“If we assume responsibility for our self or the world around us we will be harmed by the permanently raised and threatening arm of authority. And so, to avoid this danger, we learn to become servile and dependent victims who are acted upon, or who act at the command and initiative of others.” - Victor Frankl, Psychologist and Nazi Holocaust Survivor
Ours is a disappointed age. The End Times did not arrive after all with the close of 2012. But Canadians, at least, have been given a small consolation, of a sort: that is, if you believe their corporate media, who are suddenly raving about a new and supposedly “grassroots aboriginal protest movement” that pundits claim is sweeping the country, and calling itself the quite non-aboriginal name “Idle No More”.
The protests of this mysterious group are undeniably real, as are the hundreds of eager, often non-aboriginal demonstrators who are about as worked up as Canadians can get over anything. But what exactly is this thing called Idle No More, and who runs and pays for it, is anybody’s guess.
These latest, carefully managed demonstrations arrived right out of the blue, as only pre-fabricated dissent can, and has as its poster person an appropriately sympathetic figure: Chief Theresa Spence from the poverty-stricken Attawapiskat reserve in Ontario.
Chief Tess has been conducting a one-woman hunger fast to force Prime Minister Harper to halt his legislation, Bill C-45, that allows the government to sell Indian reservation land without first consulting the local state-funded tribal council “chiefs”.
Wow. Now that’s an issue to go to the barricades over, eh?
Well, maybe for reservation council chiefs like Theresa Spence and her organization, the state-funded “Assembly of First Nations”, who obviously need to improve their bargaining position with Ottawa – and who are most likely the originators of the whole “movement”. But how does any of that help your average poverty-stricken Indians, most of whom live off reservation?
Besides, it’s all bullshit, anyway. Under the Indian Act, the government can already sell off any reservation land they want without first checking with their puppet chiefs, since all reserve land is owned by that fiction called “the Crown”.
Hey! You mean this whole issue is a big fraud and a red herring? Surely not in Canada!
It seems that all those unfortunate Idle No More activists are being seriously lied to, and by the very people under whose banner they’re protesting: that upstart class of native wannabe capitalists who want to profit off the sale of their own peoples’ lands without having the feds interfere.
One such wannabe, “Chief” Ed John from northern B.C., has pocketed millions of dollars since the 1980′s by forcing his own Carrier-Sekani people off their lands and signing illegal deals with Alcan and other mining companies. Ed’s now a senior Canadian official at the United Nations – and a vocal supporter of Idle No More.
Surprised? I hope not. For none of this is new. History is replete with examples of masses of people being conned to fight and die for the interests of various elites, whether they be white or dark-skinned. Such “movements” are always created suddenly from the top-down just as Idle No More has been, trumpeting salvation for those who are duped into being the steam in somebody else’s engine – and who gain nothing at the end of the day.
After all, how exactly will any of my dying aboriginal friends on Vancouver’s mean streets benefit from the defeat of Bill C-45? Or all the moms on reservations who watch their kids decay as the housing and jobs and drugs are dealt out to the friends and family of the local “Chief”? In a word, not one bit.
I don’t doubt Chief Theresa’s sincerity. But she is, after all, the front piece of a machine controlled from elsewhere. And what matters is not figure heads but who and what they represent.
Nevertheless, all protest is good. It gets people moving, even if it is in the wrong direction. And who knows? This “Idle No More” thing is just starting. Movements do morph, and sometimes they escape the clutches of the string-pullers and are transformed from below. But that requires alternative leadership, with a different view, and strategy.
So far, no such alternative has emerged. The Idle No More activists, native and white, are still taking their cues from well-funded aboriginal politicians whose notion of revolt is calling for “more consultation” from the government.
Shit. No wonder the world thinks that Canadians are boring.
The whole farce reminds me of the sudden, solitary visit last year of top Apple, “Grand Chief” Sean Atleo of the Assembly of First Nations, to Vancouver’s downtown east side slums.
Sean walked around the streets for an hour or so, saying hi to all the dying Indians who don’t share his $200,000 a year salary. And then Sean made a big splash with the media with his comment about how his organization – and not all those homeless Indians he’d met, apparently – needed lots more money from Ottawa.
As common law reminds us, Let he who will be deceived, be deceived.
Idle No More is not a very well-crafted deception. After all, how many Indians that you know construct expressions like “Idle No More”? That language sounds more like the kind used by an academic-for-hire trying to sound radical: just like the very term “First Nations”. But if it sounds politically correct and makes folks feel good, that seems to do the trick for most of the placard-waving crowd.
The real grassroots movements that pose a threat to Canada’s colonial regime are never reported in the corporate media or listened to by the authorities. Such genuine movements are normally killed off before they can stagger to their feet. I’ve watched that happen more times than I want to remember, usually among impoverished people who have neither the right connections or funding on their side: simply the truth. And that makes them incomprehensible to many of the people presently engaged in respectable protest.
We built such a grassroots movement on Vancouver’s streets after 2005, consisting entirely of aboriginal survivors of the Christian death camps quaintly called “residential schools” .
Through direct and unannounced occupations of churches and government offices, our movement forced the feds to admit that genocide had happened in the Indian residential schools. We scared the churches responsible like nothing has before then, or since. And we even made Idle No More possible, since Christian Canada knew that, after having its cathedrals and church offices seized by angry residential school survivors, no more could the murderers of Indian children simply ignore the ongoing Canadian genocide.
By 2011, that movement of ours had been destroyed from within and from without by well placed operatives, and it cost the lives of at least six of our best activists and friends: all poor and aboriginal, of course. Our bravest and clearest people were killed, in plain sight, and as a warning to the rest of us. And like all uncontrolled opposition movements bubbling from below, our group was not only stamped out forcibly, but smeared and misrepresented by the media and hired mudslingers at every step.
That doesn’t sound like Idle No More very much, does it? I don’t imagine that many of their spokespeople will end up getting beaten to death by Vancouver cops or terminated with lethal injections in Catholic hospitals, as befell our organizers Bingo Dawson and Billy Combes. The protected and controlled opposition doesn’t run that risk.
But at the end of the day, the truth always does come out, and the little jerk behind the big mask emerges.
Just check out the website of the Assembly of First Nations and trace the corporate donors behind them and their local puppet chiefs, and you’ll begin to see who the real “Idle No More” is: B.C. Hydro, Alcan, Power Corporation, North American Water and Power Alliance, Weyerhauser, and Cameco Uranium – to say nothing of all the Chinese resource consortia that own much of Canada’s (formerly) Great White North.
These companies are the same ones that prop up the Harper Tory government, and such Big Money needs the tribal council chiefs to secure them their control over aboriginal lands and resources, freed of all government restraints. And that’s why the contrived spectacle of a “conflict” between these same tribal elites and Ottawa is but the latest stage show managed from the Prime Minister’s Office, to conceal its complicity, and from corporate board rooms, to grab the water, oil and uranium from under the feet of native nations across Canada, while we’re all focused on the pseudo-political drama called Idle No More.
It’s called the Big Distraction, people. But the very fact of its rapid staging right now means that somebody in charge is worried, and in need of deception. And I’ll wager my next year’s non-existent salary that Canada’s upcoming condemnation in European Human Rights Courts for Genocide is not exactly unrelated to this latest Distraction – and Big Money’s rapid effort to grab what it can from us, while it can.