Wednesday, April 20, 2016

If Robert F. Williams could speak to BLM...

If Robert F. Williams could speak to Black Lives Matter militants, he might remind them of this central problem in any organized liberation struggle... the problem of the supported network of collaborators.

"I learned in Atlanta that Mr. Elijah Muhammed had made quite an impression and that many Afro-Americans are learning, to the consternation and embarrassment of the black respectable leadership, that he has more to offer than weak prayers of deliverance. A prominent minister in South Carolina said, "Our biggest stumbling block is the Uncle Tom minister--the people must stop paying these traitors." In Atlanta, a university professor, energetic about the new spirit on the part of the Negroes, was very hopeful that new militant leadership would replace the old Uncle Toms, whose days, he was confident, were numbered.

There are exceptions among us. The Uncle Toms, the Judases, and the Quislings of the black "elite" would deny this rising consciousness. They do everything possible to make white Americans think that it is not true, while apologizing to us for the very people who oppress us. Some of these "responsible" Negroes are afraid that militant action damages "amiable race relations." They complain that race relations may deteriorate to a point that many Negroes may lose jobs. What they mean is that they may lose their (ital.) jobs. For the black workers, who are the first to be fired, and last, if ever, to be hired, the situation is so bad it can't deteriorate.

We realize that there must be a struggle within our own ranks to take the leadership away from the black Quislings who betray us. Then the white liberals who are dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into our struggle in the South to convert us to pacifism will have to accept our (ital.) understanding of the situation or drop their liberal pretensions." [Bold-emphasis added.]

--Robert F. Williams, in Negroes with Guns, 1962 (Martino Publishing, CT, 2013), p. 112

Monday, April 11, 2016

Keeping the Arabs Divided --Gowans blog

From The Bannerman Report, written in 1907 by British prime minister Henry Campbell Bannerman:

“There are people (the Arabs, Editor’s Note) who control spacious territories teeming with manifest and hidden resources. They dominate the intersections of world routes. Their lands were the cradles of human civilizations and religions. These people have one faith, one language, one history and the same aspirations. No natural barriers can isolate these people from one another … if, per chance, this nation were to be unified into one state, it would then take the fate of the world into its hands and would separate Europe from the rest of the world. Taking these considerations seriously, a foreign body should be planted in the heart of this nation to prevent the convergence of its wings in such a way that it could exhaust its powers in never-ending wars. It could also serve as a springboard for the West to gain its coveted objects.”

[Dan Bar-On & Sami Adwan, THE PRIME SHARED HISTORY PROJECT, in Educating Toward a Culture of Peace, pages 309–323, Information Age Publishing, 2006]

Cited by Tariq Ali in “Blinded by Israel, Visionless in Gaza,” Counterpunch, July 23, 2014

what's left (Gowans blog), July 23, 2014

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Canada's Genocide Explained

A 5-minute video interview with Dr. Bruce Clark.

"This video segment captures Dr. Bruce Clark’s riveting and historically correct account of Canada’s genocide of the Aboriginal Peoples.

The state’s systematic and total destruction of peoples, food sources, economic base, family ties, and culture -- facilitated by a legal structure, technology, and institutionalized child theft -- may be unprecedented in human history.

Dr. Clark is an expert on aboriginal rights jurisprudence and was a dedicated advocate for aboriginal land rights in Canada. He represented Gustafsen Lake Faith Keepers at the Gustafsen Lake Standoff in 1995 near Shuswap, BC. From defender of Aboriginal rights before Canadian and international courts to being jailed and disbarred for advancing legal arguments, Dr. Clark's struggle is itself a mirror of Canada’s genocidal crimes.

The high-definition version of the full one-hour video interview is on the film maker's channel:

Dr. Bruce Clark: Aboriginal rights lawyer
Denis Rancourt: Interviewer, for the Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA)
Produced by the OCLA (
Filmmaker: Peter Biesterfeld

About the Ontario Civil Liberties Association:
The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) defends civil liberties at a time when fundamental freedoms are being eroded in all spheres of social life. OCLA opposes institutional policies and decisions that deprive individuals of their personal liberty or exclude individuals from participation in the democratic functions of society.

Related links
Articles by Dr. Bruce Clark published on Dissident Voice:

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Civil liberties activism is a battle against pernicious totalitarianism

Rigorous freedom of expression advocacy, applied irrespective of societal taboos and dominant attitudes, is always political because it always has an effect towards leveling the playing field between powerful state-backed corporate and institutional forces and the individual.

 Discourse, including the extremes, is the main democratic mechanism against spontaneous advances of totalitarianism.

That is why the American Civil Liberties Union, for example, has defended the freedoms of both the KKK and the Black Panther Party, when these freedoms were most at risk. Any group or individual that most needs protection to express, from state-backed threats, should be protected to express.

Otherwise, democratic discourse is impeded and society suffers, to the benefit of dominant power. A stale and thought-moderated "safe space" society is a dead and totalitarian society having no push back against increasing control and exploitation by the top.

Civil liberties activism is a battle against pernicious totalitarianism. Expression is a fundamental human right. We need to hear our worst fears in order to express solutions.

Related article:

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A response by McGill Professors to Principal Suzanne Fortier’s condemnation of BDS

A response by McGill Professors to Principal Suzanne Fortier’s condemnation of BDS

As McGill professors committed to justice and equity, we strongly disagree with Principal Suzanne Fortier’s official response on behalf of the university administration to the recent Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) motion in support of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel and the subsequent on-line process which failed to ratify this vote. Her email response, sent to all McGill students and faculty, came moments after the results of the on-line process were announced, and echoed the disappointing and ill-informed motion passed by the Canadian Parliament in condemning the growing BDS movement.  For Principal Fortier to denounce a movement defending the rights of Palestinians against those who are oppressing them is in fact what “flies in the face of tolerance and respect"—not the BDS movement itself. The call for BDS, drawing upon lessons learned from earlier international movements against apartheid South Africa, indeed urges universities to end institutional ties with institutions funded and sponsored by the Israeli state, and which are complicit in the Occupation and violations of international law. The BDS movement is a measured, non-violent and principled civil society response to life under occupation and colonialism when a people’s basic rights are violated and denied.

The BDS call demands “tolerance and respect” for Palestinians--something that they have been denied by the state of Israel. It is precisely because Palestinians are not afforded the same rights as other peoples that BDS is necessary. Palestinians do not have equal rights to education, and are regularly denied their academic freedom. But they are also denied freedom of movement, freedom of association, and even their lives. "Freedom, equity, inclusiveness and the exchange of views and ideas in responsible, open discourse”, which are the core principles of McGill University as stated by Suzanne Fortier, are precisely what Palestinians are asking for with this call.

If these core principles do indeed guide the McGill community, it is our responsibility to support a grassroots movement initiated by the vast majority of Palestinian civil society. The demands of the BDS movement are simple. Israel should comply with international law by: (1) ending its occupation and colonization of Arab lands and dismantling the Wall; (2) recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and (3) respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194. When Israel complies with international law in these ways, there will be no more need for BDS.

Our mission as educators is to advance learning, to create and disseminate knowledge by offering our students the best possible education. We believe that upholding the highest international standards in teaching, research and scholarship, as well as service to local and international communities, means standing up for what is right when called upon to do so--locally, by supporting students who are working for justice for Palestine, and internationally, by responding to the call made by Palestinian civil society.

While we respect the freedom of expression of all members of our community, including the right of Principal Suzanne Fortier to publicly condemn the BDS movement, we resolve to steadfastly continue to support BDS and the work of our students at McGill who will carry on and continue to build this struggle.  In this case, the McGill administration, like the Canadian government, is on the wrong side of history.  The Canadian Parliament’s motion on BDS does not act in our name. As McGill professors, we also declare now and will continue to state that if this is the McGill Administration’s response to the BDS movement, it also does not act in our name.

Malek Abisaab, Associate Professor, Department of History and Classical Studies
Rula Jurdi Abisaab, Associate Professor, Institute of Islamic Studies
Diana Allan, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and the Institute for the Study of International Development
Alia Al-Saji, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy
Isabelle Arseneau, professeure agrégée, département de langue et littérature françaises
Jodie Beck, Course Lecturer, Department of East Asian Studies
Arnaud Bernadet, professeur agrégé, département de langue et littérature françaises
Lara Braitstein, Associate Professor, Faculty of Religious Studies
Brian Bergstrom, Visiting Professor, Department of East Asian Studies
Curtis Brown, Faculty Lecturer, Department of English
Mary Bunch, Faculty Lecturer, Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies
Michelle Cho, Korea Foundation Assistant Professor, Department of East Asian Studies
Aziz Choudry, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Social Movement Learning and Knowledge Production, Department of Integrated Studies in Education
Barry Eidlin,  Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology
Shanon Fitzpatrick, Assistant Professor, Department of History and Classical Studies
Allan Greer, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Colonial North America,
Department of History and Classical Studies
Jill Hanley, Associate Professor, McGill School of Social Work
Michelle Hartman, Associate Professor, Institute of Islamic Studies
Adrienne Hurley, Associate Professor, Department of East Asian Studies
Ahmed F. Ibrahim, Assistant Professor, Institute of Islamic Studies
Steven Jordan, Associate Professor, Department of Integrated Studies in Education
Pasha M. Khan, Assistant Professor, Institute of Islamic Studies
Thomas Lamarre, James McGill Professor in East Asian Studies and Associate in Communications Studies
Catherine Leclerc, professeure agrégée, département de langue et littérature françaises
Andrée Lévesque, Professor Emerita, History Department
Abby Lippman, Professor Emerita - Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health
Margaret Lock, Marjorie Bronfman Professor Emerita, Department of Social Studies of Medicine
Laura Madokoro, Assistant Professor, Department of History and Classical Studies
Setrag Manoukian, Associate Professor, Institute of Islamic Studies and Department of Anthropology
Gregory M. Mikkelson, Associate professor, Department of Philosophy
Charmaine A. Nelson, Associate Professor of Art History, Department of Art History and Communication Studies
Naomi Nichols, Assistant Professor, Department of Integrated Studies in Education
Máire Noonan, Course Lecturer & Research Assistant, Department of Linguistics
Kristin Norget, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
Anthony Paré, Professor Emeritus, Department of Integrated Studies in Education
Laila Parsons, Associate Professor, Department of History and Classical Studies
Jarrett Rudy, Associate Professor, Department of History and Classical Studies
Jessica Ruglis, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational & Counselling Psychology
Mela Sarkar, Associate Professor, Department of Integrated Studies in Education
Richard Shearmur, Professor, McGill School of Urban Planning
Jon Soske, Assistant Professor, Department of History and Classical Studies
Maria Theresia Starzmann, Assistant Professor, Anthropology Department
Gavin Walker, Assistant Professor, History & Classical Studies and East Asian Studies
Robert Wisnovsky, Professor and James McGill Chair, Institute of Islamic Studies
Brian J. Young, Professor Emeritus, Department of History