To continue on my posts regarding the RBC branch bombing in Ottawa last week:
I will not call the FFFC a band of brave warriors.
This is not about ideology.
This is about accountability.
Warriors involved in resistance are the most powerful and successful when they come from, are lead by and reflect the will of the community they claim to represent.
In this case, we have the previously unknown FFFC who carried out the early morning Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) branch bombing in the Glebe neighbourhood of Ottawa, all in the name of Indigenous rights. Thus, in a statement released by the FFFC, it explains the choice of the RBC as a corporate target because of its sponsorship of the Vancouver Olympic Games (“held on stolen indigenous land”) and its role as financier of the Alberta oil sand (“tar sands”).
So, is the FFFC a band of brave corporate warriors as some activist have declared? A North American version of Che resistance (as if First Nations communities don’t have their own heroes and must import someone else’s?)
From my humble understanding, if I may try and summerize First Nations culture whiile also understanding it is not a true homogenous thing, warrior societies and warriors reflect the essence of guardianship and are the defenders of their community. It is only the common white person’s outside perspective of these warrior societies that carry the mythos of scalping, indiscriminate bloodshed and a lone wolf mentality.
In a traditional warrior society, if a warrior conceived of an action, they would first approach their Council and ask permission of the elders (or other governing body) to seek their wisdom and discuss if the proposed action could have repercussions on the women/children/community as a whole. They would then obey the wisdom received from the Council, as the Council would represent the needs of the community; not just an individual’s ego.
I mean, logic has it that if any group wanted to act on behalf of a cause or community, it would first consult with the primary stakeholders involved — in this case, the First Nations communities. In the case of the FFFC, of all the different groups who have publically or privately commented on the fire bombing in the name of Indigenous rights, I have not heard one say they were consulted by members of the FFFC prior to the fire bombing.
Until I hear otherwise, there was no consultation process. But there should have been. Power does not come without its equal weight in accountability. If the FFFC — whomever its members turn out to be — is really so concerned with Indigenous rights, then let it also be involved in shielding the First Nations communities from the state and police repercussions that will arise from the groups solo act.
Why would the FFFC even want to pick a fight if its actions could have serious repercussions on the very community it is trying to represent, especially if the community had not previously agreed to play an equal and supporting role.
Let’s face reality, it’s one thing to type on a chatboard or talk over a beer about how brave the FFFC was to confront the RBC symbol of power, but true to my statement, the Canadian government, TAPPS, the G8-G20 Integrated Security Unit, the RCMP, provincial and local police are already using the bank fire bombing as a pretext for the excessive-force policing of the G8/G20 demonstrations in Huntsville and Toronto.
Conservative Party Federal Industry Minister, Tony Clement, said in regards to the high cost of security funding for the G8/G20 Summit, “Early in the process, people were questioning why we needed so much security.” Now, no one is questioning it.” Immediately following the afire bombing, the government made a formal request for 500 additional police for the G20 summit, pushing the total number well over the 10,000 previously reported.
This on top of what I can assume will be some kind of intense scrutiny on Aboriginal communities, especially ones involved in resistance struggles. Remember that the Native Rights Movement is considered Canada’s #1 domestic threat.
There will be blowback on First Nations communities, as well as on the activist community as a whole. That is why I called the RBC branch bombing an act of “terrorism”, because the police’s reaction — backed by government justification — could/will be used to terrorize the very people that the FFFC claims to represent. It may not be the rolling out the War Measures Act, but the crack down will come. And the net will be wide.
Let me state again, regardless of who the FFFC turns out to be, it is always the non-white, non-Western, marginalized communities that suffer most when the state acts in its inherent racism and classism against any form of resistance. Every activist should always be mindful this fact.
It is these marginalized communities that have to live with police and state racism every day and the state and police’s reaction to the fire bombing only adds another layer of oppression.
To all the activists reading this, if you really care about First Nations issues, first learn about the teachings, the culture, consult with the elders, the women, the leadership and members of the different communities before you go off and play the Indians and make the state the Cowboys.
Learn about the history and how it feels to live in a Canada where the police can drop you off in the middle of nowhere on a cold Manitoba-winter night, or what it feels like to have your sister/mother/daughter/cousin disappear off the back of Turtle Island without a trace. And have no body care.
You wanna be a warrior, kid? Start there. Start with the teaching and learn.
This is not about ideology.
This is about accountability.