Friday, April 01, 2005

NATIVE LAND CLAIMS THREATEN THE CORPORATE STATE!

One of the major hurdles activists face is the underlying philosophy of this culture, one that sees everything as disconnected. Thus, people do not see the reality that "an injury to one, is an injury to all," nor do they see that a victory by one group of oppressed is a victory for all the oppressed.

Typical of this sort of ignorance is the far too common negative attitudes toward Native struggles, most particularly land claims. These attitudes are encouraged by the corporate media, since land claims threaten the corporate state. This observation seems a common place among the libertarian left - after all land claims mean the potential loss of corporate control over vast amounts of minerals, water and timber.

But there is more to it than just resources. Native People, after centuries of oppression, cultural genocide and racism are standing up and fighting back. Yes, there are corrupt Indian bureaucrats and would-be capitalists among them. Yes, cigarette smuggling and casinos exist as well. However, consider the possibility of Native People reaching back into their traditions, developing a cooperative, sustainable and communitarian economy on their territories.

One small example of Native communal developments is found in the Innu Reserve of Essipit on Quebec’s North Shore. According to an article in the Montreal Gazette Feb. 27th entitled “A Success”, the Innu have financed a number of successful industries and have become the main economic force in the area, keeping the neighboring white town of Les Escumins alive. There is a certain amount of jealousy involved as the white municipality complains that First Nations People have an unfair advantage since their Band Council can invest in profit making enterprises while their municipal govt. can only invest in non-profit services and infrastructure. (Rather than being jealous, change the stupid law or find some way around it.)


Should Native People continue in a communitarian direction and reject the corporate capitalist model, Canada would have these islands of alternative economic development based on a revitalized Native culture. Most likely, First Nations alternative economies would then link up with existing non-Native cooperatives. Both groups would support each other. One result (rather than jealousy) could be a growing desire for a communitarian approach and local control of development in non-Native communities. All of this would be bad news for the greed heads.

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