Jan. 25, 2013: Domestic Drones redux; Rockin Robbie in the studio, and some social justice commentary & announcements

Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor
Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor

Listen to entire program here:

As you could perhaps tell my principle radio tool was not working well on Friday, and I’ve been pretty much laid up all week some with some kind of weird throat thing, so  tried to come up with a program that is both relevant to immediate issues and where I didn’t have to talk much!  Thankfully, it was the last Friday of the month and that means Rockin Robbie is in the studio – and welcome.

 Chief Spence has ended her hunger strike but Idle No More still is a movement with a rally planned for Jan. 28th (#J28) at Parliament Hill where the House of Commons reconvenes after the holiday break. As well, a large rally of labour and anti-poverty activists is planned for Saturday (where, as I edit this, Kathleen Wynne may have won the leadership of the Liberal party) in Toronto at the liberal leadership convention where in what passes for democracy these days 1500 hundred or so delegates will choose a new party leader who will then become, as if by the wave of a magic wand, premiere of Ontario.

That should last a matter of weeks as a spring election is likely to occur and if there is any justice in the world, the Ontario liberals can be reduced to third party status, the Hudak conservatives can be sent to some right to work state down south and the NDP can be given a chance to start to put some justice back into the political fabric of the province.

The thing is, we have to get the idea firmly planted that we cannot just vote every few years and call it democracy – no – we need to elect people who will not easily bend to the will of economic and banking interests and who will pay attention to working class issues. That means we’d still have to be somehow involved in the political process throughout an election cycle in order to make sure  workers’ voices are louder than money.

 The United Nations recently announced an investigation into extra-judicial killings by drone warfare.

The announcement brought to mind a related interview I did with Amie Stepanovich  of the Electronic Privacy Information Centre in Washington D.C. back in June of last year on the growing use of domestic drones in the U.S.

Rockin’ Robbie kicked off the program with a tribute to Idle No More: 

Open source drones, like this ArduCopter Quad from 3D Robotics, now outnumber military drones in the US. (Photo: Misha Gravenor) Click image for Wired" article
“Open source drones, like this ArduCopter Quad from 3D Robotics, now outnumber military drones in the US.” (Photo: Misha Gravenor) Click image for Wired article

 Amie Stepanovich and The Drones are coming

Larry Johnson, former Chief of Caldwell First Nation speaks at rally in downtown Windsor
Larry Johnson, former Chief of Caldwell First Nation speaks at rally in downtown Windsor in late December

In recognition of Chief Spence’s decision to end her fast I re-broadcast Johnson words at that rally in December:

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Featured CD:

Click image for more on this disc
Click image for more on this disc

Selection played on air: “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”: 

More from Rockin Robbee:

Jan. 18, 2013: Maurice Switzer & Idle No More media strategies; on the scene at Wednesday’s Unity Walk to Ambassador Bridge

Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor
Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor

‘On this program I am influenced by thinkers who teach, fight, and agitate for a just and inclusive world. The program is an attempt to help create a dialogue leading to such change and as such is not intended as a journalistic endeavour but as a counter-weight to the propaganda model of the media that is all around us. The views expressed on this program are mine and my guests’ and do not necessarily reflect the views of CJAM or even OPIRG Windsor.’

Listen to entire program here:

I spoke with Maurice Switzer, Editor of the Anishinabek News, and Director of Communications with the Union of Ontario Indians.

 The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians (UOI) as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate and secretariat to 40 member First Nations across Ontario. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.

Click image for more information on the Anishinabek Nation
Click image for more information on the Anishinabek Nation

The Anishinabek Nation territory encompasses First Nations along the north shore of Lake Nipigon, the north shore of Lake Huron, Manitoulin Island, east to the Ottawa River valley, and through the south central part of Ontario to the Chippewas of Aamjiwnaang First Nation.

Tribal groups represented within the Nation include Odawa, Ojibway, Pottawatomi, Delaware, Chippewa, Algonquin and Mississauga.  The 55,000 citizens of the Anishinabek Nation represent about one-third of the total First Nation population in Ontario.”

 I mention all this by way of introduction but also for us to consider that this political, social and cultural entity – the Anishinabek nation territory– is where we all live. But non First Nations people have other political divisions that we manage: the province and various counties, districts, and municipalities imposed a long time ago.  Thinking of it should make us wonder about how this country came to be and about the peoples we’ve made invisible.

I first met Maurice Switzer a few years ago when I was in Communication Studies at Laurentian University. He taught a class on minorities in the media and the focus was on First Nations people. With Idle No More and Chief Theresa Spence holding the attention of the corporate media, disturbing reports are surfacing about online comments that are racist, abusive, inciteful, and anonymous – not a good combination.

Anonymous comments have long been a source of debate and when an issue like Idle No More rises and challenges our perception of ourselves it doesn’t always bring out the best in us – in fact, the opposite. In Thunder Bay, On., a First Nations woman was raped and police there are investigating whether that assault is a hate crime because of what the attackers said to the victim.  Maurice Switzer  commented on this issue as well as on how First Nation activists can better strategize media engagement.

Our  conversation began with the Dec. 27th rape of  a First Nations woman in Thunder Bay:

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Click image for more info.
Click image for more info.

On Wednesday, January 16th, about 1000 members of 7 First Nations in Southwestern Ontario and their allies made themselves VERY visible during a march along Huron Church to the Ambassador Bridge plaza.

The event was organized by the London District Chiefs Council and allies.  Many speakers made impassioned comments and here is but a sampling of day:

Some photos of the day:

Moving south along Huron Church (Photo: Paul Chislett)
Moving south along Huron Church (Photo: Paul Chislett)
Approaching bridge plaza (Photo: Paul Chislett)
Approaching bridge plaza (Photo: Paul Chislett)
Flags of nations with Mona Stonefish just left of centre (Photo: Paul Chislett)
Flags of nations with Mona Stonefish just left of centre (Photo: Paul Chislett)
High energy and emotional gathering at bridge plaza after speakers. (Photo: Paul Chislett)
High energy and emotional gathering at bridge plaza after speakers. (Photo: Paul Chislett)

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Featured CD is, again, Detroit’s Rodriguez recorded in that city in 1969:

Click image for more on this fantastic Detroit artist
Click image for more on this fantastic Detroit artist

Sample track  played on air: “I Wonder”: 

Jan. 11, 2013: Documentary maker Harry Fear & his work in Gaza; Katy Quinn of KAIROS and the solidarity fast for Chief Spence

Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor
Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor

On this program I am influenced by thinkers who teach, fight, and agitate for a just and inclusive world. The program is an attempt to help create a dialogue leading to such change and as such is not intended as a journalistic endeavour, but rather as a counter-weight to the propaganda model of the media that is all around us. The views expressed on this program are mine and my guests’ and do not necessarily reflect the views of CJAM or  OPIRG Windsor.”

Listen to entire program here:

Only days in to the new year, Canadian political elites are finding out that ruling by edict, abusing legislative processes while holding on to phantom majorities, and catering solely to economic interests is leading to social chaos.

The premier of Ontario, literally hiding from his responsibilities, dictates by remote control while teachers fight back against labour legislation that is probably illegal under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

 In Ottawa, the Harper regime has ignited a movement by First Nations peoples who are standing up against his legislative abuses with Bill C-45 and the Omnibus Bill-C-38, among others, that gut environmental protections of lakes, rivers, and lands for the benefit of global corporations, and which deny the duty to consent with First Nations.

The movement is also inspired by centuries of racism and colonialism that the Harper regime is continuing.

 Too many Canadians, if even aware, are too ready to say this all affects other people. Yet it is clear that our governments have no inclination to do anything other than administer the demands of global corporations and their sycophants which is leading to the continuation of racism, colonialism, and the imposition of edicts meant to silence opposition to their agenda.

When you add up what Harper alone is responsible for: prorogations of parliament to sidestep a probe into torture allegations against Canadian soldiers and possible loss of political power, millions spent on the F-35 fighter jet, millions on increased militarism, blocking efforts to stop global warming, election tampering, it’s a wonder more Canadians aren’t hunger striking.

Harry Fear and Mohammed Almoayad in the CJAM studio (Photo: UWindsor Palestinian Solidarity Group
Harry Fear and Mohammed Almoayad in the CJAM studio (Photo: UWindsor Palestinian Solidarity Group)

 

 On the program Friday, Harry Fear, documentary maker and activist living in Gaza, was in the studio with local activist Mohammed Almoayad to talk about his experiences and work in Gaza covering life of another people who have endured great injustice.

Click image for report on psychological problems in Gazanchildren
Click image for report on psychological problems in Gazan children

Here, Fear describes his work in Gaza, life there, the political realities on the ground, and the effects of violence perpetrated by Israel as well as the ongoing blockade on the people and especially the children. He explains that the goal of his work is to make Gaza relevant to western audiences:

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IDLE NO MORE

Drummers at Round Dance, CAW Student Centre, Jan 11, 2013 (photo: Paul Chislett)
Drummers at Round Dance, CAW Student Centre, Jan 11, 2013 (photo: Paul Chislett)

Friday, a meeting was held between First Nations leaders and Prime Minister Harper and maybe the Governor General to try and find a way to resolve the conflict caused by the Harper government with passage of laws that strip environmental protection from lakes rivers and lands, legislation which infringes on rights of First Nations who are guaranteed a duty to prior consent by the government.

The movement Idle No More gathered thousands in Ottawa and more in cities across the country including Windsor which witnessed a Round Dance in the CAW Student Centre just earlier this afternoon.

Harry Fear and local activist Lorena Garvey-Shepley participate in UWindsor Round Dance. (Photo: Paul Chislett)
Harry Fear and local activist Lorena Garvey-Shepley participate in UWindsor Round Dance. (Photo: Paul Chislett)

In support of Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike, KAIROS, has initiated a solidarity fast and a letter campaign for Canadians to take part in. On the phone from Toronto was Katy Quinn, Indigenous Rights Program Coordinator at KAIROS.

She spoke about the work of the organization and her’s as Indigenous Rights Coordinator, and of the solidarity fast

Harper Launches Major
First Nations Termination Plan

“As Negotiating Tables Legitimize Canada’s Colonialism”

By: Russell Diabo

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Featured CD

Click image for more on this fantastic Detroit artist
Click image for more on this fantastic Detroit artist

Track played on air: “Hate Street Dialogue”:

Jan. 4, 2013: Lorraine Land & the legislation triggering Idle no More; Art Sterritt on threats to Coastal First Nations (Originally broadcast Apr 6, 2012) )

Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor
Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor

Listen to entire program here:

In a continuing attempt to follow the Idle No More movement I thought we could step back a minute and look at the triggering event which was the passage of legislation in Parliament that affects First Nations.

The Harper regime continually counts on most Canadians to  tune out what’s happening on Parliament Hill; however, Idle No More is not just a First Nations issue as it affects us all, not least of which is the manner in which Harper abuses the legislative process with private members bills and omnibus legislation. 

A Summary of Current Federal Legislative Amendments Affecting First Nations

I spoke with Lorraine Land, a partner at Othuis Kleer Townshend law firm in Toronto. The firm’s lawyers “have extensive experience in Aboriginal work dating back to the early 1970s including: Aboriginal and treaty rights litigation, including Aboriginal title litigation; comprehensive and specific land rights negotiations; inherent Aboriginal government negotiations; advice on development of indigenous governance, legal and territorial systems”, and so on.

Click Image to view United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Click Image to view United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Land described the work of the firm, some of the legislation triggering Idle No More, the ramifications of the Harper government’s abuse of power, and the  general undemocratic thrust of this government that is again focused on First Nations peoples.

Click image & link to NFB's"Kanesatake: 270 years of Resistance"
Click image & link to NFB’s”Kanehsatake: 270 years of Resistance”

She also touched on the need to seriously revisit the 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples undertaken in response to the Oka Resistance in 1990:

The blog by Tolbold Rollo is a very informative source.

Now forgotten by many, last year’s federal budget included $7 to $8 million earmarked for Revenue Canada so it could investigate charities that receive funding from abroad. It is commonly understood that this move is a way to silence critics of the Tar Sands and the planned Northern Gateway Pipeline to the BC coast.

With me on the phone from his home in British Columbia last April 6th was Art Sterritt, Executive Director of the Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative and an opponent of the Northern Gateway Pipeline. The First Nations that comprise the Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative “occupy the Northern and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii areas of B.C., from the Alaskan border in the north to Vancouver Island in the south.

I include it here again by way of a reminder that Idle No More is not just something out of the blue; that it is a movement whose time has come:

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Featured CD:

Click image for more on this fantastic Detroit artist
Click image for more on this fantastic Detroit artist

Sample track played on air: “Only Good for Conversation”:

From the website: “Sixto Diaz Rodriguez (also known as Rodriguez) is an American folk musician, born in Detroit, Michigan on July 10, 1942. He was named ‘Sixto’ because he was the sixth child in his family. Rodriguez’s parents were middle-class immigrants from Mexico, who left in the 1920s.”

Dec. 28, 2012: Dr Paul Thistle, The Howard Hospital & his work in Zimbabwe, Rockin Robbee in the studio and a report from the rail blockade at Aamjiwnaang First Nation.

Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor

Listen to entire program here:

Friday, Dec. 28th  was the final program of 2012, and if anything, this year may well go down in history as the precursor to a tumultuous 2013. From the local to the global, an entrenched and barely accountable ruling class of technocrats, bankers, and corporate leaders, and their sycophants without whom they could not hold power are intent on denying a voice to the masses. Trying to define the masses is part of the problem in why we cannot assert our will in the political and economic dynamics shaping all our lives.

We have trouble defining ourselves as actors in history and so we get labeled and compartmentalized as workers, social justice advocates, feminists, labour leaders, and so on. As we struggle in disharmony, the global power elites are managing to hold together their global economic house of cards.

As the year closes out First Nations peoples continue to be in the forefront of struggle against the colonialist mentality so brutally on display by the Harper regime. Chief Theresa Spence, on a hunger strike for several weeks is intent on prodding Harper and the Governor General to meet with First Nations leaders to set up a framework for a comprehensive plan to settle outstanding First Nations treaty negotiations.

As well First Nations are at the forefront of the struggle to maintain environmental regulations in the face of the government’s stripping of such regulations as global mining and oil companies descend on these resources. Of course, regulations have only ever been a stop-gap measure and the real fight is over control of lands and resources. Idle No More has the potential to bring focus to the struggle for economic and political justice. I was able to speak with local activists who traveled to the blockade on Friday and to local Aamjiwnaang First Nation activist Mark Rogers.

Recently on the program, I spoke with local photojournalist Doug MacLellan about his work covering Dr. Paul Thistle at the Salvation Army Howard Hospital in Zimbabwe. As Dr Thistle was in Canada over the holidays, MacLellan helped arrange an interview with Dr Thistle who had been the Chief Medical Officer of the Howard Hospital since 1999. Dr. Thistle is from Scarborough and received his medical degree from the University of Toronto in 1989. I spoke to him about his work and his termination from the hospital; a very controversial move and he was unable to comment directly on that as he is appealing the termination.

Howard Hospital new normal

“This is the entrance of the Howard Hospital, Zimbabwe at 4 pm on a weekday. Normally this entrance is bustling with the activity of patients, families and staff leaving for the day.”
(Copyright 2012 Douglas MacLellan. All rights reserved. Used with permission)

 

Here, Dr Thistle describes the history of the Howard Hospital and the country, his service work and the challenge of rural medicine in Zimbabwe, including the effect of HIV/AIDS

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A favourite picture of mine: Robbee and Neil at Occupy Windsor (Photo: Paul Chislett)
A favourite picture of mine: Robbee and Neil at Occupy Windsor (Photo: Paul Chislett)

Rockin Robbee was in the studio and covered three songs: So This is Christmas, New years day, and In the Name of Love:

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Aamjiwnaang Blockade, Dec 28, 2012. Lorena Garvey-Shepley 2nd from left. (Photo Supplied: Rob McGuffin)
Aamjiwnaang Blockade, Dec 28, 2012. Lorena Garvey-Shepley 2nd from left. (Photo Supplied: Rob McGuffin)

In this segment I spoke with Windsor activists Catherine Owen, Lorena Garvey-Shepley, and Aamjiwnaang activist and spokesperson Mark Rogers about how the blockade of the CN rail line was holding up

On January 2, 2013, it was reported the blockade would come down:

“The group issued the following statement at 4pm EST today: “The Ontario Provincial Court has mandated that the ongoing blockade of CN Railway be dismantled at 6 pm tonight. We are calling on community members and allies to come celebrate our collective victory at 6 pm tonight at the blockade. Ceremony will be held, plan B is in effect and there will be lots of food to share. Please post and share. Miigwetch. #idlenomore”

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Featured CD:

Click image for more on this fantastic Detroit artist
Click image for more on this fantastic Detroit artist

Sample Track played on air: “This is Not a Song, It’s an Outburst: Or, The Establishment Blues”: