Music of Oppression, Music of Resistance
The conditions of an oppressed group’s lived experience are directly connected to the kind of resistance songs that the members of that group will produce. For example, “La Marseillaise” became the anthem of French revolutionaries in the late eighteenth century at about the same time as revolutionary Haitian slaves were gathering in the hills above Port-au-Prince to play their instruments and invoke the spirits of their ancestors.
Civic Nation Good, Ethnic Nation Bad
A certain Ramsay Cook, the one who called me a “national socialist” in the late sixties, defines the ethnic nation as having “a language, history and culture that marks them out as a separate people,” while “a civic nation” has only “common civic values” (Globe & Mail, November 10, 2006). In Quebec, says Cook, many “allophones” and Anglophones don’t share the French language and culture, and only some of the history. Therefore, if the Quebec nation is deemed to have a common language, etc., that would exclude the “allophones” and anglophones.
The Hauntings of Colonialism
The publicity attending a showdown in the early 1980s between logging interests and Indigenous peoples in British Columbia drew attention to the ecological ideals of the Fourth World. That showdown took place in Haida Gwaii, the legendary archipelago also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands. The controversy attracted the attention of a science broadcaster who was then emerging as one of the most effective voices in the emerging global community of environmental activists. David Suzuki has described his production of a 1982 CBC documentary on the future of the Queen Charlotte Islands as a turning point in his development as a scientist, broadcaster and author. In making the film Suzuki developed lasting collaborations with a number of Aboriginal friends from the region, including Miles Richardson, Guujaaw and Patricia Kelly. As Suzuki describes it, “Guujaaw changed the way I viewed the world and sent me on a radically different course of environmentalism.”
Pathways to an Ethic of Struggle
My discovery of what colonization really is took a long time in coming. It took a long time because you can’t understand the impact of these powerful forces of disconnection upon our people until you work within this system and try to make change. That’s the reason why this understanding is the sum of my own political experience, my lived experience. But it took a really intense effort over the past ten or twelve years to come to an intellectual understanding of it, and really to find a way to articulate it.
Is Canada An Imperialist State?
as Canada become an imperialist state, as some on the Left argue? On the surface, a case can be made. Why did Canada participate in the kidnapping and expulsion of Haiti’s elected head of state, Jean-Bertrand Aristide? Why are Canadian troops fighting the insurgency in Afghanistan while supporting a regime dominated by feudal warlords? Is it not true that Canadian mining companies are scouring the world from Guatemala and Colombia in Latin America to Indonesia and Mongolia in Asia, exploring and tearing up the earth and taking full advantage of cheap labour in these countries? And is it not also true that in recent years Canada has become a large exporter of capital - some say it exports more capital than it imports - a sharp reversal from its former days as a dependency of the U.S.?
A modest proposal to curb state terror
Many Canadians are outraged that the government has given its secret security and police forces new repressive powers to help conduct the U.S.-initiated “War on Terror.” A central aspect of these powers is the increased use of security certificates which allow for the arbitrary arrest and deportation of foreign-born nationals.
The website of Canadian mining multinational Barrick says its vision is “to be the world’s best gold mining company by finding, acquiring, developing and producing quality reserves in a safe, profitable and socially responsible manner.”
Although no one would deny the profitability of the company’s operations, Barrick’s major new project in South America has activists, ecologists and residents questioning its claims of safety and social responsibility.
As Generals Send the Nation to War
Scott Taylor is a Canadian journalist, as well as an editor, publisher, storyteller and ex-commando. He has reported from Serbia, Cambodia and Western Sahara, and is the veteran of 21 (unembedded) trips into Iraq. In September, 2004, he was betrayed by Iraqi police and kidnapped by anti-Western insurgents. After four days of captivity and beatings, Taylor was released through intervention by Turkish intelligence services. Undeterred, he returned to Iraq in 2005.
Digging Up Canadian Dirt in Colombia
Up a flight of stairs, behind double-enforced bulletproof glass and a large, silent bodyguard sits the office of Francisco Ramirez, a mining-policy researcher and president of a small Colombian trade union.
Mining policy really isn’t sexy stuff and researching it usually isn’t a dangerous occupation, but some of Mr. Ramirez’s conclusions can mean life or death literally and figuratively. “Once they tried to kill me right here in this office,” said the researcher, who has survived seven assassination attempts.
Canada’s Contribution to “Democracy Promotion”
Since it signed NAFTA (1994) and joined the Organization of American States, the Canadian government has aligned its foreign policy with that of the United States more closely than at any point in recent history. At the same time, the Canadian government has taken an increasing interest in the affairs of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Some attention has been paid to things like joint military exercises in the Caribbean with the U.S. and other allies, support for the damaging practices of Canadian mining companies and the expanding presence of Canadian financial interests in the global South, but a newer area of Canada’s foreign-policy posture warrants scrutiny: Canada’s deepening involvement in the controversial field of international “democracy promotion” activities.
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