Idle No More: Questions for the Moment

Idle No More: Questions for the Moment

by Comrade Amil – 19 January 2013

In the interest of advancing a discussion on some of these questions (not an exhaustive list) in our circles, amongst  those seriously engaged with Idle No More, and amongst the aware but unengaged masses of non-Indigenous exploited and oppressed people in this country, please repost to your Facebook pages, or comment directly on this page….

In a recent piece I wrote, called “Mass Work and Proletarian Revolutionaries”– where I was trying to open a discussion on where to find the “advanced masses” in Canada based on the contradictions in Canadian society – there were some points raised on the question of Indigenous anti-colonial struggles that I think we should revisit. That whole excerpt is reproduced at the end of this article.

In the context of the rising Idle No More mass movement – an unprecedented convergence and upsurge of Indigenous struggles in “Canadian” history – I would like to review some of the main points I made in that passage to open up a discussion amongst our forces and amongst revolutionaries in general that is urgently in need of elaboration.  The points I bring out here reflect some of the discussions and thinking circulating within our organization on the question of the struggle of Indigenous Nations for self-determination and decolonization – thinking which has to rapidly catch up with the emergence of the Idle No More movement, and the grassroots militancy that has been released under its banner.  An earlier compilation of previous passages and excerpts of ours on Indigenous liberation can be found here.

In the context of Idle No More, there are three points in the excerpt below that I’d like to highlight and build upon for the important questions that they provoke at the current conjuncture:

Continue reading “Idle No More: Questions for the Moment”

Idle No More? Speak for Yourself…

Idle No More? Speak for Yourself…

Analysis of Idle No More Mobilization

Make a Stand graphic[From Warrior Publications]

by Zig Zag

On Dec. 10, 2012, several thousand Native peoples rallied across Canada as part of a national day of action dubbed “Idle No More” (INM). The protests targeted Bill C-45 and the policies of the ruling Conservative Party. In Edmonton, as many as 1,500 turned out, one of the largest. A reported 400 people attended in Calgary and Winnipeg, with anywhere from 100 to 300 participating in Toronto, Regina, Saskatoon, North Battleford, and Vancouver.

What is Bill C-45?

Bill C-45 is an omnibus bill meant to put into law parts of the Conservative Party budget introduced in early 2012.  It is also known as the Jobs and Growth Act.  Its full bureaucratic title is Bill C-45: A Second Act to Implement Certain Provisions of the Budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and Other Measures.

As an omnibus bill it includes changes and revisions to a wide number of federal laws and regulations. These include the Fisheries Act, the Canada Grain Act, changes to MP’s pensions, the handling of hazardous materials, and a new bridge to Windsor, Ont., from Detroit, Michigan.   One of the more controversial provisions are proposed changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, which remove thousands of lakes and streams from federal protection under that law.

Some of the changes proposed under Bill C-45 have been criticized by environmentalists and Indigenous peoples resisting mining, oil & gas projects, as well as proposed pipelines:

“Together, the changes proposed in the omnibus bill would further weaken Canada’s environmental laws, remove critical federal safeguards, and reduce opportunities for the public to have their say about projects that could threaten the air, water, soil and ecosystems on which all Canadians, and our economy, depend.”

(“Open Letter to MPs regarding Bill C-45,” West Coast Environmental Law, November 21, 2012)

Members of Unis'tot'en camp, November 2012.

Members of Unis’tot’en camp opposing Pacific Trails Pipeline, November 2012.

For Indigenous peoples in particular, along with the threats to land and water, are proposed changes to the Indian Act including an amendment to change the rules around what kind of meetings or referenda are required to lease reserve lands. The aboriginal affairs minister would also be given authority to call a band meeting or referendum for the purpose of considering an absolute surrender of the band’s territory. Continue reading “Idle No More? Speak for Yourself…”

Harper Launches Major First Nations Termination Plan: As Negotiating Tables Legitimize Canada’s Colonialism

Harper Launches Major First Nations Termination Plan: As Negotiating Tables Legitimize Canada’s Colonialism

[From Intercontinental Cry]

A vision of the future? If there is no organized protest and resistance to the Harper government’s termination plan, than yes.

By • Nov 9, 2012

The following editorial was originally featured in the First Nations Strategic Bulletin (FNSB), June-October 2012. You can view/download this latest edition of the FNSB by clicking the following link: FNSB June-October 2012

On September 4th the Harper government clearly signaled its intention to:

1) Focus all its efforts to assimilate First Nations into the existing federal and provincial orders of government of Canada;

2) Terminate the constitutionally protected and internationally recognized Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights of First Nations.

Termination in this context means the ending of First Nations pre-existing sovereign status through federal coercion of First Nations into Land Claims and Self-Government Final Agreements that convert First Nations into municipalities, their reserves into fee simple lands and extinguishment of their Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty Rights.

To do this the Harper government announced three new policy measures:

  • A “results based” approach to negotiating Modern Treaties and Self-Government Agreements. This is an assessment process of 93 negotiation tables across Canada to determine who will and who won’t agree to terminate Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights under the terms of Canada’s Comprehensive Claims and Self-Government policies. For those tables who won’t agree, negotiations will end as the federal government withdraws from the table and takes funding with them.
  • First Nation regional and national political organizations will have their core funding cut and capped. For regional First Nation political organizations the core funding will be capped at $500,000 annually. For some regional organizations this will result in a funding cut of $1 million or more annually. This will restrict the ability of Chiefs and Executives of Provincial Territorial  organization’s to organize and/or advocate for First Nations rights and interests.
  • First Nation Band and Tribal Council funding for advisory services will be eliminated over the next two years further crippling the ability of Chiefs and Councils and Tribal Council executives to analyze and assess the impacts of federal and provincial policies and legislation on Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Continue reading “Harper Launches Major First Nations Termination Plan: As Negotiating Tables Legitimize Canada’s Colonialism”