CUPE 3903 First Nations Solidarity Working Group

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Protest Gary McHale’s Anti-Native “Anti-Racism” rally in Caledonia, Sunday, March 21 at 1pm.

March 21st is the International Day for the Elimination of Racism — a day that grew out of anti-colonial resistance to South African apartheid. Increasingly, it is also becoming a day which neo-nazi groups are trying to co-opt by claiming it as “World Wide White Pride Day” http://www.stormfront.org/forum/showthread.php?p=1749334

Now Gary McHale, the noted anti-Native activist who has made a career for himself by stirring up tensions between people in Caledonia and Six Nations is getting in on the action. On March 21 he and his followers are organizing a so-called “Anti-Racist Rally” in Caledonia, claiming that white people in the town are the victims of ongoing “racism” at the hands of people from Six Nations and the provincial government. http://voiceofcanada.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/join-merlyn-kinrades-anti-racism-rally-in-caledonia-on-march-2110/

McHale’s followers are planning to gather for a “rally” outside the Lion’s Hall in Caledonia and then according to one of the organizers, they are considering trying to march onto the Six Nations controlled former Douglas Creek Estates in order to have a “potluck” – a move calculated to raise tensions and produce further conflict in the area. http://caledoniawakeupcall.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/plenty-of-reasons-to-rally/

As far as we know, Gary McHale has no formal connection with neo-Nazis, but his constant attempts to portray white people as ever present victims of “land claim terrorism,” his painting of activists from Six Nations as ‘violence prone thugs’, and his misrepresentation of the colonial reality that indigenous people face every day in Canada, lays the groundwork for openly racist groups and individuals to spread a message of hatred and fear in white communities surrounding Six Nations. There is documented video evidence that prominent Canadian neo-Nazi Paul Fromm has attended McHale’s rallies in the past, as have members of the neo-nazi Northern Alliance group http://6nsolidarity.wordpress.com/the-far-right/.

The CUPE 3903 First Nations Solidarity Working Group took the initiative to organize against McHale and his followers when he organized the “Caledonia Militia” group for the purpose of carrying out citizens’ arrests of Six Nations people defending their land rights last summer. https://3903fnswg.wordpress.com/2009/06/21/a-call-for-a-peaceful-protest-against-the-formation-of-an-anti-native-“militia”-in-caledonia/ Now that he is again organizing a public rally, we call on all anti-racist activists and supporters of indigenous struggles to stand in solidarity with Six Nations and show that Gary McHale does not speak for all non-natives, and that his political program and political activities are most certainly not “anti-racist”.

Please join us in gathering outside of the Caledonia Lions Hall at 100 Haddington St, Caledonia starting at 1pm.

The CUPE 3903 FNSWG.

March 22, 2010 Posted by | far right, FNSWG Events, protests | 1 Comment

FNSWG 2008 Report

Report of the CUPE 3903 First Nations Solidarity Working Group to the 2009 AGM

by Tom Keefer and Tyler McCreary (Working Group Co-ordinators)

The First Nations Solidarity Working Group was created as a CUPE 3903 working group at our March 2007 AGM. The mandate of the working group is as follows:

1. To educate and organize the CUPE 3903 membership about issues relating to matters of indigenous sovereignty and solidarity and to encourage membership participation both within the working group and the local on this issue.

2. To work within and to help build rank and file networks of union activists working on issues of indigenous solidarity and solidarity.

3. To co-ordinate efforts in support of indigenous sovereignty with other local, regional and national (union and non-union) projects in support of indigenous sovereignty and solidarity.

4. To actively participate in supporting indigenous struggles such as (but not limited to) the Six Nations struggle to reclaim the Haldimand Tract.

In the second year of the working group’s existence, we have continued to be quite active, primarily in supporting the struggle at Six Nations and in working closely with the Haudenesaunee Men’s Fire at Six Nations. Unfortunately, working group activity largely ceased during the strike and resulted in us losing some momentum, but things are now picking up again with a variety of new initiatives on the horizon. There are currently 30 formal members of the working group and about a dozen active members. The working group plans to meet monthly, so if you would like to get involved, please e-mail tomkeefer@gmail.com to get added to our mailing list.

Working Group Activities

Although the land claim struggle and Six Nations has generally moved to Brantford as conflict over development has intensified there, California remains an important flashpoint. Following OPP aggression against the Mohawks of Tyendinaga in April of 2008, people from Six Nations blockaded the Highway 6 bypass near Caledonia. Members of the working group were present on the barricades, produced a short five minute video update of the action that was distributed online, and also contributed several hundred dollars in food and supplies for the action. See http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=-3174571808308323266 for the video.

On May 10, the working group organized an event entitled “Building Solidarity Across Struggles: A Conference on Supporting the Struggles of the People of Six Nations.” The half day conference was held in conjunction with the Black Action Defense Committee and the Anarchist Black Cross Federation – Toronto Chapter. The event included film screenings of several short films on the Six Nations reclamation, a panel of Six Nations community members (Wes Elliott, Ruby Monture, Melissa Elliott, Doreen Silversmith) who provided context and background information about the struggle of Six Nations, a panel discussing the role of non-natives support for Six Nations including Chris Harris from the Black Action Defense Committee, Joanne Webb of the CUPE National Aboriginal Council, and Tom Keefer from the CUPE 3903. The final panel focused on issues of incarceration and resistance and included a statement from former Black Panther party member and political prisoner Robert Seth Hayes on the Six Nations struggle, as well as panelists Skyler Williams (a former Six Nations political prisoner), Sarah Dover (a lawyer for Six Nations activists) and Sara Falconer (of the Anarchist Black Cross). The venue was filled to capacity and was successful in providing a space for members of the local and interested community activists to find out more about the struggle of Six Nations and the opportunities for being involved in solidarity work.

One of the most significant areas of working group activity in 2008 was focused upon organizing the August 2008 Peace and Friendship gathering at Six Nations in coordination with the Haudenesaunee Men’s Fire. The working group was an absolutely central part of organizing this event, and members attended ongoing meetings at the Onondaga language center in Six Nations from April until August. One of the most central contributions of the working group was in raising almost $5000 from local trade unions to support the gathering. Contributions were received from locals including: CAW 27, CAW 2458, OPSEU 349, CUPE 3908, CUPE 3902, CUPE 4156, CEP 975, CEP 34, CUPE 4400, CUPE 4207, USW 1998, CUPE 3261, CUPE 2331, and CUPE 2316. Getting this kind of support from local unions was an important way of connecting union struggles to indigenous struggles, and it helped us build the beginnings of a relationship with other locals around supporting indigenous struggles. One major challenge for the working group will be to follow up on these links and to try and bring out actual participation as well as financial support from these locals. The Peace and Friendship gathering itself was a great success, as over 600 people came to a weekend of discussions and workshops on a wide variety of issues relating to indigenous struggles and solidarity building. Organizing for the festival in the four months leading up to it provided an ongoing way for the working group to build relationships with activists in Six Nations and also to connect with other local community organizations.

The other major area of work that the working group has been involved in has been in supporting and working with a group of non-natives solidarity activists in Brantford (Brantford is a town of hundred thousand people adjacent to the Six Nations reserve). The Brantford group, known as the Two Row Understanding through Education (TRUE) has organized regular meetings on a wide Friday of educational events in Brantford that are geared to educating the local non-native population about the real issues behind the lamp. These events have included talks about the local residential school, environmental issues, the history of land claims in Brantford area, and media representations of the conflict. Working group members have been involved in organizational and planning meetings of TRUE and have also attended and spoken at TRUE public events.

In the spring of 2008, the working group applied for and received a $3000 grant from the anarchist Freedonia foundation to support antiracist organizing and non-native communities surrounding Six Nations. So far, $1000 of that grant has been disbursed to TRUE to help cover the cost of their public events while the other $2000 will be spent in 2009. To date, TRUE has held over a dozen events, with the average attendance at meetings being between 100 and 200 people.

Although activities of the working group slowed down during the strike, we were able to invite members from the native youth movement at Six Nations to speak on the picket lines on November 12. These NYM members walked to each picket line and after speaking with strikers gave out warrior and Haudenesaunee Confederacy flags to fly on the lines in solidarity with our struggle. The video of their talk on the Sentinel picketline is available at http://cupestrikevideo.wordpress.com/?s=six+nations

Other activities of the working group involved cosponsoring and organizing the visit of a Solidarity delegation from Venezuela to Six Nations. We also sent a working group member to a weeklong visit in support of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation through a solidarity delegation organized by the Christian Peacemaker Teams. We attended and helped to publicize the “Mother Earth Protectors” sovereignty camp out at Queen’s Park in may of 2008 and also attended the Six Nations Youth Gathering in July of 2008.
We have also continued to work closely with the York Aboriginal Student Association, via their President, Melissa Eliott from Six Nations.

Looking forward to the future:

One recent initiatives of the working group has been to work closely with a variety of different groups in half a dozen cities in southern Ontario to organize a speaking tour of Haudenesaunee Men’s Fire activists to speak about their ongoing efforts to block development in the Brantford area. So far, we have commitments from activists in Brantford, Guelph, Hamilton, Toronto, Kitchener Waterloo, London and Six Nations, to organize a seven city speaking tour in May of 2008. The tour will feature local community activists and Men’s Fire members speaking together on the political issues they face in their struggles.
Another initiative that we are working on is to organize a panel on indigenous Solidarity at this years left forum in New York City which will feature activists from Six Nations.

We are also working with activists from TRUE to build a website/blog to cover news coming out of Six Nations in regards to the ongoing land claim struggles in Brantford as a way to get around the mainstream media’s failure to cover the details of this important struggle. To date, Six Nations community members have stopped over $2 billion worth of development, Haldimand Tract and the struggle is only likely to intensify over the coming months and years.

How to get involved:

The working group will be moving to a schedule of having regular monthly meetings. Our next meeting will be on Tuesday March 17 at the Black Horse (928 Bloor St. Across from the Concorde Café). Please come to the meeting if you’re interested in getting involved with the working group. Or contact us at 3903fnswg@gmail.com . We are also developing the beginnings of a website for the working group at https://3903fnswg.wordpress.com/

November 15, 2009 Posted by | FNSWG Events, reports | Leave a comment

Fall 2009 – Indigenous Law and Marxism Reading Group

Reading Group: Indigenous Law & Marxism
Sept. 10 – Dec. 10, 2009
Thursday, 7-9pm
Location: OISE, University of Toronto, Room 2-227
Contact: marxismandindigenouslaw@gmail.com

The intersections of Marxism and Indigenous Law raise significant
questions around the political-economic aspects of contemporary
Indigenous and non-Indigenous struggles. Based on a successful summer
reading group that began to examine the significant tensions and/or
linkages between Marxist and Indigenous theorists, we have put
together a more intensified reading course for the fall. If you are
interested in taking part, please send us an email at:
marxismandindigenouslaw@gmail.com. The reading group is open to all
who are committed to doing the readings, and to engaging in on-going
discussion.

Please see attached list of readings below.

September 10

Wood, E.M. (2002). The Origin of Capitalism: A Longer View. New ed.
London: Verso.

September 17

Rosenberg, J. (1994). The Empire of Civil Society: A Critique of the
Realist Theory of International Relations. London: Verso.

September 24

Stewart-Harawira, M. (2005). The New Imperial Order: Indigenous
Responses to Globalization. London: Zed Books.

October 1

Luxemburg, R. (2003). The Accumulation of Capital. London: Routledge,
p. 307-447.

October 8

Smith, N. (1991). Uneven Development: Nature, Capital, and the
Production of Space. Oxford, UK: B. Blackwell, p. 132-211.

October 15

Hall, T. (2003). The American Empire and the Fourth World. Montreal:
McGill-Queen’s University Press, p. 295-426.

October 22

(1998). The Annotated Indian Act and Aboriginal Constitutional
Provisions. Ed. Shin Imai. Scarborough, Ont: Carswell.

October 29

Neu, H, Neu, D. & Therrien, R. (2003). Accounting for Genocide:
Canada’s Bureaucratic Assault on Aboriginal People. Black Point, N.S:
Fernwood; London: Zed.

November 5
(1997). Supreme Court of Canada: Delgamuukw v. British Columbia.
Available online at http://sisis.nativeweb.org/clark/gitksan.html

November 12

Cairns, A. (2000). Citizens plus: Aboriginal Peoples and the Canadian
State. Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press.

November 19

(1997). Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Ottawa, Ont: Libraxus
Inc, Available online at http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ap/rrc-eng.asp

November 26

Widdowson, F. (2006). The Political Economy of Aboriginal Dependency:
A Critique of the Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Available online
at http://theta.library.yorku.ca/uhtbin/cgisirsi/P5YQmqG7X2/YORK/128210013/9
, part 1 & part 3.

December 3

Bedford, D. (2001). The Tragedy of Progress: Marxism, Modernity and
the Aboriginal Question. Halifax: Fernwood Pub.

Churchill, W. (1996). From a Native Son: Selected Essays in
Indigenism, 1985-1995. Boston: South End Press, p. 461-482.

December 10

Alfred, G.R. (1990). Peace, Power, Righteousness: An Indigenous
Manifesto. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press.

September 3, 2009 Posted by | FNSWG Events | Leave a comment

Callout for June 13, 2009 delegated meeting in support of Six Nations

Invitation to a delegated meeting to discuss building solidarity with
Six Nations — hosted by the CUPE 3903 First Nations Solidarity Working
Group (FNSWG) and the Hosgenegehta (Haudenosaunee Men’s Fire)

Dear Friends,

We would like to invite your organization to send two delegates to take
part in a special meeting that that the CUPE 3903 First Nations
Solidarity Working Group (FNSWG) is organizing in conjunction with the
Hosgenegehta (Haudenosaunee Men’s Fire). The aim of the meeting is to
introduce the Hosgenegehta — who have been leading Six Nations
resistance to development on traditional lands — to activist groups in
Toronto and to facilitate the sharing of information and support between
our different struggles for social justice and liberation.

As many of you might know, the CUPE 3903 FNSWG and the Hosgenegehta have
been organizing a seven city speaking tour with representatives from the
Hosgenegehta over the past month. One thing that is becoming
increasingly clear to us is the disconnect between activists in our city
and the very important and ongoing indigenous struggle that is happening
on the largest (by population) reserve in Canada — one that is less
than an hour’s drive away from Toronto.

Although people were familiar with the Caledonia reclamation, and many
Toronto activists went down to support it, there has been virtually no
support for activists at Six Nations since the reclamation transitioned
into a different and more protracted form of struggle. Over 30 people
from Six Nations have been arrested since then, and they have stopped
more than $2 billion worth of construction and development efforts.
Currently, the Canadian state’s strategy of criminalization of dissent
has reached a new level as key leaders within the community are facing
jail time for their refusal to abide by a variety of different
injunctions which seek to halt indigenous protest at construction sites
in the Brantford area.

Another frustration shared by both the CUPE 3903 FNSWG and the
Hosgenegehta is that while individual high profile events receive a
large scale turnout very little work is being done in concrete,
coordinated and ongoing ways to build the kinds of long-term
relationships that are necessary between indigenous struggles and other
anti-capitalist, environmental, anti-colonial and anti-imperialist
struggles.

Consequently, as part of a speaking tour, we are organizing a one-day
event on Saturday, June 13, beginning at 4 p.m. that will have half a
dozen representatives from the men’s fire present to talk about the
current situation in Six Nations and what it is they need from various
groups that wish to support them. Instead of organizing this as a public
meeting we want to hold this as a closed “delegates only” meeting and
would like to request that your group send two delegates to the meeting.
This way, the delegates can report back to their organization and
hopefully ensure that solidarity with Six Nations is done in a more
ongoing and consistent fashion.

Following the completion of the tour we will be having a meeting at Six
Nations hosted by the Hosgenegehta, to which delegates from all the
different organizations that were involved in the tour will be invited
to talk further about building an ongoing support network around Six
Nations struggles. The various groups that attend the June 13th meeting
in Toronto will be invited to send delegates to the meeting in Six Nations.

Please let us know if you are interested in attending the meeting on
June 13th, and if you can think of some other groups that should also be
there. Please email 3903fnswg@gmail.com to confirm your attendance at
the meeting or call Tom at 416-526-4255.

In solidarity and struggle,

The CUPE 3903 First Nations Solidarity Working Group

July 21, 2009 Posted by | FNSWG Events, six nations | Leave a comment