Author Archives: Chris Johnson

‘BC’ 2013 ‘Election’ Campaign: Dismantle Provincial Legislature

Standard

So called ‘British Columbia’, the colonial governmental authority that asserts ill-gotten power over hundreds of un-ceded indigenous territories, is in the midst of one of it’s regular farcical election campaigns.  I too have a campaign for this ‘race’. It’s called ‘Revolution Now’ and the platform is simple: Put an end to the genocide and historicide and dissolve the provincial legislature totally and permanently. Recognize the authority of the traditional governance systems and stop assuming the right to exploit the land as we please. Read the rest of this entry

Nowhere to Run To: A Global Resistance to Toxic Extraction Industry?

Standard

On April 12, 2013, the province of British Columbia announced four new proposals for LNG export terminals on the north coast. One of the four companies involved, Australian based Woodside Petroleum, announced on the very same day that they were shelving plans for a $47 billion dollar LNG terminal in Australia.

The reason Woodside gave for cancelling this project, which was the largest proposed construction project on the horizon for that country, was that the economics were no longer feasible. Nothing I’ve come across in the media references these two projects together, and so the company has not publically stated whether the Canadian proposal had anything to do with this decision.

These four new LNG proposals put the total number of proposed terminals on the BC coast to nine. When referencing these projects, the media is careful to mention that not all these terminals may be built. The reality is that if any of these terminals are to be built at all, it is a virtual impossibility that all nine of these proposals will survive. Back when there were just 5 proposals, estimates were that it would have requirred a tripling of current gas extraction.

The race to get LNG to Asian market is not exclusive to these nine projects. Various projects in Australia and US (and to a small degree in a dozen or so other countries) are also competing for these limited contracts. Completion of these projects range anywhere from later this year to 2019.
Read the rest of this entry

The Un-Natural Gas Boom: Another Bridge to Nowhere

Standard
Wedzin Kwa, in Unist'ot'en territory. Several gas pipelines are proposed to tunnel under this salmon bearing stream, just past that bridge.

Wedzin Kwa, in Unist’ot’en territory. Several gas pipelines are proposed to tunnel under this salmon bearing stream, just past that bridge.

I’ll admit I wasn’t fully aware of the scale of the un-natural gas boom until I arrived at an indigenous-led blockade of seven proposed gas pipelines.

The Unist’ot’en camp was built in the path of the proposed Pacific Trails Pipelines by a group of grassroots Wet’suwet’en people who oppose the incursion onto their unceded territory. Coincidently, the same pipeline right-of-way was originally planned to be used for the Enbridge pipeline, that is until the Unist’ot’en built their clan cabin on the banks of the Wedzin Kwa (colonial name: Morice River). Read the rest of this entry

Demand/Create Free, Safe Transportation for Women Along the Highway of Tears

Standard

If you’ve ever driven along the 800km stretch of highway 16 from Prince George to Prince Rupert, you’ve probably noticed the large billboards with photos and details of several missing women.

You may even be aware that this particular stretch of highway is known far and wide as the Highway of Tears, and that in the past 40 years, as many as 45 women (most of whom are indigenous) have gone missing while travelling along this road. The most recent (known) case occured in 2011, and an attempted abduction occured along the highway on Christmas Eve, 2012.

Like many Canadians, I had been unaware my entire life that this horror was unfolding, just as I was unaware that there have been almost 3000 cases of murdered and missing (mostly indigenous) women in this country within the last 4 decades. (The RCMP maintains that this number is closer to 600, which is still horribly shocking).

I have been haunted by the knowledge of these tragedies since I met Gladys Radek and Bernie Williams (organizers of the walk4justice) six years ago. As of this writing I am currently staying in Unist’ot’en Wet’suwet’en territory, close to where Gladys Radek’s neice went missing,(I came to assist the Unist’ot’en with their resistance to oil and gas pipelines) and I find myself probing deeper into this issue, wanting desperately to see justice happen, to be part of creating a society where women are honoured as they should be, where nightmares such as this no long happen.

Why is this happening? What can we do to stop it? Those are the questions I have, the questions I hope you have as well.
Read the rest of this entry

Spring 2013 Activist Training/Action Camps

Standard

Mountain Justice Spring Break 2013 — March 2-10, 2013 in Virginia — March 10-17, 2013 in Northern West Virginia

Moccasins on the Ground: Activist Training for Sacred Water/Mother Earth Protectors — March 8-10 in Manderson, South DakotaGreenpeace Action Camp — March 18-23, 2013 in Los Angeles, California

Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance Training Camp — March 18-22, 2013 in Oklahoma

Earth First! Climbers Guild Camp March 24-30, 2013 in New York

Trans and Womyn’s Action Camp — April 3-8, 2013 in SW Florida

 

 

 

Reflections on strategy and persuasion from a campaign to stop social cleansing

Standard

An act vandalism committed at the mayor's house during the fight against social cleansing on Pandora Green.

An act vandalism committed at the mayor’s house during the fight against social cleansing on Pandora Green. The 72 represents the decrease in available shelter mats at local homeless shelters from the previous year. (Photo: Peter Rockwell, B Channel News)

Three years ago Victoria city council passed a bylaw that forbade camping on medians and boulevards. On the surface such a thing doesn’t seem all that bad of an idea. Certainly it isn’t safe to pitch a tent less than two feet from fast moving traffic. Certainly not right downtown, and certainly not on a block with a high incidence of pedestrian maimings by cars and buses.

Looking at the issue from a different angle, one informed both of the suite of bylaws and police enforcement strategies that the city had been (and still is) enacting at that time, this particular decision takes on a whole different meaning.

This particular by-law was enacted in response to an historic Supreme Court of British Columbia ruling that had overturned a previous bylaw prohibiting tents in city parks at all times. The court had not been specific about what kind of new bylaw they wanted to the city to enact, but it forbid a blanket prohibition of temporary shelter in parks. It was agreed that homeless people had a Charter of Rights and Freedoms right to shelter themselves from the elements, but it didn’t specify the limits to that right. The city’s lawyers (which include the perennial Clownservative candidate in federal elections) suggested they set that limit at 7am.

After an illegal attempt to limit this right with a ‘police enforcement strategy’ failed, the courts suggested that the city write a new bylaw. The new bylaw specified no sheltering yourself between the hours of 7am-7pm. The new bylaw was promptly challenged and upheld by the court of appeals.

A short-lived tent city in the crown jewel of the city’s park system brought about the failed enforcement strategy and inspired the new bylaw. After that, the biggest congregation of tents was occuring on a strip of grass on a block that houses ‘Our Place’, (the soup kitchen/drop-in/transitional shelter), the health clinic, the methadone dispensary and the welfare office.
Read the rest of this entry

BC NDP Leader’s Insulting Position on Welfare Rates

Standard

headlinerThe online independent news website TheTyee.ca recently interviewed BC NDP leader Adrian Dix about some of the issues he might face in next spring’s election.

Of particular interest to me was a question about welfare rates, something I have been trying to get anyone from the NDP to answer for over a year now.

Everyone I talked to refused to answer the question. Rob Fleming, who was my MLA at the time, was the only one who acknowledged me at all, but skirted the issue with a promise to introduce a Poverty Reduction Strategy.

I have a lot of thoughts and feelings on the efficacy of Poverty Reduction Strategies, but that was not the issue here.
Read the rest of this entry

How to win friends and allies by insulting and rejecting their ideas

Standard

efI met some people at a party tonight who think the Ancient Forest Alliance’s Park Aquisition Fund is an exciting and possible solution, but who also love and support that I am so vocal in my opposition to it, because my radical perspective makes the AFA’s idea look that much more moderate.

The phenomenoa at work here is one that those of us in the radical environmental movement have been aware of and made use of variously for decades.

I’d heard it said, around the campfire at the tree-sit or organizers conference some other place where we talk movement history, that Dave Foreman, one of the founders of Earth First!, was quoted as saying that EF! exists to make the Sierra Club and other mainstream environmental groups appear less radical and more reasonable.
Read the rest of this entry

BLECH, a poem

Standard
BLECH, a poem

Blech! at the commodification of food and medicine and everything this whole money driven blech! Marketing, networking, selling, buying blech blech employee employer boss slave blech money for the bank money for the landlord money for the oil companies, energy companies, corporations, blech blech blech!! Rent bills lease contract blech blech accounting counting storing moving piling packing shipping blech blech! Puke spit repeat decades decades change gonna come change gonna come peace blech blech bend over wait hunger i’m not sick we’re all sick i’m fighting to survive, I OWN this sanity, I AM this clarity and I am alive awake sick sick sick and hurt, alive and awake SANE RATIONAL and it hurts not to stand up it hurts to slave slave hide it away slave slave day-by-day one day one day peace gonna come blech, blech, blech we all do what we have to do could be worse blech makes me sick makes me hurt and i have to pretend blech that I can be BLECH one of the ones that waits works waits watches waits prays waits hope waits happy BLECH At least I am warm and dry and bombs are not dropping on me or my sisters and mothers and aunts and daughters are not being taken and forgotten at least they have not come and taken me to the mines or the slave ships cargo ships sick sick sick and it hurts still will that be cash or charge?