Saturday, February 9, 2013

Idle No More: No Peace, No Justice

Around the world, the rallying cry of radicals -- genuinely righteous and merely self-righteous alike -- has often been thus: "no justice, no peace." Meaning that until they right an injustice -- actual, perceived, or even invented -- they will not stop fighting.

But what happens when their fighting disrupts efforts to right ongoing injustices, and solve ongoing problems? Then we clearly have the opposite: without peace, we cannot attain justice. It has come to pass that this is what it has come to with Idle No More.

Yesterday, Idle No More protesters attempted to barge into a meeting in Saskatoon between the federal government and local First Nations Chiefs. The bizarre insistence of the protesters was that the Chiefs weren't actually being consulted on  The bill includes a plan to create regional aboriginal school boards, and gathering individual band schools into those boards. The bill would give First Nations bands the same control over their schools as non-aboriginal communities already have. The bill has already proven controversial, but the government and First Nations are working on it. Or at least they're attempting to.

Apparently Idle No More won't allow that to happen.

This isn't the first time Idle No More has set out to disrupt meetings between First Nations Chiefs and the federal government. When AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo met with the Prime Minister, Idle No More darling and fake hunger striker Chief Theresa Spence -- under whom the proverbial home ice was already thinning at the time -- texted a demoralizing message to his Blackberry. The punchline was that Chief Spence herself had demanded such a meeting as a condition of ending her fake hunger strike. She did not end her hunger strike, which was fair enough I suppose as she never really began a hunger strike in the first place. Of course she didn't stop telling people she was hunger-striking when she really wasn't, so perhaps it wasn't fair enough after all.

Moving on.

It's at times like this that it's worth remembering that Idle No More is as much a conflict between aboriginal radicals and the federal government as it is a conflict between aboriginal protesters and their elected leaders. Remember that even in the wake of a crushing defeat at the hands of Atleo, Idle No More "braintrust" Pam Palmater declared that her movement -- a movement that has very much harnessed Idle No More as a means of advancing their agenda -- wouldn't rest until it has had its way.

It's become increasingly clear that Idle No More is now doing Palmater's heavy lifting, working very, very hard to undermine the elected leaders of First Nations bands in Canada. Working very, very hard to ensure there can be no peace between First Nations and the federal government. And without that peace, the problems that must be solved for there to be lasting justice cannot be solved.

Which, it seems, is precisely how Idle No More prefers it.

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