The KW White “Left” is at it Again

The Kaswehnta (Two Row Wampum)

This week, on Friday evening (the 12th), there is an event being put on on at the University of Waterloo’s campus that is being referred to as a “Six Nations Solidarity Teach-In.” This event is in response to another one that will be hosting anti-Native propagandist and “journalist” Christie Blatchford. This, in principle is a good thing. Blatchford has recently written a book, Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy and How the Law Failed All of Us, and her anti-Native work in this book as well as elsewhere needs to be confronted and exposed for what it is – apologism for white power, imperialism and settler colonialism. So, like I said, this kind of thing is good, in principle. However, any good is tossed out the window by the teach-in’s organizers because of how the event is being put on.

So, what is so bad about the event? Well, as it currently stands, this event will be lacking Native voices. A concerned comrade and I questioned the organizers on the event’s Facebook page with regards to who will be giving the teachings and what kind, if any, Native presence there would be at the event. We received a private response. We believe this is because the organizers of the event did not want to publicly expose the lack of Native involvement in the event because it would have been a major embarassment.

I do not want to seem like I am attempting to air dirty laundry here, but the other Native activist and I were so incensed by the organizers of this event, and their condescending response, that we feel we have no just course left before us other than to simply tell it like it is, and, more importantly, to expose the event and the wack principles on which it is built for what is, an insult to the Native community in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge and elsewhere.

This is what we got [note that I have excluded the names from the original message]:

Greetings,

Thank you for your questions on facebook. I thought I should give you a direct response as opposed to openly on facebook as we are still working out the arrangements and some of the details are not fit for public display as you will read in a moment.

We are organizing this teach-in through a collaborative effort with the Six Nations Solidarity Network – with individuals and groups from KW, Guelph, Brantford, Hamilton, and Toronto (among others) – in response to the Blatchford book (seehttp://toronto.mediacoop.ca/newsrelease/4957). This teach-in will be approached specifically from settler perspectives in accordance with the Two Row Wampum agreement of 1613 and specifically under our responsibility, as settlers, to the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784 which “guarantees forever” six miles deep on either side of the Grand River to the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. However, some of those speaking may include some of our allies from Six Nations. However, our allies are discussing issues, which we are respecting, about speaking to non-native audiences for various reasons that are not my place to share here.

We are approaching this teach-in from the framework instilled in the Two Row, the first agreement between the Dutch and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy in 1613. While, as depicted by the two purple lines, the settler ship and the Haudenosaunee canoe traverses the same river – divided by the three white lines representing peace, respect, and friendship – we remain on same river together. We do not take this lightly and believe that our ship has been hijacked by the very propaganda that Blatchford presents. This is the same colonial perspective that has led to the widespread theft of lands on the Grand River territory and the attempted assimilation of “Indians” into white society through the residential schools. Blatchford re-wraps these perspectives in new book bindings and is trying to shock other settlers into harsher measures for land defenders, and not just on the Grand River.

Therefore, in accordance with the principles of the Six Nations Solidarity Network, we understand that we do not speak for the Six Nations people and we will not pretend to. We plan on facilitating a discussion on settler responsibility through employing a basic teach-in model that will foster participatory dialogue instead of passive observance. We plan on providing the basic information in a package that settlers should know around the occupation of Douglas Creek Estates in February of 2006 that counters the narrative Blatchford presents in her book of simply the descent into chaos and the failure of law and order in Caledonia. We do not intend to pontificate about settler responsibility – instead we want to foster dialogue that will lead to meaningful reflection and then further participation in the ongoing struggle for decolonization and Six Nations sovereignty. This resource package is for people to take home and “do their own homework” as it were. In other discussions with our allies from Six, the process of decolonizing the mind is an imperative discussion between non-natives.This event before and after Blatchford will focus on the settler row of the Two Row and the process of regaining control of our ship.

While this is not an ideal situation as responding to Blatchford legitimizes her perspective, and the other Gary McHale’s within Turtle Island, we thought we should respond somehow. We think this is a creative response that fosters a deconstruction of colonization in the face of one of the most repsected propagandists in Canada. I hope you will understand that this is not an ideal answer to your question publicly on facebook. As of today, we cannot guarantee who will be speaking from the Network as folks traveling from out of town will be late if they can make it at all. And, as for our friends from Six who will be there, it will be up to them if they want to participate.

This email confirmed our concerns. As I noted above, this event, as it stands, will be lacking Native voices. However, what truly makes this an affront to the Native community is that the organizers of the event are attempting to hide behind the principles of the Two Row Wampum in order to cover and explain away the lack of Native voices (and those that have apparently been invited may not even attend the event). The truth is, and the organizers of this event should be completely aware of this, is that there are many Native activists in town, not just myself. There are other individuals and Native centres speckled throughout Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge. Together we represent people from Six Nations, Tyendinaga and other Rotinoshonni communities, as well as Ojibwa, Delaware, Cherokee, Inuit, Metis, Menominee and those who are just exploring their heritage, having been assaulted by assimilation. Yet it would seem that none of these individuals or groups were approached. This is an insult, and just another sign of the nature and direction of the local white “left.”

What makes it all worse, as I said, is that they are saying that they are doing this in accordance with the principles of the Two Row Wampum. In other words they are appropriating an important and sacred indigenous political tradition to EXCLUDE indigenous voices from the event.

If I wan’t already not able to attend because of committing to being at Palestinian Nights, and event being put on by another student group, Students for Palestinian Rights, I would not attend this event anyway, simply out of disgust.

Unfortunately this is typical of the white “left” in this town.

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Posted on November 9, 2010, in Indigenous Struggles, White Leftism & Neocolonialism and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Greetings and salutations!

    Thank you for your perspective on this ‘event’; and more importantly the issue of voice in our community.

    I was not aware that local Native activists were being excluded from this event and I sincerely hope (and feel) that disregarding local Native activists’ voices was not intentional.

    Perhaps the word ‘exclusion’ is a misunderstanding. It appears as if the organisers were not that well organised and had hoped that word of the event would be spread through the grapevine. Seemingly, it did. However formalities (such as true invites) do have there place and in this case, would have been a catalyst for achieving a potential forum on this issue.

    Miscommunication seems to be the supreme issue here. Doesn’t it lead to the impotence of our local voices by poking holes in our already fragile solidarity? And until we address this issue of miscommunication we may continue to sling and slash at each other within the community, hindering any forms of potential creativity towards mending this issue.

    Perhaps we need not to have ‘agendas’ to discuss. Shouldn’t our goal be to gather, not necessarily to ‘teach’ anything? (Doesn’t life exhibit an inherent rhythm of teach/learn?)

    We always have a chance to break from old habits and it is truly simple, though not easy. Thankfully, we have humble people who don’t shy away from these challenges.

    Sincere regards,

    Jamie Lauckner

    P.S.: Since the event is being held, I will attend to listen to the perspectives and to also partake in discussions. Going to this event does not necessarily support the purported maladies of politics, if treated as a chance to come together for change.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment Jamie.

    I and my co-thinkers who had input into the writing of this article chose to use the word exclusion because we felt that the principles behind the Two Row Wampum were being used bad minded fashion to allow the event to be dominated by whites/settlers.

    The Two Row is a declaration of non-interference and self-determination. I and others find it dubious that it is being used to justify only having settlers speak to settlers. As the author of the email quoted in the original article notes:

    “This teach-in will be approached specifically from settler perspectives in accordance with the Two Row Wampum agreement of 1613”

    Again, the Two Row is a declaration of mutual non-interference. It does not say that only settlers should speak to settlers etc. This is why we feel that Native voices are being kept silent.

    I don’t know how long you have been in the Tri-City, but the group that is putting this event on though has a history of this kind of thing. As is documented in my more recent article “The Path That Lead Me to War With AW@L” this group has a history of voice theft, symbol appropriation, selective support of oppressed and struggling groups, internal marginalization of oppressed voices, and entrenched social privilege.

    Many of us have tried to work with them over the years, but those of us who have been qeers, Natives, poor people etc. have often been left feeling jaded and othered by their leadership.

    Do let me know if you can though how the event went.

    • salaam rowland and jamie,

      thanks for bringing to light some issues that need addressing in this community. it appears to me that there are people upset with awal, and also, this teach-in, many of whom are a part of your student group.

      if you have been victimized by awal, i know many of their members, and i think we can bring a better solution to this issue than computer screen fights. I see it as my duty, as a peace activist in kw, to try and stop all wars. you have declared war against awal…is that correct? by doing so, is your goal to destroy awal? i would like to know what you want from them? I think the community deserves this.
      i believe conflict is normal, and hard to live without. but how we deal with each other is something we can always work on. i don’t know you from adam, but you have been seriously wounded by awal, and i think maybe some ‘real’ honest discussion is necessary.
      i understand you are starting a broad coalition of the left here in kw. that’s great news! let’s see if there is a place for both the red path society and awal to exist in kw. i have lived here since 1976, and do not plan on leaving. these divisions hurt me, and my community.

      i appreciate you starting a uw feds club. i also began much of my activism in this town from feds money, and it’s a great stepping stone. I have found it harder to do things off campus, while working, without funding, but we do it still. the left has it tough, yes. but keep at it. your blog is a great resource.

      the other issues you accuse awal of, are serious, and seriously detrimental to our communities. some things you accuse them of are factually incorrect.
      however, they are not responding, and this monologue is getting old. if you are insulted and disgusted, i think awal needs to know this, and deal with this, in order for them to maintain dignity and respect from people in our communities. if they are harming members of the community, we need to address this.
      you have a right and obligation to call out harmful behaviour.

      let’s see if we can arrange a meeting. i can try to gather people in kw who would like this declaration of war to end. after all, blatchford shouldn’t get a free ride in this town.
      salaam,
      nadeem

  3. @Nadeem:

    First all, thanks for taking the time to add your voice to the dialogue.

    However, I would like to know what it is that you feel we have accused them of that is factually incorrect. I say we, because it was not just my own thoughts and experiences that went into the writing of this and other pieces. Sure I have had my own bad experiences with AW@L, but most of the stuff in the articles I have written is directly taken from the experiences of very good friends and comrades of mine, people who are poor, who are queer, who are Native etc. It is their voices in there just as much as mine. I, and all us for that matter, are always open to correction, but there is a reason that so many people have come out on Facebook, on this site and through email to support us: they have all experienced the exact same stuff that has been written about here and other places.

    As for reconciling with AW@L, my answer is this: its been tried already, as recently as after the mess of the harvest dinner. However, these efforts have always failed because the main movers and shakers of AW@L have always slipped right back into their same elitist, exclusionary and secretive ways. Frankly, after years of trying, many of us have just plain given up on them.

    As for what I want, I used the phrase war to be intentionally provocative. We do not intend to do battle with them on the streets or anything like that. But it is apt to say that we have reached a point of no return. Do I want AW@L to go away? Maybe, but more so we want people to know what AW@L is really like. How they treat people. How they go about things. As I said to someone on Facebook, if what we have to say embarrasses and/or discredits AW@L, then so be it. They should be discredited and embarrassed for the shit they have pulled.

  4. @Nadeem

    It isn’t just Rowland, and the accounts he used were mine, and several other good people and a few who you know quite well have had enough. From the account in the comments of this blog by FormerAW@Ler which totally reflects my experience in AW@L in its early days (and why I left AW@L, as well as the additional bits regarding their anti-queer, anti-family, ageist stance) and between this comment by someone who fears reprisal too much to leave their name (I have no idea who they are but it was nice to read another older adult account of a very similar experience that I had in this organisation), and like me knows many others wont talk, and the accounts of all these people, I would really like to challenge you and others to prove where this blog about AW@L is not factual. We are hearing a lot about this, but no one is actually providing evidence to the opposite, nor can you argue with the stories of all of these people who have these first hand experiences.

    I don’t want to be nagged to about making peace when I have tried over and over again, and when I try to voice a concern, I am ripped a new one. The only reason they are striving for peace now is because we are lending a voice that discredits them, and we are doing it loudly… all of us who have been deeply injured by this organisation. Yeah, I would be backtracking and on the run too. I know none of us are perfect, but the totality of harm here is enormous. Don’t ask the victims to bend over more.

  5. [Bloggers Note: The names of many people were not used in the original articles in question because they were requested they not be used, or because the people were not already quite public people. Going along with that I have removed the names from Nadeem’s comment. Also, as per my comments policy, a sarcastic, snarky comment by Nadeem was also snipped]

    I’m gonna first say that i’ve talked about awal over the years to [name(s) removed], and the other comrades you mention many, many, many times, and have felt similar frustrations(sorry awal). this hasn’t stopped [name(s) removed] from organizing, hasn’t stopped me from organizing, and shouldn’t stop you from organizing. below are my comments. your statements are in “”.

    “”As I noted above, this event, as it stands, will be excluding Native voices””
    I don’t thin they are actively excluding native voices, but, possibly, poor organization, or outreach, means they couldn’t find any to commit to speaking. I am going tonight, and will let you know who shows. To give them the benefit of the doubt: getting firm commitments is always hard, especially when the subject matter has been divisive.

    “”I am a publicly known radical Native activist, yet someone from their organization, in a leadership position, took it upon himself to lecture me about the Two Row, as if I was some kind of neophyte idiot. I had never felt so insulted in my life by a fellow activist after this person’s condescending history lecture.””
    – said person is NOT a member of awal, nor ever has been. he is a white guy, though. you should ask him for a direct apology.

    “”Selective Support of Struggling People””
    – this section is alist of things that have pissed you off since…

    “”Regarding the anti-hompohobia rally: Conspicuously absent from this event though was AW@L.””
    not conspicous at all – it was the Toronto Anarchist Bookfair that weekend…many people could not attend. Although I did, and my sign rocked!
    **not all groups/people will attend all events. this is a weird beef you have with them???
    btw, this rally was awesome, and i think really important to the kw community. thanks again Terre and Evan for taking this on. and peeps – don’t go to the huether.

    “”main reason for the differential support was that AW@L viewed the politics of the people in Guelph as more radical than the rally against homophobia in KW.””
    – main reason eh??? is it not possible they have queer friends in guelph they do not have in kw? maybe it’s a valid critisim, that awal hasn’t made inroads within different communitites in kw, but i’m not sure why this still pisses you off. actually, let me say, it is a valid criticism, and i agree with you here. however, if we cannot accept the diversity of groups within our leftist circles, what are we asking for? re-education camps? destruction? prison?

    “”best demonstrated by the strike that took place a few years back at WLU university. I had several friends who were deeply involved in the strike. However, while AW@L supported this particular struggle at first, when then leader Alex Hundert announced that he didn’t want to support the struggle anymore because he would lose his credits, one by one they melted away from the picket lines.””
    – do you remember abdullah almalki was invited, by awal and wpirg, to come to kw and give a talk? it was at wlu. my partner crossed the picket line once…you know what for? to change the location, with tiny pieces of tape and paper, to a uw location instead. wpirg bailed us out and got us a room. this was in direct solidarity with the strikers at wlu. both my partner and i were active awal members then. alex wanted to graduate – that’s his call to make. who are the ‘one by one people’ you mention…cause i certainly was not one of them.

    “”AW@L’s position might as well state “we support radical queer organizing, no homo.”””
    – this is very offensive to paint all members of a group based on a joke made about a member of awal who was percieved to be uncomfortable talking to queers. i heard the joke back then too, but for you to take that, post it publicly, and claim it as awal’s position….seriously dude. this is plain wrong, and i question your motives.

    “”I was invited to the harvest dinner that was being put on by an AW@L supporter””
    – who are awal supporters? why does it have to be ‘with us or against us’ attitude? [Snark snip].

    “”Despite the honest nature of her query, she was was met instantly with ridicule from the AW@L members and supporters on the event page. The organizers who had created the event obviously did not take the time to think of the shame in creating an event that poor folk could not even attend, especially as it was taking place in one of the few spaces that welcomes everyone on a daily basis for the most simple act of eating, and eating together as equals.””
    – i’m glad [name(s) removed] forced the pwyc model. that was necessary. however, the discussion was coming from all over, even peopel in nfld had a say! coem on, quit lying. people throughout kw’s community got in on this discussion, and the meanness and anger was flying both ways…cut the bullshit here. the good thing is that the organiziers, again, NOT awal, but formerly awal, changed the deal. it wasw pwyc. i still don’t know what was anti-colonial about it all, but that’s another matter.

    ok, the shit-dragging continues….

    “”So enter the teach-in. As I explained yesterday, as it currently seems to stand, this event, which is billed as a Six Nations solidarity event, will have little to no Native presence or involvement, in either its organization or in the actual putting on of it. I think it is also quite safe to assume that little to no Native input went into the formulation of this event either. This event of course speaks directly to their voice theft, symbol appropriation and selective support of oppressed groups that we have already spoken about above.””
    – how do you want white people to approach a racist coming to their community??? again, you got a hate on for them, that’s obvous, but what were you planning for blatchford? it’ s obvious [name(s) removed] tried getting some speakers…no one committed. maybe [name(s) removed] sucks at organizing. [Snark snip]

    “”No, what has really gotten to us this time is that this ridiculous event comes just about a month after their last disaster of an event, where they were called out for their privilege and the exclusion of oppressed people. One month! The fact that they think they can get away with this again, less than a month after their last event devolved into a total mess, just goes to show the complete and utter disconnect that these people have from actually oppressed people and communities.””
    – again, the harvest dinner was [name(s) removed] – the teach in is [name(s) removed]. – yes they are white, yes [name(s) removed] was in awal….but they are neither in awal. do you know who is in awal right now? 5 of them are on house arrest, and about 7 remain, hence the low profile. Actually, yeah, who are the awal members you speak of?

    Question @ rowland: What is the voice theft that occured regarding the torture victim solidarity work you mention? i’m very curious.

    [Snark snip]

    I think there’s more, but i’m tired – we can do this over coffee if you like.

    Listen – i see this is getting us nowhere, and i have no desire to get into any pissing contest with you. But say your piece, do your thing, and then if you’;re still pissed, we might need to try another strategy. [Snark Snip] this has already got me more worked up than i’ve been in years, so i’m gonna go take a walk.

    I’m really, really not sure what you want?

    salaam,
    nadeem

  6. [Bloggers Note: Names were not used in the original articles because they were requested they not be used. Going along with that I have removed the names from Nadeem’s comment. Also, as per my comments policy, a sarcastic, snarky comment by Nadeem was also snipped]

    As Nadeem makes a number of specific claims (like I asked for), I have decided to respond to one individually. My comments are in italics.

    I’m gonna first say that i’ve talked about awal over the years to [name(s) removed], and the other comrades you mention many, many, many times, and have felt similar frustrations (sorry awal). this hasn’t stopped [name(s) removed] from organizing, hasn’t stopped me from organizing, and shouldn’t stop you from organizing. below are my comments. your statements are in “”.

    “”As I noted above, this event, as it stands, will be lacking Native voices””
    I don’t thin they are actively excluding native voices, but, possibly, poor organization, or outreach, means they couldn’t find any to commit to speaking. I am going tonight, and will let you know who shows. To give them the benefit of the doubt: getting firm commitments is always hard, especially when the subject matter has been divisive.

    Actually, our conclusions about this event were drawn from the response we were given by one of the event’s main organizers. If we are wrong, then we will be happy to be corrected for our wrongness. That said, the organizer’s comments to us implied the (ab)use of the Two Row to justify only having settlers speakers talk to settlers. I made my thoughts on this clear right near the beginning on the pros and cons of this.

    “”I am a publicly known radical Native activist, yet someone from their organization, in a leadership position, took it upon himself to lecture me about the Two Row, as if I was some kind of neophyte idiot. I had never felt so insulted in my life by a fellow activist after this person’s condescending history lecture.””
    – said person is NOT a member of awal, nor ever has been. he is a white guy, though. you should ask him for a direct apology.

    I’ve removed this part from the article, because I will admit, it really goes after one person, and one person only, which was in bad taste and a bad example of organizational liberalism. That said, I won’t let this become a battle of semantics over who is and isn’t technically a member. This person who you say is not an AW@L member, even if technically correct, is still deeply involved in them through events, their various off-shoot organizations and organizing. So maybe they are not technically a member, but they are clearly within AW@L sphere of influence. The fact is that the border between their official membership and their supporters is really muddle and indistinct. This is just knit picking.

    “”Selective Support of Struggling People””
    – this section is alist of things that have pissed you off since…

    Correction, this is a small sampling of things that have marginalized, othered, and, yes, pissed off a whole load of people over the years. Your accusation that it is simply a list of things that have pissed me off downplays their often deeply painful struggles and experiences, and I find your dismissive tone towards their stories incredibly insulting.

    “”Regarding the anti-hompohobia rally: Conspicuously absent from this event though was AW@L.””
    not conspicous at all – it was the Toronto Anarchist Bookfair that weekend…many people could not attend. Although I did, and my sign rocked!

    I was implying that they were absent both physically and in terms of voicing support. In order to avoid this confusion in the future I have added a clarification.

    With regards to the TAB being that weekend as well, that should not have stopped AW@L from at least voicing support for the event. In fact, the TAB took place over three days, the rally was on one of those days. If AW@L was only attending the TAB for one day, that does not logistically prevent them from attending or endorsing the really. Also, if AW@L members think it is a better use of their time to travel to Toronto for the TAB, which is annual, rather than standing out in a one time rally against a homophobic attack in their community, then fine, I don’t think that somehow makes things better.

    **not all groups/people will attend all events. this is a weird beef you have with them???

    I am fully aware of this. See my above comment regarding your confusion regarding what I said. It’s not a weird beef, and I do not think others would see it is a weird beef either to expect one of the bigger names in radical activist organizing in town to at least support a major attempt to rally against sexual oppression and a recent homophobic incident.

    btw, this rally was awesome, and i think really important to the kw community. thanks again terre and evan for taking this on. and peeps – don’t go to the huether.

    “”main reason for the differential support was that AW@L viewed the politics of the people in Guelph as more radical than the rally against homophobia in KW.””
    – main reason eh??? is it not possible they have queer friends in guelph they do not have in kw? maybe it’s a valid critisim, that awal hasn’t made inroads within different communitites in kw, but i’m not sure why this still pisses you off. actually, let me say, it is a valid criticism, and i agree with you here. however, if we cannot accept the diversity of groups within our leftist circles, what are we asking for? re-education camps? destruction? prison?

    Going with the first part of your comment, as you jump around, I do not have friends in lots of places, or with various oppressed groups in KW, but I still stand with them when they are under attack. It is a basic principle of good, strong solidarity work. If you want to justify AW@L’s lacking solidarity practices then fine, I won’t stop you.

    I would also add that they were at one time friends and allies with people involved in the organisation of the anti-homophobia rally here. I think it is really important that they have neglected the organising work here when it is people who have left the group who are organising, and flock like flies to sugar to new radicals in a desperate attempt to recruit.

    As for the second part of your comment, I am not even sure what you are trying to get at here. This has nothing to do with “diversity” within leftist groups, but rather solid solidarity principles.

    “”best demonstrated by the strike that took place a few years back at WLU university. I had several friends who were deeply involved in the strike. However, while AW@L supported this particular struggle at first, when then leader announced that he didn’t want to support the struggle anymore because he would lose his credits, one by one they melted away from the picket lines.””
    – do you remember abdullah almalki was invited, by awal and wpirg, to come to kw and give a talk? it was at wlu. my partner crossed the picket line once…you know what for? to change the location, with tiny pieces of tape and paper, to a uw location instead. wpirg bailed us out and got us a room. this was in direct solidarity with the strikers at wlu. both my partner and i were active awal members then. alex wanted to graduate – that’s his call to make. who are the ‘one by one people’ you mention…cause i certainly was not one of them.

    Just to note, my info on this portion of the article came from the two top student organizers for support of the strike. Anyway, the official position of AW@L melted away as the leader left. There may be a few people who continued to float around, but the bulk of support disappeared as soon as their position of solidarity melted away. In the case of the strike, it was going to end with or without their solidarity when it was going to end, according to negotiations. The actions of the bulk of the group only provided solidarity in a plight that they were not willing to stand up to, even though there wasn’t going to be risks, even though the member in question was still on campus finishing credits the following year. WPIRG maintained solidarity with the CAS at WLU, but the most radical entity in the city dropped away. You would have been going rogue in this one, and yeah, I know you were there, I never denied that. By the end of it though almost no one else was.

    “”AW@L’s position might as well state “we support radical queer organizing, no homo.”””
    – this is very offensive to paint all members of a group based on a joke made about a member of awal who was percieved to be uncomfortable talking to queers. i heard the joke back then too, but for you to take that, post it publicly, and claim it as awal’s position….seriously dude. this is plain wrong, and i question your motives.

    No where did I say this was official position. In fact, what I say is this:

    “many other friends and comrades from the Tri-City area have related similar experiences to me about AW@L and its members (remember the above mentioned experience of AW@L marginalizing one of the queer women from the rally against homophobia). As one radical queer comrade of mine summed it up, AW@L’s position might as well state “we support radical queer organizing, no homo.” It would be funny if a number of people had not come to me saying that they actually felt that phrase reflected their experience in AW@L.”

    Please point out to me and my reader where I, to borrow your words, “claim it as awal’s position.” No, in fact what I did, and I clearly identified it as such, was post a quote from a good friend of mine, that was told to me by them the night of the writing of this article, that they thought summed up their and other’s experiences as queers vis-a-vis AW@L.

    If you going to accuse me of having ulterior motives then please get my words right before you do.

    “”I was invited to the harvest dinner that was being put on by an AW@L supporter””
    – who are awal supporters? why does it have to be ‘with us or against us’ attitude? [Snark snip].

    I think who an AW@L supporter is should be obvious, at least it is to me. I don’t know how pointing out there shit creates and us versus them attitude either. I guess if pointing out their shit, after years of being quite, does so, then I guess I am guilty of it. Oh well.

    “”Despite the honest nature of her query, she was was met instantly with ridicule from the AW@L members and supporters on the event page. The organizers who had created the event obviously did not take the time to think of the shame in creating an event that poor folk could not even attend, especially as it was taking place in one of the few spaces that welcomes everyone on a daily basis for the most simple act of eating, and eating together as equals.””
    – i’m glad [name(s) removed] forced the pwyc model. that was necessary. however, the discussion was coming from all over, even peopel in nfld had a say! coem on, quit lying. people throughout kw’s community got in on this discussion, and the meanness and anger was flying both ways…cut the bullshit here. the good thing is that the organiziers, again, NOT awal, but formerly awal, changed the deal. it wasw pwyc. i still don’t know what was anti-colonial about it all, but that’s another matter.

    About the PWYC, I can tell you that my friend whose story this mostly got angry in hindsight. During the that whole mess, she, as well as others and I found it really quite predictable and laughable. The rough comments maybe came from both directions, but they flew far more one way than the other. This is the reason for why people who saw what transpired on the event wall were not just defending my friend, but also providing her with emotional support. It is also the reason why a good many people who supported her felt unsafe in publicly doing so, and so contacted her privately.

    All I have to say is read the damn thread. It was a total gangbang shitkicking using the most dirty techniques. The first response was ridicule. That carried on until outright attacks. Of course my friend was going to come out in the defensive when there is a group of people jumping on her back.

    “”So enter the teach-in. As I explained yesterday, as it currently seems to stand, this event, which is billed as a Six Nations solidarity event, will have little to no Native presence or involvement, in either its organization or in the actual putting on of it. I think it is also quite safe to assume that little to no Native input went into the formulation of this event either. This event of course speaks directly to their voice theft, symbol appropriation and selective support of oppressed groups that we have already spoken about above.””
    – how do you want white people to approach a racist coming to their community??? again, you got a hate on for them, that’s obvous, but what were you planning for blatchford? it’ s obvious [name(s) removed] tried getting some speakers…no one committed. maybe [name(s) removed] sucks at organizing. [Snark snip]

    How would I like to see whites react to a racist in town? In short I would like to see opposition to racists without voice theft or symbol appropriation.

    As for what I am planning, I am already talking with people about an event to counter her propaganda that would bring in speakers from several places. Key to this though is that we do not plan on allowing our event to be used for right-wing propaganda, as any attempt to interrupt or rail road the talk will likely be taken up by the right and used to their advantage, as it does time and time again. But how to approach the talk itself is another article in itself.

    “”No, what has really gotten to us this time is that this ridiculous event comes just about a month after their last disaster of an event, where they were called out for their privilege and the exclusion of oppressed people. One month! The fact that they think they can get away with this again, less than a month after their last event devolved into a total mess, just goes to show the complete and utter disconnect that these people have from actually oppressed people and communities.””
    – again, the harvest dinner was [name(s) removed] – the teach in is [name(s) removed]. – yes they are white, yes [name(s) removed] was in awal….but they are neither in awal. do you know who is in awal right now? 5 of them are on house arrest, and about 7 remain, hence the low profile. Actually, yeah, who are the awal members you speak of?

    Like I said earlier. You are trying to make this a fight over the semantics over who is and isn’t a member. See my earlier response.

    Question @ rowland: What is the voice theft that occured regarding the torture victim solidarity work you mention? i’m very curious.

    For the people who related this story to me it went like this (obviously condensed):

    It was the removal of Islamophobia from torture. The reason why many people stayed the fuck away from their anti-torture coalition (and they lost some really good, wonderful, committed people over this) is because they couldn’t come to terms with torture as an anti-Islamic, racist thing right now.

    [Snark snip]

    I think there’s more, but i’m tired – we can do this over coffee if you like.

    Listen – i see this is getting us nowhere, and i have no desire to get into any pissing contest with you. But say your piece, do your thing, and then if you’;re still pissed, we might need to try another strategy. [Snark Snip]. this has already got me more worked up than i’ve been in years, so i’m gonna go take a walk.

    I’m really, really not sure what you want?

    As for what I want, I simply want people to know what AW@L and its associates are really like. I could personally care less if this all lead to AW@L going away, reforming or whatever. What we want is to speak out after years of putting up with them and staying quite. Do you have some kind of problem with that?

    Also, I would to point out that the entire argument you presented is semantical and knit picky in comparison to the stories I’ve collected from many hurt and angry people. You are focusing on the the tiniest things in light of the racism, homophobia, heterosexism, ageism, ableism, etc. that AW@L displays.

    Finally, before posting again I would suggest you familiarize yourself with my comments policy.

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