I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Idle No More

Idle No More reverberates with echoes from Martin Luther King and the civil righrs movement.  A commonter noted on January 9, 2013 that Idle No More began as a response to a government action - a fact that is often missed.

What is obvious from much of the coverage and commentary is that the issue of Bill C-45 has been lost in the fray. It was this omnibus bill that started the demonstrations not just because of what it purports to achieve, but because of the way it was introduced without adequate consultation with First Nation groups. Idle No More did not start in a vacuum. It started in response to Bill C-45, which is the catalyst behind this.  http://www.guelphmercury.com/opinion/columns/article/866071--there-s-lots-of-confusion-about-bill-c-45-and-the-idle-no-more-movement
Why the protests?  Why not work through negotiation?  Through the AFN - quietly - without all this fuss?  As Martin Luther King commented in 1963, no privileged group gives up its privilege voluntarily.
 My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.  http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html
One group that has voluntarily declared its intention to abrogate its prvilege is the Jewish Voice for Peace.
Jewish Voice for Peace affirms its support for the Canadian indigenous rights movement known as Idle No More. In November, Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation began a 42-day hunger strike in response to legislation threatening First Nations' treaties and rights to natural resources. In the months since, Idle No More has become a global solidarity movement affirming indigenous sovereignty and self-determination, with hundreds of rallies around the world. Idle No More has shed light on shared struggles against colonialism, including the Palestinian struggle. In December, Palestinian activists released a statement of solidarity, committing to honor the leadership of women and youth and to "stand with all liberation movements challenging colonialism and imperialism around the world." As American Jews, we recognize that our escape from oppression reinforced the theft of indigenous lands, both in Palestine and in the Americas. Today, we still benefit from colonial privileges: as diaspora Jews we may immigrate to Israel at any time, while Palestinian refugees are denied entry.Instead of surviving through the oppression of others, we seek to unite with colonized and oppressed peoples in demanding sovereignty for all indigenous peoples. We call on the governments of the United States, Canada and Israel to recognize the suffering inflicted by ongoing annexation of indigenous land, knowing that justice for colonized people means a safer, more sustainable world for all  
Environmental activists should abrogate their privilige as well - and work with Idle No More.  As Elizabeth May states, we need meaningful engagement on environmental and other issues.  

The #idlenomore campaign has my full support.  ....we need a meaningful engagement on the wide range of critical issues being raised from coast to coast to coast. For that we need leadership, and right now, that leadership is coming from flash-mobs of drummers and blockaders, aboriginal women and youth.  http://www.greenparty.ca/blogs/7/2012-12-28/hunger-strikes
Find a local movment at http://idlenomore.ca/

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