Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Hijab and Soccer: Women, Immigrants, and the Fear of the Female Proletariat

As predicted, racist anxieties in Quebec about Muslims and immigrants are proving fair game as Jean Charest and Mario Dumont have tried to score cheap electoral points, each of them hoping it will win them white votes in the upcoming provincial election here...

The latest chapter in this growing novella opened last Sunday, as a young woman with a visiting soccer team from Ottawa was told that she could not take the field without removing her hijab.

From what we have been told, the referee who made the call, himself a Muslim, was enforcing a rule as it has been spelled out in a recent memo from the Quebec Soccer Federation, which had clarified that the hijab was not to be tolerated. This memo, we are told, was issued as recently as January, i.e. right in the midst of the previous chapter of the racist "reasonable accommodation debate". (N.B. i have not been able to find any mention of this memo online, and am wondering whether or not this is a rumour or a fact. Anyone from the Quebec Soccer Federation able to shed some light on this?)

Within hours of the media breaking this latest "soccer hijab" story, premier Charest (Liberal Party) has weighed in, lauding the referee's call, obviously trying to cut the grass from under the feet of the more right-wing Dumont (ADQ), who has tried to claim the racist anti-immigrant vote all to himself. This has allowed the PQ's André Boisclair to stake out his own "least racist" position that the soccer player should have been allowed to play with her headscarf, as she is not a public servant like a teacher - in which case we are left to assume that he would favour a ban...

i know that some comrades are wary of intervening to support women's right to wear the hijab. They note - correctly - that for many women around the world, the hijab is imposed, not chosen, and that as such it becomes an intrinsically oppressive symbol. They point out that women have had acid thrown in their faces, and have been killed, all for their refusal to wear hijab. Not surprising, for instance, that in the 1990s in France, when there were a series of schoolchildren sent home from class for refusing to remove the Islamic headscarf, the left was divided over who to support - one famous anarchist newspaper going so far as to publish a headline "Ni Voile Ni Maître"!

But while for many women around the world the hijab is undeniably a symbol of oppression, i think it is important to contextualize bans on the hijab in a country like Canada, and a nation like Quebec. Women who wear the hijab here do so for a variety of reasons, and this choice becomes as likely to be about self-affirmation as anything else.

There is an increasingly important Arab and Muslim proletariat in Quebec, concentrated in the city of Montreal and its suburbs. Arabs and Muslims are one of the most exploited sections of the working class here, despite the fact that they tend to be better educated and more highly skilled than "native born" Québecois.

Studies have pointed to a disproportionate exclusion from unionized and government jobs as key factors in this heightened level of exploitation, which is viewed as something of a mixed blessing by the political establishment. On the one hand, getting workers with more skills for less money serves the short-term interests of those capitalists who employ them; on the other hand more than one observer has noted the dangers of "creating ghettos", the result of imposing a specific proletarian class reality onto a section of the population which is already culturally and religiously distinct from both the ruling class and the "mainstream". Not to mention the concern that in a globally competitive economy there is a dangerous kind of waste in having highly skilled workers officially placed in lower skilled positions.

These two sides of what this immigrant proletariat represents - both greater profits, and the risk of new self-aware hostile proletarian communities - finds its reflection in the rhetoric surrounding the most important section of this "new" community - women. It is Muslim women who are being targeted by anti-hijab concerns, as their access to both employment and social activities is being directly tied to their willingness to publicly conform to the cultural diktats of the dominant society (in private, as we all know, capitalism doesn't really give a fuck).

So it is not without relevance that one of the increasingly important demands of "reasonable accommodation" demagogues in Quebec has been that there be various employment restrictions on women who insist on wearing the headscarf. Under the guise of "promoting secularism" and even "promoting women's rights" some commentators have insisted that Muslim women be barred from certain jobs unless they agree to remove the hijab.

The effect of such a ban, and the green light it would give to employers in other sectors, would be to further constrict Muslim women to the least attractive jobs in the most highly exploited sections of the formal economy - or else exclude them from the job market altogether. (i should also point out regarding Boisclair's boogey-woman of the "teacher in a hijab" that teaching jobs are one of the most important unionized sectors in which immigrant women have been able to find work...)

This is a microcosm of what is happening on a world-scale, as Muslim women are in a critical position, being both the terrain and the prize over which both patriarchal Islam and patriarchal imperialism are fighting. Women, treated like objects without opinions of their own (kinda like a natural resource, shall we say oil?), are claimed by both sides. While women may represent the emergent revolutionary subject, at this point they remain atomized and disorganized - and yet as this reality fades, their movement and their choices will have the power to fuel the economy of the future, or else upset the whole apple cart... which is why even trivial matters like how they dress take on such symbolic importance.

And all of this, tying back to soccer...

Beyond scoping out what this means and where it is leading, as revolutionaries without a revolution i think our position in this case is fairly easy to see. Some kid wants to play soccer in a headscarf, she should be allowed to play soccer in a headscarf. If she wants to wear lipstick and eyeliner, she should be allowed to do that too. And obviously, if she wants to wear a "Fuck Patriarchy" or Bikini Kill t-shirt, well then that'll make us more than happy...

We oppose people in authority telling other people what clothes they can wear. Some bonehead puts on a swastika we break their legs, but some young women in Ottawa puts on a headscarf, we look at it with a bit more subtlety, i hope.

That's all for now... i'm two hours behind on my work thanks to this posting, so i'm wrapping it up...

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Justice For Mohamed Anas Bennis!

Good news: a coalition has formed to demand answers - and justice, whatever that means - for the police murder of Mohamed Anas Bennis in December 2005.

The Justice For Anas Coalition has a website up, and from what i hear is planning a number of activities in the months to come...

Check it out!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Protests in Montreal and Toronto on February 28th, 2007

In case it you didn't notice it in the long post i just forwarded:

On Wednesday, February 28th, to mark the oe year anniversary of the Six Nations Reclamation at Kanenhstaton:

In Montreal, supporters will rally at the federal government buildings located downtown at noon. Speakers from various Haudenosaunee territories will join us in the speak-out.

Wednesday, February 28th 12PM
Complex Guy-Favreau
200 Réné-Lévèsque O.
(métro Place des Arts)

Bring noisemakers and banners of solidarity!

Should you wish to get involved in the organizing or mobilization for the Montreal Rally and Speak-Out, please contact


In Toronto, supporters will gather at the provincial government buildings, seat of the Liberal government and of the Lieutenant Governor, the Queen's representative in Ontario. All are welcome to speak out in support of Six Nations.

Wednesday, February 28th 12 PM
Queen's Park (Front Lawn)

Bring noisemakers and banners of solidarity!

Should you wish to get involved, please contact

One year is too long! Recognize the rights of Six Nations!

February 28th, 2007 marks the one-year anniversary of the Six Nations Land Reclamation. One year ago, a group of people from Six Nations took back a piece of their land that was under construction by developers and demanded an end to the destruction of their land and to settler encroachment on their territory.

Now, one year later, the Canadian government has yet to recognize the truth: that this land is not owned by them nor can it be sold by them. It is Haudonausaunee (Iroquois) territory, stolen and sold by the colonial authorities illegally.

The people of Kanohnstaton, formerly "Douglas Creek Estates", have asked for and encouraged solidarity actions and a pressure campaign in support of the Reclamation. The Six Nations Land Reclamation needs your support and solidarity to make the Canadian government understand that Six Nations is not alone. We must speak out against the injustices of colonial land theft and genocide and take a stand for dignity, indigenous land rights, justice and autonomy.

Despite the disinterest of the mainstream media, the Six Nations Land Reclamation represents a pivotal example in the history of indigenous decolonization in Turtle Island. We, as people living on stolen land, have a responsibility to support and demand that Haudenosaunee land rights and sovereignty be recognized. We must also demand that the government immediately cease the criminalization of those who have been involved in the Reclamation, as over 32 people continue to face bogus charges for defending their rights. It is time to stop spending tax-payer money on negotiators' and OPP salaries, to stop the lies, and to recognize the treaties between the Haudenosaunee and the colonial powers.

The federal and provincial governments recently brought a pack of lies on paper to the negotiation table, claiming that Six Nations sold their land. Let them know that we will not be swayed by age-old colonial tactics of forgery and false dialogue. If the government has any issues with the Iroquois protecting their own territory, we suggest that they file a land claim with the traditional Haudenosaunee Confederacy, whose credibility outweighs that of the Canadian government by a very large margin.

==>>> FAX/EMAIL/PHONE: February 26th to March 2nd, 2007

Speak out and make your voice heard!

We have been asked to participate in a week-long fax, email and phone campaign to government "negotiators" and representatives starting on February 26 and ending on March 2, 2007. The contact information for this week-long pressure campaign can be found below. A sample letter is provided as well. Please take the time to make your voice heard, and make the government accountable for its unlawful actions and illegitimate claims.

==>>> TAKE ACTION: February 28th, 2007

Invitation to organize local activities and/or actions!

The people of Kanohnstaton have asked for support demos and rallies for the one year anniversary. Local actions that can exert political pressure on our government are needed and encouraged. If you can organize locally, please let the people at the Six Nations Land Reclamation know. You can organize a delegation to a governmental body to deliver a letter, hold rallies and demonstrations, or simply participate in the week-long pressure campaign.


In Montreal, supporters will rally at the federal government buildings located downtown at noon. Speakers from various Haudenosaunee territories will join us in the speak-out.

MONTREAL SPEAK OUT & RALLY Wednesday, February 28th 12PM Complex Guy-Favreau 200 Réné-Lévèsque O. (métro Place des Arts)

Bring noisemakers and banners of solidarity!

Should you wish to get involved in the organizing or mobilization for the Montreal Rally and Speak-Out, please contact


In Toronto, supporters will gather at the provincial government buildings, seat of the Liberal government and of the Lieutenant Governor, the Queen's representative in Ontario. All are welcome to speak out in support of Six Nations.

TORONTO SPEAK OUT & RALLY Wednesday, February 28th 12 PM Queen's Park (Front Lawn)

Bring noisemakers and banners of solidarity!

Should you wish to get involved, please contact

==>>> FEBRUARY 26 to MARCH 2, 2007

February 26th to March 2nd week-long fax, email and phone campaign to negotiators and government representatives:


1) That the government stop its' stalling tactics and recognize Six Nations title to the land once and for all.

2) That the government stop criminalizing the people of Kanohnstaton.

3) That the government fully recognize the traditional Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, the traditional government, and stop undermining the Confederacy they have been trying to squash since 1924.

*(Sample letter below…)*

To voice your concerns and demand that the government recognize Six Nations Land Rights, send an email, phone and/or fax:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
K1A 0A2

Fax: 613-941-6900

Jim Prentice,
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians
Parliament Hill:
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Telephone: (613) 992-4275
Fax: (613) 947-9475

Barbara McDougall, Federal Negotiator
Former Cabinet Minister
c/o Jim Prentice,
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians
Parliament Hill:
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Telephone: (613) 992-4275
Fax: (613) 947-9475

Ron Doering- Federal Negotiator
c/o Jim Prentice, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians
Parliament Hill:
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Telephone:(613) 992-4275
Fax:(613) 947-9475

Jane Stewart
Provincial Negotiator, Province of Ontario
Former Brantford MP and former Federal Indian Affairs Minister
c/o Dalton McGuinty,
Premier of Ontario
Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 1A1

Phone Number: (416) 325-1941
Fax Number: (416) 325-3745

Find and contact your own MP!


To: Stephen Harper/ Barbara MacDougall/ Jim Prentice/ Jane Stewart/ Ron Doering

Object: Stop the Criminalization of the Six Nations Land Reclamation, respect the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and immediately recognize Six Nations land rights.

I am writing to demand that the Canadian government uphold its responsibilities and return full title of Kanohnstaton (the Douglas Creek Estates) to the people of Six Nations.

It has now been one year since the people of Six Nations rightfully took back and reclaimed a piece of land that had been stolen and illegally sold by the Canadian government. This piece of land, formerly known as "Douglas Creek Estates", is Kanohnstaton, or The Protected Place, and the government is well overdue in recognizing the truth of the matter: that this is Six Nations land, guaranteed by the Haldimand Proclamation, and the Canadian government has no business claiming, selling, or leasing land that is not theirs.

Land claims put forward by First Nations communities are highly overdue. Section 35 (1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms clearly states that: "The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed." In addition to demanding that the federal and provincial governments follow basic universal rules of human decency, I demand that the government follow its own Charter of Rights and Freedoms outlined in the Constitution Act of 1982.

Moreover, I demand that the ongoing criminalization of the people of Kanohnstaton cease immediately. Indeed, instead of charging, persecuting and criminalizing unarmed indigenous people who are rightfully and peacefully reclaiming their own land, you should be bringing to justice the OPP and RCMP officers who used violence with tasers and batons on unarmed people, causing injuries and bodily harm, on the vicious raid of April 20th, 2006.

Hazel Hill, spokesperson for Six Nations, has stated: "We didn't create the situation, we are only trying to rectify it, for our children and future generations. We have taken action and have re-claimed land that is rightfully ours. We are there in Peace, and have been since February 28th... Will Canada allow the hatred and violent displays of racism of its citizens to continue and possibly create another Ipperwash, or will it use the lessons of the past to ensure that the violence stops and admit to their citizens that it is through their own actions and abuse of assumed power that we are in this situation today."

I strongly urge you to heed these words and take action to ensure a just resolution to this issue in a swift and fair manner.


Community Friends Group Organizes Protest to Support Six Nations Political Prisoner Chris Hill

Feb 21st, 2007 – CALEDONIA, ON. The group Community Friends -- an organization comprised of Caledonia residents, members of the labor movement, community activists, and people from Six Nations working together to support indigenous sovereignty and the Douglas Creek Estates reclamation – is organizing a public protest outside the Barton street Jail in Hamilton, Ontario to support Six Nations political prisoner Chris Hill and demand his release.

On January 3rd, Six Nations Police, in accordance with the demands of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), arrested and imprisoned Chris Hill, a 20 year old young Mohawk man of the Wolf Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, for allegedly “assaulting a police officer with a weapon” on April 20th, 2006 – the day that the OPP and the RCMP invaded Douglas Creek Estates and violently attempted to evict the people of Six Nations from their land. That day, the OPP used tazer darts and batons on unarmed people, including women and youth, and arrested 16 people on a day that brought nation-wide attention to the struggle of Six Nations for land rights and autonomy.

Since the Haudonausaunee of Six Nations reclaimed Douglas Creek Estates, some 30 indigenous people have been charged in relation to the Reclamation. Chris Hill is one of the latest to be charged. Since January 3rd, he has been sitting in Barton Street Jail in Hamilton, Ontario where he is locked up for 18 hours a day.

On Sunday, February 25th from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Community Friends is organizing a peaceful protest to be held outside of the Barton Street Jail in Hamilton, Ontario to demand his release.

Jan Watson, a spokesperson for the group is available for comment and can be contacted by phone at 289-284-0154. The webpage of the group is available at

Thursday, February 22, 2007

[CKUT RADIO] Another Warrior faces Canadian Courts: Jeff "Hawk" Welcomes Support and Solidarity

Listen to an interview with Jeff Hawk, who faces charges relating to the Six Nations Land Reclamation adjacent to Caledonia, Ontario. Jeff “Hawk” has been charged with allegedly assaulting a police officer on April 20th, 2006, the day that the OPP and the RCMP came on mass to the Six Nations Land Reclamation with Tasers and batons, beating and arresting unarmed people, and unsuccessfully attempted to evict the Haudenosaunee from their land.

Produced by Fiona Becker of the CKUT Radio Community News Collective in Montreal - anti-copyright 2007.

Available for download from Radio4All (and also mirrored here)

Stop the Criminalization of Indigenous Resistance to Colonial Land Theft! Free Chris Hill!

The following is one of several documents from the February 2007 report The Criminalization of the Six Nations Land Reclamation.

On January 3rd, Six Nations Police, in accordance with the demands of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), arrested and imprisoned Chris Hill, a 20 year old young Mohawk man of the Wolf Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, for allegedly “assaulting a police officer with a weapon” on April 20th, 2006 – the very day that the OPP and the RCMP invaded Douglas Creek Estates and violently attempted to evict the people of Six Nations from their land. That day, the OPP used tazer darts and batons on unarmed people, including women and youth, and arrested 16 people on a day that brought nation-wide attention to the struggle of Six Nations for land rights and autonomy.

Since the Haudonausaunee of Six Nations reclaimed Douglas Creek Estates, some 30 indigenous people have been charged by the settler-colony of Canada in relation to the Reclamation. Chris Hill is one of the latest to be charged. Interestingly, the warrant for his arrest in relation to April 20th was issued 6 months later in October of 2006. Since January 3rd, he has been sitting in Barton Street Jail in Hamilton, Ontario where he is locked up for 18 hours a day.

Chris Hill was denied bail on the basis of his record of “failure to comply” when he was a young offender. Chris Hill was denied access to legal aid on the basis of him not having a permanent address. His mother, Rhonda Martin, is a mother on assistance who just underwent surgery, and now faces lawyers’ fees in the thousands in order to be able to free her son.

Chris Hill sits behind bars for having defended his land. The proceedings at the Cayuga courthouse have proven to be extremely lengthy, as nearly all court appearances have resulted in remand after remand.

Chris Hill needs moral, political and financial support and solidarity. Please send reading material and write letters of support to Chris Hill for him to receive while he awaits a trial date. Furthermore, please contribute to Chris Hill’s legal defense fund. Please continue to demand the end of the criminalization of the Six Nations Land Reclamation.

Address your letters of support to Chris Hill to:

Chris Hill Wentworth Detention Center. 165 Barton Street East Hamilton, Ontario

To contribute to the legal defense fund of Six Nations send checks marked “legal defense” to:

Janie Jameson RR1 Ohsweken, Ontario N0A 1MO

Alternatively, to support Chris Hill directly, send checks, marked “legal defense” to

Rhonda Martin P.O. box 383 Ohsweken, Ontario N0A 1MO

Lawyer Files Constitutional Question in Ontario Court

The following is written by Donna Duric, and first appeared in Turtle Island News on February 7th, 2007. It is one of several documents from the February 2007 report The Criminalization of the Six Nations Land Reclamation.

Court security was out in full force last Wednesday when a series of Six nations people filed in for court appearances and one lawyer filed a constitutional question challenging the Ontario Superior Court’s Authority over Mohawks.

Everyone entering the courthouse was scanning and their coats and purses searched before being allowed into the court house.

Family and friends were all subjected to scrutiny. One woman Rhonda Martin laughed and said, “All this, just for us.”

A lawyer representing a man charged in connection with incidents relating to the Reclamation site has filed a constitutional question with the Ontario Superior Court challenging the court’s authority over the Mohawk people.

Steve Ford, a lawyer from Tyendinega, filed the application with the superior court Jan. 31 asserting that Mohawks are a sovereign people who do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Canadian legal system.

“This is big,” Ford told reporters after the question was filed. “The Ontario Court of Justice has no jurisdiction over my client on the lands he was on [when the incident occurred]. You’re looking at a lot of witnesses in support of the application.”

Ford represents Akwasasne man Erwin Ron Gibson, 35, accused of robbery, assault causing bodily harm and assault in connection with an altercation with two cameramen in the Caledonia Canadian Tire parking lot on June 9th, 2006.

The altercation occurred when a group of people from the reclamation site followed a Simcoe couple into the parking alleging they had gunned their vehicle at a female security guard at the front entrance of the site.

Two CH TV cameramen were attempting to film the incident in the parking lot when the group approached them and a scuffle ensued resulting in one cameraman receiving a head injury.

A camera and a tripod were also stolen but returned shortly afterwards. About 10 minutes later, a group of people from the site followed a U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms vehicle behind Canadian Tire, took it, returning the vehicle about half an hour later. The OPP issued seven arrest warrants in relation to those incidents. Two warrants remain outstanding, including one for Skyler Williams, 22, of Ohsweken, and Albert Douglas, of Six Nations. Douglas faces charges of attempted murder, assaulting a police officer, dangerous driving, robbery and forcible confinement. Williams faces robbery charges.

Gibson is co-accused with Six Nations man Trevor Miller, 31, who is facing two counts of robbery plus violence, assault causing bodily harm and assault in connection with the June 9th incidents.

Gibson has been out on bail since his arrest in September last year, but Miller remains in custody at the Hamilton Wentworth Detention Centre after being denied bail five months ago. [NOTE: Trevor Miller has since been released since the time of writing of this article.]

Both Miller and Gibson appeared at the Ontario Court of Justice in Cayuga last Wednesday, each wearing a Mohawk headdress and a traditional ribbon shirt.

Gibson was also carrying an eagle feather while he sat in the courtroom. He said he exhibited those symbols of his Mohawk heritage because “he had to”.

“It’s not a statement. I’m proud to be a Mohawk and this is how we dress.”

Ford says the constitutional question comes down to the self-determination and self-government of aboriginal people. Six Nations leaders have maintained that Haudenosaunee people are not subject to Canadian law under the guidelines of the Two-Row Wampum, which states that natives and non-natives are not to interfere in each other’s laws and customs.

If the Superior Court accepts the jurisdictional challenge and proceeds to delve into it, the Ontario Court of Justice will have no choice but to stay the charges on both Miller and Gibson, Ford says.

Both men are set to reappear at the Ontario Court of Justice on March 6, and the constitutional question will be answered on March 7.

Audra Ann Taillefer, who is co-accused with Gibson and Miller, is also set to appear for a pre-trial February 14. Chris Hill [charged in connection with the OPP raid on April 20th, 2006] will appear for a pre-trial February 14th. Hill is still in custody. Ken Hill was remanded to March 7 for a pre-trial.

Kanohstaton spokeswoman Hazel Hill said a legal technical team is being organized to oversee and track all those who have been charged and to work with the individuals who have been charged.

She said all those charged should be contacting Bev Jacobs the lead lawyer for the Haudenosaunee legal team.

Trevor Miller Set Free after Declaring Mohawk Sovereignty to the Colonial Settler-State of Canada

The following is written by Sarita Ahooja, and is one of several documents from the February 2007 report The Criminalization of the Six Nations Land Reclamation.

On February 9, 2007, Trevor Miller, a 31 yr-old Mohawk man charged by the colonial authorities due to his participation in the Six Nations Land Reclamation, and who was sitting behind bars for over 7 months, was finally released on bail. Trevor Miller was greeted outside the courthouse by his supporters with tears and applause.

At a prior court appearance, Trevor declared to the Cayuga court “I am a sovereign Mohawk man, and you have no jurisdiction over me.” Trevor is being represented by his lawyer Justin Griffin, as well as Stuart Myiow, a representative from the Mohawk Traditional Council of Kahnawake (MTCK).

As Trevor stood proudly in the witness booth, dressed in traditional regalia, he greeted the full courtroom of supporters who rose and stood in his honor. Grassy Narrows activist Bonnie Swain was also present, having traveled from her Ojibway territory, Northern Ontario, where the fight to stop clear-cutting on their lands by Abitibi Consolidated and Weyerhaeuser has been on-going since the blockade began in 2002.

The defense lawyer began the proceedings by stating that Trevor’s ongoing detention is contrary to the principles of due process and public justice outlined in colonial common law and the Canadian Charter of Rights. Mr. Griffin pointed to the court transcripts (which were not made available by the Crown earlier despite a court order), stating that the Crown misled the court and the police have withheld crucial video evidence. Although Judge Borkovich immediately dismissed this issue, he stated, “I would be prepared to grant him bail, but what gets me is that he doesn’t recognize this court’s jurisdiction…He can’t have it both ways. He must respect this court, if he wants respect for his sovereignty.”

Stuart Myiow of the MTCK intervened to address certain racist comments uttered by the Crown and explained to Judge Borkovich, “the initial act did come from Trevor. It is an act that is part of the continuing genocide that has been brought upon our people.” Mr. Myiow assured the judge that “if Trevor is released into our custody, we will guarantee that he attends other court dates”. In 1998, a Six Nations Mohawk man, facing charges of assault was released from the colonial court system proceedings and into the care of the Mohawk Traditional Council of Kahnawake. All charges were dropped in a pre-trial agreement.

The Crown’s rebuttal claimed that the risk was too high as the Haudenosaunee Confederacy had advised the accused not to appear in court, and Trevor had “fled his warrant.” He insisted on cross-examining Stuart Myiow to see how the supervision would take place, claiming that there are no legal consequences for the MTCK if Trevor were not to obey. Judge Borkovich denied the crown’s request and responded, “Why shouldn’t I believe this man’s word? The Mohawk Nation has its entire reputation at stake.” The sighs of relief and tears of joy overwhelmed the courtroom.

Judge Borkovich then granted Trevor’s release to the Mohawk Nation, and ordered a 10,000 deposit to be paid as well as two acceptable sureties. The judge also imposed a series of conditions which include keeping the peace, early curfew, non-association with co-accused, to remain 200m in distance from the land reclamation, no driving, and that he live and follow the rules of his aunt’s home.

Trevor must appear in court again on March 7, one day after the Superior court hearings for the jurisdictional challenge put forth by Kanohnstaton defender Erwin Ron Gibson, represented by his lawyer Stephen Ford.

Although there is a lot of organizing and fundraising to do, the months of agonising and worry for Trudy, Trevor’s mother, are over. “I feel so uplifted. When they said the words Mohawk Nation, I felt our power … we can do anything.”

Trevor Miller is among a growing number of young first nations activists who are taking action by directly challenging the colonial legal system, and raising the hopes of their elders and their people towards liberation.

Tears, Applause as Activist Freed

The following is one of several documents from the February 2007 report The Criminalization of the Six Nations Land Reclamation.

The Hamilton Spectator
CAYUGA (Feb 10, 2007)
by Paul Legall

Mohawk activist Trevor Miller pumped his fist into the air as he stepped out into the sunlight for his first breath of freedom in six months.

The 31-year-old, who had been involved in the occupation of the Douglas Creek Estates subdivision in Caledonia, had few words for reporters as he emerged from the Cayuga courthouse.

He had just put up $10,000 in cash and two aunts from the Six Nations reserve had each pledged $5,000 to secure his release on bail pending his trial on assault and robbery charges.

"Great. It's been a long time coming," he replied when a reporter asked how he felt.

"I prefer not to talk now. I prefer to be alone," he added as he walked away with his girlfriend.

But his mother, Trudy Miller, persuaded him to come back and have his picture taken with two native activists and his lawyer, Justin Griffin, as they posed with a Six Nations flag in front of the courthouse.

"I'm so proud of him," said Miller who had reached over the railing in the courtroom and hugged her son when she learned he would be getting out on bail.

"He made a stand nobody else had done. He opened a lot of doors." She said Trevor, who wore a Mohawk headdress in court, would be celebrating his release with a traditional native dinner of corn soup and scones.

Tears were streaming down Miller's face after he signed his release papers and finally walked through the railing into the arms of dozens of native and non-native supporters. After a loud round of applause, they all rushed up to hug and kiss him as he walked through the courtroom.

During his incarceration, he had been portrayed as a freedom fighter and political prisoner. He claimed he was defending Mohawk territory when the incident occurred that led to his being accused of assaulting and robbing two CH TV cameramen at a Canadian Tire parking lot in Caledonia on June 9.

He was arrested at the Grassy Narrows reservation north of Kenora on Aug. 8 and had been denied bail until he was released yesterday by Ontario Superior Court Justice Nick Borkovich.

During a bail review yesterday, Stuart Myiou of the traditional Mohawk council was allowed to address the judge on Miller's behalf. In the past, Myiou had offered to supervise Miller and guarantee his appearance in court if he were released on bail.

There was a gag order on yesterday's proceedings. But from the judge's comments during the proceedings, Miller's supporters assumed he was released in the custody of the traditional Mohawk council.

"The judge has shown considerable sensitivity to the situation. He's recognizing the Mohawk council," Griffin told reporters after the hearing.

He suggested Borkovich's remarks recognized the traditional Mohawk council as "the legitimate voice of the Mohawk nation" and that the judge's decision yesterday had set a precedent.

But Crown Attorney Larry Brock, who had opposed Miller's release, pointed out Miller's recognizance order makes no mention of the Mohawk council.

Therefore, Miller had no legal obligation to be under the supervision of the council.

Instead, the recognizance order requires him to live on the reserve with his aunt, Katherine Martin.

Martin and another aunt, Eleanor Miller, had each pledged $5,000 for his release.

As his sureties, they must make sure he abides by his bail conditions and shows up for court.

As part of his conditions, Miller was ordered to stay away from the CH TV cameramen, keep away from the Douglas Creek Estates protest, observe a curfew, have no weapons, abstain from alcohol and illegal drugs and not drive a vehicle.

He must return to court on March 7 to set a date for his preliminary hearing.

Jeff “Hawk” facing Canadian Courts Alone

The following is written by Donna Durlik and Lynda Powless, and first appeared in Turtle Island News on January 24th, 2007. It is one of several documents from the February 2007 report The Criminalization of the Six Nations Land Reclamation.

When a handful of women walked onto a housing development on the outskirts of Caledonia almost a year ago, Jeff “Hawk” was there.

Through the sub-zero temperatures and winter blizzards of 2006, the “hawk”, as he became known, was there.

When the spring rolled around, he was still there. A mainstay and almost a household name.

Jeff “Hawk” stood firm in his belief that Kanohnstaton is Six Nations lands.

“I asked my Clan mother, should I leave. Should I leave the site and forget about our land,” he says and that slow smile and twinkle in his eye that all his friends know, comes to the surface. “No way, she told me,” he says and laughs.

But he quickly turns serious. “I think now, if I hadn’t stayed there then, right up to April 20th when the OPP raided, if I hadn’t stayed with the women then, maybe, just maybe we wouldn’t be there where we are today with our chiefs at the negotiating table,” he says.

Jeff Hawk, a household name during the early months of the Six Nations Land Reclamation, has lost count of how many court appearances he has made since he was arrested during the OPP pre-dawn raids on April 20. […]

He’s the man who came out to the site the very first day when a small group of people including Dawn Smith and Janie Jameson walked onto the land in order to stop construction of the Douglas Creek Estates housing development on Feb.28th, 2006 saying the land was stolen from Six Nations illegally.

He’s the man who swore that the police would have to drag his body off the site in order to remove him (which they eventually did). He’s the man who bore freezing temperatures, knee-high snow and wind chills of -20C and below when there was nothing but tents to shelter them in order to fulfill his duty to protect the women and children of Kanohnstaton.

And now, the 28 year old father is going broke defending himself against charges of assault with a weapon, intimidation and causing a disturbance, charges that all stemmed from Kanohnstaton.

Hawk had been sleeping at the site the morning the OPP snuck onto a sleeping camp of protesters under the cover of darkness and arrested 16 people. He was one of only a handful of people that escaped being caught, but a few hours later, after hundreds of Six Nations people reclaimed the site from the OPP, Hawk’s luck ran out on him.

It was around 8 am when he says he noticed a young group of OPP officers heading toward the site entrance to the site off of Thistlemoor St., known as “O-Town” to people at the site.

“They were going around the back entrance and I wanted to see what the hell was going on.”

As he was running through the Canadian Tire parking lot, he says a non-native man came out of the store and started screaming at him.

“He was freaking out. He said, ‘why don’t you go back to where you f***ing came from. This is our town.’ I asked the police to remove him, but instead they attacked me.”

He says eight OPP officers shot him with a Taser and tackled him to the ground.

“As I was on the ground, they shot me again with the Taser saying I was resisting arrest. I was physically and verbally assaulted. They called me a gutless bastard and said I only did what I did because I had an audience. I’m dead serious,” he says. “I couldn’t believe it.”

He claims one officer shockingly thanked him for making it possible for the OPP office to use a Taser for the first time.

Hawk ended up suffering two fractured ribs, countless bruises and pinched nerves on his wrists from the handcuffs and Taser cuts to his back.

Police took him to the Cayuga detachment, where he was left waiting in a cruiser with the windows rolled up for at least three hours while they tried to process him. He said there was no room in the holding cells for him because they were full of other site supporters who had been arrested.

That morning was unusually hot at about 25C and Hawk says that he became dehydrated while waiting in the cruiser.

“The windows were all steamed up from my sweat,” he says.

Police finally processed him at noon, and he spent the night in custody. He phoned his wife, who he says was quite upset about the whole affair.

The next day, at 1 p.m., he received bail at the Ontario Superior Court in Cayuga with his aunt acting as his surety. It wasn’t until after that that he was able to go to the hospital for medical treatment. Doctors gave him painkillers, told him that the fractured ribs would heal on their own, and advised him to get further treatment for the pinched nerves.

He didn’t go back to the site.

“It had nothing to do with what the court said,” says Hawk, referring to one of his bail conditions that he not attend the site anymore. “My aunt strongly suggested I not go back and I didn’t. She had fear of me getting hurt far worse.”

Since then, he’s had numerous appearances in court, represented by Six Nations lawyer Debra Loft, but his case has gone nowhere.

“It’s still in the same state as day one. It’s been nothing but remand after remand. It’s doing nothing but costing me time and money.”


After the arrest, Hawk returned to his home in Caledonia to try and live a normal life. But the townspeople found out where he lived and began harassing him, he says.

His house was also under 24 hour surveillance by police, he says an OPP liaison officer told him.

He decided to leave the rented home after an incident in August in which Janie Jameson had gone to visit him in the early evening. Both of their kids were playing in the front yard when Jamieson said she heard one of them scream because an OPP officer was allegedly trying to climb Hawk’s fence. Three more OPP cruisers then drove by, and aboriginal OPP officer was contacted, and then a group of young men from the site rushed down argyle street toward hawk’s house on ATVs but then returned to the site shortly without incident.

Not long after, a group of Caledonia residents gathered on the sidewalk in front of his house shouting racial slurs and threatening to burn the house down, “with or without his family inside”, he claims.

“That’s when I said enough is enough. They found out where I lived. They said they didn’t want ‘troublemakers’ in their town. I left that night.”

He’s currently staying with his parents on Six Nations and his common-law wife and their five-year-old daughter are staying with the parents until they can find a place big enough to accommodate the young family.

He appeared in court last Wednesday for a resolution discussion between his lawyer and the crown to see if they can resolve the matter without a trial. However, the lawyers have yet to meet after canceling on each other twice, and the case was put over until Jan. 31st.

He said he’s dreading the thought of him going to jail and says that the charges against him are unjust.

“I hear that the crown’s asking for a year. I’m like a bag of nerved every day I come to court. I hope to beat the charges. I don’t care how much it costs.”

Falling Behind...

There's been a bunch of stuff i've meant to post, but just haven't had time...

i'll be trying to get it done tonight and tomorrow i guess...

(Fuck, i hate falling behind!)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Criminalization and Violence Against Sex Workers: the Context Behind the Pickton Trial

canada's disappeared have a gender:
pictures of women who have gone missing

On January 26th CKUT's radio show Off The Hour interviewed Sue Davis of Prostitution Alternatives Counseling and Education Society and Jenn Clamen of the International Union of Sex Workers.

Sex trade workers' struggles against violence and criminalization make them a potentially key section the emergent radical female working class, but sex work and violence against sex workers remain under-theorized (or worst) by both the left and feminist movements.

So this interview, while just an interview, is worth listening to. It is available from the National Campus and Community Radio Association (you'll have to sign up - it is the second segment) and i have mirrored it here.

Here are some highlights:

It comes down to homelessness, poverty, and tax cuts to great programmes, you know this is the result, and people have to understand that all of us are responsible for the dangerous environment that is created by crimiinalizing sex work. (Davis)

In Edmonton the police in response to a lot of the serial murders out there put together a project called Care, but what it means is that they're running around chasing sex workers down the street and they're trying to identify sex workers through their DNA but they're not actually protecting sex workers but they're sort of keeping a tab on them... they started this DNA bank so that they can identify sex workers as they go missing, but they actually haven't put any measures into place that will say they'll stop chasing them down the street or provide better security when they are working. (Clamen)

Absolutely - they tried the same thing here in Vancouver. They cataloged us all with some little polaroid picture and that kind of thing and tried to take notes of us or catalog us in some way so they would know us when they found us... they're crossing where we are, noting where the strolls are, trying to criminalize us... (Davis)

The man who tried to kill me was acquitted, he didn't even have a lawyer with him in court, he got to cross-examine me himself, and then the judge threw out the whole case based on my testimony because I'm a sex worker so I must be a liar. This concept, and this betrayal of sex workers by the upper echelons, by the justice system, by everybody, has led men to, or predatory people in general - because it's not only men as we know, Homolka - has led them to think that this is ok, that nobody will care, and in truth nobody does care. This is the tragedy that comes from a badly written law and a total social outlook of class separation where because you've made this choice, you are less than us somehow, and this makes it ok to kill you. (Davis)

When we talk about violence here and around the world we're not just talking about violence from potential clients or when clients turn too aggressive, but we're talking about police violence as well, and police are responsible for a lot of the violence that happens, and a lot of the harassment. And the government is responsible in the sense that they just spent 3 years going over, speaking to sex workers speaking to people who are in touch with sex workers trying to make the situation more safe but they actually decided to do nothing in the end and yet they're not claiming any responsibility for what happens - who are they suggesting changes the conditons and what are they suggesting is meant to happen? Nothing. So they're essentially leaving sex workers in all areas of the trade basically to ourselves, and with no recourse. (Clamen)

This is not localized to the downtown eastside of Vancouver. There are women missing in every single city in this country, the Higway of Tears will attest to that, even rural communities are missing sex workers. This is systematic, and we need to all stand up and do something about it. (Davis)

The Science of Homophobia

Getting play in the media: this article about experiments to make sheep gay or straight, from the Slate; a version of this article also appeared in the Sunday Washington Post.

Science will gradually convince us that sexual orientation is innate, more like skin color than character. Condemnation of homosexuality as a sin will subside, and we'll turn to two biological differences between race and sexual orientation: Homosexuality defies the aspiration to procreate with your mate, and it's easier to isolate and alter in embryonic development. We may come to view homosexuality as we do infertility -- as a disability. The rhetoric of "acceptance" will shift from liberals to conservatives. We'll inoculate our children against homosexuality out of love, not hate.

Read the whole article here...

Supporters Rally for San Francisco 8

Ray Boudreaux, Richard Brown, Hank Jones and Richard O'Neal - four of the San Francisco 8, former Black Panthers charged with a Black Liberation Army assassination of a cop over thirty years ago - appeared in a San Francisco courtroom yesterday.

Here is what organized Claude Marks has written about the proceedings:

San Francisco 8 strong in court appearance today

by Claude Marks
Wednesday, February 14

In a significant showing of support, family and friends of four of the San Francisco 8 packed the San Francisco courtroom of Judge Little. Many people were unable to actually get in. As the four, Ray Boudreaux, Richard Brown, Hank Jones and Richard O'Neal, were brought into the courtroom in shackles, supporters burst into applause. The large showing of Sheriffs and SWAT officers cleared the courtroom. People gathered in the hallway outside Department 12 chanting "No justice, no peace." Defense attorneys objected to closing a public hearing and the Judge agreed to let people back into court if they agreed to not be noisy, but only after every individual was again searched by Sheriffs and was wanded with metal detectors.

Unlike their previous court appearances since the arrests in January, the men were shackled in court as close to a dozen sheriffs' deputies and SWAT officers were inside the courtroom. The hearing opened with defense attorneys arguing for reduced security at the courthouse and the unshackling of the brothers as "they represent no threat to the court or the public." It was pointed out that they had appeared voluntarily and without need of such extensive police presence during the 2005 San Francisco Grand Jury, and that the shackling and heavy security were prejudicial - especially feeding the sensationalist coverage of the corporate media. The court agreed to hear security issues in a future meeting with the Sherriff and lawyers.

None of the men have yet entered please in the conspiracy and murder case stemming from the killing of a SF police Officer at the Ingleside Police Station in August of 1971.

Although there has yet to be a formal Bail Hearing, Judge Little did lower the outrageous bail for Ray Boudreaux and Hank Jones from $5 million to $3 million (still outrageous), the same as was set for Richard Brown and Richard O'Neal. A formal Bail Hearing as well as other motions were scheduled for Tuesday, March 13th.

"Today's court appearance was significant in a number of ways," according to Attorney Stuart Hanlon. "The strong public support for the four men in court was a powerful reminder that these men are part of their communities and are not criminals. The Attorney Generals' comments made clear that they (the State Prosecutors) want to keep these men in jail on high bail and that they will make excuses to explain the 35-year delay in bringing this case. It was made clear to us that this is the beginning skirmish of a legal war with high stakes - the freedom of these eight former Panthers and the rewriting of political history by the government criminalizing the Black Panther Party and African American freedom fighters from the sixties and seventies. It is a war we will win and that we have to win. And it is a war where the support of the community, in and out of court, is crucial."

The brothers seemed strong and in good spirits.
(CBS reported that supporters "shouted 'Power to the People,' and 'No Justice' and called for police to find suspects who killed their loved ones, carrying placards that read 'I Still Have a Cold Case' and listing names of murder victims and dates they died." - read the CBS report and see some very unedited video footage of the proceedings here.)

At the same time activists as far away as Boston (see photo above) held informational pickets, denouncing this latest case of amerikan repression.

One day earlier, on February 13th, the SF National Lawyers Guild issued a statement condemning the racist arrests if the former Panthers, pointing out that the State is seeking to validate political repression, retaliation and state torture.

Legacy of Freedom can now be viewed in streaming video format on Free Speech TV - it is an excellent teaching tool, especially in conjunction with speakers or other movies about the Black Liberation movement and government repression in the 1960s/70s. Groups are organizing screenings across the united states - a partial list of which is online here.

For more information on the San Francisco 8, check out the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights website!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Or view on Youtube here

Thanks to my favourite maoist blog for this...

Native Youth Movement Warrior Targeted & Arrested at Anti-Olympic Protest in Vancouver

Three Native Warriors were targeted and arrested yesterday during a protest against the 2010 Winter Olympic Games planned to take place in Vancouver/Whistler, KKKanada.





(February 13, 2007, unsurrendered Squamish Territory (Vancouver, BC) Three Native Warriors were targeted and arrested yesterday during a protest against the 2010 Winter Olympic Games planned to take place in Vancouver/Whistler, KKKanada. NYM Warrior, Tselletkwe, of the Secwepemc Nation, Gord Hill of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation and Lynn Highway of the Anishnabe Nation and the Indigenous Resistance Organizing Committee (IROC), were hauled away by the Vancouver Police, who are notorious for police terrorism they inflict on Indigenous Peoples.

The Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee and the Vancouver Board of Trade (businessmen) were celebrating the unveiling of a “3 year countdown clock” in the downtown business district in Vancouver, marking exactly 3 years until the Olympic Games invade Indigenous Territories here in Vancouver, BC. Just as their festivities were to begin, one Native Warrior stormed the stage and took over the microphone, yelling, “F*#! the Olympics,” until he was captured by Vancouver police and rushed off stage.

Native People from across BC participated in this rally along with non-natives who are protesting the gentrification of their neighborhood and the eviction of hundreds from low-income housing in the downtown eastside. A total of seven protesters were arrested during this Anti-Olympic protest.

NYM Warrior Tselletkwe made a statement upon her release, stating “Our land is not for Sale, we are still at war with KKKanada, we have never surrendered our land. We want the whole World to know not to come to our country and to boycott KKKanada and the 2010 Olympic Games. Tourism is not welcome here.”

This is not the first time Natives have been arrested protesting the 2010 Winter Olympics, Pacheedaht, Nuuchahnulth Elder Harriet Nahanee was arrested and sentenced to 14 days in jail for protesting the expansion and development of the Sea-to-Sky Highway, leading from Vancouver to Whistler, in preparation to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The destruction of Indigenous Territories and Sacred Sites must be stopped.

NYM spokesperson, stated in response to the arrests that, “Human and Indigenous Rights violations here in KKKanada must stop, the governments and corporations continue to drive our People from our homeland and destroy our food and medicine harvesting areas and basic necessities to survive our traditional, ancestral way of life. The Olympics is a global event and it will take the global community to awaken their conscience to boycott this 17-day event.”

For more information or to join the Anti-Olympic Coalition contact:

Native Youth Movement
(604)682-3269 ext. 7845 or

Warrior Publications

NYM Communications


UPDATE: As of last night, February 13, all three warriors have been released from jail.

Tselletkwe and two anti-poverty protesters were released without charge on the night of February 12 and were greeted and fed by comrades waiting outside the jail for them.

On February 13, comrades attended the pre-release court hearing of Gord Hill, Lynn Highway, and two anti-poverty protesters, and waited for them outside the jail, until their release.

Gord Hill faces charges of mischief and causing a public disturbance. Lynn Highway faces a charge of mischief. The two anti-poverty protesters who appeared in court also face charges. One man is charged with mischief and causing a public disturbance and a woman is charged with assaulting a police officer.

- Update by an anarchist in Vancouver

Blogger Beta

It's up, it's working, it has peekaboo expandable posts and soon will get revamped categories...

oh yeah, and it's baby blue.

So far, for what it's worth, this transition from Blogger Classic to Blogger Beta has been anything but seamless. Twenty minutes my ass, there goes half my day. And i had work to get done...

Note to those aiming to try this:

Blogger for Word does not work with Beta. Real fucking drag that is.

The expandable posts hack mentioned on Blogger is crap, as is Blogger's peekaboo... use this one from Hackosphere instead.

i'm hoping the drag and drop template and other nifty features will make it worthwhile - definitely have mixed feelings so far...

Bear with Me

Please bear with me...

In one of those moments of "i have twenty minutes to do stuff, what should i do?" i decides to upgrade to the "New Blogger"...

So far i see my "Read more..." links aren't working properly, and the "Blogger for Word" plug-in is acting up. And now i have to go out on some errands.

Ah joy!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Brigitte Mohnhaupt Paroled After Twenty Five Years!

Brigitte Mohnhaupt, veteran of the Red Army Faction, has been paroled. This will leave only Christian Klar, Eva Haule and Birgit Hogefeld still behind bars.

The Red Army Faction were one of the most organized and advanced of the guerilla groups which operated in the metropoles during the last cycle of revolutionary struggle here. Anti-imperialist and communist, in retrospect much of what they wrote may seem dated and some of what the did may seem questionable, but hindsight is always twenty-twenty.

They suffered murderous repression from the West German State, many of their original members like Ulrike Meinhof and Andreas Baader being assassinated in prison.

You can the RAF’s communiques and statements in english online, including a self-critical discussion of the Schleyer kidnapping and execution (“The Guerilla, The Resistance and the Anti-Imperialist Front”).

The following article is from the bourgeois press, but may be of interest regardless:

Red Army Faction Member Is Paroled in Germany
Associated Press
February 12th 2007
BERLIN (AP) -- A court paroled a one-time leader of Germany's notorious Red Army Faction Monday after 24 years in prison, amid bitter memories of the left-wing terrorist group's attacks on law enforcement and business leaders, which plunged the country into fear three decades ago.

Brigitte Mohnhaupt, 57, is to leave prison March 27, the first day she becomes eligible for release, the Stuttgart state court ruled.

Her case has set off a public debate about whether it is time to show mercy to those who showed none to their victims and has made Germans relive a tense time when their country was still divided between a democratic West and a communist East.

A student at the University of Munich before going underground, Mohnhaupt was arrested in 1982 and convicted of involvement in nine murders, including those of West German chief federal prosecutor Siegfried Buback, Dresdner Bank head Juergen Ponto and Hanns-Martin Schleyer, the head of the country's industry federation.

She shot Ponto three times when he resisted a kidnapping attempt in Oberursel near Frankfurt in 1977, the court said. Other times, she was involved in planning killings and attacks.

She was given five life sentences for murder and other non-fatal attacks, including a 1981 rocket-propelled grenade assault on the car of U.S. Gen. Frederick Kroesen -- then the commander of U.S. forces in Europe -- which injured the general and his wife.
The Stuttgart court, supported by prosecutors, decided Mohnhaupt no longer posed a threat. The decision was made ''according to legal conditions and was not an act of clemency,'' spokeswoman Josefine Koeblitz said.

Mohnhaupt, who has a job offer and an apartment lined up in a place the court did not disclose, will be on supervised parole for five years and must report regularly to authorities. Combined with an earlier prison term, she has spent 29 years behind bars.

The court's written decision noted that Mohnhaupt was not willing to completely repudiate her violent past and that she ''has not distanced herself from her deeds in the sense of insight into wrongs that were committed.''

But the court reported that Mohnhaupt said at her closed parole hearing that the time for ''armed struggle'' was over and acknowledged inflicting suffering on the victim's families.

Mohnhaupt was a top figure in what was sometimes called the Baader-Meinhof gang, after an earlier generation of leaders, Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof.

The middle-class leftists, styling themselves as ''urban guerrillas'' after Latin American radicals, emerged from German student protests against the Vietnam War, launching a violent, 22-year campaign against what they considered U.S. imperialism and capitalist oppression of workers.

At its peak, West Germany was shaken by the Sept. 5, 1977, kidnapping of employers' federation head Schleyer in an attempt to exort the release of Baader and others from prison.

The demands were underscored by the release of chilling pictures of Schleyer in captivity, the day's date on a sign around his neck.

When the West German government of Chancellor Helmut Schmidt did not free Baader, Arab supporters hijacked a Lufthansa jet to Mogadishu, Somalia. German commandos freed the hostages, and the kidnappers killed Schleyer, whose body was found in the trunk of a car in Mulhouse, France. Baader and two other Red Army Faction members killed themselves in prison.

Before abandoning violence in 1992, the organization killed 34 people and injured hundreds. The group disbanded in 1998, a decision Mohnhaupt said she agreed with.

The head of Germany's police union criticized the parole decision.

''RAF terrorists killed 10 police officers, among them a Dutch colleague,'' said union head Konrad Freiberg.

''Although the release follows the law books, and the decision of the judge must be accepted, we will not forget these murders. A feeling of bitterness remains.''

Former Justice Minister Klaus Kinkel, said it was time ''to give Mohnhaupt a chance to return to society.''

Although repentance was not necessary for release, Kinkel said, such an expression from her ''would be tremendously desirable.''

Monday, February 12, 2007

Alternative Libraries

A friend let me know about this: three anglo Montreal student groups (2110 Center, Q-PIRGs McGill and Concordia) have put up an online catalog of books, magazines, videos and DVDs that you can drop by and peruse. Seems like much of this stuff can also be borrowed, though they say to contact them directly to work out details. (i assume this means look up the title, see which group has a copy, then contact that group...)

Check it out: Alternative Libraries

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Racist Reasonable Accommodation: Questions for a Revolutionary Quebec Left

In regards to the latest comments from my comrade Nicolas, regarding the racist “reasonable accommodation debate”...

There are two very important questions here. We have to deal with both of them, but in order to not get tripped up i think we need to separate them first.

The first question i see is “How do we relate to right-wing, sexist elements in the oppressed communities?”

The second is “How do those of us in the Quebecois or anglo communities maintain our base, when this same base is becoming increasingly hostile to immigrants?”

As to the first question, i think dealing with questions on a case by case basis, with a strong anti-patriarchal politic, is sufficient. Looking to solutions which come from and empower women – both in the dominant societies and in the oppressed communities – instead of using a cookie cutter model of what anti-sexism should look like.

What makes the Herouxville resolution so repugnant to me is the way in which the murder of women in Muslim theocracies is used to whiteout the murder of women here in Quebec – after all, this is the land of rapist cop Benoit Guay, land of the Polytechnique, and of the 777 women and children who have been murdered since... not one of whom would have been helped one bit by the men of Herouxville...

Framing the question as one of women’s subordination and super-exploitation lays the basis for a much more constructive and radical struggle, and one which is fundamentally more prone to anti-capitalism, than focusing on the ethnic identity of the different petitioners or religious content of their requests.

For instance, there is no religious, political or ethical connection between the “frosted windows” example at the Y in Mile End and the “non-kosher spaghetti” example at the Jewish General... other than the fact that both cases pitted some Jews against some non-Jews. But according to the terms of “reasonable accommodation” they are both not only connected, but are two examples of the same thing. So we end up in a crazy situation where depriving religious Jews of a cafeteria where they can eat (because once pig is allowed in, the whole area becomes non-kosher) is the same as supporting women’s freedom to exercise in a gym with clear windows!

Whether one feels that the imaginary “Jewish side” was right or wrong in either case, i find it difficult to see a non-racist basis for framing the two incidents as dealing with the same issues.

As to the question of male driving instructors, female driving instructors, etc. I really think that in such cases what has to be looked at is the consequences of each possible arrangement. I would oppose any position which would see men empowered to marginalize or exclude women, and that includes male driving students excluding women instructors. That said, rather than looking at this as a “clash of civilizations” where “we” must not cede an inch to “them,” i think the ideal would be to look for a solution in which everyone could be catered to as best as possible providing nobody is put at a disadvantage.

Worth noting: the complaints about immigrants asking too much in all these cases are not being made by women in the oppressed communities, but by people (generally men) in the oppressor societies.

But these questions are “case by case” – i see no evidence in Quebec at the moment that they are part of a concerted strategy from any particular group within the immigrant communities, including the right-wing religious element. Indeed, two of the most visible communities within this brouhaha – the already-established Jewish communities, and the more recent Muslim communities – are bitterly hostile to each other. So rather than some unified “immigrant agenda”, what we have are requests made by individuals or community forums within these marginalized communities.

The problem is that there is this overarching “reasonable accommodation” narrative in the white imagination, so that when members of the dominant societies encounter immigrants or people of colour making these requests they automatically associate it with all this other crap. Leading to a situation where if there is a letter from a Marie-Pierre Tremblay in the newspaper saying she would rather be seen by a female healthcare professional, or that she would prefer that her daughter attend a girls’ only school, one reacts very differently than if the letter-writers name looks Arabic or “foreign.”

On to the second question, regarding our base of support.

The following should be read over and digested:

This argument is having an echo, a huge echo and not only among the right wing masses. It does have an echo in the progressive camp. It does disarm us to a certain extent... Finaly, they are using our silence on this issue (and our anti-war activism wich is made in solidarity with middle-east communities) as a way to attack the left wich is more and more refered to as islamo-gauchiste...

i think what Nicolas writes here is certainly true. This “debate” is not something only happening “out there” – these are questions that have been discussed by all sorts of people for quite some time, and anxiety over how immigrant communities will transform Quebec exists throughout the political spectrum.

The question is not simply how to respond to this wave of white anxiety, but also who we are. Do we see our struggle as one for communism, or anarchism... or do we see our antecedents in the struggle for modernization and bourgeois democracy? Are we accountable to the working class as a whole, or to the white working class in particular? and for white organizers i realize this is not clearcut, and i offer no easy answers...

There is nothing wrong with trying to “cut the grass” out from under our opponents’ feet. If we can undercut their support, if we can reframe issues so that they are isolated and people are won over to a liberatory perspective, then that is something worth doing. As white radicals, we must always be open to this possibility, for when the opportunity presents itself, this is where our interventions can be most effective.

But we must not let the temptation to do so blur our vision or blunt our politics. As radicals within dominant societies, even if our work is done overwhelmingly amongst the most oppressed sections of the population, we should remember that there is always a place for us at the enemy’s table. We benefit from a kind of open invitation to join in, to constitute the “left wing” of our nations’ pro-capitalist politics. And to do so appears to us, as often as not, as a “realistic” or “pragmatic” or “clever” way to undercut the right-wing, when in fact we are “undercutting” them by extending their influence into the progressive camp.

We saw this in France in the 1980s and 1990s, as the Socialist and Communist parties tried to undercut the Front National by adopting bits of its anti-immigrant agenda (“le lepenisation des esprits”)... far from saving the electoral left, this delivered more and more support to the far right, as their ideas were legitimized. All the while remaining true to the PS and PCF’s base in the middle classes and least oppressed sections of the working class, and cementing their divorce from the immigrant proletariat of the banlieues...

The fact that the current wave of nativism has such a strong echo outside of the ranks of the traditional right-wing, “even” in the progressive camp, makes it all the more necessary for us to stake out a pole of radical and uncompromising opposition. This does not mean allying with right-wing elements within the immigrant communities (they are our enemies too), but it does mean grounding our politics in a class and gender analysis of how patriarchy and capitalism operate in our societies, and understanding what classes are represented in this “debate”.

As Quebecois and anglo-canadian societies are predominantly middle class, resting on shrinking traditional proletarian sections and a growing immigrant and racialized proletariat, maintaining our politics may require us to reappraise our base, to defend unpopular positions, to suffer the thinning of our ranks. We can’t expect to have a mass working class movement in a society where the working class is atomized, disorganized and infected with middle class ideologies... but we can’t solve this problem – indeed, we exacerbate it! – by jumping on the latest racist bandwagon.

We will not be alone if we articulate and maintain a militant anti-racist, anti-patriarchal and anti-capitalist position. There are white people who don’t like where this “debate” is going. There are white people who feel uneasy about the strength of right-wing religious currents around the world, but who feel even more uncomfortable with the people of Herouxville. Even Quebec Solidaire seems to have staked out a liberal anti-racist and anti-sexist position on all this, insisting that the question should be deracialized and demanding that a woman from a “cultural community” be selected to head the government’s commission on the question; not revolutionary, but then again neither is QS...

By staking out a radical position far to the left of the likes of Françoise David, we will create the possibility for alliances with insurgent sections of the immigrant working class, sections whose opposition to right-wing patriarchal ideas is likely to be deeper and stronger than what we ourselves can manage on our own right now.

To articulate and maintain such a position requires confronting the current wave of nativism head-on, not diluting our opposition with demands for immigrant communities to adapt to the cultural norms of the majority. Not diluting our politics with support for practices that disempower or marginalize women, queers or the poor, but always taking our lead from the oppressed themselves, not from petit bourgeois politicians and journalists.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Trevor Miller Released!

Aboriginal man released from custody
Feb, 09 2007 - 12:30 PM

CAYUGA (AM 900 CHML) - The aboriginal man charged with assault at the standoff in Caledonia has been released into the custody of the Mohawk traditional council.

Trevor Miller has been in jail for six months since his arrest in a northern Ontario reserve.

Miller's detention was a bone of contention among supporters of the Six Nations people, because he has been behind bars for so long.

He was charged with assault and two counts of robbery after two incidents in Caledonia in June.

One involved the assault of a television cameraman and another involved the theft of a U-S border patrol vehicle.

A judge said he doesn't see why Miller shouldn't be released.

The council said they guarantee that Miller will be in court for any future hearings.

Secularism, Women's Liberation and Intervention: More on the Racist Reasonable Accommodation "Debate"

Regarding yesterdays post about the racist “reasonable accommodation debate”, one comrade sent me a comment in which he suggested that this was a “three way fight” situation, and that radicals should forge our own path by pursuing a strategy of radical secularism. In his words:

Seem's you are leaving a huge section of the problem out of you summary. The current backlash focus on accomodation for religious reasons. Populist and reactionarie use the situation to push a racist, anti-immigration agenda, that's for sure. But at the same time it's a classic 3 way fight situation. The left have been silent on this and I think it's a really big mistake. I've been thinking about it for a while and the only good way out I see is a push for a radicalisation and deepening of the secularisation (laïcité) of Quebec society. That is, we can refuse religion in the public sphere if, and only if, we destroy the last vestige of catholic priviledge (ex.: if we refuse to accomodate muslim with a room to pray, then we must close down the "chapelle"). The line to crush the populists while at the same time "accomodating" a majority who is not at ease with religion in the public sphere should look like this according to me.

Perhaps it’s in the air, but a similar point was made on the website of the left-nationalist newspaper l’aut’journal a few weeks back. i respect the intentions behind the argument, but i think that in the current context prioritizing the struggle for a “zero tolerance” secularism would not only be besides the point, it would risk transforming oneself into the left-wing of the nativist camp.

Here’s my reasoning, let me know what you think...

Within white francophone Quebec, religion plays a very marginal role in propping up structures of oppression – that fight was fought, and won, by a generation of capitalist modernizers fifty years ago. Not to say we don’t bump into the remnants of Catholicism active on the far right, not to say that Catholicism is not a problem in some contexts, or that Quebec is not a post-Catholic (as opposed to purely secular) society. Just that it is of marginal importance, Quebec being in fact one of the most secular corners of North America.

It is true that within certain immigrant and racialized communities religion plays a more important role, and often a reactionary one.

But these communities are not monolithic. Based primarily in Montreal and its suburbs, many of them are overwhelmingly proletarian, dynamic, and cosmopolitan. They include radical elements of both left and right, and are constantly being transformed by their own internal struggles, as well as their interpenetration with all the other communities who live here.

That we of the white left – both anglo and francophone – are not necessarily privy to all this is no great crime and no great surprise, just a consequence of the fact that these are for the moment distinct communities (and, for the most part, relatively young communities, here as across Canada).

Within Quebec, i think it is fair to characterize all of these communities as marginalized – in that their traditions and practices are often treated as intrinsically less worthy than those of either the established anglophone community or the Quebecois nation. Furthermore, most of them are also oppressed, suffering not only from particularly harsh levels of exploitation and inferior access to “public” resources and institutions, but also a whole panoply of unpleasant experiences, running the gamut from interpersonal racism to police violence to criminalization.

These communities are not simply marginalized and oppressed in a vacuum, they are marginalized and oppressed by institutions, organizations, classes and individuals of the dominant societies. As such, were we to take it upon ourselves to intervene within these oppressed communities we would not only be unlikely to achieve our objectives, we would probably end up well within the orbit of our own nations’ racism.

The situation would be different if the call for “zero tolerance” secularism were to be coming from within these targeted communities. But the present racist context makes that less likely to happen, and white leftists engaging in a campaign for mandatory secularization of all public spaces would only make it less so. Given that racism is the dominant aspect of the entire “reasonable accommodation debate”, and that it is hypocritically hiding behind these questions of secularism and anti-sexism, we can only imagine that this rise in nativism will make the struggles of racialized queers and women and non-believers all the more difficult.

We are just at the beginning of a long process, as Canada is being transformed by the worldwide shift to neo-colonialism which began decades past. Forty years ago as this process was in its early stages, less than 4% of people living in Canada were members of “visible minorities” – today it’s over 13%, but much more in the major cities where racialized immigrants increasingly constitute the critical mass of the working class (i.e. 22% in Montreal, still one of the whitest major cities in the country). In terms of developing the working class of tomorrow, from 1996 and 2001 racialized communities accounted for almost all of the 1,1% population growth across the province – their numbers grew by 14.7%, almost all of which was driven by proletarianizing immigration.

There is great potential for revolutionary opposition to Canadian and Quebecois capitalism from within these communities. We can hope that it will be led by left-wing and anti-patriarchal forces, and when we can work with and support the latter we certainly should. But intervening to push these communities to the left is not what is on the agenda for the Quebecois or anglo-canadian left in the current “debate”. Rather, what is at stake for us is our own politics, and our ability to maintain or find a base for these within our own communities while remaining in solidarity with the oppressed, and not the oppressor.

Instead of focusing on secularism i think that elaborating and aggressively pursuing an anti-racist and anti-patriarchal struggle within our own communities – where sexism and homophobia and racism are much more central and dangerous than the husk of Roman Catholicism – is the best way forward. Such work is more likely to make us natural allies within the immigrant proletariat for the anti-capitalist resistance of tomorrow. Given the fact that “the woman question” and not “the god question” is increasingly at the center of global capitalism, developing such a struggle is more likely to lay the basis for a revolutionary opposition to capitalism here... and everywhere else too.

Categories: , , , , ,

Friday, February 09, 2007

Racist "Reasonable Accommodation" Anxieties: A Short Summary

The brief version will suffice for right now – what follows is “catch up” for all of you who do not live in Quebec, and so may not know what this deal about Herouxville, “reasonable accommodation” and such is all about. Those of you who do live here will probably find nothing new or particularly interesting in what follows... i’ll try to do better soon.

Here we go:

Over the past few months the media and certain politicians have instigated a “debate” about the threat immigrants are posing to “traditional” “real” Quebec culture.

A series of incidents in which certain non-Quebecois and non-Catholics have requested that things be done differently to accommodate their cultural preferences and religious traditions have been framed as a generalized us vs. them issue of “immigrants asking too much from the host society.”

The issues are of the kind familiar around the world. Hasidic Jews asked that frosted windows be put in at a YWCA in front of their synagogue, so that their men not be “distracted” by women working out in spandex. Muslims attending pre-natal classes requesting that the classes be made “women only”. Sikh children wanting to wear the kirpan to school. A Jewish hospital telling an ambulance driver he could not eat his non-kosher spaghetti in their cafeteria (to do so means that religious Jews can no longer use the cafeteria). Some daycare workers complain that their Muslim and Jewish co-workers get vacation pay on their religious holidays. (see here for a complete chronology.)

Worth mentioning: the above is a list of requests – despite inaccurate media coverage to the contrary, these requests were not all granted.

While the question was being constructed primarily by the media, in mid-January Mario Dumont of the right-wing ADQ political party made a point of staking out an anti-immigrant position (garnering words of praise from conservative nationalists like Gilles Rheaume). Defining Quebec as a European society with values based on its religious past, Dumont was rewarded with a bump in support (24%, a seven-point increase since last spring and the ADQ's highest level of support in nearly two years) when he attacked the Liberal government for “being on its knees” before immigrant communities, and called on unspecified measures to reinforce Quebec’s national identity and protect its traditional values.

Then a little over a week ago, the city council of a village called Herouxville entered the fray, effectively pushing the discourse much further to the right.

The city council passed a wonderfully brilliant – and horribly racist – resolution “welcoming newcomers to our community” but spelling out a few rules. Things like “we consider that killing women in public beatings, or burning them alive are not part of our standards of life” and “men and women play... hockey together, don’t be surprised this is normal for us.” As well as gems like “The only time you may mask or cover your face is during Halloween, this is a religious traditional custom at the end of October celebrating all Saints Day,” and “the lifestyle that [immigrants] left behind in their birth country cannot be brought here with them and they would have to adapt to their new social identity.”

While the intention behind the Herouxville resolution was clearly to state that racialized communities should not be catered to in Quebec as a whole – there are in fact no immigrant communities, or even Muslim or Jewish individuals, in the village of 1,000 – its disingenuous tone (“we would like to invite, without discrimination, in the future, all people... that would like to move to this territory”) and smart choice of examples (i.e. the murder of women) garnered it instant media attention from around the world.

Overnight, the town became something of a symbol for that broad current of anti-establishment nativism which is always just beneath the surface in Canada. People have written in to the newspaper saying we should rename the town “Hero-ville”, and similar resolutions have been passed by other villages in the area, as well as the city of Trois Rivières (one of the whitest cities in Canada, with only 1% people of colour).

With a provincial election looming, and white francophone Quebecois by far the largest voting bloc, positions taken at this point are unlikely to be good, and could have lasting consequences. Certainly, anxieties about immigration and multiculturalism are going to be in the news for a while to come, and will certainly be exploited by all sections of the political establishment. Racialized communities and ethnic minorities are faced with an increasingly hostile climate.

In this context the provincial Liberal government’s decision to launch a commission to look at the question of “reasonable accommodation” is really just more bad news. Charles Taylor and Gerard Bouchard – two white men, one anglophone and one francophone, ostensibly representing the “traditional” Quebec power structure – are to have a year to examine the question, hold pubic and private hearings, and come up with some kind of “solution.”

This public commission is very much a ploy on the part of the political establishment to defuse the quickly rising temperature of white racism, or at least manage it, getting it under control. But the very terms of the debate – putting the requests and demands of immigrants on a different level than those coming from other sections of society – are intrinsically racist, and in the end this ploy could very well backfire, providing a year-long soapbox for the likes of Dumont, or worst.

Which, again, is something that the political establishment can deal with as long as they have a handle on it. The economic future of Quebec as a whole, and the well-being of the Quebecois middle classes in particular, are directly reliant on maintaining immigration to this province. Not only to meet the labour requirements of the official economy, but also to fulfill the labour of social reproduction which for previous generations was carried out by super-exploited women – mothers, wives, nuns and (for the wealthy) “domestic servants.”

Barring some cultural counter-revolution, there will be no question of stopping people from immigrating to Quebec – to do so would require the reproletarianization of sections of the new Quebecois middle classes. What is at stake – and what the currently rising nativist movement has its sites on – is the degree of freedom and social power that the new immigrant proletariat will enjoy, or (conversely) the degree of oppression and exploitation it will be forced to suffer.

Within this dangerous situation, the only real strategy for those of us fighting for a better world must be reject the racist underpinnings of this false “debate”. Unfortunately, large sections of the Quebecois left-wing, trade union and feminist movements remain sympathetic to – if not plain out enmeshed with – the nationalist project, and many of the so-called “cultural communities” are similarly tied to the Liberal party. These ties can only hamper any real solidarity from the former, or resistance from the latter.


See also No One Is Illegal (Montreal) on Racist "Reasonable Accomodation" Debate.

For more background on Quebec, people may find last year’s posting Quebecistan? I wish... and my subsequent exchange with a comrade from NEFAC (More on the Quebec Nation) to be of interest.

Spraypaint in Herouxville

Yesterday the Collectif pour l’Integration Respecteuse des Cultures au Quebec (CIRQ) went spraypainting through Herouville, the tiny village which has catapulted itself into the limelight, just as it catapults the level of discourse in Quebec to the right...

Photos from l’Écho de Maskinongé.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

No One Is Illegal (Montreal) on Racist "Reasonable Accomodation" Debate

The following is a February 5th statement from No One Is Illegal-Montreal on the racist debate currently occurring in Quebec about “reasonable accommodation”... i hope to write more about this tomorrow, providing some context for those of you from other parts of the world who have not been following this, but for now this is worth reading:

As racialized and migrant women, we are outraged by the slanderous, xenophobic and racist propaganda that is being expressed in the debate about "reasonable accommodation".

We assert our ability, as subjects not objects, to exercise our own capacity to self-determine our lives; we reject the repeatedly paternalistic, and fundamentally misogynist, discourse about the State that will supposedly save us from our own cultures.

We assert that such a discourse is both racist and sexist. It is racist, because it perpetuates the idea that our cultures are fundamentally backwards and cruel, in contrast with white Western culture, which is seen as the ultimate achievement of civilization. It is sexist because it derives from ideas that render women childlike, or viewed as simple victims incapable of struggling for their own wellbeing.

This idea of "civilization" is intrinsically linked to the colonial mentality that led to the genocide of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. It is a genocide that persists when, by way of example, the disappearance of more than five-hundred indigenous women in Canada continues to be treated with contempt and indifference.

We reject the mass media's simplistic and reductive conception of women's "rights". While we actively assert our "right" to freedom, safety and dignity as articulated in the traditional paradigm of "human rights", we also assert our "right" to the expression of our cultural and religious identities.

We celebrate the diversity and dynamism of our cultures and our identities – including our different sexual orientations as queer, lesbian, trans, straight, or other forms of self-identification -- and refuse the simplistic caricatures that reduce our multiple communities to homogeneous and uncontested representations of a monolithic tradition.

In this respect, we reassert the dynamic nature of the various manifestations of our beliefs or cultural identities, which express themselves within a larger social and political context.

In particular, we observe that the analysis of the oppression of women and gender inequality, as expressed in the mass media, as strictly a phenomenon internal to religions, explicitly ignores the external, universal systems of patriarchy and sexism which all women face, while also definitively homogenizing religion.

We denounce the role of the State and its structures in the marginalization of racialized and migrant women, whether they are religious or not.

The actions of the State and the capitalism contribute to making the status of migrant women more precarious by increasing the barriers to obtaining legal status through various forms of systemic discrimination, and increasing the vulnerability of women by their criminalization.

We also denounce the complicity of the imperialist feminist discourse which, under the cover of supposed solidarity, imposes Eurocentric and assimilationist ideas gender equality. We are critical of the dominant feminist paradigm that privileges the choices of Western women as the sole path towards liberation, despite the overpowering reality of daily sexism that Western women face.

We are conscious of the way in which this discourse continues to be manipulated and used by pro-war, anti-immigrant proponents. We recognize the historical continuity of the appropriation and manipulation of feminist discourse by colonial and imperialist movements throughout the world.

However, we are not supporters of cultural relativism that tends to justify oppressive and unjust practices in the name of the "difference". We remain vigilant so that the freedom of religion does not prevent us from fighting actively against oppression.

To show true solidarity, we must listen to the women that we claim to support in their struggle, and we must understand that we occupy different positions of privilege and power.

To do this, we must actively fight against the dehumanization of racialized and faith communities, and against the victimization of women. We must support the women who are on the frontlines of their own struggles for liberation, and subjects, not objects, of their own transformation. We must engage in this process not motivated by pity or charity, but by a true sense of solidarity and respect.

-- No One Is Illegal-Montreal.

--> If you wish to support this statement as a group or individual,
please get in touch. If you want to help plan actions against the
racism underlying this debate, please get in touch as well!


[Translated from the original French on the NOII blog]

Categories: , , , , , ,