Eddie Bautista, the longtime environmental justice advocate and director of the New York City Environmental…
by Guest Contributor Robert Desjarlait
The Occupy Wall Street protest has become a matter of debate in Indian Country. Some have chosen to be included under the slogan – “We Are The 99%; others, like me, have chosen to be excluded from the 99%. Many of those who support it have come up with their own slogan – DECOLONIZE WALL STREET. I simply don’t believe that the indigenous nations on Turtle Island are a part of that 99% equation, let alone that the Occupy Wall Street movement is about decolonization.
One protester, Brendan Burke, said: “Everyone has this problem. White, black. Rich or poor. Where you live. Everyone has a financial inequity oppressing them.”
I assume from his statement that Burke only sees things in white and black. Apparently he is color blind when it comes to red and the brown. As far as financial inequity is concerned, we, the red and the brown peoples of the Americas, have suffered financial inequity ever since the oppressors first invaded our shores. Financial inequity – perhaps better termed as socio-economic inequity – began with the subjugation of our lands through treaties. Annuity payments were often late and were never the amount negotiated under the treaty. Supplies and food rations that were part of annuity payments were often appropriated by Indian agents and resold for higher prices.
The tragedy at Gaa-mitaawangaagamaag (Sandy Lake) exemplifies the socio-economic inequity of annuity payments. In the fall of 1850, nineteen Anishinaabeg bands from Wisconsin journeyed to Gaa-mitaawangaagamaag for annual annuity payments and supplies. The annuity payments and supplies were late and the people had to wait until early December before they received limited sums of money and available supplies. Trying to survive on spoiled and inadequate government rations while waiting for the annuities, 150 Anishinaabeg people died from dysentery and measles at Gaa-mitaawangaagamaag. Two-hundred and fifty more, mostly women children and elders, died on their way back home to Wisconsin. This is but one example of the economic inequity that has been part of the indigenous experience in the United States.
One of the things that the Occupy Wall Street organizers have repeatedly stated is that the inspiration for their protest is the Arab Spring movement. If this is the case, one may ask how did the indigenous peoples of the Middle East fare from the Arab Spring?
On September, Daniel Gabriel, the SUA Human Rights and UN NGO Director, stated: “While the media focuses all its energy on the Palestinian search for Statehood and the ‘Arab Spring’, it is the reduced indigenous populations of the Middle East who continue to lose out. Time and time again, the world demands justice, democracy and freedom in the Middle East, but it fails in its obligation to demand the same for the minority groups like the Arameans. Today we barely survive in our homeland. But tomorrow we may silently vanish from existence. The SUA pleads with the global bodies such as the United Nations and the world community and media to prevent this imminent tragedy from happening.”
If the Arab Spring didn’t flourish for indigenous peoples in the Middle East, how can we expect it to flourish here? Read the Post Decolonization and Occupy Wall Street
by Latoya Peterson
Over the weekend, I received the following email from Green For All:
Late last night, Van Jones resigned from his position with the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Many of us are left with pain and anger after seeing a leader of integrity, vision, and commitment targeted by hateful personal attacks. Van stepped down in service to our movement. He felt that fighting the attacks would draw attention to him and detract from our mission.
Now, our challenge is to turn our disappointment and anger into action and renewed resolve for our common goals.
Like the great social justice movements of the 20th century, our movement for an inclusive green economy is based in the most fundamental American values: equality, justice, and opportunity for all.
That’s why our opponents reduced the debate to fear, hatred, and division. They cannot win a debate about values. They cannot win a debate about solutions. Read the Post Van Jones Pushed Out of the Obama Administration
by Latoya Peterson
In this month’s Marie Claire, Cameron Diaz is gracing the cover and bringing a message. The popular starlet has embraced the environment as her new motivation, and is doing a low budget movie/documentary about the state of our fair planet.
The reporter follows Diaz to her old neighborhood in Long Beach, California, noting that her town is “dominated by a behemoth polluter.” Cameron’s childhood memories are tinged with flames from the nearby refinery, the dust that was ever present, and the childhood asthma she experienced.
However, she seems singularly focused on how individuals impact their environment:
Once she has eased people past the shock of encountering her (“Hi, I’m Cameron!”), she drops into a low, wide-leg stance so she’s eye-to-eye with her less willowy interviewees – high school girls, the Latino father of a young boy, a science teacher – then launches into a series of questions while the cameras roll: Do you know where your food, your water come from? Do you worry about the environment? What would it take for you to become more involved? And while people do seem to care, they also indicate a feeling of powerlessness. What, after all, can one person do? Then there is the problem of illegal immigrants – and there are many in this area – being decidedly disinclined to draw attention to themselves by registering complaints about air quality.
But the showstopper is a woman we meet a bit later who lives in a little house in full view of the refinery, who tells Diaz about the morning a sulfur-holding tank at the plant exploded, the still mysterious condition that led to her young son’s open heart surgery, the spike in depression and suicides in the neighborhood, the six-figure payoff one family received when their son was diagnosed with leukemia…
And yet, with unmistakable pride, the woman turns around and lifts her shirt to show us the name of the neighborhood tattooed in large black Gothic letters across the small of her back. Because this, despite everything, is home.
Diaz’s next statement was frustratingly familiar to me as an anti-racist who also has a deep eco-streak. After listing through dozens of environmental slights coming from a corporation and understanding why many residents would not want to call attention to themselves, she still goes on to say:
“I want to leave you with this thought,” Diaz says to the woman. After all you’ve told me…what would it take for you to do something to change your environment?” The woman, speechless, looks like she’s going to cry.
by Guest Contributor Ansel, originally published at Mediahacker
Editor’s Note: I watched the Quantum of Solace the weekend it opened. This is not unusual for me, as I watch all the Bond films and like them all for different reasons. However, I wasn’t planning to write specifically on Bond until longtime reader Ansel (now of the Mediahacker blog) sent his review of the film for consideration. I enjoyed the review, especially as it touched on a matter of great importance in our current times: the effect of globalization on communities of color. And so, I am using Ansel’s review as a jumping off point for larger discussions about global politics and policy, now found using the “globalization” tab. The first of the series will go live tomorrow – until then, enjoy. – LDP
James Bond, 007. For decades the British super-spy’s name stood for deadly charisma, over-the-top international espionage, and fancy gadgets – until the series took a more realist approach two years ago when actor Daniel Craig took over the role from Pierce Brosnan. The critics hailed Craig’s turn in “Casino Royale” for his icy cool and the physical presence he brought to new, grittier action sequences. This was finally a Bond for the new century, they said.
From an anti-kyriarchy point-of-view, I think Quantum of Solace better fits that description. Casino Royale’s plot was based on Ian Fleming’s original Bond novel about a corrupt financial magnate. The story took place mostly in Europe and turned on a high-stakes poker match played by ultra-rich elites.
With Solace, all the familiar elements are still there – the frenetic action, expensive cars, the constant tension between Bond and M, his boss at MI6, played by Judi Dench. As in every other Bond movie, most women in the film look like supermodels and are used or controlled by men, whether by force or by Bond’s charm. He sleeps with one of them in this movie, slightly down from absurd average of 2.5 women per film.
But James Bond fighting to protect the water supply for impoverished indigenous Bolivian villages? From a wealthy villain who poses as the head of an eco-friendly company called “Greene Planet” and conspires with U.S. intelligence to overthrow a leftist president? Now there’s something new and timely. Read the Post Series Introduction: Globalization – Of Bond and Global Politics