Summer’s coming…

Posted on May 19th, 2010 8 great comments. Room for one more!

…and as Zach noted, this year it’s going to considerably more exciting than previous summers. The government is still very much mum on security details for the G20 summit, but the groups that will be coming into town for the event have already started to pop their heads out of the ground.

Here’s one I heard about today, the FFFC, an aboriginal anarchist group (at least everyone’s calling them anarchists), who are blaming the Royal Bank of Canada, and by extension the entire monetary system, for increased poverty in Vancouver and for environmental destruction through the support of Alberta’s tar sands projects. Plus all the other usual bullshit complaints like stolen land, blah blah blah.

The group’s entire public statement is:

May 18, 2010

The Vancouver Olympic games are over, but a torch is still burning.

Royal Bank Canada was a major sponsor of the recently concluded 2010 Olympics on stolen indigenous land. This land was never legally ceded to colonial British Columbia. This hasn’t stopped the government from assuming full ownership of the land and its resources for the benefit of its corporate masters and to the detriment of aboriginal peoples, workers and the poor of the province. The 2010 Winter Olympics increased the homelessness crisis in Vancouver, especially the Downtown Eastside, Kanada’s poorest urban area. Since the Olympics bid, homelessness in Vancouver has nearly tripled while condominium development in the Downtown Eastside is outpacing social housing by a rate of 3:1. The further criminalization and displacement of those living in extreme poverty continues apace.

“Royal Bank Canada is one of the planet’s greenest companies” according to one of its own brochures. Coporate Kanada saw fit to include RBC as one of the top 50 in a competition dubbed Canada’s Greenest Employers, which purports to recognize organizations that have created “a culture of environmental awareness.” Yet RBC is now the major financier of Alberta’s tar sands, one of the largest industrial projects in human history and perhaps the most destructive. The tar sands, now the cause of the second fastest rate of deforestation on the planet, are slated to expand several times its current size.

The games in Vancouver are now over, but resistance continues. An RBC branch can be found in every corner of Kanada.

On June 25-27 2010, the G8/G20 ‘leaders’ and bankers are meeting in Huntsville and Toronto to make decisions that will further their policies of exploitation of people and the environment. We will be there.

We pass the torch to all those who would resist the trampling of native rights, of the rights of us all, and resist the ongoing destruction of our planet. We say: The Fire This Time.

FFFC – Ottawa

So are they serious? A video they posted yesterday showing them fire-bombing an Ottawa RBC branch would seem to suggest so:

I can hardly wait! :D

8 Comments on “ Summer’s coming… ”

  • Ward of the state
    May 19th, 2010 4:25 pm

    Aboriginal anarchists? I'd hold off on that assumption. They are probably the same group of non-native people who were shouting "no olympic on stolen Native land" at the Olympics – while on the other hand most Native people supported the Olympics.

    In fact in TO, one young native woman was getting ready to carry the torch when about 12 of these folks started protesting. A reporter asked her about it, and she said "I have no idea what they are talking about. I think they are mostly white people."

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  • Patrick
    May 19th, 2010 7:21 pm

    Hi Ward of the state,

    The group actually calls itself "anarchist" and the media have been using the same term. The statement made by the group suggests very strongly that it's aboriginal (land claims, tar sands opposition, etc.) It's also well in keeping with the nature of various native militant groups around the country — Caledonia protests, oil pipeline bombings, etc.

    However, your point is well taken and definitely needs to be made: it could be anyone passing themselves off as native protesters to foment unrest or even indite hatred. I guess we'll have to wait and see who really shows up at the G8 / G20 meetings.

  • Ward of the state
    May 20th, 2010 5:33 pm

    Well Patrick, I never say never… but I think it' a slim chance that the firebombers are indigenous. First Nations tend to respond with agression only when their reserve land or traditional territories are threatened. More reactive than aggressive. Plus alsmost all the people making all the fuss about no Olympics on stolen Native land at the games were non-native. I rather think the bombers are part of that crowd.

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  • Patrick
    May 21st, 2010 5:49 am

    Well, Ward of the State, I'm kinda torn on this. On the one hand, you're not the only one saying that these yahoos probably have nothing to do with any first nations people. On the other hand, however, it wasn't that long ago that Caledonia happened where natives set property on fire, blocked roads, hassled villagers, and basically played soldiers. What made the situation much worse was that the police, rather than upholding everyone's rights, decided to side with the natives and literally refused to uphold the law. When villagers tried to get past the blockades to get into their homes, police arrested THEM. Natives were violent, rude, and aggressive, and the police protected them. White folks in the village just trying to live their lives were oppressed, arrested, fined, and discriminated against.

    So would I put it above any first nations group to do this kind of thing? Not at all — some are clearly quite capable of it and now that they can not only get away with it but will even be assisted by police, is it so outrageous?

  • Ward of the state
    May 22nd, 2010 5:29 pm

    The way I remember Caledonia is like this. Of the more than 11,297 residents who live on the Six Nations reserve less than 100 of them engaged in the roadblock and about 20 decided to behave like thugs. I just wouldn’t paint them all with the same brush or say that violence is the norm. Similalry, the Toronto 18 were all muslims, most of them Canadian born, but it is not usual for Canadian born Muslims to engage in terrorist activities.

    When you look across Canada, and consider there were two FIrst Nations National Days of Action with 100s of events … the preferred MO of FIrt Natiosn is marching, drumming pamphelting and making of really long speeches. There were only a handful of road block, 3 that I remember, and those were inconvenient but peaceful. And I personally don't object to peaceful road blocks. Where I live truckers and farmers each block our main road once a year for about 2-3 days. It’s annoying to have roads blocked, but seems to effectively get media attention.

    At the Olympics the OIC dealt respectfully with the Four Host First Nations, and so everything went off with out a hitch. There was only one march, a peaceful one aimed at raising awareness about mising and murdered women.

    As for the police, they made their own bed, and will have to lie in it. The findings coming out of the Dudley George inquiry around the same time as Caledonia, meant the Provincial police were under a lot of scrutiny by the media, having lost public confidence in their ability to deal fairly with First Nations, and for sure they seemed to be more concerned with how to handle their PR than defusing the situation.

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  • Patrick
    May 22nd, 2010 8:54 pm

    You're absolutely right, Ward of the State; we shouldn't be painting everyone with the same brush. There were definitely more than 20 people physically involved in the Caledonia roadblock, but that's hardly everyone, and as you say, that kind of situation isn't exactly epidemic. It just stands out like a sore thumb, and no one's really trying to heal it.

    There's a similar, though much more peaceful, protest currently happening on Highway 11/12 (I think it's still on) — pamphleting to let people know about how a government sponsored project destroyed a school on the reservation about ten years ago. Promises promises and nothing got done. I'd be super pissed myself! But, really, you get more flies with honey, as they say, and I think protesters would make a much larger splash if they brought it into a major urban center (hint hint), and tried to get everyone on their side. Instead, the vocal ones choose to adopt an "us and them" attitude, where "us" is the first nations, and "them" is everyone else, even people like me who are actually sympathetic to the cause. Again, it's mostly the militant yahoos who put this out there, but there's really no counter-voice to show people that this isn't really the majority. If anyone in the first nations is denouncing these actions, I sure as heck haven't heard it.

    It's a PR problem just like the cops, which was another all or nothing situation (a few asshole racist cops shot Dudley George and suddenly the whole force is out to murder the first nations). I know for a fact that most natives are decent people who just want to live their lives, and the exact same is true of the OPP. So why is it that all we see are these awful glaring examples?

    I guess the crux of the problem is that the people who actually want to do good, improve their communities, look out for their own people but not necessarily at the expense of others, they're not getting heard, and on the other side folks are being constantly bombarded with accusations of racism and being held to account (through taxes, laws, etc.), for a past they had nothing to do with and an attitude they've never carried. One the one side you have understandably frustrated people because they can't get a fair shake, on the other you've got folks that have tuned out because they're being told they're responsible for all the evils in this world.

    Too bad because it's clear that even if you and I may disagree about some of the details, the overarching situation is something we'd both like to see fixed. I would MUCH rather have my tax dollars go towards building safe, healthy schools, and making sure that everyone has the same opportunities in this country than blowing up some poor Afghan farmer's poppy fields, or worse.

  • Ward of the state
    May 23rd, 2010 8:25 am

    I could not agree more with everything you just wrote.

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  • Patrick
    May 24th, 2010 4:11 am

    Intelligent people who care about their fellow human beings will, more often than not, come to a consensus, Ward of the State. :)

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