As I noted in Anti-Indian Pathogen, our collective well-being depends on systematic prophylaxis exercised by civil society.
Whenever I am asked by civil society to consult or intervene in social conflict, I ask myself, “What’s the deal?” Because social conflict is almost never what it seems.
Most activists don’t do this. Most activists assume that conflict is based on misunderstandings or misguided good intentions, when in fact they usually involve malice and fraud. That’s why we always conduct background research on key players and their connections as the first step in developing an estimate of the situation. Forget mainstream news; that’s just propaganda.
Open source research (publicly available information) is the best place to start, and often provides leads for deeper digging. Few realize how easy and effective open source research can be, although it usually involves visits to public agencies, rather than relying on the small amounts of information available online.
For intelligence on one’s political opposition, attendance at their gatherings is mandatory. One can simply not rely on media reports–when there are any. For reliable intelligence, infiltration of opposition organizations is sometimes necessary, although — for obvious reasons — this should not be undertaken by inexperienced lone operatives.
Regarding the April 6 Anti-Indian Conference and the Tea Party/CERA hate campaign, the Anti-Indian History of the organizers is useful, but needs to be updated. An analysis of the funding and organizing structure of the campaign needs to be conducted. Information and intelligence has to be gathered.
That said, there are some things we do know. By their own admission, CERA held their regional Anti-Indian conference in Bellingham, Washington because Washington State is a key battleground state over tribal sovereignty. As founder of the six-campus Northwest Indian College, the Lummi Indian Nation is a key player.
Lummi opposition to the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT) project of Goldman Sachs and Peabody Coal Company, next to their reservation, makes the Lummis a prime target. The fact that conflict over Nooksack River Basin water allocation is a factor in the feasibility of the water-intensive GPT coal terminal application, means tribal sovereignty is a key objective for these Wall Street heavies — as well as the Building Industry Association — to undermine.
To Wall Street, mobilizing Far-Right Christian Anti-Indian activists as spear-carriers only makes sense. When you add in the AFL-CIO patsies and thugs supporting Wall Street for the couple hundred GPT jobs, you’ve got a ready-made hate campaign with labor muscle.
For the Lummis, it could hardly be worse. Add to this the fact that there are no organized and functioning human rights organizations in the area, the Wall Street/Christian Right coalition has an open field ahead. The only thing that might stop them is intervention by the newly-elected Governor Jay Inslee. Since his office is targeted for swarming by Anti-Indian activists seeking to pressure him to end state accords with Indian tribes, he will unavoidably be involved in this troubling development.
How he responds depends in part on what civil society does or doesn’t do. If groups like Washington Association of Churches and League of Women Voters have one thing they ought to do this spring, it is this. Otherwise, it might be too late.
Author’s note: As we saw with the April 6 CERA regional conference in Bellingham, the Anti-Indian hate campaign came in under the radar of media and human rights organizations. As they gear up the hate campaign, it will be useful to gather information and intelligence by monitoring their podcasts, websites and Facebook, and by attending their events. As always, only attend with a buddy, and never do anything that doesn’t seem safe. Gather documents, and share the information with those who can use it. Never assume anything is unimportant. When in doubt, ask.
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