All the people who work on The Red Review live and work on stolen Indigenous lands across Turtle Island. There can be no reconciliation without restitution, which includes Land Back, RCMP off Indigenous land, and seizing the assets of the major resource corporations and returning them to the commons.
In this episode of The Red Review, brought to you by Socialist Action, Emily and Daniel discuss major developments across the Canadian State and provide an important update on the struggle for Palestinian liberation.
Featuring catastrophic flooding in BC, RCMP invasion of Wet’suwet’en (again), COP26, Climate Action Tracker, ‘Facebook’ for Palestinians, criminalization of Palestinian human rights groups, Fairy Creek blockade, and striking CUPE workers in New Brunswick.
Website: Gidimt’en Checkpoint
Website: Rainforest Flying Squad
Website: Palestine Youth Movement
Twitter: Palestine House
Website: Red Braid Alliance
Linktree: The Rainforest Flying Squad
FundRazr: Last Stand for Forests
GoFundMe: Support For Indigenous Land Defenders — Fairy Creek
Website: Climate Action Tracker
“Little Caesar Bandello” by Lobo Loco is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.
“Mi Bolero” by Maarten Schellekens is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.
Daniel Tarade 0:14
Welcome to The Red Review. My name is Daniel. I use he/him pronouns. And I’m coming to you from the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples . I am from Toronto.
Emily Steers 0:34
And hello everyone, my name is Emily steers, I am coming to you from the unceded territories of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Attawandaron peoples also known as Guelph, Ontario.
Daniel Tarade 0:45
This episode, we will review some major developments from across the Canadian state and provide our usual update on Palestine and Israeli apartheid. First, we provide an update on the 22,000 striking CUPE workers in New Brunswick, and then cover the disastrous flooding in British Columbia, where at the same time, the BC NDP and the federal government prioritize sending dozens of militarized RCMP to yet again raid Wet’suwet’en territory.
Emily Steers 1:14
In this podcast, we do our best to refer to locations and people by their proper names in their indigenous languages. And that also includes, when we are discussing Palestine, referring to things in their proper Arabic names. However, we were not able to find pronunciation guides for all of these terms. So we want to apologize very sincerely in advance for any mispronunciations we may make.
Daniel Tarade 1:38
But before we get into the red review, let’s go to Comrade Helen for a sponsorship update.
Comrade Helen 1:43
This month, The Red Review podcast is not sponsored by Rogers Communication. It isn’t often that Canada has its very own soap opera, but here it is in full. Rogers Communication, a mega media company with a revenue of over $13 billion in 2020 and total assets of over $38 billion is largely a family affair with Rogers family members sitting on the board of directors and the control trust committee. The soap began last month when the founder Ted Rogers’ son Edward Rogers tried to replace the CEO Joe Natale with its CFO Tony Staffieri, only Staffieri accidentally butt dialed, that’s right, butt dialed, Natale while he was discussing the plot with someone else. The coup was therefore exposed. It turns out that Edward’s mother, Loretta and daughters, Martha and Melinda, both publicly backed Natale. Edward was then ousted as chairman but pushed back by replacing five board members with his supporters. It was described as reminiscent of Succession, the hit HBO TV show, or the Game of Thrones according to The Guardian writer. John Tory, the mayor of Toronto was invited to mediate, but it turns out that he is a Rogers board member and has received $100,000 in annual payment for the past seven years. This was where the BC Supreme Court came in siding with Edward and there it stands today. The saga came about because the founder Ted Rogers did not name a successor when he died in 2008. Edward claims that he is the true heir living up to his father’s dream for the company. This soap opera turns tragic, however, when it involves Rogers attempt to take over Shaw in the environment of an unbalanced concentration of media ownership in Canada. Bell owns 21% of market shares in communications. Rogers owns 8.3% with an additional 13.4% If it takes over Shaw. This situation has materialized from a series of mergers in the industry since 1990. Rogers would pay a whopping $26 billion for Shaw. Take a look at your cell phone and television bills next month to realize the tragic effect of oligopoly in the communications industry.
Emily Steers 4:20
All right, so listeners will know that a couple of weeks ago we interviewed Mackenzie Thomason, who was the newly acclaimed leader of the New Brunswick NDP and a CUPE member, and he was giving us an update about the situation regarding the strike in New Brunswick. We have an important update on that topic. So on Saturday, November 13, the Conservative government in New Brunswick reached a tentative agreement with the striking CUPE workers. So for 20,000 workers from many different public sectors, including education and health care, had been on strike for over two weeks. The strike has since ended and a collective agreement is now in the process of being ratified. In an interview with CTV News, the CUPE spokesman Simon Oullette, called the agreement a victory for the union. And he said the wage agreement, which is meant to address one of CUPE’s key bargaining demands would likely be viewed as satisfactory by some but not enough by others. He does say, quote, we need to remember that a year ago, the premier was saying the whole public sector were getting zeros and frontline workers were getting a wage freeze, we have something that’s much better, and I’m feeling good about this one. Many, however, are really disappointed that CUPE was so quick to break up the picket lines. Public support was overwhelmingly in favor of the strike. Even two weeks of no schools couldn’t dissuade people from supporting the striking workers. It also was inspiring broader conversations about pay raises, about cost of living, and pensions, and quality of life in one of Canada’s poorest provinces but the home of one of its wealthiest companies. This move to send people back to work before this new five year contract had even been seen, let alone ratified, had many workers feeling mystified and let down. Well, it does appear from a lot of reports that this agreement is favorable to the workers and does meet a lot of their demands, it still makes a number of concessions, such as a shared risk pension plan, which many of the workers were opposed to, and was one of the precipitating reasons for the strike in the first place.
Daniel Tarade 6:29
So when we spoke to McKenzie, as a member of CUPE 1253, as a bus driver, he spoke that the deal breaker for him was the pension. He was actually willing to accept some concessions on the wage front, if it meant that they secured fully their defined benefit pension. And so if you’re not clear on what a defined benefit pension is versus a defined contribution pension, check out the last episode, McKenzie does a good description. But it was very clear that workers wanted stability once they retire. And that is why that particular local, that McKenzie Thomason is a part of, they were the only local to vote down the contract. And that was because rather than clarifying the question of the pension, whether it’s going to be a defined benefit or a defined contribution pension, it’s going to go to an arbitration panel of three people, one that is appointed by the government, one by the union, and if those two people don’t come to an agreement on how to construct the pension, they will then find a third party that both sides agree to. So it’s not clear yet that the defined benefit pension is dead. It’s just the union has yet to secure for its workers a defined benefit pension. And that’s why that local was not ready to give up the strike yet, especially as you mentioned, Emily, they had so much public support. The polls I was seeing, 80% of new Brunswickers supported the demands that the workers were putting forward and exactly the opposite, something like 20-25% supported the premier Blaine Higgs in the struggle.
Emily Steers 8:04
So we will keep watching the situation in New Brunswick with interest and we want to send a shout out to all of our new listeners in New Brunswick. We noticed there’s quite a few more of you after our last podcast. So thank you so much for tuning in. We want to say there’s a lot of you out there, we look forward to seeing you and hearing you in action.
Daniel Tarade 8:22
That’s our update on New Brunswick on the east coast. But some of the biggest developments in the last few months have taken place on the West Coast. First, we can talk about just the latest string of natural disasters. 2021 in BC continues to highlight that climate change is not a problem for future generations, but it’s here right now. So currently, the planet Earth sits at roughly 1.1 degrees Celsius of warming above pre-industrial averages. And with that amount of warming, we already see that the overall impact is greater than this average would simply suggest. For example, Lytton, BC set the record for highest temperature recorded in Canada ever this summer, and then it promptly burned to the ground in a matter of hours. During the summer we heard a lot about the heat dome, and there was a drought and that killed over 500 people in British Columbia.
Emily Steers 9:13
So in addition to the heat dome, there’s a new meteorological term to introduce: atmospheric rivers. From the CBC, atmospheric rivers are large, narrow streams of water vapor that when they pass over land, rise higher into the atmosphere, where the temperatures cool off, the vapor then condenses, and it falls down as snow or rain. So on November 14, an atmospheric river penetrated deep into the mainland of the Pacific West Coast, resulting in many regions receiving more than their average monthly rainfall in just two days, and with the wildfires earlier this year destroying the forests that normally prevent this soil erosion with rainfall, there were major flooding events and landslides that occurred throughout the Fraser Valley. And indeed yesterday, we’re recording this onNumber 28, so November 27, there was another atmospheric river event, and we are still getting reports about what the damage is this time and how much more flooding and landslides and erosion is taking place.
Daniel Tarade 10:14
In many ways, the destruction we saw earlier in November was historic. After a summer of heat records being shattered, twenty new rainfall records were set during that storm. Thousands, tens of thousands, millions of animals have died, drowned, domestic and wild. And for the first time since the Canadian Pacific Railroad was completed in 1885, British Columbia is actually completely severed from the rest of Canada by land as the Trans Canada Highway, the Coquihalla highway, and both major rail lines over the Rocky Mountains were destroyed basically at various junctures. And with a tinge of irony, the storms halted work on the trans mountain pipeline expansion and stopped the flow of oil, temporarily, through the existing pipeline.
Emily Steers 11:03
It might be comforting to write this off as a one in 100 storm, but we know from covering the latest IPCC report that these extreme weather events are more common than ever before. And as corporations continue to burn fossil fuels and warm the planet, they will become even more common. I mean, we’ve seen it. Just now, the roads have been washed out in Cape Breton. This is not an isolated event in British Columbia, and it will not be an isolated event to the coasts either.
Daniel Tarade 11:32
With BC alternating between being on fire and being deluged with rain, we probably ought to talk about COP26, the 26th Conference of Parties, which is a annual summit attended by countries that signed on to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1994. This is where the world gathers to make policy regarding climate change.
Emily Steers 11:58
Mm hmm. The most recent agreement was made in 2015. Many of us have heard about the Paris agreement. That was signed at COP21. So the countries of the world set the very aspirational and entirely non-binding goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial averages. Climate scientists describe this as the necessary limit to avoid the worst of catastrophic climate change. Coming out of COP26, which was held in Glasgow, many of the world leaders have been rejoicing. They kept this dream of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius alive, claiming that globally, around 90% of emissions are now covered by net zero targets. But if we cut through the noise and the grandiose speeches and the frankly, self-flattering comparisons to James Bond, we are left with what Greta Thunberg simply described as blah, blah, blah.
Daniel Tarade 12:55
Yeah. So I decided to dive into the Climate Action Tracker, which is, quote, an independent scientific analysis that tracks government climate action, and measures it against the globally agreed Paris agreement. So it basically takes the non-binding goals of the Paris agreement, and it compares that to what they’re actually doing. And so the way that this Climate Action Tracker works is that they model how much warming will occur by the end of this century under different scenarios, and they range from Armageddon to slightly less Armageddon. So for example, based on the current policies and actions in place, these are not the pledges, but the actual things that are laws, the planet will be expected to warm to 2.7 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial averages in the next 80 years, which is, frankly, just catastrophic. Like, it’s not even possible to overestimate what that would mean for the way our society is structured. At 1.1 degrees, you get towns randomly burning down. At 2.7 degrees, you’ll just get many towns randomly burning down and flooding. So let’s continue down the slightly more optimistic predictions. If every country meets its targets for 2030, warming would be limited to 2.4 degrees Celsius. Again, entirely catastrophic. From the Climate Action Tracker, quote, even with all new Glasgow pledges for 2030, we will emit roughly twice as much in 2030 as required to keep warming below 1.5 degrees. Therefore, all governments need to reconsider their targets. That is what they said. It should be noted that in the run up to the last federal election in Canada, the Federal Liberal Party improved its 2030 pledge. Originally, they pledged a 30% reduction of 2005 emission levels and they increased to a 40 to 45% reduction. According to the Climate Action Tracker, this is still insufficient. Based on our fair share, quote, if all countries were to follow Canada’s approach, warming would reach over two degrees Celsius and up to three degrees Celsius over pre industrial averages.
Emily Steers 15:19
So if all net zero targets are met, warming would be limited to 1.8 degrees above pre-industrial averages, and this is only in the most optimistic model. This is a big IF. No single country that we analyze has sufficient short-term policies in place to put itself on track to its net zero target. Somber, somber, sobering news. The United Nations Environment Programs updated projections, they still warn of a future warming between 2.5 and 2.7 degrees Celsius. It’s clear that corporations are still steering the ship, while countries try to point fingers elsewhere. Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of the UK, claimed that the UK has actually reduced its carbon footprint by some 44% since 1990 but neglected to include in his calculations that the UK is massive deindustrialization has shifted huge portions of its still British-owned manufacturing infrastructure to China, India, and other poor low-wage nations and former colonies of the British Empire, whose carbon budgets were in consequence, massively increased, thus equating to a net zero sum.
Daniel Tarade 16:33
Yeah, so you see a lot of finger pointing at countries like India and China, whose emissions are increasing, but so is Canada’s, and we can’t neglect that what’s being produced in China and in India is not necessarily for the consumption of the people living in India and in China. T`hey’re being exported on those massive tankers or by air to us to consume. So instead of actually creating policy to meaningfully intervene, and it needs to be stressed, there is still time. These projections are based on inaction. But if there’s action taken today, we could easily keep global warming under 1.5 degrees. We could. There’s nothing in the laws of physics or in chemistry that says this problem is impossible. The only hurdle are the corporations that are making money off the destruction of our climate.
Emily Steers 17:32
And I saw a couple of reports that said, if all of the fossil fuel corporation lobbyists that had attended COP26, if they had been there as delegates from a nation, they would have been the most highly represented nation at COP26. It’s also critical to highlight the immense work of activists, who are on the ground in Glasgow, fighting back against this, you know, patting-yourself-on-the-back heroism, while making these massive doom and gloom projections. Indigenous Land defenders from all over the world, climate activists from every walk of life took to the streets of Glasgow, took to the rooms and the halls of power in Glasgow, and fought valiantly to make themselves heard, while facing immense police brutality and suppression and repression. We want to show our immense appreciation and solidarity to all of those organizers who were at Glasgow, who took the time and made their voices heard.
Daniel Tarade 18:36
From the reports I saw, 100,000 people surrounded this convention. So while on the inside, corporate power ruled, outside in the streets, we saw the leadership that is going to bring us out of this catastrophe, that’s going to lead us to a new world. One that’s not based on the endless excavation of resources and move towards one that is in harmony with nature, one that doesn’t take more than it puts back, and one that’s prioritizing human needs rather than profit margins.
Emily Steers 19:10
I have to say, I think one of my favorite moments from COP26. You know, aside from Boris Johnson, comparing himself to James Bond, was Justin Trudeau experiencing probably the greatest Freudian slip in Canadian history, where a reporter asked him what does a transition to a green economy look like for Canada, and Justin Trudeau iconically said Canada is a major oil and gas producing company -beat- uh country, and it’s like nothing more true has ever been said by Justin Trudeau.
Daniel Tarade 19:42
Yeah. And that’s going to be used, I feel, when there’s a viable socialist alternative electorally. That should be used in the campaign ads — Absolutely — It was a true statement. And we need to imagine what Canada as a nation could accomplish if we weren’t spending so much money to subsidize a dying, destructive industry. With that, let’s talk about what’s happening in BC with their dying, destructive industry.
Emily Steers 20:09
Oh boy. Disappointingly, fossil fuel subsidies in British Columbia have actually doubled under the leadership of the NDP and John Horgan, when they came to power in 2017. And this year, so rocked by record heat and rain saw the province breaking yet another record, Premier Horrigan setting a record for fossil fuel subsidies by giving away $1.3 billion, with a B, to oil and gas companies.
It’s been something that every time he tweets now about the disasters, people are replying, because it’s such an obvious contradiction. — It really is — How do you mouth off against climate change while simultaneously funding it? Well, the issue is the corporate influence, and nowhere is that more evident than at places like Fairy Creek and Wet’suwet’en, where the immense priority of the government is not fostering reconciliation or engaging in nation-to-nation dialogue, but unilaterally and with military force pushing forward projects that are not consented to by the entirety of the Indigenous people living in those lands.
Emily Steers 21:23
It’s getting to the point now where the violence is so extreme and so pointed and deliberate, even national news organizations like CBC are asking, why are the RCMP acting like a private militarized force defending a private company’s interest? Good question. Glad you could join us.
Daniel Tarade 21:45
Exactly. Let’s first start with an update on Fairy Creek. Back in September, we shared an update that a BC judge refused to grant Teal Jones, which is the private logging company, an extension to their injunction against old growth logging blockades on Southern Vancouver Island. And this victory came not because this judge decided that old-growth forests are more important than private profit, but because, quote, there is public interest in protecting the court from the risk of further depreciation of its reputation end quote, and that was referencing the RCMP arresting journalists and brutalizing land defenders, and in doing so, gave the whole carceral system of Canada at bad reputation. But in October, a BC Court of Appeal Justice reinstated the injunction, which quote will be in place until the merits of the case are heard on November 15 before a panel of the appeal court end quote. So a lawyer Dean Dalke, representing Teal Cedar Products Limited, which is the holding company for everything said, quote this appeal is about whether the court will uphold the rule of law in the face of a campaign of unlawful blockages. It arises because Teal Cedar, the innocent victim of these unlawful blockades was denied a remedy in the court below — my God — That’s the lawyer hack for the corporation. And so until the courts fully decide this and all the appeals are exhausted, the injunction is back on. Yet, despite this, the Rain Forest Flying Squad remains committed to acts of civil disobedience to protect some of the last remnants of old-growth forest in Canada. And indeed, there have been over 1100 arrests to date, making this the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history. In June, the Pacheedaht, Ditidaht, and Huu-ay-aht First Nations signed a declaration to take back their power over their traditional territories. As part of this declaration, they demanded an immediate end to logging and road building activities in Fairy Creek and the Central Walbran areas of Southwest Vancouver Island for two years while the nations prepare resource management plans. So this was also touted as a big victory at the time and an exercise in Indigenous self-determination. This declaration does not cover all old growth forests. And all three nations do wish for some old growth logging to continue on other parts of the island.
Emily Steers 24:25
So just to get into the politics of that a little bit. The Pacheedaht First Nation has a Band Council under the Indian Act with three members; Chief Jeff Jones, Councillor Tracy Charlie, and Councillor Roxy-Merl Jones. They are currently negotiating a treaty with BC together with the Ditidaht First Nation. So in 2017, the Band Council signed a revenue sharing agreement with the province of BC to receive some revenue from logging that is happening on their territories. Remember that all of so-called British Columbia is unceded territory, and there is not any treaty in place as there is in much of eastern Canada. The agreement made in 2017 also prevents the Pacheedaht First Nation from speaking out against the logging activities or stalling them in any way. Meanwhile, the Rainforest Flying Squad continues their struggle to protect old-growth forests in the region not protected by this declaration at the invitation of Pacheedaht elder Bill Jones and the hereditary chief Victor Peter, quote, Bill Jones and other Pacheedaht band members testified by affidavit in a recent BC Supreme Court hearings, they were not consulted on any of the aspects of the contract that binds their nation. So when Premier John Horgan states that the Pacheedaht First Nation must be given the respect to make their decisions about their own ancestral territory, we must also recognize how the Indian Act and Band Council system and the residential schools and genocide have interrupted and damaged a lot of traditional governance structures.
Daniel Tarade 25:56
Indeed, another quote from some of the reporting on this, federally instituted Indian Band Nations are by design meant to obliterate relationships to land and families, consent and matriarchal decision-making, and international agreements between other Indigenous Peoples. This was by that elder Bill Jones, who further said the Pacheedaht First Nation is no exception to this condition of colonialism end quote. In his words, the hereditary lineage of this First Nation remains contested to this day. There is an internal struggle between different individuals for who gets to speak for the nation.
Emily Steers 26:35
Bill Jones continues to say he fears that his nation will become debt-ridden and forced to take whatever crumbs they can get for the sake of their children’s inheritance. So if we take a step back from this issue, we do you see that the material conditions that have ripened and exploded this conflict, it all comes back to colonialism and capitalism, which have so impoverished so many Indigenous communities that they’re required to contend with these complicated, multifaceted and often exploitative agreements on how their land and resources is to be managed.
Daniel Tarade 27:09
And so it’s not our place to then say what the right decision is. They make in these first nations decisions based on their material conditions. And it’s very clear, though, that Canada and the BC government and the corporations have their own profit-driven agenda. And those things are in conflict. So on the outside, what we feel comfortable demanding is RCMP off Indigenous land because the RCMP, in their brutality, are not allowing for any sort of reconciliation or dialogue between the people within these First Nations, who ought to be the people fully making these decisions amongst themselves. The more Canada, as a state, interferes with the affairs of these First Nations, the less likely it is for any sort of peaceful resolution to come from this. And really, until the material conditions are resolved, the desperation will continue. And you’ll have people that have to make a hard choice between some jobs and some money right now to make sure that their people have enough to eat versus the long-term ecological sustainability of the areas they’re living. And it’s a hard choice. I wouldn’t wish that choice on anybody. And that’s the choice that they’re forced to contend with.
Emily Steers 28:21
Which brings us into the conversation about Wet’suwet’en. Members of the Gidimt’en Clan, which is one of the five clans making up Wet’suwet’en nation, on November 14, they issued an eviction enforcement notice demanding that the Coastal GasLink workers leave their traditional lands. They gave eight hours for workers to leave. And it later came out that Coastal GasLink, of course, did not inform their workers of this eviction notice, leading to hundreds of workers being stuck behind new road blockades established to enforce the eviction notice. Hereditary Chief Woos said, I want to mention to our local non-Wet’suwet’en members that we’re sorry you ended up in the middle of this, he said in a video statement, but I must say we did give ample notice to the Coastal GasLink company that we were going to act on this, end quote. Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs also issued an eviction notice in January of 2020, which kicked off that standoff we remember in early 2020 before the onset of the pandemic.
Daniel Tarade 29:16
Yeah, so this latest standoff comes as the Coastal GasLink company prepares to drill under the Wedzin Kwa River and establish a tailing pond. Members of the Gidimt’en Clan established Camp Coyote in September to block this drilling and to protect this pristine river, their sacred headwaters. With work on the pipeline blocked, immediately the Canadian state mobilized dozens of highly-militarized RCMP officers with dogs and snipers. If you’ve seen the videos, you know what I’m talking about, and they are flown into Wet’suwet’en. First, on November 16, they established an exclusion zone of 10 kilometers from the road blockades that were set up to block access access into the traditional territory. This resulted in the RCMP denying Indigenous people access to their land because these exclusion zones mean just being on the land is now illegal. One consequence of this was Indigenous people being blocked from bringing medication in to an elder who had a heart condition. On November 18, the raids began with 14 people arrested on the first day and 15 more the following day. And among those arrested, you have journalists, legal observers, and elders,
Emily Steers 30:32
You may note, November 16, we just heard earlier in the podcast about the flooding that occurred in BC and that storm was on November 14. One of the biggest criticisms being levied against the BC government right now, and fairly so, is the prioritization and mobilization of resources. Why are we mobilizing a national response to land defenders protecting their territory instead of prioritizing the deployment of resources to help people who were stranded on roads, who were cut off by roads from the rest of the province, who could not access vital resources like groceries and medication, people who were stranded in their homes and no few of whom have died?
Daniel Tarade 31:16
The latest, I think, is five people died during those floodings.
Emily Steers 31:20
Why was the government prioritizing fifty fully-armed RCMP officers and canine units to Wet’suwet’en territory to arrest legal observers and land defenders instead of prioritizing that mobilization to help people in need?
Daniel Tarade 31:37
And that’s a question we need to ask. Who is really leading this country? Well, this gives a bit of an indication that, when push comes to shove, and you have two situations unfolding at the same time, one of them’s getting get disproportionate attention from our state. Those who were arrested were charged with violating the injunction and are facing release conditions that limit access to Wet’suwet’en Yintah or territory with some exemptions for cultural activities to be defined by the RCMP. — of course — Journalists also face release conditions that prohibit them from returning to Wet’suwet’en to cover what is happening, and notably Coastal GasLink is also asking to have the Indigenous land defenders Sleydo’, who is a spokesperson for the Gidimt’en Clan, and Chief Woo’s daughter Jocelyn Alec for proof that they are actually what so 10
Emily Steers 32:30
So the RCMP established this exclusion zone, which makes simply being present in this territory illegal notwithstanding previous BC Supreme Court rulings that exclusion zones established by the RCMP at Fairy Creek, which blocked public roads and curtailed freedom of the press, these are illegal. We have legal precedent in the colonial court system that this is illegal. But just like Fairy Creek, Coastal GasLink only obtained consent from the elected Chiefs and Councils of the First Nations along the pipeline route. Back when the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs first issued an eviction notice in 2020, they said Canada’s courts have acknowledged that the Wet’suwet’en people, represented by our Hereditary Chiefs, have never ceded nor surrendered title to the 22,000 square kilometers of Wet’suwet’en territory. Since the beginning of the CGL project, the Hereditary Chiefs have not been consulted. Instead, Chief Woos said, they started to divide the Wet’suwet’en people through benefit agreements and excluded the Hereditary Chiefs, end quote. So the Hereditary Chiefs did propose an alternate route for the pipeline, which would have spared the Wedzin Kwa River. This alternate route would follow a corridor that has already been disrupted by a highway and would avoid areas of cultural and ecological importance. But this was rejected by Coastal GasLink because it would be monumentally more expensive and thus delay construction.
Daniel Tarade 33:51
And this is important because a lot of people in covering or discussing what’s happening in Wet’suwet’en, sometimes you can be accused of red washing, where you only uphold Indigenous self-determination if it’s consistent with your environmental objectives of canceling a pipeline project. But in reality, if this other route was accepted, and this was a route that then not only the elected Band Council but also other Hereditary Chiefs agreed to, then that would not be our place to reject it on the grounds that it’s not environmentally safe. That’s what we constantly see with the global north, global south dichotomy, and that’s obviously a so-called Global North, global south because these relationships exist even within Canada’s colonial borders. But why is it then that the most impoverished nations are the ones that have to sacrifice potential jobs and money when in reality, it’s the wealthiest nations that are financing these projects and providing no other alternatives. So just like we said with Fairy Creek, it’s not on us to say whether this project is okay for the Indigenous people there. It’s on them to decide, and all we can then advocate for is RCMP off their land, so that discussion and dialogue within Wet’suwet’en can actually take place because reconciliation does not occur at the end of a gun barrel.
Emily Steers 35:15
We have a member who is currently in Wet’suwet’en territory, and we will be interviewing her and a couple of her comrades in an upcoming episode of The Red Review, we do hope you’ll tune in because we’re going to get right into this really complicated thorny issue, because it is very divisive, and it is not often treated with a lot of sensitivity in more mainstream media outlets. It is often considered, you know, a division between Indigenous people and environmentalists versus corporate oil and gas lobbyists, and you know, their white workforce. But that’s not the case. This pipeline, as loathe as we are to say, would provide jobs, would provide income and an influx of resources to a lot of impoverished communities. The problem is not the desire for access to resources, access to gainful employment, the problem is that extractivist, destructive corporations are the only ones providing any kind of security and any kind of way out of impoverishment. This is a really complicated issue. We encourage you to hold space for it, to research about it, and please tune in to our upcoming interview with Comrade Flo and her comrades in BC because we’re gonna have a really in-depth discussion about this.
Daniel Tarade 36:37
Yes, absolutely. So just to end off this topic then, we can echo what the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said, and even in our preliminary conversations with Flo, a demand of immediately halting the project temporarily, a moratorium on it, until the Wet’suwet’en people can gather together in their traditional forms of governance and dialogue to collectively decide on how they’re going to proceed. So that’s what we can demand right now, basically a pause on the corporate and RCMP pressure to give them the space they need to have these very difficult conversations. From what we’re hearing, it’s very divisive in the community because it’s a decision between jobs now and maybe the destruction of the local environment, which might impact future generations down the road. But it’s a desperate decision to be made. We’re not the ones living in areas with really high rates of unemployment and virtually no options for steady income outside of these resource projects. That’s going to be a decision made by the Wet’suwet’en people and our solidarity from outside is going to be for their self-determination to be upheld fully rather than the RCMP unilaterally getting to decide where that conversation goes.
Emily Steers 37:55
I will say there has also been an incredible amount of solidarity shown from land defenders all across Turtle Island in support of Indigenous peoples who are being brutalized by the RCMP. And this solidarity has come from other First Nations and also settler allies. Skyler Williams, who’s the spokesperson for 1492 Land Back Lane, has arrived in Wet’suwet’en with other Haudenosaunne land defenders bringing a message of solidarity for the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council. Grand Chief Phillip, who is the president of the Union of BC chiefs, has stated, we are outraged that the Province of BC authorized a military-style raid on peaceful land defenders in order to allow Coastal GasLink to build their LNG pipeline, while most of the Province is suffering from life-threatening, catastrophic flooding related events. The Province of BC continues to pretend that LNG can be a form of clean energy and is a so-called ‘transition fuel’ when we know that LNG production carries critical environmental and health risks and is a non-renewable source of energy that requires incredibly large amounts of precious water. Prioritizing fossil fuel expansion while BC grapples with a climate emergency is an alarming, criminal and incredibly poor decision by Premier Horgan and Mike Farnworth, who is the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. We are calling on BC and Canada to recognize and uphold Indigenous Title and Rights, including the right to self-determination, and institute a moratorium on fossil fuel expansion in the wake of clear and present climate catastrophe. We want to echo that one more time. We are for Indigenous self-determination, whatever that means. And that right now requires RCMP out of Indigenous territory and a moratorium on construction of the pipeline.
Daniel Tarade 39:43
In other parts of Canada, there are many protests under the banner of shutdown Canada and RCMP off indigenous land. Bridges have been blocked, roads have been blocked, train tracks have been blocked. In Toronto, hundreds of people, including members of Socialist Action, occupied the lobby of RBC headquarters because this Canadian bank is the biggest investor in the Coastal GasLink pipeline. And since 2015, and the signing of the Paris Agreement, RBC has invested $200 billion in fossil fuels.
Emily Steers 40:17
Further protests across Turtle Island have taken place under the leadership of the O:se Kenhionhata:tie Land Back camp organizers in Kitchener, in Guelph, and in Waterloo, and Cambridge,
Comrade Helen 40:29
November 11 marked the 103rd anniversary of the end of World War One. This day is set aside in Canada as a memorial to the war dead. The red poppy is traditionally worn by those commemorating this date. However, the lesser known but equally significant white Poppy campaign commemorates the death of civilians in all wars. Here at Red Review, we’d like to point out the significance to socialists of also commemorating the action of war resisters against imperialist aggression. In 1918, the Canadian government conscripted workers to fight in the Canadian Siberian expeditionary force. These soldiers were mobilized with a mixture of motives by the Canadian government as part of the allied forces. The militia was sent to Vladivostok, Russia during the civil war in Russia and towards the end of World War One to oppose the Bolshevik government as well as to prevent military supplies, weapons, and natural resources from eastern Russia being transferred to the Germans on the Western Front. It has been seen by some historians as a major point for Canada developing its foreign policy. 4192 soldiers were conscripted, but few saw any fighting with the majority serving as administrative staff to 1500 British troops aiding the anti-Bolshevik White Russian government of Admiral Kolchak. During this time, the Canadian government also assisted the Royal Bank in opening a short-lived branch in Vladivostok. However, before leaving Canada, the troops were delayed by a mutiny in Victoria, British Columbia. There was strong criticism of the expeditionary force from the labor movement, the public, and farmers in the prairies. There was criticism also of conscription by French-Canadians. On December 21 then, in 1918, two companies or French-Canadian troops mutinied in the streets of Victoria as they marched towards the city’s outer wharves. According to sources, midway through the March, a platoon refused to halt. Officers fired their revolvers into the air and ordered the loyal troops to remove their belts and whip the mutineers back into line. The mutineers were arrested and court martialed, charged with mutiny and willful disobedience. However, the sentences were commuted amid concerns over the legality of deploying men under the military services act for a mission only tangentially connected to defense of the realm. The result of the intervention in Russia saw the Civil War prolonged and white generals discredited as Western puppets. The intervention ultimately strengthen the Bolsheviks. This mutiny in Victoria, British Columbia then and the resistance to partisan interference in the civil war in Russia is another quintessential Canadian Heritage moment, and one that we at Red Review bring to you as part of our celebration of workers struggles through history.
Emily Steers 43:46
Of course, the struggle for self-determination is a global struggle of all oppressed peoples against oppressive, colonizing forces. We want to once again highlight the recent developments in Palestine. So in the last month, occupation forces have taken some drastic measures designed to subject Palestinians to fear and humiliation in the West Bank. Even in regions designated for Palestinians to retain control over civilian affairs, settler attacks supported by the IDF rage on. Examples include the destruction of olive groves during the harvest season of late October and early November. And we saw a heartbreaking case in the farmlands of Musleh Badawi, a 71 year old grandfather who depends on his agriculture for the survival of his family. This pattern of devastating Palestinian crops in order to inflict long term damage to Palestinian families is well established. While often carried out by Israeli settlers themselves, it is supported by the IDF, who protect the settlers regardless of their criminal actions, while allowing violence against the Palestinians to go unchecked. These attacks are hardly limited to one farm, but rather they span the West Bank and occupied territories often resulting in grave injuries for the effected farmers and their families.
Daniel Tarade 45:01
Other horrific scenes have unfolded, from the settler invasion of Palestinian children’s playgrounds and the demolition of a mosque in Duma in the West Bank, to the murder of 13 year old Mohammad Daadas in Deir al-Hatab near Nablus. Tactics such as conducting night raids on Palestinian homes and forcing the children to have their photographs taken are commonplace and seldom reach Western media. And indeed, who has heard of all of these. I doubt anybody is fully aware of what is happening in Palestine. All of these acts are designed to stoke fear into the hearts of Palestinians in an attempt to force submission, but the Palestinian people remain resilient.
Emily Steers 45:48
And sadly, these photographs of the children serve a deeply sinister purpose. The Israeli military and intelligence services are gathering a database of every single Palestinian living in the West Bank and Gaza. This new software called Blue Wolf is a mobile app that can be used to identify Palestinians and is accessible to Israeli citizens. This program is based on a practice formerly known as mapping, where IDF soldiers were encouraged to capture the faces of any and all Palestinians they came into contact with, meaning everyone in the West Bank and Gaza. A former soldier describes the resulting Blue Wolf database as a kind of Facebook for Palestinians, quote, but one only accessible to the settlers. According to the testimony of Breaking the Silence, an Israeli organization of former IDF soldiers who want to expose the Israeli military’s crimes to the world, soldiers can arbitrarily photograph whoever they feel like for any reason at all, and then look up that person’s photograph in the Blue Wolf database. This serves as a chilling reminder of the power of surveillance state across all of us but also as a tool for settlers to dominate Indigenous peoples in the lands they occupy. This combined with the notorious Pegasus spyware allows Israel to monitor every single electronic communication between Palestinians and identify those involved with incredible ease. The use of Pegasus spyware actually goes well beyond Israeli borders and has been detected in the phones of pro-Palestinian activists abroad. So much so that Apple has sued the company responsible for the Pegasus spyware for violations of privacy.
Daniel Tarade 47:25
It’s a bad situation when Apple is suing you for invading people’s privacy. That’s not normally the situation.
Emily Steers 47:33
I also want to highlight the solidarity of tech workers at major corporations, including Google and Amazon, who are objecting to these surveillance practices. Many times, these initiatives and the company protests are led by Jewish employees who refuse to have this kind of violence and surveillance done in their name and in the name of protecting Israel by monitoring and surveilling the actions of literal children.
Daniel Tarade 48:02
The oppression does not stop there. We also want to highlight the incredible hurdles that Palestinian human rights organizations are now facing, where they are being de facto criminalized. Palestinian organizations interested in protecting human rights are under threat. Recently, six Palestinian NGOs, non-governmental organizations, many of which are human rights organizations, have been declared as terrorist organizations by the State of Israel. These include Defense for Children International Palestine, which records the seemingly relentless slaughter of Palestinian children throughout the years. Actions taken by Israel such as this are so brazen, and the intentions behind them so blatant, that every relevant branch of the United Nations, such as the Security Council, the General Assembly, and the Human Rights Council, have unequivocally condemned these designations as an arbitrary abuse of power. But like usual, Israel does not respond to these condemnations from the UN. And due to the support from the United States and others, often including Canada, it tends to flagrantly disobey any sort of order from the international community. The United States’ outpost in the Middle East, which is Israel, is so strategically important to the American empire, that they are willing to permit any human rights abuses that Israel conducts against Palestinians in order to further the American agenda in the region.
Emily Steers 49:36
All that being said, there have been some recent victories for Palestinians. Several prisoners who are arbitrarily detained by the Israeli state have led successful hunger strikes including Kayed Fasfous, Miqdad Qawasmeh, ‘Alaa al-A’araj and ‘Ayad al-Harimi. In the case of Kayed Fasfous, his hunger strike lasted 131 days before an agreement for his release was made. And at least two prisoners, Hisham Abu Hawash and Luai al-Ashqar, remain on hunger strike. We at The Red Review want to state solidarity with these prisoners, and we condemn the practice of arbitrary detention of the Palestinian people.
Daniel Tarade 50:16
So yesterday, Socialist Action in Toronto attended a day of action outside of the Israeli consulate. And that was one of the key slogans being chanted by this crowd of hundreds of people, Free Them All. And some people drew the comparison then between how Kyle Rittenhouse, a person known to have killed two protesters, got away with the murder, yet you have Palestinians being arbitrarily detained for no reason, and the settlers who are killing people or attacking people in these occupied regions get away with it. So we see exactly how the carceral state is being stacked against one side,
Emily Steers 50:54
There is no justice in the criminal court system as it currently exists. We need to stand for the abolition of the capitalist carceral system because that is never, ever going to be an avenue through which we find justice. No matter who gets put into the prisons, there is never justice being served.
Daniel Tarade 51:16
So this injustice, and despite the fact that media coverage has waned since the bombing of Gaza has thought temporarily, this injustice continues to lead to a number of international boycotts against the State of Israel. Most recently, a number of Miss Universe beauty pageant contestants withdrew from the competition in solidarity with Palestinians because the competition will be held in Israel. This includes the Greek model Rafaela Plastira, who stated that she felt compelled to give up on her childhood dream of becoming Miss Universe because, quote, Palestine lives in her heart forever, end quote. The South African government through its Ministry of sports, Arts and Culture has officially encouraged the South African contestant to do the same and many others have followed suit.
Emily Steers 52:04
So here in Canada, there has been another achievement made in solidarity with Palestine. So the local Toronto restaurant Food Benders has been taken to court in multiple cases alleging human rights abuses against Zionists. These allegations were made against Kimberly Hawkins, the owner of Food Benders, for placing a sign saying ‘I Heart Gaza’ in her window, which caused condemnation from Zionist members of the community, as well as many public officials like John Tory and Doug Ford, because apparently this is considered discrimination. The basis for this being considered discrimination was because the idea of anti-semitism and anti-Zionism, or opposition to Israeli nationalism, is so often conflated both in legal language and in public discourse. However, the case brought against Food Benders by the City of Toronto was dismissed in a ruling on November 15, which represents a victory for the Solidarity Movement, showing that Israeli nationalism cannot be considered a creed that can be discriminated against under constitutional protections.
Daniel Tarade 53:04
Yeah, so big shout out to Kimberly Hawkins as a staunch ally of the Palestinian cause, and someone who has been willing to be vocally and visibly supportive of Palestinians. And although that resulted in her being attacked by the City of Toronto, she remains victorious. And that is a worthwhile news event for the whole movement.
Emily Steers 53:28
As we said, we will never find justice in the colonial courts. This is an important precedent for everyone who stands for BDS.
Daniel Tarade 53:35
So while the gruesome events of the spring, when Gaza was being bombed and Al Aqsa Mosque was being stormed, while all of this brought renewed attention to the Palestinian cause, at a very, very high price, it appears that the movement has finally broken through the world’s conscious, and even though the media doesn’t cover it anymore, it’s maintained in the public consciousness because of the work of activists. The continued achievements of the BDS campaign, other boycotts and legal battles in Canada, are evidence of this continued momentum. And although the apartheid occupation continues, international solidarity has remained comparatively steadfast since the spring, which represents a major change in the opinion of the world’s people. The battle is not over, the struggle does continue, we say free, free, Palestine,
Emily Steers 54:28
Free Free Palestine. I know that this has been a very difficult month with all of this news, with the climate crisis, with COP26, with all of these violations happening the world over, it’s immensely challenging for us to keep hope and keep up our beliefs and stay strong and resilient in the face of this ongoing powerful existential despair, especially as the sun disappears, the weather gets colder and we see our comrades less, there are fewer mobilizations out on the street. We need to keep staying connected to one another and keep connecting, supporting one another and showing solidarity wherever we can. In my belief system, I am a Christian, this is the season of Advent. And today is the first day and today is the day for hope, the hope of a new world to come, and the life that can emerge after the struggle. I hold that close to my heart today, and I look for hope wherever I can find it. And I find so much hope in the resistance of the Palestinian prisoners, in the fight in Wet’suwet’en for land rights and the Fairy Creek blockaders, I find hope in the 20,000 striking New Brunswick workers who fought hard for their right to a fair wage and all of the hundreds of 1000s of people in New Brunswick and outside of it, who supported them. I find hope in the hundreds of 1000s of people marching on the streets of COP26 and the Indigenous land defenders and allies from around the world in every walk of life. Even though Winter’s coming, and the darkness is far from over, we know that there will be light, we know that we can fight and emerge into a brighter future where all of us can stand together in justice and in a new world of our own making. — You’re gonna make me cry, Emily — Thank you all so much for listening. We tremendously appreciate your support of us here at The Red Review, of Socialist Action and your involvement in all of your organizations, wherever you may be in the world. Solidarity friends!