A history of violence. On page 4 of the April 17 Earth Day issue of Cascadia Weekly, he published my letter to the editor, “Givers and Takers”, which connected the organized racism promoted by CERA to propaganda by the Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT) coal export developers. Responding to my letter, Craig Cole, the PR spokesman for the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal — located next to the Lummi Indian reservation — phoned the editor expressing his displeasure with my op-ed.

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On April 26, 2013, the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (IREHR) in Seattle published a special report by Charles Tanner Jr titled “Take These Tribes Down” The Anti-Indian Movement Comes To Washington State.

As an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies (CWIS) in Olympia, Washington, and communications director at Public Good Project, based in San Francisco, I have access to quite a lot of material on this topic. Most notably, Anti-Indian Movement on the Tribal Frontier by CWIS chair Dr. Rudolph C. Ryser, and Wise Use in Northern Puget Sound by former Public Good research director, Paul de Armond.

On May 13, 2013, it came to my attention that Skip Richards – one of the two organizers of the April 6, 2013 CERA conference, and a strategist of anti-Indian campaigns in the 1990s — was scheduled to speak at a May 24 luncheon for the Republican Women of Whatcom County, at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club. In response to this information, I added the following background on Skip Richards as an appendix to my April 10 article at IC Magazine.

For background on Skip Richards, readers might find the following Public Good Project special reports useful.

 

Some news articles about Skip Richards’ collaboration with Christian Patriot militia:

 

After sending my updated article to the Whatcom League of Women Voters, with a note about the likelihood of Richards leading a hate campaign against tribal sovereignty by appealing to the Tea Party wing of the GOP, I informed my Public Good colleagues that Richards and other entrepreneurial merchants of fear were apparently “hovering around the treaty rights/water rights/GPT conflicts probing for an opportunity to recreate the climate of fear that twenty years ago allowed them to capture the Whatcom County Council”. Additionally, I noted that “The PACs and non-profits the property rights network established back then for political power later spawned the anti-Indian, militia organizing”.

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photo: Lummi Nation Sovereignty and Treaty Protection Office

On May 16, 2013, IC Magazine published a follow-up to my April 10 article, titled Anti-Indian Sociopath Skip Richards At The Country Club: Is Media Complicity And Public Amnesia Enough?, and I sent the following message to the Public Good network:

In addition to lacking a moral compass, Richards apparently believes that simply denying proven collaboration with militias, and overwhelming evidence of his having built a career on malicious harassment is sufficient to absolve him from accountability for his actions. It is truly astounding he ran for senate at the same time his militia pals were arrested by the FBI.

 

His recent appearance as a guest speaker at a blatantly racist conference — alongside his cohort of bigots from twenty years ago — at which he pretends to know nothing about the anti-Indian movement is mindboggling. His present posturing as an innocent water consultant, when his record shows he actively engaged in water resource conflicts with anti-Indian activists throughout the 1990s, indicates he is astonishingly adept at self-delusion.”

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“I was a witness to the journey and can say with deep conviction that this journey mattered. It mattered to those assembled, to the travelers, to the multitudes that read about it in the paper, heard about it on the radio, or saw it on TV, to landscapes and their lifeforms, and (in my mind), to the unseen forces within and around us that ask of us only our steadfast faith. This is a coming together.” —Kurt Russo, Sovereignty and Treaty Protection Office, Lummi Nation

Horizontal Integration

On June 4, 2013, I came across a link to YouTube videos from the Gateway Pacific Terminal panel forum, featuring Washington State Senator Doug Ericksen, Dave Warren of Northwest Jobs Alliance, Whatcom County Realtors Association lobbyist Perry Eskridge, and realtor Mike Kent, whom I knew to be the brother of former KGMI radio host Jeff Kent—noted in the Profits of Prejudice PDF, attached to my April 10 IC Magazine article. As a KGMI radio host in September 1995, Jeff Kent led Fee Land Owners Association (FLOA) representatives Jeff McKay and Linnea Smith in an hour-long diatribe against the Lummi Indians.

In August 2013, Whatcom Watch monthly included a supplement by Jewell Praying Wolf James of the Lummi Indian Tribe titled The Search for Integrity in the Conflict over Cherry Point as a Coal Export Terminal. In the October-November 2013 issue of Whatcom Watch, Sandra Robson’s article How Property Rights Can Become Property Wrongs was the cover story. In the article, Robson recounts the violent history of property rights groups in Whatcom county, and notes that the co-organizer of the April 6 CERA conference was Tom Williams, a Minuteman militia member, and CERA board member. Paul de Armond’s 2005 Public Good Project report Racist Origins of Border Militias sheds light on what these white supremacists are all about.

On October 9, 2013, the Whatcom Tea Party sponsored a Gateway Pacific Terminal Debate at the Building Industry Association of Whatcom County (BIAWC). As reported by Paul de Armond in the 1995 Public Good Project special report Wise Use in Northern Puget Sound, the BIAWC had been an active supporter of Wise Use terrorism against environmentalists and Native Americans in 14 Washington counties, including Whatcom, where Skip Richards was a paid BIAWC agent provocateur.

Also on October 9, 2013, Cascadia Weekly ran an editorial titled Polar Chill, noting the editor is “dismayed to see coal export interests laundering large amounts of campaign contributions” suggesting that “the early promise of coal export interests to be good corporate citizens was a lie”. The following three paragraphs of the editorial are worth reading in its entirety:

As noted by Western Washington University Professor Todd Donovan, and detailed by local political blogger Riley Sweeney and Seattle media, Pacific International Terminals donated $30,000 to the state Republican Party. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad donated another $10,000. These contributions were turned over to state party vice-chair Luanne Van Werven, who also heads the Whatcom County Republicans. Van Werven then distributed $1,500 to each selected candidate, along with $17,000 to Whatcom Republicans. Whatcom Republicans in turn funneled $17,000 to Republican-endorsed Whatcom County Council candidates. The transfers, Donovan noted, are not typical for local elections. The transfers both exceed the cap on contributions an individual may make and disguise the contributions’ origins. Coal interests do not appear on these candidates’ disclosures, but the laundered funds are available for candidates’ use in the election.

 

“It appears that Pacific International Terminals and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad have earmarked campaign funds given to the state Republican Party such that these funds exclusively benefit candidates in Whatcom County,” Donovan wrote to the state Public Disclosure Commission, which investigates alleged campaign finance irregularities. Donovan is a political scientist and elections expert.

 

“This practice allows Pacific International and BNSF to disguise the fact that they are a primary source of campaign funds for these candidates and for the Whatcom County Republican Party,” Donovan wrote to the PDC. “This practice allows Pacific International and BNSF to spend money on Whatcom County candidate races in excess of what is allowable under state law.”

The Politics of Resentment

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The Northern Cheyenne Reservation (Bob Zellar, Billings Gazette)

On October 16, 2013, I became aware of a new PAC called SaveWhatcom, registered by KGMI radio host Kris Halterman and Lorraine Newman. Halterman is noted in my Anti-Indian Conference article at IC Magazine, having interviewed CERA celebrity Elaine Willman at the April 6, 2013 CERA gathering. Halterman had Willman on her March 30, 2013 show Saturday Morning Live, saying the April 6 conference would teach local officials and citizens how to take on tribal governments. On Halterman’s November 3, 2012 show, Willman called for an end to tribal sovereignty, stating, “Tribalism is socialism, and has no place in our country!”

In August and September, 2013 — as I soon learned — the Gateway Pacific Terminal consortium had funneled $149,000 into the SaveWhatcom and WhatcomFirst PACs, run by KGMI radio hosts Kris Halterman and Dick Donohue—both of whom I had noted in my May 5, 2013 IC Magazine article, White Power on the Salish Sea: The Wall Street/Tea Party Convergence. In this article, I noted the following about Donohue and Halterman:

On March 30, 2013, Donohue interviewed CERA board member and Minuteman Tom Williams, who promoted the untrue idea that Indians have citizenship privileges without paying taxes, and noted that CERA was currently mounting a national offensive to terminate tribal sovereignty. On April 6, Donohue and Halterman interviewed Willman and Phillip Brendale live from the Anti-Indian Conference, who declared that the purpose of the regional gathering was to “Take these Tribes Down.”

On November 3, 2013, Kris Halterman posted a Breaking News story on her KGMI blog titled Whatcom County Council Appeals GMHB Ruling on Rural Element: a decision to affect Your Water Rights. In Halterman’s story, she notes that on the previous day’s KGMI show Radio Real Estate, host Mike Kent invited experts to talk about Whatcom County’s water rights, including Skip Richards. As noted at Whatcom Watch, a November 19, 2013 letter to Sandra Robson from Perry Eskridge, Government Affairs Director for Whatcom County Association of Realtors, Eskridge stated the following:

“I have been provided a copy of your recent article, How Property Rights Can Become Property Wrongs, published in the Whatcom Watch. I was asked to explain your apparent effort to tie several violent racial events in the past to current efforts by Whatcom County property rights organizations, including the Whatcom County Association of Realtors, advocating for property rights protections in our county.

 

While the article does not directly accuse the Realtors of some of the more heinous acts you describe, you do state “Powerful political forces masked in seemingly constructive organizations like the … Washington Realtors [sic] Association (including each group’s local level organizations), fund and interact with property rights groups.” Whatcom Watch, October-November 2013, pg. 8. You continue by alleging that these groups, including the Realtors, use these groups “to do much of their work for them.” Id. These statements are not accurate.”

The reference cited in the article by Ms. Robson that disturbed Mr. Eskridge is from Wise Use in Northern Puget Sound, Appendix II, paragraph 7, which states, “These groups, such as the Master Builders Association, the various county chapters of the Affordable Housing Council, the local Chambers of Commerce, and realtor’s associations, provide the leadership and funding for creating front groups like the Property Rights Alliance, SNOCO PRA, Whatcom CLUE and other so-called grass-roots groups.”

In Appendix VIII, source number 167, the Seattle Times notes the financial contribution from the Washington Association of Realtors to Initiative 164, the property rights initiative. As noted in source number 170, the Seattle Times quotes Secretary of State Ralph Munro, who ordered an investigation by the State Patrol regarding thousands of fake Initiative 164 signatures.

On November 21, 2013, in an article at the Seattle Times titled On Behalf of North Dakota and Montana, McKenna calls Washington coal study unconstitutional, former Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna wrote a letter to Washington State that questioned the constitutionality of Washington’s Department of Ecology review of the proposed coal-export terminal at Cherry Point. In his unsuccessful 2012 bid for governor against Jay Inslee, McKenna made his support for coal-export terminals a major issue.

In Trampling on the Treaties: Rob McKenna and the Politics of Anti-Indianism, a 2012 report by Chuck Tanner and Leah Henry-Tanner, the authors examined Washington gubernatorial candidate McKenna via his career as a public official opposed to treaty rights, as well as his working relationship with Anti-Indian activists and organizations. As the Tanners note:

“McKenna’s Anti-Indian policies and ideas, and his willingness to ally his public office with opponents of tribal rights, should raise a large red flag for all people in Washington state who support respectful relations with Indian Nations.”

The Tanners observed that as Washington Attorney General, McKenna’s legal briefs “provide a political framework for backlash against Indian Nations”…His actions as Attorney General, “point to a pattern of disrespect for the basic rights of indigenous nations”…When McKenna perceives a state interest at issue, “he will oppose the fundamental rights of Indian Nations and ally with anti-Indian activists to achieve his goals”.

Educating the Public

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2015 Tsleil-Waututh Blessing Stop. Photo: Paul Anderson

In a November 24, 2013 story at EarthFix titled Documents Reveal Coal Exporter Disturbed Native American Archeological Site at Cherry Point, the first installment of a two-part series, KUOW reporter Ashley Ahearn wrote the following about Gateway Pacific Terminal parent company Pacific International Terminals:

Three summers ago the company that wants to build the largest coal export terminal in North America failed to obtain the environmental permits it needed before bulldozing more than four miles of roads and clearing more than nine acres of land, including some wetlands.

 

Pacific International Terminals also failed to meet a requirement to consult first with local Native American tribes, the Lummi and Nooksack tribes, about the potential archaeological impacts of the work. Sidestepping tribal consultation meant avoiding potential delays and roadblocks for the project’s development.

 

It also led to the disturbance of a site from which 3,000-year-old human remains had previously been removed — and where archeologists and tribal members suspect more are buried.

 

Pacific International Terminals and its parent corporation, SSA Marine, subsequently settled for $1.6 million for violations under the Clean Water Act.

 

According to company documents obtained by EarthFix after the lawsuit made them public, Pacific International Terminals drilled 37 boreholes throughout the site, ranging from 15 feet to 130 feet in depth, without following procedures required by the Army Corps of Engineers under the National Historic Preservation Act.

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On November 26, 2013, IC Magazine published my editorial Cherry Point Ownership, in which I noted that the August 2013 Whatcom Watch insert by Jewell Praying Wolf James revealed that the Lummi people did not sign away Cherry Point in the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliot. As Mr. James wrote, Cherry Point was part of the original Lummi Reservation, not part of the lands ceded under duress to the U.S. Government. Only in 1872 was Cherry Point illegally removed from the Lummi Reservation by Presidential Executive Order, in order for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to unlawfully sell the property to white squatters. As one of the most important ancient Lummi village sites, Cherry Point ownership, in 2013, had been in dispute for 141 years.

In January 2014, Whatcom Watch published What Would Corporations Do? Native American Rights and the Gateway Pacific Terminal, Sandra Robson’s detailed account of money-laundering by the coal export consortium into the hands of CERA-supporting, Tea Party-led PACs. The footnotes of her cover story include a link to my IC Magazine article White Power on the Salish Sea: The Wall Street/Tea Party Convergence, as well as the referenced April 26, 2013 IREHR report “Take These Tribes Down” by Charles Tanner Jr.

On January 15, 2014, Indian Country Today published an article by Winona LaDuke titled Crow and Lummi, Dirty Coal & Clean Fishing, in which she notes that Cherry Point, home of the ancient Lummi village of XweChiexen, was the first site in Washington State to be listed on the Washington Heritage Register. As a 3,500-year-old site, she said, “It is sacred to the Lummi.”

As one of the most prominent American Indian intellectual celebrities, Winona works a lot with Native American environmental activists that are trying to change their tribal governments to be less dependent on Wall Street, so they can make better choices. She has done many good things for tribes, including her own, to get back on a more sustainable track. This April 17, 2010 talk by Winona is a particularly good one.

On page 12 of the January 15, 2014 issue of Cascadia Weekly, in an article titled Draw the Line by Tim Johnson, he noted that the waters at Cherry Point are home to one of the best crab fisheries along the coast, and that this fishery sustains many tribal families. In the article, he quotes Jeremiah “Jay” Julius, secretary of the Lummi Nation Governing Council, a fisherman and crabber descended from tribesmen who have fished the waters off Cherry Point for centuries. Featured in a KCTS documentary and related PBS News Hour piece about the proposed Northwest coal terminals, Julius stated, “The sacred must be protected.”

A Free Press

On February 5, 2014, Gateway Pacific Terminal spokesman Craig Cole threatened Whatcom Watch with a SLAPP suit, which I covered for IC magazine in my February 8 article Gateway Pacific Terminal Consultant Threatens Journalists. In the four page letter sent to Whatcom Watch, Cole accused Robson and myself of libel, threatening that Robson and Whatcom Watch are “put on notice”. In a February 19 article Craig Cole Threatens Libel Suit at Northwest Citizen, editor John Servais made the following remarks:

 “We have seen the effects of big money on politics and corporate media, and now those long arms are reaching into our local media – using lawsuits to intimidate or bully local citizen journalists away from vigorously reporting what is happening.  Indeed, it has been working!   The folks at the Whatcom Watch are stuck in a defensive crouch over this threat.  The Watch has no money and Mr. Cole has some of the largest corporations in the country behind him.  It seems unlikely Cole would send such a letter without the backing and encouragement of his corporate clients.

If large corporations are trying to silence local reporting, citizens should know.  My thinking is that Ms Robson and the Whatcom Watch were getting close to the truth of what is going on and this is a classic corporate effort to silence them.”

On February 14, 2014, in my IC Magazine editorial The Politics of Land and Bigotry, I recounted the March 8, 1996 conference I attended, hosted by the Center for World Indigenous Studies and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, to dialogue about “the portentous movements in America intent on promoting interracial discord and a growing politics of fear.”

Reading Robson’s January article at Whatcom Watch, I was reminded of meeting Jay Inslee in 1996, when he first ran for governor of Washington. Then State Senator Harriet Spanel had invited me and Inslee to dinner, where I talked with her about property rights convulsions influencing her reelection campaign, in which she was challenged by Skip Richards, who made anti-Indian racism the cornerstone of his campaign. When the Anacortes American exposed Richards as a militia host, his campaign went down in flames.

On February 17, 2014, in an Indian Country Today article titled Coast Salish Nations Unite to Protect Salish Sea, the Lummi, Swinomish, Suquamish and Tulalip tribes of Washington joined the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Musqueam Nations in British Columbia in opposing Kinder Morgan’s proposed TransMountain pipeline and other energy-expansion and export projects that “pose a threat to the environmental integrity of our sacred homelands and waters, our treaty and aboriginal rights, and our cultures and life ways.” In December 2013, Kinder Morgan, the third largest energy producer in North America, filed an application with the National Energy Board of Canada (NEB) to build a new pipeline to transport crude oil from the Alberta Tar Sands to Vancouver, British Columbia, that if approved, would result in a 200% increase in oil tanker traffic through the Salish Sea. On February 11, 2014, these tribes and nations collectively filed for official intervener status with the NEB.

On February 25, 2014, Northwest Citizen (NWC) posted Relevant Documents to Libel Threat, including Craig Cole’s letter threatening a libel lawsuit against Whatcom Watch (WW), as well as a link to my article at IC Magazine, noting that “It is interesting that Cole has not threatened to sue Taber or Taber’s publisher.” NWC editor John Servais observes it is legitimate for WW to seek connections between the anti-Indian groups and the corporations seeking permits to build the coal terminal, saying, “It is called journalism and the exercise of a free press.”

A Terrible Insult

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A ceremony held at Cherry Point, a part of the Lummi anti-coal totem pole journey. 09/30/2013 Photo: Ryan Hasert

On March 10, 2014, writing at the SaveWhatcom blog, Tea Party leader and KGMI radio host Kris Halterman defended Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA), as well as Craig Cole’s threat against Whatcom Watch. On March 12, 2014, in an editorial titled Tone Deaf, Cascadia Weekly excoriated Pacific International Terminals for its unpermitted destruction of the ancestral burial grounds of the Lummi Nation at Cherry Point, saying it “is a terrible insult to the Lummi people.”

On March 28, 2014, Indian Country Today published a feature story titled Anti-Indian CERA Doesn’t Like the Law of the Land, or Us, Apparently, by Terri Hansen, in which CERA is described as “The Ku Klux Klan of Indian Country.” On April 2, 2014, federal Indian law attorney Dave Lundgren wrote in his Indian Country Today op-ed Expose Hate Groups Like CERA that, “They disguise their fear and hatred with bogus legal arguments designed to rile up local resentment.”

On April 4, 2014, my Public Good Project editorial Liberal Elite Versus Democracy discussed the collapse of Whatcom Watch under its new president Terry Wechsler, who began blaming the messenger Sandra Robson for the paper’s troubles. In a communication to this author, Wechsler said my advice to expose, confront and reject organized racism is “counterproductive.”

Astonishingly, Wechsler actually suggested to me that Skip Richards’ racist organizing in the 1990s is a thing of the past, because he told her he no longer does that. I reminded her that Richards was one of the two people who organized the April 6, 2013 CERA anti-Indian conference, a fact reported in my IC Magazine article Anti-Indian Conference.

On June 27, 2014, the Bellingham Herald article Craig Cole’s legal threat against Whatcom Watch ‘resolved’ claimed the SLAPP suit issue had been amicably resolved, saying “What bothered Cole more than Robson’s piece was a follow up by blogger Jay Taber that contorted Robson’s hypothetical scenario into flat-out reality.” Had the reporter Ralph Schwartz bothered to closely read Sandra Robson’s extensively-sourced article and mine, he would have discovered that my accusation of Cole promoting racism was based on documented facts.

On June 30, 2014, my article Capitalizing on Fear at IC Magazine explained how Gateway Pacific Terminal funding enabled Tea Party-led PACs and KGMI radio to drum up resentment against Lummi Nation. On December 23, 2014, in my IC Magazine post White Power vs Northwest Indians, I included two posters from Public Good Project—Gateway Pacific Terminal Hall of Shame, and White Power on the Salish Sea.

In January 2015, Sandra Robson was one of four journalists to receive a Public Good Correspondent Award for 2014. On March 27, 2015, Robson’s article A Sovereign Nation Stands Tall was published at IC Magazine. On April 10, 2015, my article Railroading Racism: Warren Buffett vs Northwest Indians ran there as well.

Conclusion

Lummi Image 5

On July 27, 2015, my article Crowing Jesus: Four Square Gospel vs A Sacred Trust at IC Magazine noted that in a July 21 article at the Los Angeles Times, Crow Tribe Chairman Darrin Old Coyote called Lummi Nation leaders “ignorant” pawns of Seattle environmental groups. A supplier of coal, the Crow are in bed with Gateway Pacific Terminal. As a Pentecostal Christian tribe, the Crow are challenging Lummi Nation’s “sacred trust” to protect the Salish Sea—a holy mandate that Earth Ministry, Resources, Unitarian Universalists, and Sierra Club support.

On March 12, 2016, Northwest Citizen named Sandra Robson the Paul deArmond Citizen Journalist of the year, saying, “If there were a Pulitzer Prize for citizen journalism, Sandra Robson would win it.”

 

Further reading:

Wall Street v. Coast Salish: Cherry Point conflict enters electoral arena

Coal’s dark alliance defames Lummi Nation

Dire Warnings

 

 

 

 

[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

 

Imperialists Encroach Upon Nepal and India Through Funded NGO’s

Exclusive for telegraphnepal.com

( Published May 2nd 2012 in the Telegraph Weekly)

by Bhupen Singh, Media academic, India

Mr. Bhupen Singh, a journalist and media expert from India, has edited two books on Indian counter culture and media. He is actively involved in human rights and anti globalization movements inside India.

Sujit Mainali for The Telegraph Weekly and its online edition telegraphnepal.com interviewed this Indian media veteran on several facets of Nepal’s politics and its regional dimensions.

Below the excerpts of this exclusive interview: Chief Editor.

TQ1. During an informal sharing with the  representative of the telegraphnepal.com, some political analysts of Nepal who are closer to the Nepali Congress (NC) party, have expressed their dissatisfaction that India now prefers Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai than any leaders of the NC, which is presumed to be closer to New Delhi since its formation. Mr. Singh, can you please tell us why the relation of India with the political parties of Nepal and its leaders witnesses frequent shift? What should Nepal and India do to make bilateral relations more stable?

 Singh: The first thing we need to understand here is (from) which quarters do these questions arise from? This also demonstrates the Indian establishment’s undue influence on Nepalese politics. It is a poor indicator of the state of things for any sovereign country when it engages in debates of such nature.

Since Nepal’s PM is Bhattarai, it is but natural for the Indian government to deal with him. Most definitely, it does not mean that India favors the Maoist party. The neo-liberal Indian state has been generally averse to communists in South Asia. India is apprehensive of a ‘domino effect’; the sort which America perceived at the time of the Vietnam War: that Vietnam’s neighboring countries too would have communist governments at their helm if communism were allowed to flourish there.

The Indian state harbors the suspicion that the communist movement in Nepal might strengthen the one in India. It also perceives that the Maoist party in Nepal is close to China. Therefore, New Delhi and Bhattarai can hardly be called natural allies.

It is, however, disturbing to note that any political party in Nepal would want to appease India and be in its good books.

TQ2. A section of analysts in Nepal accuse Indian academicians/leaders for making comments on Nepal in a superficial manner without understanding the ground realities of the existing Nepali affairs. Do you think some flaws remain in the understanding of Indian Intellectuals vis-à-vis Nepal and its internal affairs?

Singh: Intellectuals, either in India or Nepal, never belong to a homogenous category. Some are from the ruling class who have gained prominence after the advent of neo-liberalism and are merely spokespersons for the state apparatus. The media has had an important role in the spiraling growth of such debates, be it in the print arena or the television or any other for that matter. The intelligentsia also orchestrates such debates in universities.

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