Arundhati Roy Under Attack, Canadian Activists Fight Back

Vancouver and Surrey social-justice activists protest contempt charge against Arundhati Roy

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Arundhati Roy has received a contempt citation for criticizing the arrest of a high-profile Indian human-rights activist. Vikramjit Kakati

The judicial persecution of a prominent Indian author and essayist has riled activists around Vancouver.

Many of them gathered in Surrey to protest a charge of contempt of court filed against Booker Prize-winning Delhi writer Arundhati Roy.

The demonstration included Chinmoy Banerjee, Parminder Swaich, Hardev Singh, Harbhajan Cheema, Harinder Mahil, Jai Birdi, and Avtar Gill, all of whom belong to different progressive groups in the Lower Mainland. Continue reading

Canada: 25 groups protest against Modi visit

[As India’s Prime Minister Modi continues his deceptive diplomacy (“world’s largest democracy” and Gandhi imagery) to mask the realities of ongoing caste, class, tribal, and religious oppression and war against 80%+ of the people in India, he continues to run into growing diverse protests involving South Asians and internationalists, anti-inperialists, revolutionaries, and anti-fascists.  The latest took place in Canada. — Frontlines ed.]

Singh Station,  April 17, 2015

Vancouver – While Thousands chanted “Modi, Modi” to welcome Narendra Modi to Toronto on Wednesday night, there were about 25 groups who collated to protest as the Indian prime minister made his first visit to Canada.

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The Wars At Home: What State Surveillance of an Indigenous Rights Campaigner Tells Us About Real Risk in Canada

DESMOGBLOG, NOVEMBER 2, 2014, a guest post by Shiri Pasternak.

 

Recent revelations that the RCMP spied on Indigenous environmental rights activist Clayton Thomas-Muller should not be dismissed as routine monitoring. They reveal a long-term, national energy strategy that is coming increasingly into conflict with Indigenous rights and assertions of Indigenous jurisdiction over lands and resources.

A “Critical Infrastructure Suspicious Incident” report was triggered by Thomas-Muller’s trip in 2010 to the Unist’ot’en camp of Wet’suwet’en land defenders, where a protest camp was being built on the coordinates of a proposed Pacific Trails pipeline.mikmaq

The Unist’ot’en clan continues to hold their ground along these GPS coordinates today. Not coincidentally, they are members of a nation that took its assertions of jurisdiction to the Supreme Court of Canada in Delgamuukw v. British Columbia in 1997, establishing in Canadian case law the underlying proprietary interest of Indigenous peoples to their unceded lands.

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South Asian Diaspora in Canada Condemns the Political Persecution of Dr. GN Saibaba

SANSAD — South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy

Release political prisoner GN Saibaba

SANSAD News-release June 16, 2014

South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD) condemns the illegal arrest of Professor GN Saibaba, who teaches English in Ram Lal Anand College of Delhi University by Maharashtra Police on May 9. We further condemn his cruel detention in solitary confinement without regard to his disabilities, his suspension from Delhi University by the university administration following his arrest, and the denial of his bail plea by the Gadchirol sessions court in Maharashtra on June 13. We strongly protest these violations of human rights and civil liberties. We demand the immediate release of Professor Saibaba and his reinstatement in his teaching position in Delhi.

Professor Saibaba is an outspoken civil liberty activist, who as the deputy secretary of Revolutionary Democratic Front has been campaigning against the Indian government’s counter-insurgency measures known as “Operation Green Hunt.” His home in Delhi had been raided four times since September 2013 by the police before his arrest and transportation to Maharashtra on May 9 without warning and without access to a lawyer. Dr. Saibaba is a paraplegic who lost the use of his legs to polio as a child. He has 90% disability and has been bound to a wheel chair since he could afford one after his arrival in Delhi. Continue reading

The First Nations of Canada are still waiting for the colonial era to end

The government continues to ignore the sovereignty of indigenous inhabitants, even though it was granted in 1763
theguardian.com, Monday 21 October 2013

The Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, recently made a throne speech, in which he spoke of the settlers who founded the country: “They dared to seize the moment that history offered. Pioneers … reached a vast continent. They forged an independent country where none would have otherwise existed.”

Police cars explode in an anti-fracking protest

Police cars explode in an anti-fracking protest

This genocidal logic finds its companion image in the photos released last week, of 700 heavily armed Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers in a stand-off in New Brunswick with the Elsipogtog Mi’kmaq First Nation and their allies, who are currently defending their lands from the predatory activities of a Houston-based company conducting shale gas explorations. Over the past days, peaceful protesters have been pepper-sprayed, shot at with rubber bullets, and more than 40 people have been arrested.

Earlier this month, a group of First Nations elders travelled to London to mark the 250th anniversary of the royal proclamation of 1763. They did so, in part, as a reminder of the existence of promises made by the British crown to the First Nations of Canada. Issued by King George III at the conclusion of the Seven Years’ War, the proclamation recognised that all unceded lands of Indians would be left as such until they were ceded by way of treaty with the British crown. The document thus recognised indigenous rights to their land and, at the same time, asserted the underlying crown title to all of Britain’s colonial possessions in what was to become Canada. The proclamation emerged at a time when the British crown and First Nations were negotiating treaties on a nation-to-nation basis. And in this paradox lies the heart of settler colonialism today: the recognition of indigenous rights on the basis of their prior occupation of the land, now enshrined in section 35 of the Canadian constitution, along with the ongoing assertion of colonial sovereignty. Continue reading

Canadian Group in Solidarity with Indian Mass Struggle Against Op. Green Hunt and Maoist People’s War

Newsletter from the Political Information Bureau, pcr-rcp of canada (June 29, 2013)

Support the People’s War in India, Oppose Operation Green Hunt!

– From the Partisan No. 40

The International Committee to Support the People’s War in India has called for July 1st to be an international day of solidarity with the comrades of the Communist Party of India (Maoist). The comrades of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) are waging a heroic struggle against the Indian government, the feudal landlords, the Indian and multinational corporations for the socio-economic and political equality of all the peoples of India. These multinational corporations increasingly include amongst their roster Canadian companies.

In response to this heroic struggle the Indian government and its armed forces have assaulted, tortured, raped and killed all those who oppose its plans for “economic development” under the name of “Operation Green Hunt” (OGH). This is the true face of the ‘world’s biggest democracy’.

Indeed, the people of India are painfully aware that this development will not improve the lives of those most economically vulnerable in Indian society: the working class, the peasantry and the adivasi (tribal) peoples. Rather, it will simply benefit the Indian and multinational corporations, and their bagmen in the Indian government. It is in opposition to this exploitation of the Indian people and their resources/lands, and in support of the millions of people resisting the imposition of these anti-poor economic policies that we stand in solidarity with the people’s war and all struggles waged by the Indian toiling masses.

How do we intend to support the people’s war in India? The CPI(Maoist), in their statement to the Hamburg conference to Support the People’s War in India, write that, “The campaign to end OGH and the solidarity movement in support of People’s War in India complement each other and the anti-OGH programs should form an integral part of the support movement to Indian revolution as defeating this multi-pronged countrywide offensive of the enemy is an immediate task before us. Our party believes that it is the need of the hour for the communist forces standing in support of PW in India to strive to mobilize the broadest possible anti-imperialist, democratic and revolutionary forces to strengthen the campaign to end OGH and with a view to build a broad worldwide anti-imperialist front that is in process.” Continue reading

Canada: Media Watchdogs denounce phony “pro-life” promotion and faux “objectivity”

Nothing but contempt: Putting the lie to media coverage of Dr. Henry Morgentaler

Nothing but contempt: Putting the lie to media coverage of Dr. Henry Morgentaler

“I have nothing but contempt for people who wish to deny women one of the fundamental rights to control their reproduction.” Dr. Henry Morgentaler, 2010.

In the media avalanche following Dr. Henry Morgentaler’s death on May 29, two radically different views of the man quickly emerged. It was a rare article or newscast that didn’t use words like “polarizing” or “controversial” or “divisive” to describe him. The Globe and Mail was first out of the gate with the phrase “revered and hated” dominating their headline, while CBC gave us a choice between “hero or murderer.” Other media competed with catchy alliterations like “lauded and loathed,” “hero or hellion,” and “revered and reviled.”

Although nearly all mainstream media sources quoted pro-choice views, most also interviewed at least one anti-choice spokesperson (22 out of 35 news articles or broadcasts that I reviewed). Apparently, the media thinks that view has some kind of legitimacy and must be presented against the pro-choice view in the name of “balance.” Well, NO. The anti-choice position — that women must be compelled to carry every pregnancy to term under threat of criminal law regardless of circumstances — is an extremist view held by only 5 per cent of Canadians. It is also profoundly mistaken, cruel and undemocratic. As such, it does not deserve equal time or respect in Canada.

That tiny 5 per cent minority has great representation though — most, if not all, anti-choice organizations in Canada adhere to that same extremist belief. They don’t advocate it openly anymore because they know the public finds it abhorrent. But don’t be fooled — their dream is to ban abortion completely with no exceptions, the same goal as other anti-choice groups around the world. Recent cases in Ireland and El Salvador have shown conclusively that the anti-choice movement considers women to be merely vessels for babies, and that their lives should be sacrificed even for a doomed fetus with no chance of survival. Savita Halappanavar died tragically because of that doctrine — after suffering three days of “pro-life” induced pain and agony — and Beatriz in El Salvador came close to death’s door because of the same malevolent belief. Continue reading