Creating Divisions

Creating Divisions

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January 23, 2013

When mainstream media promoted misperceptions about Occupy, it was following the lead of Wall Street think tanks and repressive state agencies established to protect the privileges of the rich and powerful. As with all misperceptions promoted by the rich and powerful, the intention is to deny social justice movements the support and resources they need to succeed. Part of that strategy is undercutting their effectiveness by creating divisions between movements with the potential to pose a serious threat to the status quo.

In Pamela Palmater’s January 4 article at, she furthers this misperception of Occupy by casually dismissing its significance while promoting Idle No More. Why, I don’t know, but as I remarked in my comment there, that while Occupy activists have different histories, experiences, goals and aspirations than that of First Nations, they share a common experience of being ignored, neglected, and deprived of a fulfilling life by the same powers.

Perhaps more importantly, Occupy activists are natural allies of Idle No More, and as such should be treated with respect. While I doubt that Palmater meant to malign these socially conscious activists, there is no need to buy into the mainstream media putdown of Occupy in order to promote Idle No More.

In The Sustainability of Indigenous Resistance, posted on January 22 at the Decolonization blog by Eric Ritskes, this misperception of Occupy is once again raised, demonstrating the uncritical habit from which toxic ideas introduced into mainstream discourse spread. As I noted in my comment there, dismissing Occupy as a means of promoting Idle No More is an ungenerous proposition, and a strategically unwise tactic; putting them down only deprives INM of potential allies at a time it needs all the friends it can get.

As Arthur Manuel stated in a January 23 article at The Tyee by Suzanne Fournier, the kind of changes Idle No More wants aren’t going to be negotiated through talk at a table, that it is finding its feet, growing and learning how to put pressure on the system. The same can be said about the young people involved with Occupy–they are growing and learning, and maybe as they interact with other young activists from Idle No More, they will find enough common ground to work together.

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