Priorities: Indigeneity or Secession?

A post by Jamie

How exactly do I even begin? My language choices throughout this piece are applied conscientiously. Selection of terminology used here is neither made carelessly nor in jest. I am struggling daily with a profound and genuinely increasing sense of  dread, and this particular piece of writing is an attempt to account for this as concisely as possible.

We’ve got indigenous peoples in both Brazil and Canada essentially declaring war against their respective colonial governments and other occupiers with corporate interests (Brazil, Canada). While indigenous peoples in Canada are being neglected (see this… oh, and thisand this, too) and starved (see here), indigenous peoples in Brazil and neighbouring countries are being fire-bombed and gunned down — though media reports on indigenous peoples in South America are apparently often misleading (as in the title of the article about a Brazilian indigenous tribe declaring a fight to the death for their land) or false (like this case); thus generating its own set of problems around media accountability and the visibility of issues effecting these communities. Such as the Belo Monte mega-dam threatening the extinction of up to 40,000 indigenous people (see this) — Gee! Does this sound, to anyone else, like exactly the same conflict between the Canadian government (and corporate interests) and the Cree over the James Bay project? Or the current conflict between the Canadian government (and corporate interests) and the Coast Salish (and many other indigenous communities) over the pipelines projects proposed to run directly underneath their reserves and territories (some of those territories being unceded and yet, the deal was conspicuously proposed without the consent or acknowledgement of the communities who hold title)?

Meanwhile, the Israeli Defence Force is actively perpetrating a genocide against Palestinians in Israeli-occupied Gaza, citing—tell me exactly when all of this starts to sound familiar—“self-defense” and “fighting terrorists” (read this article from Mehdi Hasan and this one from Omar Baddar about the conflict to catch up if you haven’t been keeping track). The colonizer in the Gaza Strip has rapidly become the oppressed over the past 50 years, in a very deeply unsettling and highly publicized conflict characterized by drone strikes, soldiers calculating exactly how much food they can deprive the Palestinians of without starving them to death, and children (who make up the majority of the population in the area) walking around plagued by post-traumatic stress disorder. US President Obama condemns the IDF’s air strikes while himself overseeing drone strike operations all over the Middle East (and you remember why the US is over there, right?) What is happening to the Palestinians is being compared to Rwanda and even the Holocaust — a sentiment that most certainly was helped along by the Israeli deputy defence minister himself threatening to exact a Holocaust upon the Palestinians three and a half years ago.

And while all these anti-colonialist conflicts are going on in relatively increasing magnitudes in Canada, South America, and Gaza respectively, throughout the United States, we’re all watching a bunch of disenfranchised white people (and a bunch of internet trolls making fun of them) in every state, petitioning the White House website (see here) for secession since the day after Obama’s re-election. Or in the case of at least one troll petition, a pizza party for everyone else if the Missouri secession petition is successful (I’m not kidding). Add two separate petitions to either strip US citizenship from or deport everyone who signed a secession petition, and where the race lines are being drawn in this conflict is suddenly not so clear as it first seemed. The first petition appeared the day after Obama was re-elected (honestly, where were these petitions when Bush was re-elected?), and after one week, all fifty states had some angry secessionist posting a petition on their behalf. Many transparently lack any concrete complaint, although that Texas one at least mentions the NDAA.

Obama is being heavily scrutinized for the use of drone strikes; and yet, the Vox Populi’s alternative was Mitt Romney—a far worse choice, on every count. While racial privilege is an undeniable factor of this slowly escalating conflict within the US, and while this conflict is hard to take seriously on the surface, I’m inclined to believe the scope of it is much further-reaching the scope of racial inequality all on its own, and that this conflict runs much deeper than the surface. Take for instance that the effects of colonialism on indigenous communities are still conspicuously missing from both sides of all this secession talk. And yet, even the most superficial understandings of Gaza (as I will be the first to admit, my own is thusly described for the time being) and/or the drone strikes all across the Middle East reveal a common thread of This Is Happening Because Colonialism (optional add-on: Is Bad). I find myself at a loss to even begin to formulate a guess at how exactly one constructs a set of tunnel vision goggles so that s/he can see clearly what’s going on half-way around the world and yet not see the exact same thing when it’s taking place in hir own backyard (and has been for centuries). That’s a dangerous context to be wholly steeped in without even being aware of it. This is how history repeats itself, as we are seeing in Gaza and the rest of the Middle East.

I can just about understand and empathize with the person filing a secession petition in the event that Romney was voted President, but because of Obama? Secession demands under the Obama administration have all the appearances of an unconsciously driven knee-jerk reaction that’s as far from graceful as a panicked, over-acted, pretend-death-rattle by a population suddenly being confronted (as if for the first time!) by what colonization has been doing to indigenous communities for the past 500 years. It’s cognitive dissonance finally wearing off in relation to the US invasion of the Middle East. It’s the narrator of the movie Fight Club describing the mental image of Marla Singer, throwing herself around in a drug-addled haze in her crumby little apartment. The most pathetic part of it all is that secession isn’t even the answer to fixing a broken democracy (a solution that will still leave aboriginal peoples behind). But like [spoiler] Ed Norton not even realizing he’s been Brad Pitt [/spoiler] for the entire length of the film, North America is watching Gaza in horror, largely oblivious to having a secret trigger quietly tripped in their own minds, that the same thing will happen here if we keep treating indigenous peoples across the continent (and in South America) as disposable human beings.

I think I just heard the entire collective of my many previously annoyed readers suddenly let out an annoyed huff all at the same time; all rolling their eyes together, but that’s OK. I’ll just remind the rest of you again that indigenous peoples have essentially declared war to the North and South of the United States. Oh, and there are still a lot of indigenous peoples in the US, some of whom have even successfully claimed their own sovereign republic within your borders because they had nothing to lose by renouncing support they weren’t receiving anyway — see this blog post about the formation of the Republic of Lakotah (and their more recent Keystone pipeline blockade) in case you missed this at any point in the past 5 years (although I would expect RoL to take issue with their sovereign republic being describes as land that is “owned” by them). Then come back and read some more.

You back yet? OK. Let me be clear about my intentions here: I’m not writing all of this to suggest that Native Americans are going to form some sort of a violent uprising like the Israeli occupation of Gaza in the near future (although Brazil might suddenly start to feel a lot closer to home than it has traditionally felt by virtue of its geographic distance alone); rather, I wrote this piece to suggest that the reason why so many people are writing and signing secession petitions is that they can subconsciously sense, as they watch Gaza, that something huge is building momentum on home soil. They feel backed into a corner by increasingly persistent threats to their racial and settler privileges (i.e., descendants of colonial settlers), and demanding secession is the ultimate way to avoid and deny those privileges without actually doing the work of letting them go or doing anything to subvert them (except that doesn’t make them go away). It’s also, at least in their own minds, not a clear-cut demonstration of deep-seated racism (except that it is). In other words, here’s a picture that paints a fair portrait of what’s going on:


Now back to that sticky little detail about being so steeped in your un-interrogated racial and settler privileges that you can see what’s going on when it’s half-way around the world but not when it’s the identical thing right in front of your face: this is seriously problematic; especially so when its name is colonialism and your backyard is anywhere in North America—where we pretend colonialism is this Thing™ that happened 500 years ago and that it remains there, even though our entire society is a testament to how persistent and current it still is. There are so many oppressions and injustices in North America, that while not at all unique to this continent, are nevertheless rooted here in the relationship of colonialism to current distribution of sociopolitical power. Not being able to see what binds it all together becomes a battle against the Lernaean Hydra.

We have a problem of social inequality all across North and South America, and the solution to that problem is neither secession nor invading a foreign country to steal its natural resources (I have every confidence in the audience of this blog, that this statement was already self-evident). While we’re scrambling for a quick and dirty solution to whatever we want to call “oppression” in any given week, injustice anywhere is and always will be a threat to justice everywhere. There is no quick and dirty solution to 500 years of oppression against indigenous peoples. And on a related note, I couldn’t help but notice nearly five times as many supporters for de-funding Planned Parenthood than, say, for declaring that the mass murder of 30,000 Indian Sikhs in 1984 (for the actions of just two in the assassination of India’s first female Prime Minister, for which those two were both executed) was an act of genocide. It should seem obvious that sentencing 30,000 people to death to punish two is an act of genocide, and yet, this has been denied by the Indian government just as justice has been withheld from indigenous peoples by the colonial governments across North and South America. It’s time to set an example and change our relationship to the First People.

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  1. says

    (honestly, where were these petitions when Bush was re-elected?),

    WEll, you do hear talk of secession from the left too, occasionally. Some progressives out here talk longingly of an independent “State of Cascadia” consisting of Western Oregon and Washington and parts of Northern California, although they’re more likely to talk longingly about requesting annexation by Canada. That still counts as secessionist talk in my book, although I honestly wouldn’t be averse to the latter idea.
    That said it’s really more of a right-wing thing, particularly neo-confederates. (I realize that was probably a rhetorical question, but Iwanted to finish my thought). Also, Bush didn’t have a handy-dandy ‘petition the White House’ setup when he was president.

    Regarding the rest of the post, I had not heard about the Republic of Lakotah, but I will read that post you linked to when I have a bit more time. I have tried sometimes to discuss these types of issues with (other) white people, but it’s like pulling teeth to get white people to acknowledge racial issues at all, and even worse for Native American issues.

  2. smrnda says

    The pizza part reward for successful secession (have people signed up without realizing it’s a joke) is on par with the maturity level of these angry white secessionists. In terms of complaints, they really have absolutely no grounds by which they can argue they’re being oppressed and I’m sure many angry, rural, working-class white people stand to benefit more from Obama than they would have under Romney. When I run into people lamenting the demise of freedom or the upcoming Statist tyranny and I ask them for concrete specifics, I get a pretty angry response that I dare even demand that they back up these claims with evidence. Through what mechanism will Obama enslave you? How is a tax to support health care different than a tax to support roads (none of us drive on every single one.)

    At the same time, white people (privileged or less privileged) seem to demand massive amounts of concrete evidence from any colonized or marginalized group that they are actually being oppressed, and will argue that any evidence (massive incarceration of Black males, low life expectancy among Native peoples) isn’t adequate evidence and they pull out the ‘it’s all individual choices’ card. It’s a total double standard, held either because of outright ignorance or denial, or sometimes a little of each.

    I’ve never been able to understand what drives disenfranchised whites to reactionary politics since, overall, it offers them no benefits, but perhaps the psychological benefits of identifying with the powerful elites provides a more obvious benefit than say, an increased standard of living.

  3. says

    Yeah, that’s the thing. Everyone is complicit until they start doing something to confront and challenge the structures and ideas that created and maintain the problem. It’s not a left vs. right issue, because it’s a ‘who was here first and gets considered last’ vs. ‘who came after and gets considered first’ problem.

  4. says

    Totally. The same people demanding heaps of evidence also never have first hand experience navigating the injustice system after being picked up by police for walking while aboriginal, handed a beating, and abandoned in a remote location.

    Or they’ve never had first hand experience after one of their family members was neglected to death in police custody (after being arrested for being drunk while aboriginal).

    Yet they always seem convinced everything makes it to the court and gets equal consideration by equally impartial judges and juries, then demand that you prove why not when you can show that this doesn’t happen.

    Well, some of those same people are bound to find out sooner rather than later, thanks to growing paranoia within police forces. Now everyone is a target. But we will all benefit from fighting for and helping re-establish indigenous sovereignty. And we aren’t going to get there by denying the state of their lives on this continent or South America.

  5. says

    When I run into people lamenting the demise of freedom

    I think I can actually make a case for that one, although the people who whine the most about it are usually voting for the culprits: The Drug War, the Patriot Act, the increasing militarization of the Southern border and of police in general, the ever-increasing habit of employers encroaching on employees’ personal lives, etc. These are definitely erosions of freedom, and every one of them was instigated and is supported by the Right. Similarly, I think that there is an argument that a lot of the poor whites who are complaining are, in fact oppressed. Where they get it wrong is a)thinking that they are more oppressed than other groups, and b)thinking that the government generally and Democrats in particular are the source of the oppression, and c)failing to recognize that nonwhites get the same kind of oppression but more so, plus all kinds of other sorts of oppression that whites just don’t even have to deal with.. Most of the oppression that happens to poor whites is economic oppression, committed by large corporate bodies with the connivance, once again, of the fascists that the complainers support. And, of course, as HaifischGeweint points out, they refuse to believe in anyone elses’ oppression, because I guess it just has to be all about them. I’m frankly getting entirely sick of white people, to the point that I’d gladly give up my own vote if it meant that the these jackasses wouldn’t have it either. (Probably hyperbole; I’m not actually suggesting that white people should be denied the vote, per se, but it’s damn frustrating.)

  6. andrewjohnson says

    I have tried sometimes to discuss these types of issues with (other) white people, but it’s like pulling teeth to get white people to acknowledge racial issues at all, and even worse for Native American issues.
    – Well of cause it is difficult, because if corporate America allowed the media to talk about that it would also be allowing the media to expose the current genocide & mining operations like West Papua / Grasberg etc.

  7. smrnda says

    I agree that poor whites are oppressed, and agree that they just blame the wrong people. I mean, even some MRAs point out legitimate problems faced by men, they just reflexively blame it all on feminism (even when many of these ‘men’s problems’ are about as old as dirt.) It’s how I don’t get a lot of white people going on about the evils of wealth redistribution. They have no wealth to redistribute. Part of it might be that they imagine wealth redistribution only benefits imaginary ‘welfare queens’ or that they truly believe that the rich deserve every cent they have (while complaining about a lack of pay raises at the same time. ) If anything, it’s definitely a case where ‘othering’ has worked pretty well.

  8. Brad says

    Israel is pretty shitty, but hamas has been firing fucking rockets into Israel on an irregular basis since forever, not to mention that Israel is surrounded by enemies that would wipe it out if they thought they could get away with it (though that’s more a result of zionism being a terrible idea in the first place, and religious stupidity on the part of almost everyone). To make a long story short, you’d need to do more work to convince me the middle east is a fair comparison to the other situations, nor do any of the situations resemble Dumbass White America’s sound and fury.

  9. says

    Good thing I haven’t been trying to convince you for 500 years already, but rather, for less than 2000 words.

    That totally un-unique criticism might have hurt me where my feelings should be.

  10. says

    That’s nice. I suppose that’s because missiles didn’t exist 500 years ago when the first European settlers wiped out 100,000,000 people and enslaved everyone who survived.

  11. says

    Maybe because my position isn’t an argument in favour of genocide? I don’t know what you’re trying to engage with, but it doesn’t seem to have much to do with what I’ve written.

  12. Brad says

    I disagree with the idea that the situation in gaza is meaningfully comparable to brazil or canada or white whine.

  13. says

    And I disagree that your mere opinion is a legitimate attempt to sincerely engage the subject matter. I guess we’ve reached an impasse. Feels like deja vu for some reason — Oh wait. Because of your first reply.

  14. Rodney Nelson says

    Brad, you have to remember that HaifischGeweint is not amenable to logic, facts, or argument that contradicts his holy writ. You either have to agree with him totally or STFU. That’s why I never bother to respond to any of his screeds.

  15. khms says

    Frankly, while I most certainly agree that all these places have massive problems along the lines you describe, the connections you draw seem rather tenuous and not very helpful to either side. It sounds a bit like someone trying to compare insider trading to domestic abuse – both bad, but while there are parallels, it’s hard to see how focusing on those could possibly help solving the problems.

    The only argument I could see in your case that might actually make sense, is that conflicts get harder to solve when connected with strong ideologies and lack of connection to reality (of which othering is just one aspect of many), and that humans seem to be far too vulnerable to these kinds of fallacies. Alas, it is not clear to me what can be done about that.

    Sure, a lot of those conflicts (possibly all) have some sort of historic connection to colonialism, but sending the British home from India is not a useful pattern to try and base a solution on. For that matter, pretty much every place we humans live right now, we colonized at some point in time – the difference is just how long ago that was. We can’t all go back to Africa or even back into the sea, and even if we could, we’d just carry our problems along with us – the problem is not where we are (usually), but what we do where we are. Instead, what we need to figure out in most of these cases is how to live together right where we are, without fighting all the time. There are easy answers, but none of them is actually practical, I’m afraid. Just like the old Christian “love your neighbor” thing – nice when it works, but usually it doesn’t.
    I certainly don’t have the answer.

  16. says

    You can all disagree, but at least have a bloody argument beyond mere opinion. Maybe try having an argument that doesn’t start with “WELL I haven’t thought about this at all, so I think everything you’ve written is just plain wrong for no reason at all. And clearly I’m in the right here, because I said so.”

  17. says

    Well first of all, military occupation of someone’s homeland isn’t the only way to (re)colonize it. And secondly, I have not argued ANYwhere that everyone needs to pack up and go back to Africa or Europe.

    It’s called reconciliation. Like what happened in Germany (although apparently Germany still needs to learn to not supply bombs for other countries attempting to colonize and ethnically cleanse a foreign region of its indigenous peoples). If every single conversation about indigenous peoples starts with either “SECEDE FROM THE COUNTRY!” or “OK, we’re done here, guess we’ll just pack up and leave”, we’ve still left the problem behind, and that’s not even an attempt at reconciliation.

    The biggest barrier to reconciling is denial. Denial of genocide, denial of continued colonization and occupation of the ancestral territories of indigenous peoples. Denial of their right to sovereignty. Denial that they are oppressed. And in unfortunately common cases, denial that indigenous people still even exist.

  18. Brad says

    I invited you to elaborate, what you posted in response to comment 7 makes sense. As khms put it, the connections seems tenuous. The white whine still seems like it’s not one of the others, but I agree with what you wrote the 5:45 comment, with the caveat that Germany’s speech restrictions ought not be copied.

  19. Ysanne says

    Exactly what part of which German “reconciliation” do you mean to apply to the situations you address in your post, and in what context?
    I’m German, relatively well-informed about German history and politics, and still pretty much at a loss as to what you could possibly mean here.

  20. says


    For starters, not just pretending the holocaust and the Berlin wall never happened, but also openly acknowledging it in public spaces. And then there’s the fact that, correct me if I’m wrong here, its a fairly standard practice to acknowledge these things when teaching history?

    In Canada and the US, the approach to indigeneity is to just pretend Columbus arrived to a completely uninhabited land, and when indigenous peoples are actually acknowledged, it’s an exercise in pretending that genocide never happened even though it continues to this (their children were put in residential schools, often against the will of the parents, and were culturally assimilated, abused, and culturally indoctrinated as well… That’s all after the nearly wiping everyone out with the spread of disease and booze, then enslaving anyone who was left).

    The Canadian and US governments also routinely pretend Chinese slavery and Japanese internment never happened.

  21. says

    Do atheists get not even the tiniest bit tired of treating everyone who disagrees with them as if they’re religious about it? Fucking christ, this shit is obnoxious. Do you have not even the tiniest shred of self awareness? I’m like, 95% sure you were one of the folks I saw grumbling about feminism being called a religion as well.

    with the caveat that Germany’s speech restrictions ought not be copied.

    …because freeze peach for holocaust deniers is totes mcgotes as important as germany making a collective agreement not to play into that form of antisemitism?

  22. andrewjohnson says

    Congratulation Crommunist, you have the tunnel vision you were asking about. You know all about people in the middle east, Canada, and south-America which the US is not responsible for; you even know about pizza groups who say they are a repressed people.. But what about the COLONY in the Australian Pacific which the US is mining and is responsible for?

    Since 1962 over 400,000 people have been killed under the UN trusteeship agreement which America wrote promising that the UN by 1969 would acknowledge self-determination by “all adults, male and female, not foreign nationals”

    Has West Papua ever been allowed that vote? No. Is it still under hostile military occupation? Yes. Is it still being mined by Freeport and now BP? Yes.

    Tunnel vision is an evil thing. Hundreds of thousands of people have died from it. But at least you know tunnel vision is a problem – so thank you Crommunist for that 🙂

  23. Ysanne says

    Yep, the less glorious parts of history are taught in schools. There’s an “officially accepted” stance on these events, just like it is “officially” agreed that things like racism, gender discrimination and xenophobia are bad.
    Outside of schools, however, there’s an increasingly visible number of people who show the classic “you’re just trying to make us feel all guilty so you can exploit this to your advantage” attitude in most of these issues, and use this to justify an enormous step backwards from the generally progressive attitudes that I remember from maybe 10 years ago.
    Probably it has to do with how safe people feel for their standard of living, as fear for it brings out the hate. But it is also a backlash from a certain tendency for self-flagellation and wallowing in (a comfortable amount of) guilt, which was a popular substitute for actual progress for a long time.

    So no, Germany is not the poster child for dealing with colonialism, or generally ugly parts of history, in a sustainable way. (Still beats a bunch of other ways though…)

  24. Pierce R. Butler says

    Speaking of tunnel vision, andrewjohnson – if you scroll up a little bit, you might be able to see a line of text between the headline for this post and the quirky photo above the body of the article.

    On the left-hand side of that line of text, you will (if your t.v. allows) see a date and time stamp. On the right, you will not find “Crommunist”.

  25. Nathanael says

    I really hoped that the US and my state would start actually settling the cases brought by the various First Nations regarding land thefts and treaty-breaking in the area. This could begin a rapprochement and we’d have a basis to start working from…

    But no. Right-wing bigotry ruled in the Supreme Court of the US.

    Canada’s Supreme Court has done some good work, though.

  26. says


    Just experienced a 2 for 1 week of genocide denial is less important that perceived snark, according to 2 different 30-something white men in my very city. This is the result of free will and privilege avoidance, as general acceptance is not a form of thought policing; but rather, a form of an attempt to dismantle at least one facet of systemic inequality.

    I mean, hell, my paternal grandfather was a teenager in occupied Denmark, but that didn’t stop him from being a racist dickshit. I can’t even deal with him or the rest of my family.

    But EVERYBODY in this country seems to be a racist dickshit when it comes to indigeneity. Mostly because, thanks to the government’s brilliant plan of “pretend this isn’t happening and it’ll go away”, relatively few people even know about residential schools, the Indian act, and the treaties system (e.g., what is now the city of Toronto was purchased for the equivalent of $60CAD in today’s money). So the fact that Germany acknowledges that history at all? You’re miles ahead of KKKanada (I am not alone in that opinion either). It’s not perfection but it takes everyone to get there, and sometimes there are people, no matter how unfortunately, aren’t interested in getting there. I see a lot of parallel social processes between what you described and what I wrote.

  27. says

    The only good work by Canada’s supreme court was closing the last residential school in 1996. They’ve kind of dropped the ball and even stopped answering when called out on it.

  28. says

    I’ll have to look these up to answer that, because I’m not familiar with these cases at all. I’m more familiar with people who are fighting against the government rather than within it.

    Of course I did also neglect to mention Harper’s recent lukewarm apology for the residential schools. That came after the announcement of the truth and reconciliation commission chair that while the UN defines genocide in the terms of what has happened in Canada, that doesn’t necessarily mean genocide happened in Canada (that was when I had television and was watching news — that lukewarm apology was eventually followed by an investigative report on how disabled indigenous children on reserves are neglected for access to services, which contributed to one disabled child’s death and a subsequent bill proposal that hasn’t effected any change since it passed some time ago).

  29. says

    All of the cases I mentioned are landmarks where the SCC took the side of human rights and equality over the interests of the state. I think each one of them will be ones that you agree with strongly. And the SCC isn’t “the government” and doesn’t fight “within it”. Its function is explicitly to ensure that the government obeys the law, and on many occasions (Insite being a recent example) has specifically told the government to go fuck itself. Harper is not a fan of them. Neither is his base.

  30. says

    I’m not sure how to feel about the idea that the supreme court of Canada is somehow separate and distinct from the government of Canada, but maybe that’s another particularly long conversation to file in my “next time you’re at skeptics” database. Or something. Because now we’re departing into justice vs injustice system and I’d have to defer to your knowledge base for the time being.

    I have a lot of mixed feelings about SCC. Even from what little of it has been impressed upon me.

  31. says

    If your point is that both the Government of Canada and the SCC are simply different facets of the same colonialist/white supremacist system, then you’re not wrong. But the SCC operates independently of the gov. The judges do not get voted in/out with a particular government, and the government is legally not allowed to interfere in their decisions. If you look at the legislative history of this particular court with respect to this particular government, you’ll find that they are an independent body.

    And that body has, not always, but often, sided for human rights. It is sworn to uphold the Charter, and often lives up to their oath. It’s not perfect, but nor is it true that they’ve never done anything laudable.

  32. im says

    I can think of a few other issues. And I think that you really are not seeing things. Reading the writings of smart reactionarys is strange, illuminating and TERRIFYING.

    I wonder about white flight, on the other hand.

    I think a big thing is that people are frustrated over not having mastery over culture. I am one ofthem, but I do not advocate solutions that would not even help.

  33. im says

    Yeah. The third (and impossible) option is mass exodus, which would suit my just fine because it would allow my people to choose what culture they will have, instead of just melting into a puddle of apologetic self-loathing that will not actually help all that much. (Note: I recognize that you have plenty of other goals.) But I don’t know of anywhere to put almost 200 million people.

    -There are some significant differences between Israel / Palestine and the others. For one thing, the North American nations have almost completely replaced the original inhabitants (and I genuinely believe that this story is not going to have a happy ending). Second, the natural resources / ancient land sacred in a way that even religious Europeans have never imagined (Where is your denial of religious special rights now?) is another complication, and one which might be really hard to deal with. Not sayign the parallel is not a very meaningful one, though.

  34. andrewjohnson says

    Courts and the judicial systems are meant to be independent of the other branches of their governments, by definition they are to impartially implement the law which has been created by the other branches.

    What dishonest governments do is avoid the courts or write immoral laws. For example the genocide in West Papua continues because the UN members have not allowed the UN court, the ICJ permission to give its opinion about the abuse and sovereignty of West Papua.

    The only reason East Timor is free today is because Portugal was suing Australia at the ICJ (International Court of Justice) and this allowed the ICJ in 1995 to explain the legal fact that East Timor was a non-self-governing territory and therefore entitled to self-determination.

  35. says

    I think a big thing is that people are frustrated over not having mastery over culture. I am one ofthem, but I do not advocate solutions that would not even help.

    I’m not even sure how to respond to this. Is it just a gall on your spirit that there are people who do things differently to you? Does it worry you that you might have to deal with someone who listens to different music, or prefers different food, or dresses differently? What aspects of culture do you want ‘mastery’ over, and why? And further, why do you think that you’re entitled to such ‘mastery’ and others aren’t?

  36. smrnda says

    When you reference ‘your people’ and 200 million, am I correct in assuming that you are a white American? I’m just checking the numbers there.

    Also, when you say ‘my people’ you understand that you’re laying a claim that all American white people are one people. I don’t think there even exists such a thing as ‘white culture.’ Was I, growing up in NY, and some white people living in Alabama really from the same culture? They share a legacy of white privilege , but a common white culture? I’m white, and I sure don’t feel like I share much of a common culture with your demographically average white person. I feel like I have a distinct culture that lots of “real Americans” would prefer I ditch in favor of their understanding of what a real, (white) American is supposed to be (and believe.)

    I really also don’t feel anybody is laying a white guilt trip on me. My family wasn’t in the states until after 1905, but we still benefited from white privilege and white oppression of minorities and native peoples. I’m not going to pretend it didn’t happen, nor am I going to accept that trying to fix it is a lost cause.

  37. Paul W., OM says

    I suspect that you’re using “government” in the US sense (that includes the judiciary, legislature, and the executive branch), but Crommunist is using it in the UK/Commonwealth sense, roughly what people in the US would call the “current administration”—elected officials and political appointees.

    (I’m not sure what Haifisch means by “government”.)

  38. says

    Yes, that’s it exactly. The Government of Canada is an entity that is controlled by one party or another as elections occur. The Supreme Court is not subject to that level of democratic oversight, and is independent of any partisan involvement. Yes, there is a justified level of cynicism about how truly independent the judiciary is, but Canada’s Supreme Court has a remarkably even-handed history and reputation. I strongly disagree with Jamie’s characterization of their history, especially given the number of human rights victories that have been won at the Supreme Court level – victories I’m sure he’d support.

  39. says

    When it answers to the police apathy towards missing and murdered indigenous women, indigenous men who have been executed in police custody (such as Frank Paul), and the police pass-time of “starlight tours”, or when it even STARTS answering to those problems, maybe I’ll be a little less cynical.

    So far, the United Nations and Amnesty International have been quicker to take a closer look at those problems.

  40. says

    The Supreme Court isn’t an investigatory body. Are there cases that have been brought to the court and turned away? I’m not saying there aren’t, I just don’t know of any.

  41. says

    Yeah, see, I don’t know exactly who investigates investigators when they pretend to be prosecutor, judge, and hangman. It sure as hell shouldn’t be the police.

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