Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Right to Return and National Missile Defense: Vikings, Kalaallit Nunaat & “The Discarded”

The Right to Return and National Missile Defense: Vikings, Kalaallit Nunaat & “The Discarded”

– by Macdonald Stainsby

originally written for Left Hook, circa February 2005.

What currently remains of the antiwar movement in many places– in particular Canada– has rightly seen an importance to discussing Ballistic Missile Defense, or BMD, as an antiwar issue in the age of the “War on Terror”. However, there are issues involving BMD not even being discussed by the antiwar movement that sorely need exposure, education and hopefully, organization. And it all begins where the first European settlers, the Vikings, ended: on the largest island in the world.

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Scientists as Modern Colonialists: The Ancient One and Jack Metcalf

Scientists as Modern Colonialists:

The Ancient One and Jack Metcalf

Macdonald Stainsby

originally written for Left Hook

circa 2004.

A recent ruling on the “Kennewick man” bones has deep implications as yet another in a long line of scientific attacks on indigenous sovereignty. The recent court decision that the local Indians do not control the bones despite the non-ambiguous nature of laws passed on agreements between the nation and the American state is one more salt-grinding demonstration that sovereignty of First Nations is not something that a North American government is bound to respect. Not only is the ruling a legal blast to the existing treaties and legislation, it is proof that the “above politics” nature of “honest scientific inquiry” is a total hoax. Before we know it, this will allow a tidal wave of racist reaction from first-to-fifth generation settlers about First Nations not really being “first”.

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Why did I come here, exactly?

Why did I come here, exactly?

Hitchhiking rant originally blogged on the Media Co-Op,
July 18, 2009
me at the Naeech'egah (Liard) River.
me at the Naeech’egah (Liard) River.
Josh tries to figure what to do with his truck
Josh tries to figure what to do with his truck

 

Why did I come here, exactly?
July 18, 2009
from Tr’ondek Hwech’in territory.

Well, I’ve been on the road– with week long stops in Edmonton twice, and one overnighter– basically since the middle of March. Too many stories and stories within stories to even begin to go there, but it’s odd that as I’m feeling like the hockey player who is afraid of what may come after retirement that despite my newly graying hair I am now traveling on the road more than ever in my life. And to me that’s really saying something.

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Devastation, Madagascar

Devastation, Madagascar

France’s Total and US based Madagascar Oil tangle with military governments to push tar sands projects forward

by Macdonald Stainsby

originally published in the Media Co-op

December 27, 2010

 

local Malagasy villagers in Ambonara, a village perhaps a mile from the main offices of Total and who rely on the same river that Total proposes to draw their water. Photo: Macdonald Stainsby
local Malagasy villagers in Ambonara, a village perhaps a mile from the main offices of Total and who rely on the same river that Total proposes to draw their water. Photo: Macdonald Stainsby
Jean-Pierre Ratsimbazafy stands in a filled in area used to dump waste tailings by Total's mining exploration. Photo: Macdonald Stainsby
Jean-Pierre Ratsimbazafy stands in a filled in area used to dump waste tailings by Total’s mining exploration. Photo: Macdonald Stainsby

 

Total’s proposed tar sands operation in Madagascar is potentially the dirtiest mining operation its kind in the world, in a region where the local people have few options but to live next to it. If, as some charge, Total helped bring down a democratically elected government in order to install a regime that would favour their tar sands project, it’s likely that international campaigns against Total and their social and environmental record could well expand.

In 2008 Total bought a 60% stake in the Bemolanga tar sands field, a field that they predict may operate at just under 200 000 barrels per day of bitumen using strip mining techniques developed in Alberta, Canada. The bitumen is less ‘pure’ in place, which means it will produce more toxic tailings and require even more water usage than the already notorious strip mines north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. If developed, the Bemolanga mine would rival the largest of the mines in operation today.

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A Tar Sands Partnership Agreement in the Making?

A Tar Sands Partnership Agreement in the Making?

Macdonald Stainsby | August 1st 2011

Originally published in Canadian Dimension

Campaigns against tar sands production have grown rapidly over the last four years. From the relative obscurity in Alberta to an international lightning rod for people trying to address all manner of concerns from indigenous and community self-determination to peak oil and climate change – criticisms of the largest industrial project in human history have gained a major voice. The voices are certainly not homogenous, but a large contingent of these voices call for a shut down of tar sands production and a move away from fossil fuels – if not an outright move away from market-led growth of any sort. But, in the language of the environmental elite, what are the “decision makers” preparing to do with all this anti-tar sands resistance?

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Notes on Human Rights Watch

Notes on Human Rights Watch
Macdonald Stainsby

published in the Variant, Winter, 2004

The organization Human Rights Watch (HRW), much like counterpart Amnesty International (AI), is cited often by individuals and organizations of all political creeds and persuasions. Whether it is far-right opponents of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez or leftist solidarity activists working on helping the beleaguered Palestinian people, it seems a citation from HRW is so respected that it takes on the air of non-ideological and non-partisan, making it so that they stand above the fray of politics. But is this really the case? Well, one of the main issues that can be brought up is simply how the organization pigeon-holes these matters. To deal with this point, I found simply one article on the HRW main webpage (hrw.org) and dissected from there.

The article in question is available at:
http://hrw.org/editorials/2003/nigeria120403.htm
And right from the start, it is too deeply woven with imperialist ideology to simply take apart when a line appears that is in favour of Western imperial interests. The White Man’s burden approach to the “Human Rights” and International law implications implied therein are simply astounding. It is not so much what is said but rather how things are framed. The ideology of HRW, much like the major bourgeois media, as has often been said, is like the pane of glass you don’t see, but which really determines the appearance of what you are looking at.

 

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Combining revolution with art

Combining revolution with art

| September 9, 2004

Originally published in Rabble.ca

When the world learned of the death of Aisha El-Zaben, 55, a participant in the hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners held by the state of Israel, it was a sobering reminder of the tragedy of the struggle in the Middle East. So too, is the music of Al-Awda, a band from Palestine whose members were on a North American tour when the death was announced.

Having just recently finished the Canadian wing of the tour — to Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto — the traditional as well as modern musical band is enthralling audiences with powerful songs from Egypt, Jordan and of course, Palestine itself from across the history of the 20th century. Once they began to play the audience was hooked with powerful rhythm, even before a note was sung.

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So this is my rant on Palestine

So this is my rant on Palestine

(I wrote this originally as a semi-public email, after a first visit through Israel, Palestine and Jordan. I have to call this “creative venting.” It was a therapeutic write up.)

May 6, 2011
I promised myself I wouldn’t do this. I knew I would finally be able to go to Palestine and see things for myself, but the last thing I wanted to do was write some gooey, sappy stuff about what I saw, how life was so bad, and how shocked I am. Besides all of that, I had been friends with both Palestinians and many internationals who had spent time here for many years and knew a lot of all of this already anyhow, right? Besides, I never went to Palestine for a reason: I didn’t have a reason. That was my reason for not going; the stories of some privileged urban white dude from a privileged country causing havoc and basically forcing the local people out of the goodness of their hearts to babysit someone who was there supposedly also out of the goodness of their hearts was “not on” as far as I was concerned. So I had no reason to be here, and would have likely been a burden and did not come.

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We can’t walk on water, but we can hitchhike on it

We can’t walk on water, but we can hitchhike on it

Submitted Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Macdonald Stainsby

written originally for Digihitch.com

Yukon Territory From last Summer, (2006)… Triumph beyond triumph for the thumb master.

The Joe Henry Highway north and the Deh Cho south

 


Well, a few hours after running into him literally as he arrived in Dawson, André and I were heading out of town to hitch up the Joe Henry Highway, or the “Dempster” as it still appears on maps. Talking to one another about the form rides take when hitching as a pair of men, we agreed it meant that women were less likely and single women almost impossible to expect rides from for obvious reasons. About a minute after that discussion, a young woman named Kylie picked us up and gave us a ride to Dempster Corner. Waiting there for maybe twenty minutes, we chatted with two women who pulled over in this slow traffic gas bar and motel location. Within a short span of time, we were headed with this car licensed from the State of Pennsylvania, up to the Tombstone Campground, 70 odd clicks up the road. both headed to Alaska but exploring Yukon a bit first.

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Oil Rich Gulf Co-operation Council Grows

Oil Rich Gulf Co-operation Council Grows

Extreme extraction could prove to be the meaning of GCC membership for Morocco and Jordan

by Macdonald Stainsby

November 21, 2011

originally published in the Media Co-op and The Dominion.

graphic by Dru Oja Jay.
graphic by Dru Oja Jay.

 

AMMAN, Jordan–The Arab Spring sent shock waves through the regimes of the Middle East and North Africa, and in the face of demands for popular accountability alongside bread and butter issues, states throughout the region have devised strategies to try and avert popular upheaval.

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