First Nations on the Move — the Idle No More movement

Idle no more posterThe willow that weeps no more

by , The McGill Daily, 17 January 2013

Τhe air was cold, sharp, biting. A medicine man was burning sage in a cleansing ceremony and a sacred fire burned in my peripheral. An elder called forth all the women who knew the Willow Song to come share their voices. In my Torontonian grade school, Canada’s history begins with the so-called discovery of the Americas. The Willow Song, as well as many other Indigenous traditions, was never taught. As the beat of my heart blended with the beat of the drums, I began to understand the immensity of the history I did not know. So I took some notes from the Willow Song: willow trees bend by the force of the wind. They do not break.

Through the smoke of the fire, I could see the slow rush of the Ottawa River and on its noble cliff, Parliament Hill. Samuel de Champlain wrote in his journal on June 14, 1613: “the savages call it Asticou, which means kettle.” The waterfalls that gave the land its name are no longer there. Today, most call this Algonquin territory Victoria Island, home of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence. A woman who, through her hunger strike – still ongoing at time of writing – is inspiring thousands of people to march for Indigenous rights in the social movement now known as Idle No More.

The grassroots movement brings to light three main goals: the decolonization of Indigenous peoples by the federal government, the reversal of omnibus Bill C-45, and the union of Indigenous people and their allies in a collective, nationwide movement. Omnibus Bill C-45 amends 64 acts or regulations, including the Indian Act and several acts regulating natural resource extraction. Many of the reforms will allow the federal government to streamline projects and profit from Indigenous territories.

idle6***

A fellow Daily editor and I arrived on the island the morning of January 11 – one month after Chief Spence began her hunger strike. There was a demonstration planned for that day and buses were already arriving from all over the country with people ready to walk the short distance to Parliament Hill. The Ontarian band chiefs had convened the day before in Ottawa’s Delta hotel to discuss whether or not to negotiate with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. This was our second attempt at getting past the camp gates. A media blackout that began the previous Monday had kept journalists like us out. The following day, we came as students instead, without recorder, notebook, or camera. (Thus, I won’t be talking about the demonstration inside the camp.)

Before entering the camp, my colleague and I spent a good ten minutes idling among the parked cars, unsure how to respectfully approach a movement we felt was not ours. A woman wearing traditional indigenous regalia approached us and introduced herself. She laughed with us and chatted amicably about where she was from. “Go make your observations inside,” she said. Continue reading

Philippines: New Peoples Army unit assigned typhoon relief work, responds to AFP attack

Merardo Arce Command
Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command
New People’s Army
Press Statement
18 January 2013
NPA takes prisoners of war, defeats military raid vs AFP operations in Typhoon Pablo-ravaged towns
As the AFP and the US-Aquino regime resumed its fascist counterrevolutionary campaign in typhoon-ravaged countryside, the New People’s Army (NPA) secured two Prisoners of War and defeated a military raid against a detached team of NPA political officers in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental provinces.  This, after the Merardo Arce Command-Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command-NPA has directed all its units to take active military offensive stance after it lifted its temporary ceasefire last January 15.
In an NPA checkpoint, operatives from the Guerilla Front 34 Operations Command arrested and detained 60th Infantry Battalion’s Pfc. Jesrel Colanggo, and PNP’s SPO1 Ruel Pasion on January 17, 2013 at around 8:00 AM in Brgy. Mangloy, Laak town.  The NPA also confiscated a 45 caliber pistol in their possession.
The two prisoners of war are being treated well, their safety are of primordial consideration, as the NPA abides the tenets of international humanitarian law.
The NPA checkpoint was conducted to prevent undesirable elements and to counter the fascist Special Operations Team of the 60th IB under the AFP’s Oplan Bayanihan.  The 60th IB’s bloody record against the masses included the summary execution of peasant Totong Mabinse of Brgy. Datu in Laak town, and the forced recruitment and coercive surrender of peasants.
The day before, on January 16, the 67th Infantry Brigade and 72nd IB troops raided a detached team of NPA political officers belonging to the Guerilla Front 15 Operations Command in Sitio Limot, Brgy. Binondo, in Baganga town, Davao Oriental at around 7 AM.  The Red fighters were alerted and battled it out in a counter-defensive measure, but the team left its two high-powered rifles at the scene.
The Red fighters have detached from the main front guerilla unit at the time of the ceasefire to solicit goods for the relief and rehabilitation program of the People’s Democratic Government for the Typhoon Pablo victims.
In the ongoing brigade-wide operations of the 67th IB and 28th IB of the 701st Brigade in the towns of Baganga, Manay, Mati and Lupon in Davao Oriental, the AFP troops have gone berserk in violating the human rights of the poor, suffering Typhoon Pablo victims.  The fascist troops blocked the entry and exit of residents in Sitios Tigbawan, Limot, Mantapay and Bagangan of Brgy. Binondo in Baganga town, and Sitios 72 and Tangaan of Brgy. Manurigao in New Bataan town.
The NPA perseveres in taking part of the People’s Democratic Government’s medium-term program for the recovery of damaged farms and livelihood of suffering masses in Typhoon Pablo-hit areas in the region.  As the people’s war escalates, it will defeat the abusive and deceptive Oplan Bayanihan that has made the lives of Pablo victims worse than ever.
(Sgd.)Rigoberto F. Sanchez
Spokesperson
Merardo Arce Command
Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command
New People’s Army

As “peace talks” get no traction, Philippine government war on people’s resistance slated to expand

Revved-up counterinsurgency

AT GROUND LEVEL, by Satur C. Ocampo (The Philippine Star) | January 19, 2013

“I am now in a position to influence the implementation of (Oplan) Bayanihan as chief of staff because I now become its operational commander. Unlike when I was the CGPA (commanding general of the Philippine Army), I had a limited role as the force provider. But now I will have a direct hand in the implementation of Bayanihan.”

Thus declared Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, who became AFP chief last Thursday, regarding the Aquino government’s six-year counterinsurgency program for which he is credited as key author. Basically the program is lifted from the 2009 US Counterinsurgency Plan applied in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One can gather from his statement both a sense of relief and gratification: relief from frustration, as Army commander having had an ancillary or “limited role as the force provider,” and gratification for finally being put fully in-charge of implementing his own plan.

Hence the go-go spirit exuded by Gen. Bautista. He told the press he would “hasten the tempo” of the AFP’s 44-year-old campaign against the Left armed revolutionary movement, with the end-goal to “render irrelevant” the NPA and its armed struggle.

Going by the timeframe of Oplan Bayanihan, officially known as the Internal Peace and Security Plan, Bautista has to work really hard and fast. (His stint as AFP chief ends on July 20, 2014.) The plan calls for the “substantial completion” of the end-goal within the first three years of the program, or in 2011-2013.

This is because within 2014-2016 the AFP aspires to relinquish its lead role in counterinsurgency “to appropriate government agencies” so that it can “initiate its transition to a territorial defense-focused force.” Continue reading

Nepal: ‘If bourgeois state does not deliver democracy …. we will take up arms’

[While the split in the revisionist-bourgeois UCPN(M) and the formation (re-formation) of the Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist has been the focus of high hopes among revolutionary Maoists internationally, the consolidation of the CPN-M has also been a subject of conflicting views and an emerging debate about how complete the split with revisionism has really been. 

Aspects of the emerging line have not yet been spelled out completely, but some signs of an ongoing and developing struggle over political line have been on the surface of public events.  These struggles are further expressed in former liberated (by the People’s War) base areas, among former PLA fighters, and among others who have shown dismay at the urban-centric work plans and diplomatic ties with Chinese, Korean, and Indian post-Mao revisionists.  While these issues will be watched, and debated, by Nepalis and by internationalists who continue to raise the revolutionary road, the danger of a consolidated “centrism” and of uneasy and unprincipled “reconciliation” of revisionist and revolutionary lines is present.  The following article may, or may not, be indicative of this centrism.  The response of others who are undoubtedly advocating a Leninist and Maoist understanding of the class nature of the state, is not yet being reported.  We anxiously await further developments, and hope this new party will be a far more receptive (and productive) place for this struggle than the UCPN(M) in the revisionist hands of Prachanda and Bhattarai has been. — Frontlines ed.]

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“Maoists will take up arms” if…. : Baidya

13890KATHMANDU, Jan 17: The CPN-Maoist on Wednesday warned that the party will take up arms if the state power cannot assure the rights of the people. Speaking at a press meet organized here by the party following the conclusion Tuesday of its seventh general convention, the CPN-Maoist also informed that the time for the revolt will be determined by the political situation.

“Give rights to the people. It the people get their rights, who will take up arms? Nobody. Why is the state conspiring instead of assuring people their rights in accordance with previous agreements and assurances. If rights are not given to people, it is sure that arms will be taken up,” answered Mohan Baidya, newly elected chairman of the CPN-Maoist, when asked about the reason for people´s revolt.

“As far as the date for launching a revolt is concerned, it is not a matter to be announced at present. It will rather be determined by the circumstances. Asked when they would launch their revolt, Baidya said, “We will launch the people´s revolt or people´s war as and when circumstances compel us because no one takes up arms just on the basis of the whim or interests of certain leaders”. “Arms will be taken up by any other force also when the situation so demands, even if we ourselves drop the idea.” Continue reading

Murders in the Holy Land and The US media Wizards of Ozreal

How the media let Israel get away with murder

Charlotte Silver, The Electronic Intifada, San Francisco, 17 January 2013

Relatives of Samir Awad mourn after the 17-year-old died of gunshot wounds on 14 January.

(Issam Rimawi / APA images)

Israel spends a lot of time talking about secure borders and how the need for them drives its policies regarding the Palestinians. With few exceptions, the media act as willing promoters of this perversion of reality.

Between 11 and 15 January, four young Palestinians — aged 17 to 22 — were shot dead by Israeli occupation forces. The murders took place in the Gaza Strip and at different points along Israel’s wall in the West Bank. In all instances the Israeli army justified the use of lethal force by invoking its need to protect the integrity of the wall and Israel’s borders.

On 11 January, 22-year-old Anwar Mamlouk was reportedly just outside the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza when Israeli soldiers gunned him down.

The next day, Odai al-Darawish, 21, was shot to death at three o’clock in the afternoon while crossing Israel’s wall in the West Bank to get to work in Israel. Initially, Israeli sources claimed the soldiers shot al-Darawish in his legs, in accordance with the “rules of engagement” (“Israeli troops kill Palestinian trying to cross barrier,” The Chicago Tribune, 12 January 2013).

But medical sources quickly revealed that he was hit in the back, indicating that he was likely shot while trying to run to safety (“Israeli forces shoot, kill worker south of Hebron,” Ma’an News Agency, 12 January 2013).

Al-Darawish was from the village of Dura, near Hebron, where in September last year a man attempted to immolate himself in a desperate protest of the dire economic conditions Palestinians face in the occupied West Bank (“Palestinian man attempts to set himself on fire in West Bank village of Dura,” Haaretz, 17 January 2013).

Mustafa Jarad was aged 21 and a farmer from Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip. He was shot in the forehead by an Israeli sniper on 14 January while working his land. But despite the Israeli gunman’s skillful marksmanship, Jarad was not killed immediately.

Doctors at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City tried to remove the bullet from his severely injured brain, but Jarad died after surgery (“Mustafa Abu Jarad, murdered in Gaza, by the Israeli army,” International Solidarity Movement, 15 January 2013). Continue reading

Why Does a Revolt Fail? On Reexamining “Who are you fighting? Is your force and vision capable of victory?”

[If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles. – Sun Tzu, The Art of War

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Jordan – a failed uprising and a re-emerging regime

“Up to now, the regime has been successful in absorbing the movement and fragmenting it”

by Hisham Bustani, Your Middle East, January 8, 2013

There is no doubt that the November 2012 events in Jordan dubbed Habbet Tishreen by many activists in recollection of its 1989 counterpart, the April Uprising, or Habbet Neesan, are unprecedented. Although both were triggered by an increase in the prices of oil derivatives, the 2012 version seems to have been much more radicalized in its approach to the ruling regime, especially the Hashemite monarchs/family and the king himself.

Before 2012, it was the virtue of the ultra-brave to publicly criticize the king and the royal family: they usually spoke with evident hints and innuendo, but without going the full route to directly uttering the name of the king. Criticizing the king and the royal family was simply not tolerated under Jordanian law, and it is still punishable by one to three years in prison. The law incriminating this sort of criticism has perhaps the world’s most absurd name for any legislation: literally, the ‘Law on elongating one’s tongue about the monarch’!

I was not one of the brave ones, but while others directed their criticism to ‘the government’, I have always referred to “the political authority” in my articles, making a point that governments do not rule in Jordan, they are mere executives, and the decision-making lies somewhere else, in spaces on a higher level: The Royal Court and the General Intelligence Agency (Mukhabarat).

Continue reading