Solidarity and Resistance – A new zine on community struggles against toxic mining

Vancouver Media Co-Op. June 6:

by various folks in Vancouver and Toronto

Download a PDF of Solidarity and Resistance.

Anti-mining struggles in occupied British Columbia are heating up. The Premier says she is going see to it that there are at least eight new mines open in BC by 2015. With these mines would come road development, new dams, new electrical lines, new clear cuts, bigger ports; in short, an expansion of extractive and industrial capitalism.

“What’s happened in British Columbia with the environmental movement, it’s been stalemated,” Qwatsinas, a hereditary chief of the Nuxalk nation, told filmmaker Franklin López shortly before his death. “The big leaders, they’re compromised.”

Qwatsinas and his people engaged in a long, grassroots struggle to prevent logging in their territory, which was never ceded to the government of Canada or British Columbia. In the end, the Nuxalk and their allies on the front line were betrayed by big environmental groups like Greenpeace and Forest Ethics, who made backroom deals in their name and without their consent.

Metal and coal mining, together with tar sands transport and natural gas exploitation, have sidled up to industrial forestry as issues of great concern for Indigenous and rural people throughout the province. It is only a matter of time before the big environmental groups get on board, promoting their campaigns and media messages, and, in the worst case scenario, repeating history by signing back room deals after successful, hard fought struggles carried out by folks on the front lines.

We see this dynamic is already playing out around the struggles happening in Wet’suwet’en territory, where the big enviros are focussed on messaging around one thing: the Enbridge Pipeline. The full suite of threats to peoples’ lives and territory are not on the table: natural gas pipelines, carbon trading, mining, forestry. These groups don’t use words like sovereignty, capitalism or liberation. The brave folks who have set up the Unis’toten camp, in the direct right of way of the Pacific Trails gas pipeline are well aware of this dynamic, and deserve all of our support.

This zine is a critical look at how NGOs can impact resistance movements, with special attention to mining resistance. It was prepared in a very short time span, with limited resources, and in solidarity with ongoing struggles throughout this hemisphere and around the world, and with all the awesome folks in Vancouver for this weekend’s mining injustice conference. This isn’t a personal attack on NGO workers or their specific organizations, but instead, a call to everyone involved to think critically about how dollars are used to co-opt powerful peoples movements, again and again.

Paraphrasing Zig Zag, this is a good opportunity to learn from the past and prepare in the present to defend the future.

Download a PDF of Solidarity and Resistance.

Solidarity and Resistance was prepared by members of the VMC and the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network for the June 1-3 “Shout Out” against mining conference in Vancouver, where hundreds of copies were distributed. The opinions within do not necessarily reflect organizational level consensus from both groups.

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