Behind the headlines: #ShutDownCanada

I write from Vancouver Island, where emptied tankers sit in the harbor, unable to go to port because of rail blockades in solidarity with Indigenous land defenders. As I write, we are witnessing/participating in/supporting nothing less than the opening of a new cycle of anti-colonial and anti-capitalist struggle in Canada.

This blog post is meant to counter some of the disinformation and half-truths in the US media over recent days.

The Washington Post ran a story yesterday about how demonstrators across Canada have “paralyzed the nation’s rail system” for 12 days (now 13).

Many of these folks have turned their own towns and cities into frontlines in the struggle, responding to a call to #ShutDownCanada in solidarity with the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en nation. Some of the most disruptive rail blockades have been held down since February 12 by folks from the Mohawk nation.

Illustration by Gord Hill, author of 500 Years of Resistance.

The WaPo article states that protests began February 6 with the beginning of the RCMP raid which later saw matriarchs dragged from their territory while in ceremony. But the fight against land theft & extractive industries in so-called British Columbia goes back much further.

Wet’suwet’en land defenders have been maintaining a presence and building infrastructure along the proposed path of the pipeline since 2010, fighting (successfully) for recognition of their title over the land for decades (see Delgamuuk’w vs. British Columbia), and standing up to settler colonialism and so-called Canada for over a century.

In another story yesterday, the New York Times quoted establishment figures who undermine and criticize anti-colonial actions across Canada. Just like much of the Canadian media, the voice of “opposition” to Trudeau’s government is Trump-esque opposition leader, Andrew Scheer.

Scheer is all over the media these days saying things like: “Will our country be one of rule of law or one of rule of mob? Nobody has the right to hold our economy hostage.” But as Cindy Blackstock pointed out, the “rule of law” was used by Canada’s colonial government to hang Métis warrior Louis Riel in 1885.

Contrepoints has published an antidote to the mainstream media coverage of the actions to shut down railways across Canada, and Its Going Down has aggregated many frontline reports from solidarity actions.

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