Posts Tagged ‘protest

16
Jun
09

Vancouver: A Van Covered in Protest

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Vehicles captured my attention on several occasions while I was in Vancouver, with its “sky train,” compact taxis, cruise ships, yachts, and buses — most were vehicles for commerce, tourism, and leisure. During my first night I was drawn to loud music blaring several stories below from what must have been the longest stretch limousine I have ever seen, easily at least twice as long as the regular stretch limousines one can see, and this one was apparently a stretch Hummer. Young men in tuxedoes, followed by young women in ball gowns, all stepped in, coming out of what may be Vancouver’s most expensive hotel. I then realized that some of the windows of the limousine were in fact LED screens, projecting psychedelic patterns to the beat of the music, with graphic equalizers at two points on the side of the car. As it filled with about 20 young people, the lights at the front and the back of the vehicle began blinking and pulsing brightly. This must have been a group going to a prom, an American import in a country of mimics living the American Dream in Canada. The whole production, between hotel suites, clothing, and the car must have been in the many thousands of dollars, all to celebrate four years of feigned attention in class. If this is a recession, it is not hitting nearly hard enough, or, as we know is the case, it is not hitting all classes with equal ferocity.

Next, the Norwegian cruise ship. I had not seen a cruise ship since I was in Dominica, and it was “good” to know that I was back in a place that hitches its economic fortunes to the perceptions of others. Apparently I missed the disgorging, as few people were to be seen in the vicinity of the ship. I then headed to a district called Gastown, mostly to see why others have made such a big deal about it (and having seen it now, I still have the same question). On the way there, a very captivating sight, a refreshing change: the protest van. It really put the “Van” in Vancouver for me.

There was no sign of its owner, this blog on wheels. It occupies a prominent position in a central parking space, bordering a sidewalk that all tourists must pass when walking from the cruise ship terminal toward Gastown. Indeed, several were there photographing and videotaping it, quietly, and without comment. The signs are fixed to boards that are themselves screwed into a supporting structure that is itself fixed to the sides of the van, all sides of the van. A canoe sits on top of the van because, after all, this is still Canada, eh.

As one can see from the slide show, the persistent theme of the signs is imperialism and occupation (so right away my eyes turned sympathetic, needless to say). The main topics have to do with Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, oil, and torture. There is a fair amount of artistic work — hands that stick out of the van pointing at the viewer, small auxiliary signs jutting out from the corners of the van, individual words decorated (frequently with dripping blood, the Star of David, or the American flag). Yet, a quote that should have been attributed to Hunter S. Thompson, was instead erroneously attributed to Thomas S. Hunter (a good sign, perhaps, that someone has not fully learned American cultural references). Less forgivable to the pedant was the fact that the designer forgot to run a spell check on his van — again, just like a blog.

Another persistent theme across the signs was “Google ->”. On almost every sign there is a recommendation to the reader to look up a particular phrase in Google. What irony for “the real world” that the extracts from the “virtual world” staked a space in it. More irony, with this slide show that pulls the van back into the virtual world, where one will soon be able to Google “protest van” and come up with images of the van referencing Google. Our distinctions between the real and the virtual seem evermore threadbare.

If one needs a van for physical representations of what would otherwise be recognizable as blog posts…then you realize what is coming next? The Twitter protest bicycle, with short tweet-like statements affixed to each spoke on the wheels, to the frame, along the handle bar. If anyone sees the Twitter bicycle anywhere, please drop me a line, preferably 140 characters in length or less, and I promise to RT you.

In the meantime, here is a small sample of some of the images used in the slide show, at higher resolution:

08
Dec
08

The Rage in Greece is a Global Rage

Greek demonstrators stand on the balcony of the Greek consulate in Berlin on December 8, 2008

Some media are calling these “riots” by “extremists,” while others insist on speaking of “self-styled anarchists” (as opposed to officially incorporated and state-recognized anarchists?) — I prefer to see these events as a transnational festival of insurgence that targets some of those insititutions that embody and breed violence locally and internationally: the police, the state, and transnational capital. Internationally, a wikipedia page on the current Greek riots has already gone up, while the Greek protest spreads to Berlin and London, and The Telegraph warns investors that they are “wrong to ignore the Greek riots”:

That may sound like a little local difficulty. But the tensions created by unemployment, marginalised youth and incompetent governments are far from exclusively Hellenic….

and this gem of incisive analysis, there is a “social risk” to the inequality and social injustices of capitalism,

…Events in Pakistan and India have brought geopolitical risk back onto investor’s radar screens. They should now also be thinking about social risk.

Anrachist protesters at the Greek Embassy in London

The events, which were “sparked” by the police shooting to death 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos in Exarchia, Athens, on Saturday, December 6, then erupted into full scale rioting in Athens, across Greece with at least 11 cities seeing protests and several schools and at least two universities taken over, and has now moved into London and Berlin where Greek diplomatic missions have been the targets of capture by protesters. Anarchists have been at the forefront of this action.

The government of the right wing New Democracy Party, under Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, is in jeopardy. Like its Conservative counterpart in Canada, it has barely been able to keep a grip on power (the Canadian government has a minority of seats in parliament, while the Greek government has a one seat majority), and has also been pursuing neoliberal policies that have deepened inequality. What seemed to be provoked by what even the Greek interior minister believes was an unjustified shooting of a youth, has mushroomed into a large scale social protest.

According to The Guardian, events planned for today and later this week include:

The Greek Communist party announces a mass rally in central Athens for tonight and the socialist Pasok opposition calls for peaceful mass demonstrations. University professors start a three-day walkout and many school students stay away from class in protest.

Cars and pedestrians return to the streets of Athens as Greeks go back to work, but with a 24-hour general strike scheduled for Wednesday against pension reforms and the government’s economic policies, many Greeks fear the demonstrations could last for days.

See the timeline of events on The Guardian.

More news from The Guardian on this, the third day of protests.

See also “Anarchists’ Fury Fuels Greek Riots,” The Christian Science Monitor, Dec. 8.

See the impressive photo gallery of the protests on the Sky News website.

Videos:

December 8

ITN News: “Protestors have battled with police in Patras, angry after a 15-year-old boy was shot dead on Saturday night”

December 8

ITN News: “More riots planned in Greece…Protests are continuing in Greece after a 15-year-old was fatally shot by police at the weekend.”

December 7

AL JAZEERA


Students riot in Piraeus


Students riot in Piraeus, 2

•••••••

Where I am writing from, in Montreal, a similar police shooting of a 17-year-old boy, Freddy Villanueva, in a predominantly immigrant neighbourhood with many Latin American and Caribbean families, also led to violent protests against police, with riots and the torching of police cars and businesses on August 9 (see the photo gallery). That case also continues to be at the centre of controversy, with no plausible or acceptable answers provided by the Montreal police as to why one of its men murdered a young and unarmed boy at close range. Indeed, police brutality is itself the target of annual demonstrations by students and others, and ironically sometimes the police show up to prove the point made by the protesters. Everywhere, as economic crisis deepens and political crises erupt, we will see the true face of the police state that is the modern nation state.

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02
Sep
08

Under the Dictatorship of Capital: The Liberty of Things Over Persons

As we witness the national security state at work in crushing protest in the U.S., with the arrest of well over 100 protesters at the Republican National Convention, one has to be reminded of one of the most basic tenets of “liberty”/”freedom” under capitalism: the power of things over people. In almost all such situations, protesters are arrested in many cases for “damage against property”, which like the crime of “theft”, amounts to the denial of the liberty of the thing. When looting breaks out, whether these be riots in Haiti over the past few years, or in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, you could reinterpret what the “looters” were doing as a manifestation of the assertion of human agency over capital. Looters asserted themselves over those things which had been given power of them.

The notion that a person could lose their liberty, because a microwave oven lost its liberty, is bizarre. On the one hand, it suggests retribution in equal measure, except that which is being equated here is a human being and a commodity. That says a lot about the commodification of everything, and that in capitalist society people are valued in the same terms as a bag of potatoes. On the other hand, if no equivalence is being drawn, then it suggests that imprisonment for theft is a grossly disproportionate response, which then says something else: that the state uses violence to impose and enforce injustice and inequality between persons and things.

Thanks to these heroic “first responders”, Walmart can breathe easier.

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02
Sep
08

Arresting Democracy Now

Thanks to Deathpower for spreading this news: Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! was arrested at the Republican National Convention for “probable cause for riot.” Apparently other journalists were also arrested and charged with “felony riot” or “obstruction.”

And then some fuckers will have the gall to lecture China and Russia and Iran about “democracy” and “freedom of the press.” This is what the national security state looks like in action.

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09
Jul
08

1968 – 2008: From Vietnam to Concordia

For many of those who are 40 and older, 1968 stands out as an emblematic year for the transnational politics of dissent, for the development of countercultures and various avant gardes, for the emergence of non-class social movements, and the appearance of what some call the “revolution of the forgotten peoples” in the social sciences which turned more of their attention to African Americans, native peoples, women, gays, and a host of non-state actors. In almost every continent something happened that was tumultuous: Black Power, Red Power, Flower Power, and the anti-war movement in the United States; the Tet Offensive in Vietnam that marked a turnaround and the impending defeat of a superpower, falling into economic disarray and a hard bitten view of itself thereafter. At my university, Concordia, there were so-called “Black power riots” in the very building in which my office is located, which had international consequences that led to the Black Power Revolution of 1970 in Trinidad and Tobago, and one of the Concordia leaders, Rosie Douglas, would end up becoming the Prime Minister of Dominica. Admittedly, most of the discussions of 1968 focus almost exclusively on movements in Europe.

Previously I had commented on this blog that we seem to be living through a rewind of 1968, which in many ways misses out on what is distinctive about where we are 40 years later, what the alignment of social forces looks like, and what matters most on both orthodox and heterodox political agendas. A number of recent articles, books, and symposia have appeared seeking to assess the legacies of 1968, from a 2008 standpoint, and the assessments are, as can be expected, mixed. The points that are raised are very interesting nonetheless. This post comes in three parts below.

1. THE CUNNING OF HISTORY?

Fred Halliday, writing in Open Democracy in an article titled “1968: the global legacy” (13 June, 2008), presents us with the perspective of someone who was active and inspired by the global movements of protest and new movements in art, music, and public debate, but was nevertheless a failure in transformational terms. He notes that in no western European country, which in many analyses is the centre of what Wallerstein called the World Revolution of 1968, were the politics modified. Not only that, there was a right wing shift in Britain and France. If anything, the legacy of 1968 was an ambiguous one, he argues. Halliday is not militating against the ideas, perspectives and movements that marked 1968, rather he wishes to see more sober evaluations of its consequences: “The events were indeed extraordinary, and remain indelible. What is wrong in the memorialisation is the fetishism of the moment, and associated loss of perspective and overall judgment, which leads to three kinds of distortion of focus.”

The first of these distortions caused by celebrations of 1968 was what he claims was the absence of feminism, coming only with second-generation feminism of 1969. When Halliday says 1968, he means to be very precise and calendrical about it, whereas others might see it as more of an emblematic, umbrella-like period that encompasses 1969 for certain. Nor is it universally true that feminism was absent from the movements of 1968. Halliday sees the second distortion coming in the indulgence of violence by certain sectors, whether urban guerrilla warfare or what would later be called terrorism. Finally, the third distortion in his view is the absence of “political realism” — “the ability to match aspiration and imagination with a cool assessment of the balance of existing political forces.”

Rather than a “world revolution,” Halliday argues, 1968 ought to be seen as the start of an international/ “tricontinental” counterrevolution (I am not sure why these two cannot go together, since the latter seems to be premised on the former). Halliday takes us through a series of deadly anti-revolutionary transformations that occurred across the globe in the period, especially in the Soviet bloc and in China, and notes that the results led to the collapse of socialism as a viable alternative:

It is clear in retrospect that 1968 did not bury European capitalist democracy or American imperialism. It did, however, set in train the death and burial of the Russian and Chinese revolutions and of communism in western Europe. A fine example, indeed, of the cunning of history.

Unfortunately, what Halliday does not do is to present us with reasons why others instead celebrate 1968, and the transformations that they can point to. Moreover, many even on the left would not mourn the passing of either Soviet socialism or China’s last serious attempt to claim that its revolution was a communist one.

•••••••

2. THE FUTURE OF 1968

A book edited by Martin Klimke and Joachim Scharloth, 1968 in Europe: A History of Protest and Activism, 1956-1977 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) presents a range of assessments that, while not the opposite of Halliday’s, certainly present different angles of understanding. As the subtitle of the book suggests, 1968 stands not for a year of events but for two decades of events.

In the introduction, the editors begin by highlighting the degree to which students were focused on by the mass media as agents of protest, some even referring to a “student class” emerging that echoed the emergence of the nineteenth century working class in Europe. The protesters emphasized what they rightly saw as the lack of participatory democracy in their societies and their growing alienation from their societies. Capitalism was the target of critiques of authoritarianism and technocracy. Universities were to become the centres of revolutionary protest — indeed, in my own memories of the transformation of the University of Rome’s campus, into professor-less open air classes, mural paintings, and wine fueled meetings of communist youth, these were not the kind of shopping mall environments of today. The Vietnam war weighed heavily worldwide, and inspired revolutionary movements across the globe, not to mention celebratory songs, poems, novels, paintings, etc. Interestingly, while today’s Iraq war has been protested across the globe, in virtually every country, there seems to be far less of the romance surrounding these insurgents — no Jane Fondas ready to pose in photographs with them. Dictatorship was also clearly within the sights of protesters, whether Soviet-aligned regimes in the eastern half of the continent, or the military dictatorships of Portugal, Spain, and Greece.

For the editors of this volume one of the most outstanding features of “1968” (which they place in quotes), was that, “it transgressed the ideological fronts of the Cold War.” The focus of their volume is on the transnational dimensions of “1968.”

The roots of the movements associated with 1968 are to be found in what the editors calls the “long 1960s.” As they say, “1968” stands as a metaphor (whereas for Halliday, it was a single year) for a history beginning with the Hungarian revolt of 1956 and the climax of political violence in Germany and Italy in 1977. Part of this transformation has to do with the emergence of the transnational New Left and the international peace movement. There was a departure from Marxist orthodoxy and its focus on the working class. Nonetheless, capitalism, materialism, and apathy were still targeted by these new movements.

Also of especial interest is the volume’s discussion of counterculture. As the editors encapsulate it:

The youths’ belief that they were more sentient than their parents’ generation, and the hope of building a new society founded on tenderness met with the search for the “new man” in psychedelic music and drug experiences, in “free” sexuality, and in new forms of living and communication. The synaesthetic nature of rock music served as the colorful display and global transmitter of these new symbolic forms of living and communication. Portraits of musicians like Jimi Hendrix promised the same freedom as the images of Che Guevara or Ho Chi Minh, the only difference being that their freedom could be gained in the here and now. Meanwhile, these new symbolic forms of living and communication often provoked conflicts with both conservative elements in societies and state authorities and thus acquired a political dimension. Concerts by the Rolling Stones or Jimmie Hendrix often ended in outbreaks of violence.

The editors assert that, “nobody today seriously doubts that European societies were fundamentally transformed as a result of the events of 1968″ — even if we just finished reading Halliday to the contrary. As they argue, 1968 has had many afterlives and has been virtually canonized in popular memory, at least in Europe if not elsewhere. Let’s not forget that a sizable portion of our current population lived through, and often took part in the events of 1968. Finally, as the editors remind us, Hannah Arendt (whose work will also be discussed on this blog) once wrote that “the children of the next century will once learn about 1968 the way we learned about 1848.”

One of those youth was Tom Hayden. In a chapter titled, The Future of 1968’s ‘Restless Youth’ recounts how he came to be involved:

I was 27 years old as the year 1968 unfolded. When the decade began, I was the first in my family to attend a university, and my non-conformist instincts led me to the campus paper and the sociology department at the University of Michigan. While pursuing an institutional career, I was a follower of Jack Kerouac as well, whose On The Road was published in my senior year, 1957. During that same year, black high school students integrated a high school in Bill Clinton’s Little Rock, Arkansas, amidst beatings, insults and federal military protection. Two years later, after I directly encountered black students risking their lives in the South, I became a committed activist.

Incidentally, he also outlines the extent to which the Johnson administration was worried by student protest movements and plans for spying on American students. Tom Hayden wonders why the CIA should have concerned itself — when he helped draft the 1962 manifesto of Students for a Democratic Society, he says it was “hardly the Communist Manifesto” and more of a “statement of middle class anxiety.” The main foci of his concern were racism and the nuclear arms race. As he says in the piece, their prophets were not Marx and Lenin, but John Dewey, C. Wright Mills, and J.D. Salinger.

Hayden is not euphoric, even when he highlights the energy, hope and promise of 1968. As he himself writes:

Then, as it reached its peak of frenzy, about 1969-70, one could feel the tide begin to turn. The movements themselves were convulsed by division. The Marxist sectarians were not dead at all, merely hatching in the garbage we left unattended. After factions ripped its body apart, SDS was closed down as “too bourgeois.” No one could transcend the inevitability of the women’s movement as it shredded the male hierarchies. The counterculture was shocked by Altamont and Manson. Drug euphoria devolved into the dark trips of paranoia, depression, and schizophrenia. Thousands of veterans came home with bad papers and strung out. Richard Nixon – wasn’t he the man we thought we dumped in 1960, the year it all began? – soon became president of the United States.

And yet, he emphasizes, there were lasting transformations and immediate changes that occurred as a result of the long 1960s. Hayden lists these as follows:

  • The Vietnam War began to end in 1969 and imploded in the years 1973-75; Nixon and his vice president, Spiro Agnew, were driven from office;
  • The compulsory military draft was ended;
  • The War Powers Act was passed as a curb on the imperial presidency;
  • The Democratic Party and national election rules were radically reformed;
  • Earth Day arose apparently from nowhere, historical environmental laws were passed, and the planet Earth was seen in a photo for the very first time;
  • After 25 years of failing passage, the 18-year-old vote became law;
  • Black studies, Latino studies, women’s studies, and environmental studies were integrated into the curriculum of high schools and universities;
  • Everyone was humming The Yellow Submarine and quoting Allen Ginsberg;
  • Several national blue-ribbon commissions (the Kerner report on the ghettos, the Scranton report on the campuses, the Walker report on Chicago) seemed to vindicate the New Left analysis of causes and solutions.

This does not mean that the 1968 protests were not eventually appropriated by the state, for as Hayden notes, “when order was reformed, order was restored.”

Hayden also argues that the 1960s are “far from over.” He cites Bill Clinton as the one to outline the basic dividing line in American politics being “between those with a generally favorable view of the Sixties phenomenon (who tend to be Democrats) and those who are still attempting to erase the achievements of the Sixties altogether (the neo-conservatives, for example).” Hillary Clinton was also at least an observer at the Chicago protests of 1968. It is ironic then that one side of 1968, the rise of African Americans in the national political panorama, should clash head on with another side, women’s rights, in 2008.

Nonetheless, he is hopeful, and notes that one of the main blocs of anti-war supporters today are those ranging from the late 40s to the late 60s in age. Che Guevara has achieved a kind of global martyrdom. And as Hayden believes, “sooner or later, the new generations will question and resist the programmed future of counter-terrorism, economic privatization, environmental chaos, and sordid alliances justified in the name of this War [on Terror].”

Hayden hopes for a peaceful transition away from imperialism and empire, and that there can be an improved quality of life after empire. Unfortunately, he thinks Canadians may be among those to show Americans the way — perhaps Hayden has been down so long that it all looks like up to him.

•••••••

3. 1968, SOCIETIES IN CRISIS: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE (INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE)

This last item brings us right here to Montreal, to Concordia University, and I am very much looking forward to this and will try to present a report after the event has concluded. An international conference, In English and French, is to be held at Concordia on November 3, 2008, titled “1968, Societies in Crisis: A Global Perspective.”

The conference description is as follows:

1968-2008: forty years later, the crisis of 1968 are still a source of nostalgia, pride or resentment to those who took part in them. By virtue of their impact and their scope, they continue to attract the attention of scholars. The ongoing interest in the events of “1968” may be explained by their many dimensions: they may be seen as periods of challenge to political power and authority, and as movements of student and trade union revolt. The ‘crisis of 68′ represent the apogee of the aspiration to freedom and change in societies exasperated by the status quo and respect for social and ethical codes considered obsolete. These general protest movements also found an echo because of their global dimension: they swept Quebec, the United States, Europe, Africa and Latin America. In the framework of the fortieth anniversary of the events of 1968, the Lucienne Cnockaert Chair in the history of Europe and Africa (Université de Sherbrooke and Bishop’s University), the Concordia University Chair in the study of Quebec (Sociology and Anthropology department of Concordia University), the Groupe de recherche interuniversitaire sur le Québec et ses relations internationales (GRIQUERE) (Interuniversity research group on Quebec and its international relations) and the Groupement interuniversitaire sur l’histoire des relations internationales contemporaines (GIHRIC) (Interuniversity group for the history of contemporary international relations) are organizing a conference entitled 1968, Societies in Crisis : a global perspective. The conference will seek, on the one hand, to analyze the interconnections, influences or distinctive characteristics of the crisis associated with 1968 and on the other, to compare these crisis by placing them in the sociopolitical perspective of the Sixties (decolonization in Africa, thaw in the Cold War, Vietnam War and, in Quebec, Quiet Revolution, among other factors). The object is to undertake a comprehensive, comparative and interlinked rereading of the ‘springtimes’ of 1968 in order to understand the social, economic and political origins of the different movements, observe the issues involved as well as the development and outcome of the crisis, and finally, determine the significance and impact of the events of 1968 and their place in the collective memories of Europeans, Africans and Americans.

What is noteworthy is not just that my colleague, Jean-Philippe Warren is one of the organizers (a prolific writer who publishes a book a year, and if he blogged would probably blog me right off the Internet), but that unlike the first two items in this post, this conference promises a less Eurocentric focus on 1968.

24
Jul
06

Garifunas Speaking Out Against Disney

Last week, Cherly Noralez of the Garifuna Heritage Foundation was interviewed on KPFK 90.7 FM Radio in Los Angeles. Luckily, the audio from that show has been archived (see the link below) and listeners/visitors may also post their feedback on that same page.
17
Jun
06

Boycott Disney, Pirates of the Caribbean

Starting in February of 2005, we began to post a number of items regarding Walt Disney’s proposed plans for showing Island Caribs as blood thirsty man eaters. In Dominica, where parts of the film were shot, then Carib Chief Charles Williams loudly protested the movie and condemned select members of the Carib Territory for collaborating with Disney. The Government of Dominica warmly welcomed Disney, guided by the incredible notion that a media giant showing local natives as cannibals would promote tourism to the island. The movie was also shot in St. Vincent. Since then, Chief Williams was deposed by the Government of Dominica (although to what extent Williams embarrassing the government over this issue played any role in the government’s decision is unclear for now). Other indigenous communities, including Tainos, Garifuna, and the Caribs of Trinidad, also vigorously protested the movie in the news media. Indian Country Today in the United States ran an editorial that was very critical of Disney’s plans.
Now, the movie is about to hit theaters and, if anything, it appears to be worse than was first imagined. A trailer for the film clearly shows the Caribs roasting live people on spits and holding captives to be eaten…in a stark reminder of some of the most vile imperialistic imagery produced in the early colonial era. Such images are getting a new lease on life thanks to Disney, which with the resources that rival those of a colonial power, has now dedicated itself to popularizing and internationalizing images of the Caribs as “cannibals”. You can see the movie trailer:

Images that follow are stills from the trailer, accompanied by one colonial illustration that seems to have been part of the corpus of visual imperial denigrations that the movie so cheerfully enhances.

Let us keep in mind that such depictions were used to enslave and murder the ancestors of today’s Caribs, there was never anything innocent or “fun” about these portrayals. In addition, generations of Carib descended school children in the Caribbean have been taught that their ancestors were savage cannibals. Shame over ancestry was inculcated as a matter of routine. In my own field research experience, I have encountered individuals in their forties and fifties who told me very directly that the main reason they did not wish to self-identify as Caribs is that people in the wider world see Caribs as cannibals, as inhuman man eaters, and they found the stigma unbearable. Disney is playing its part in centuries of ethnocide.
This action on the part of Disney, flying in the face of countless protests, is not accidental, nor just uninformed carelessness. Let’s place these images in their current context as well. This is a time of renewed generalizing about the “non-West” as the “uncivilized” world of inhumane acts of savage atrocities. Anti-immigrant attitudes are on the rise in many Western countries. Anyone “brown-skinned” is deemed a potential terrorist. This is not inflammatory exaggeration on my part: for a glimpse at the tip of the iceberg, look at reports produced within the Canadian media itself:
Many white citizens adjoining Native reserves seem to feel empowered now to express openly derogatory views about Natives, even joining in the occasional riot where they can bash some in the face. A peaceful gathering of Natives in Canada is widely depicted as “terrorism”. You don’t believe me? Please have a look at pages from the Caledonia Citizens Alliance where members of the public submit their feedback on the issue of the Native reoccupation of their territory.
Images specifically of charred bodies, hung like roasted offerings, have also been popularized in the international press, especially when showing the “horrid” acts of Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah who captured and killed four American mercenaries in March of 2004.
All of the raw material, daily news, centuries of inherited stereotypes, revived bigotry, fear, hatred and paranoia are all out there ready to be fused in people’s minds who are thus predisposed to making a series of associations. One line of association is that linking Al Qaida with all Muslims, then immigrants, “brown skin,” Natives, and finally Caribs. The other line of associations to complement the first: terrorism, insurgence, resistance and cannibalism.
This is the world we are inheriting, folks! Either we deal with these issues head on, or sit back and let the tide of a new nazism wash over us with the help of our own quiescence.
Disney’s concept of family “fun” is about as light hearted as showing groups of Jews as rats. Disney won’t do exactly that, since that is anti-semitism, and numerous holocaust memorials tell us “never again.” But really, never again? That seems to be either unduly hopeful or just terribly naive.
You are encouraged to actively protest and boycott Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and any and all Disney products. Such cultural imperialism cannot be allowed to pass without consequence.




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