Highlights of racism conference's final declaration

Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Mon Sep 10 15:55:00 MDT 2001

Highlights of racism conference's final declaration

Agence France-Presse

- We fully recognize the rights of indigenous peoples consistent
with the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity
of states ... ;

Response (Jim C): Where were the "principles" of sovereignty and territorial
integrity of States with the break-up of the USSR, Yugoslavia etc? This is
but more U.S. imperial hubris, arrogance and hypocrisy. In international
law, with the break-up of the old Portugese colonial regime (Mozambique and
Angola were actually listed as "provinces" of Portugal) the imperialists saw
that the principles of sovereignty, self-determination of oppressed peoples
and nations, when applied to the likes of the U.S. and Canada could lead to
secessionist movements and/or territorial break-ups. They summarily and
unilaterally inserted/asserted what became the "Blue Ocean" doctrine saying
that if regions or oppressed nations desiring sovereignty, independence and
self-determination were separated by an ocean from the colonialist center,
they could separate into geographically distinct entities; otherwise the
so-called "principles" of national sovereignty--seen as a necessary but not
sufficient function of territorial integrity--would apply.

One of our Blackfoot Chiefs has a saying or metaphor he employs: Suppose I
come to your house, take it and expropriate it by force, then take a small
piece of the yard around the house, and then "offer" [force] a treaty
recognizing that you may use a small piece of the total acreage--but not
own/control it--in return for the rest of the house and yard that are part
of an expropriated totality none of which belonged to the expropriators.

In the case of Indigenous nations in the Americas and elsewhere, these very
principles of "sovereignty" (for imperialists only) and "territorial
integrity" (again for imperialists only) are key instruments in the genocide
against Indigenous Peoples and loss of sovereignty and territorial integrity
for others. To assert sovereignty and territorial integrity for imperialist
states means necessarily the denial of the same for oppressed others. The
U.S. and its allies had a conscious and systematic plan for the territorial
and ideological break-up of the USSR and Eastern Europe, and now they cry
national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Among Blackfoot, we know that the first order of business is getting our own
house in order in terms of getting rid of corrupt sell-out Indians and the
non-Indians who utilize them. We know that a "sovereign" but corrupt
Blackfoot Nation and Government can do nothing good for Blackfoot People. We
also know that effective control (in accordance with traditional and
non-capitalist principles) of Blackfoot lands, resources, culture, language
and yes, spirituality, are essential as loss of control over those very same
aspects of Blackfoot life has been  the design of those best on
exterminating Blackfoot People as a People--as well as to exterminate
individual Blackfoot. Traditional Blackfoot Ways (certainly not all of them)
have been the only or primary force in maintaining social cohesion and
collective resistance to genocidal onslaughts. BTW social cohesion is not
the same as social conformity except to some kind of narcissist and
ultra-individualist or Ayn Rand type; in fact, institutions and forms of
traditional spirituality (again spirituality does not equal religion in
Blackfoot terms) are employed to maintain cohesion in the face of a focus on
or respect for [potentially socially destructive] non-conformity in the
sense that when all is said and done, collective action (even among
non-conforming individuals) is essential to collective security and such
institutions provide some common glue among differing and dissenting
individuals (We have something akin to "democratic centralism" where all are
free to argue and disagree internally but present a united front in
collective action and all are expected to either join-in or at least not
sabotage collective action that has been democratically decided upon).

Today, what is left of the traditional land base of the Blackfoot, the land
base recognized as Blackfoot/Blackfeet, comprises some 2.4 million acres and
is larger than the land bases of many nations in the UN. Why can we not
seceed if remaining within/under the control of the U.S. and Canadian
Governments/Systems--and surrounding continguous non-Blackfoot land
bases--means our extermination and can be shown to mean only such? And as
for defending our national sovereignty, self-determination, lands and
resources, we will do that with various weapons--alliances, protests,
lawsuits, militant action and including international law which includes the
precedents that the imperial powers assert for themselves while denying the
same to others.

Why not the break-up of the U.S. and Canada into separate Indigenous nations
co-existing with land bases of non-Indigenous Peoples--like the break-up of
the USSR and Eastern Europe? We pose this question only to our oppressors
and the oppressor Governments who hypocritically celebrate the "break-up" of
the USSR and Eastern Europe (or call for a "Free Tibet") while so
santimoniously preaching limited[phony] sovereignty and the "principle" of
territorial integrity.

As for allies, particularly non-Blackfoot, we desire and need such
alliances. But better alone than in alliance with the same types that
brought us to the brink of extermination. Just as there are self-professed
"Christians" whose attitudes and behaviors do nothing for the spreading of
Christianity, so we have self-professed/annointed/defined "progressives,
Marxists, radicals, etc" who do more against progressive, radical and
Marxist causes than the outright anti-communists and reactionaries could
ever do--by virtue of what they are, by virtue of the ignorance and
arrogance they spread and by virtue of what they do or do not do/support. On
the "left" We have some individuals, who call themselves "radicals" or
whatever, who are "anti-system" only because they are such useless fucked-up
losers that even the capitalist system will not have them. We have some who
claim they cannot be bought only because they are such useless fucked-up
creatures that no one wants to buy them. We have some miserable, toxic and
narcissistic creatures who can only derive some joy by trying to make others
around them as miserable and fucked-up as they are (like Ayn Rand herself, a
miserable, arrogant, know-it-all, useless, toxic, ultra-individualistic and
pathologically narcissistic creature who could only find any joy by trying
to make others around her compliant sycophants and as miserable and
mentally/emotionally fucked-up as she was).

So the question is two way: Not only which Indigenous struggles or aspects
of Indigenous struggles should/must Marxists become involved in order that
they may still unhypocritically call themselves Marxists or progressives or
radicals, but which self-declared "Marxists", "progressives" or "radicals"
are worth Indigenous Peoples even bothering with,talking to or forming
alliances with.

Jim Craven
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