Tagged ‘Colonialism‘

Reformism, Indigenous Activism, the Global Crisis, and System Change

Wendy Lynn Lerat

Dec 21, 2012 in Ottawa -Thousands of IdleNoMore protesters marched on Parliament Hill to demand a meeting with kanadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Dec 21, 2012 in Ottawa -Thousands of IdleNoMore protesters marched on Parliament Hill to demand a meeting with kanadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.


The following first appeared on the persynal Facebook page of grassroots Native activist Wendy Lynn Lerat. It has since also been made available by the comrades over at the Anishinabek Confederacy to Invoke Our Nationhood. As usual posting here should not be taken as a sign of total endorsement or affiliation.]


Since December 2012, the social media phenomena Idle No More (INM) has been front and centre and in the spotlight as THE authoritative voice for the grassroots movement of the original peoples of Turtle Island. Over the past nine months, INM has spread its influence across Turtle Island and beyond; moving into areas of established local activists advocating unity under its brand of Pan-Indianism and reformism. In many cases, its messaging advocating for one voice for all has resulted in division not only within its own ranks but among Indigenous activists.

Decolonizing Together | Moving Beyond a Politics of Solidarity Toward a Practice of Decolonization

briarpatch magazine

January 1, 2012

by Harsha Walia

Illustrations by Afuwa


Canada’s state and corporate wealth is largely based on subsidies gained from the theft of Indigenous lands and resources. Conquest in Canada was designed to ensure forced displacement of Indigenous peoples from their territories, the destruction of autonomy and self-determination in Indigenous self-governance and the assimilation of Indigenous peoples’ cultures and traditions. Given the devastating cultural, spiritual, economic, linguistic and political impacts of colonialism on Indigenous people in Canada, any serious attempt by non-natives at allying with Indigenous struggles must entail solidarity in the fight against colonization.

Non-natives must be able to position ourselves as active and integral participants in a decolonization movement for political liberation, social transformation, renewed cultural kinships and the development of an economic system that serves rather than threatens our collective life on this planet. Decolonization is as much a process as a goal. It requires a profound recentring on Indigenous worldviews. Syed Hussan, a Toronto-based activist, states: “Decolonization is a dramatic reimagining of relationships with land, people and the state. Much of this requires study. It requires conversation. It is a practice; it is an unlearning.”

The (Illusory) Green Economy – A Critical Analysis by Dr.Joanna Boehnert

The work of environmental scientists supporting the UN’s GEP will give scientific authority the project, but the important decisions will have already been made. The project is a deepening commitment to neoliberal free markets. On a macroeconomic level “the subordination of social and environmental considerations to macroeconomic policy imperatives” is the fundamental basis of neoliberalism (Nadal, 2012, p.15). Once “macroeconomic objectives are determined, every other policy target is chiseled in accordance” (Ibid., p. 15). The lessons of the recent economic crisis in regards to the fallibility of the financial sector are entirely ignored.


The architects of the project have failed to acknowledge the most expansive systemic dynamics of capitalism and ignored the political and historic context. Despite claims by the UNEP, the UN’s GEP is not policy neutral (Ibid., p. 23).


The UN’s GEP is supported by the financial and corporate sectors because they recognize the programme as a continuation of the neoliberal model, an expansion of the scope of market and also an exceptional opportunity to create entirely new financial instruments. Similarly to the financial deregulation that set up conditions for the dramatic plunder of public wealth during the current economic crisis, the UN’s GEP establishes new markets that will lead to new avenues for financial speculation. The speculative bubble during the 2008-2009 period has been estimated to cost governments globally at least $12 trillion (Conway quoting IMF, 2009) leaving several bankrupt national governments and severe economic austerity in its wake. This is the context in which the UN’s GEP is operating. The designers of the project have closely aligned themselves to the same financial institutions that played leading roles in the economic crisis.


Meanwhile, scientific institutions, environmental NGOs and government agencies are working to build institutional infrastructure to give scientific authority to the UN’s GEP. …The historical critique of capitalism presented by John Bellamy Foster (2002) and others describes that the appropriation of the commons is an integral aspect of capitalism. Capitalism is always looking for new means of producing profit from activities that were otherwise not managed through commodity relationships.


The Indigenous People’s Kari-Oca 2 Declaration describes the UN’s GEP as ‘a continuation of colonialism… a perverse attempt by corporations, extractive industries and governments to cash in on Creation by privatizing, commodifying and selling off the Sacred and all forms of life and the sky’ (2012, p.1-2). The programme of re-visioning of the commons as sets of commodities ripe for exploitation is diametrically contrary to the environmental rhetoric used to sell the project.

WSF: Another Lie is Possible

nawaat | Ciranda

by Marwen Tlili

translated by Agnes Zilber

The lie of the Tunisian revolution has brought forth another lie, the WSF lie, which reminds the Tunisian people and all the people in struggle that another lie is possible. – Marwen Tlili

All the versions of this article: [English] [Español] [français] [Português do Brasil]


“You can fool some people sometimes, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.” – Bob Marley

The Tunisian edition of the WSF just finished on March 30th. It was a unique experience for the associations, organizations and citizens of the whole world to gather and create the necessary networks to provide for their respective commitments. In this text I will look into the link between the current situation in Tunisia and the WSF taking place in Tunis.

Nationalising Dignity: Morales’ Adios to USAID


The Broker | Connecting Worlds of Knowledge

May 7, 2013

by Antonio Carmona Báez

This recent “exercise of sovereignty”, as expressed by Morales, is consistent with the political trajectory of decolonising development since the indigenous leader came to power in 2006. The nationalisation of industries, the push for regional integration and repudiating Western intervention have been met with diplomatic aversion expressed by representatives of US foreign policy.  Foreign aid channelled through USAID programmes, whether rendered directly to local governments or to non-governmental organisations, has been linked to destabilisation and insurgency efforts launched from such sectors of civil society as politicised trade unions, environmental groups and health networks.

Interactive | NGOs: Global Change Agents or Trojan Horses for Western Hegemony?

 by Glen Wright

First published Dec 8, 2012

[prezi id=’opoqxdo1ra6y’]

Environmental Racism


Editor: “Since July of last year, Brant’s only daughter, 13-year-old Teyohate, has been in Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a fast-moving cancer that Brant believes was triggered by the water on the reserve. Three other children on the reserve, all around the same age, have also being diagnosed with cancer. One of them, 13-year-old Paula Sero-Loft, Teyohate’s best friend and classmate at Quinte Mohawk School, located no more than 600 metres from the controversial landfill, was buried last September.” [Read more at Warrior Publications: Reserve despair hits home for outspoken Mohawk, Shawn Brant]

Intercontinental Cry

by Jay Taber

Feb 7, 2013

Listening to Mohawk activist Shawn Brant describe the apartheid design of indigenous poverty in Canada and elsewhere as a means of creating hopelessness and despair in order to continue colonial resource extraction, I was reminded that contrary to popular myths, there never were any good colonial intentions. Speaking at the Osgoode Law symposium, Brant argues the time is right to defend indigenous territories by denying the legitimacy of Canada and the corporations it represents. Taking it a step further, he says that if Canada and its corporations attempt to overwhelm indigenous nations by force, they should be met with the same.

Meanwhile, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, is seeking information on extractive and energy industries in or near indigenous territories. As part of the UN study of industrial impacts on human rights and indigenous peoples, Dr. Anaya has established an interactive website for comments and information about environmental racism practiced by corporations, as well as by the U.S. military.


[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, an author, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as the administrative director of Public Good Project.]

Video: Shawn Brant speaks at the Community Movements Conference in Peterborough Ontario on March 3rd 2012. The conference was organized by SAID Trent Students.

Idle No More | Onkwehon:we Rising’s Statement to the African People’s Solidarity Committee

January 6, 2013
“Whatever criticisms can be made about this movement due to the involvement of neocolonial agents attempting to direct it towards pacifist and reformist ends, this movement has profoundly awoken  Onkwehón:we in a way that has not happened since the rebellion of the Kanien’kehá:ka people at Kahnawà:ke in so-called Quebec in 1990.”
Onkwehón:we Rising greets the International Conference of the African People’s Solidarity Committee with much warmth and excitement in this period of exploding indigenous resurgence and the growth of anti-colonial movements throughout the world.

The following is OR‘s statement of solidarity that was sent into the International Conference of the African People’s Solidarity Committee under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party. A member of the APSC and a friend of OR, comrade Jesse Nevel, did OR the honour of reading the statement out.

Why Indigenous and Racialized Struggles Will Always be Appendixed by the Left

Originally published  July 19th, 2011
Cross-posted from Unsettling Settlers

by Zainab Amadahy

Inspired by artists, academics and activist colleagues who have rolled their eyes at the spiritual beliefs of their Indigenous counterparts as well as protested the inclusion of prayer and ceremony into political, academic and artistic activities, I have decided to share my thinking on some fundamental differences in values and knowledge ways that impede relationship-making across our communities.

While I can’t generalize about what Indigenous or other racialized peoples mean by the words “decolonization”, anti-racist or “anti-colonial”, I can certainly observe how SOME philosophies and action strategies employed in leftist movements relegate anti-colonial and anti-racist struggles to the periphery.

Idle No More Movement Urged to Remain Grassroots Ahead of Jan 11 Protests

Cross-posted from Warrior Publications
Originally posted on
by Stephen Hui, Georgia Straight
Jan 9, 2013

For his part, Hill sees the Idle No More flash mobs, round dances, and blockades that have occurred as “really positive steps” because they’ve mobilized many previously “idle” indigenous people. But the activist argues that if the movement is to gain substantial concessions from the government, it needs to learn from social movements in Latin America that are capable of “paralyzing the economy” of their countries. … “This is disarming the people,” Hill said. “It’s imposing pacifism on them, and it’s dampening their warrior spirit—their fighting spirit—which we need in a resistance movement.”


Stephen Harper meeting not the end of Idle No More, local organizer says

Gord Hill (holding the Mohawk warrior flag during a 2010 Olympic protest) says the Idle No More movement needs to stay grassroots to succeed.
Stephen Hui

Although Prime Minister Stephen Harper is preparing to meet with a delegation of First Nations chiefs on Friday (January 11), a long-time indigenous activist says this should not be viewed as a success for the Idle No More movement.

Indeed, Gord Hill told the Georgia Straight the high-level meeting actually represents the co-optation of the grassroots indigenous-sovereignty movement by band chiefs and councils that owe their power to the paternalistic Indian Act. According to the 44-year-old Kwakwaka’wakw author of The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book, the Canadian government has historically used these “elites” to suppress efforts by First Nations people to fight colonialism and oppression.

“I wouldn’t even focus on January 11,” Hill said by phone from his East Vancouver home. “That’s something that the colonial regime and its collaborators are doing, so I wouldn’t even focus on that. People need to focus on the long-term strategy and methods of organizing.”

Hill calls himself a “critical supporter” of the Idle No More movement, which was started in October by four women in Saskatchewan, has rallied around hunger-striking Attawapiskat chief Theresa Spence, and has seen thousands take to the streets inside and outside the country. Although he hasn’t yet joined the ranks of Idle No More protesters, Hill is considering participating in the “global day of action” set to coincide with Harper’s meeting on Friday.