Saturday, December 19, 2020

UNDRIP, and the Conservative Party honesty about their support for ongong colonialism

I am interested in Canada implementing UNDRIP, so I watched APTN News' recent Nation to Nation episode on UNDRIP.



While I am skeptical about the Liberal Party and NDP's ability to move forward with UNDRIP, I do find the honesty expressed by many representatives of the Conservative Party to be interesting. Their focus is always on resource extraction, and how they are concerned that lawsuits against human rights violations might restrict resource extraction.


During the Indigineous Canada course I took this summer it was recommended I read the journal article Decolonization is not a metaphor by Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang. On page 4 the authors discuss two forms of colonialism.


Generally speaking, postcolonial theories and theories of coloniality attend to two forms of colonialism. External colonialism (also called exogenous or exploitation colonization) denotes the expropriation of fragments of Indigenous worlds, animals,plants and human beings, extracting them in order to transport them to - and build the wealth, the privilege, or feed the appetites of - the colonizers, who get marked as the first world. This includes so-thought ‘historic’ examples such as opium, spices, tea, sugar, and tobacco, the extraction of which continues to fuel colonial efforts. This form of colonialism also includes the feeding of contemporary appetites for diamonds, fish, water, oil, humans turned workers, genetic material, cadmium and other essential minerals for high tech devices. External colonialism often requires a subset of activities properly called military colonialism - the creation of war fronts/frontiers against enemies to be conquered, and the enlistment of foreign land, resources, and people into military operations. In external colonialism, all things Native become recast as ‘natural resources’-bodies and earth for war, bodies and earth for chattel.

The other form of colonialism that is attended to by postcolonial theories and theories of coloniality is internal colonialism, the biopolitical and geopolitical management of people, land, flora and fauna within the “domestic” borders of the imperial nation. This involves the use of particularized modes of control - prisons, ghettos, minoritizing, schooling, policing - to ensure the ascendancy of a nation and its white elite. These modes of control, imprisonment, and involuntary transport of the human beings across borders - ghettos, their policing, their economic divestiture, and their dislocatability - are at work to authorize the metropole and conscribe her periphery. Strategies of internal colonialism, such as segregation, divestment, surveillance, and criminalization,are both structural and interpersonal.


Reading this, and listening to the words of most spokespersons from the Conservative Party, you will recognize that they are being open and honest about their active support for ongoing colonialism.

What isn't as obvious is where other party representatives sit on UNDRIP, or possible future decolonization.

This is more complex, although the discussion in the Tuck&Yang article about the Occupy movement helps with context. While there is room for strategic and contingent collaborations with those who lean towards the economic and/or social left, there isn't going to be solidarity.  As I discuss in Eco-capitalism, eco-socialism, and decolonization, those whose focus is on the spoils of labour and other human activity (The 99% vs the 1%) will be on a different path from those who want to move that narrow gaze away from humans to non-human relations (the 0.9% vs the 99.1% within what is currently called the USA).

Wikipedia has a list of Indigenous Canadian politicians, and when you look at the federal House of Commons you see members who wore the team jersey of the Conservative, Liberal, NDP and even the Bloc Quebecois. I don't think it is appropriate to suggest that the willingness of an indigenous person to be within a party caucus indicates that those parties policies are compatible with decolonization, but only that there is strategic value to working within the settler-colonial governing structures.

I am curious to hear what other people think about whether there is movement within any of the current political parties away from the ongoing colonialism project? Do you see movement towards recognizing that colonialism isn't an event that happened in the past that current Canadians have no responsibility for, but something that is ongoing?

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