20 January 2013

Civil Disobedience and, "White Privilege"

During the Idle No More protests of the past month we at ARC have been, well, idle. We've been following the coverage in the msm and reading progressive blogs that have been doing a much better job of providing relevant commentary than we here could hope to do. We've generally focused our attention more on the level of what is happening, "on the street" as it were and not as much on systemic racism, though considering the lull in the activities of overt racist groups in the country we're thinking that this may now be an area that we need to explore in more depth.

This doesn't mean though that we haven't made a few observations ourselves regarding the INM movement.

Not surprisingly, the INM protests have been fodder for.... uhm.... well, what passes for discussion on Stormfront:

We might however note that promoting a boycott of the First Nations' economy on Stormfront might not be all that helpful for this fella's cause.

Let's just say we don't think the average Stormfront user does a lot of business with First Nations:

Sure, we could laugh at these idiots, but here's the problem. Much of what has been written about the INM movement specifically and First Nations' peoples in general in the comments sections of legitimate news sites wouldn't seem at all out of place on Stormfront.

We do take it with a grain of salt. Any anonymous bigot could post racist garbage online with little fear of being called on it. And as this writer grew up on the prairies, I am intimately aware that racism towards First Nations peoples is still socially acceptable in too many areas of social life. Most of this bigotry is generational and bourne out of ignorance -- those in this category would perhaps cringe at some of the more severe language used and would chafe at the thought of being considered racist -- but there is also a lot that is based on real hatred.

It is also has a significant element of hypocrisy.

Let's take our friends on Free Dominion as a case in point. The INM is one of the hot topics being discussed on their forums, and much of the language used is heavily racialized (and rife with stereotypes) as evidenced  the three examples provided:

One poster did mildly admonish Kennedy for his choice of language, however he dismissed the criticism and justified his own the language (just as he justifies use of other racist language) as well as the racist comments made by others in another thread:

Much of the rhetoric being used would be quite at home on Stormfront. But that's not the part we consider hypocritical.

Closely associated with the racialized language is the droning whine, "if white people were doing that, the police would have arrested them!":

The desire for the second coming of Mike Harris is in reference to the Ipperwash affair which resulted in the death of Dudley George. That is his solution to these current INM protests. Then again, it isn't as if wanting to kill protesters is anything new on Free Dominion, as evidenced in earlier posts regarding First Nations in Ontario:

Kennedy's comment from 2006 is echoed in a comment posted regarding the current INM protests:

But here's the real kicker. While the folks on Stormfront and Free Dominion, as well as people commenting on msm articles on the movement, complain that if, "they" (meaning, "white people") were to engage in similar acts of civil disobedience, the hammer would come down on them hard, the reality is that "white people" have engaged in acts of disruptive civil disobedience.

BCL has noted in a number of posts on his blog that Ontario Landowners, including current MPP Randy Hillier, also blocked highways (here and here) in order to gain attention for their cause. And while Mr. Hillier now claims that what he and his group did in 2005 is completely different than what the INM movement is doing now, objective reality might beg to differ.

So, how then would the folks on Free Dominion respond?

Mostly favourably:

We do need to be fair. None of these individuals are posting on Free Dominion any longer, and there was some tepid criticism:

However, what is absent in the criticism of Hillier and the Landowners are the calls for the police or military to come in to crack heads. No one called this protest, or similar protests (like this and this) an act of economic terrorism. No racialized language or gross stereotypes were used to describe the participants in these acts of civil disobedience.

Why is that?

On the issue of being opposed to the INM movement based on the rule of law, a Free Dominion member makes the following point:

So then if is the case, then we wonder what the attitude towards.... oh, let's say the gun registry would be on Free Dominion:

Perhaps, "WestViking" would be against this illegal action, but it seems clear that a lot of his fellow Free Dominion members have no problem with civil disobedience regarding laws they don't agree with. In some cases, it's not even a matter of civil disobedience. Rather it's an entitled belief that the law should not apply when someone doesn't agree with it:

In the above case, there isn't even a higher, moral, justification other than a childish proclamation of, "you're not the boss of me!) Edward Kennedy boasts that he ignores (and we might assume violates) laws he disagrees with for no other reason than he doesn't agree with them, yet there is no criticism for this statement. As such, we have to suspect the, "respect for the rule of law" canard is a bit of a red herring.

So, we're left again to ask what is the difference between the INM movement and the actions of the Landowners or people who refused to register their guns when the law was in effect?

In a nutshell, some grievances are seen as legitimate, while others are not.

The grievances of largely rural, mostly conservative, and largely white Canadians are worthy of being respected and their acts of civil disobedience justified. Their concerns matter.

The grievances of non-white, First Nations, Canadians are not legitimate and do not deserve a hearing. Their acts of civil disobedience MUST be met with the full force of the law. Blood should spill so the uppity Indians will learn their place.

And people claim there is no such thing as white privilege.


rww said...

... and then we have a so-called progressive blogger, whom I won;t name because he's not worth giving the publicity, joining the attacks on Idle No More and Chief Spence.

Robert MacBobbertson said...

Iis there any info on the associations of the counter protesters (Edmonton)??