Category Archives: Weekly Articles

My weekly round up of things tar sands and oil shale, at home and abroad.

Tar Sands for the week (August 13, 2014).

There’s nothing like a good disaster to teach us about who our friends are in life. Think on your own life a little bit– there are moments where things were moving along very well, and you were surrounded by people who appeared to want to walk the road of life with you. Then you had a giant tragedy, a challenge, some major crossroads hit. Perhaps it was an illness, or a sick relative, loss of employment or another trying, similar situation.

The people in your life scattered themselves into two separate groups: Those who could not handle or chose not to be around during the immense struggles you and/or your family were facing, and those who stood with you more than ever. The first group of people are perhaps more common, but it is the second group of people that we cannot live without. They are the ones who have truly embraced friendship and do not put a price nor conditions upon their love– and their solidarity.

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Tar Sands for The Week (August 5, 2014).

Earlier this summer as part of work, oddly enough, dealing with the threat of climate change, I was in the Cariboo region of British Columbia. As a Vancouverite I perhaps get into this part of the land a little more often than most but it is still a rare, non-annual occurrence for myself. I won’t get into the specifics at the moment, but climate change and how it is exacerbated by bad forestry practices drew me to the areas around Williams Lake, north to Quesnel and past two separate roads that one could travel to see towns I have not in over a decade– Likely and Horsefly– original BC “Gold Rush” towns, now quite small in population.

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Tar Sands for the Week (July 22, 2014).

I would like to start this weeks rant with a slightly different tack– tar sands and the ongoing war on Gaza. The Israeli state is currently trying to eliminate resistance and ultimately the people of Gaza entirely; the “war” is not about rockets, nor kidnapped teenagers or anything similar to that, but a combination of forced submission attempts and punishment for Palestinian refusal to simply disappear from the planet and surrender their homeland. In this sense, what Gaza is enduring now is roughly the equivalent of what happened to indigenous peoples with events such as the Trail of Tears, the forced dispossession of children from families to residential schools, and the attempt to crush spirits to the level needed to build a “new” country where other people have lived and always will.

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Tar Sands for the Week (July 9, 2014).

2 Percent. It’s not the milk, but a percentage of the Canadian economy reliant upon tar sands production. For the Harper Government it’s a much larger number, because the Harperites– a Frankenstein’s monster emerging from years of the Ontario-centric Federal Liberal Party and major subsidies of the tar sands production– are a financially oil and gas grouping from southern Alberta.

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Tar Sands for the week (July 2, 2014).

It’s already been a couple of weeks since Gateway was approved and it appears little has changed. Organizing continues on all fronts, and any major attempts to derail other organizing in BC seems to be, so far at least, not affecting fracking campaigns, attempts to block the Kinder Morgan tar sands expansion or other vital work. Let’s hope this continues– but the big ENGO’s have not changed their tack, either.

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Tar Sands for the Week (June 24, 2014).

Last week the official decision came in on the Enbridge Gateway pipeline proposal, never mind the fact that the decision about the pipeline was long ago made in Indian Country, and that the majority of the settler population supports such a rejection– both for NIMBY and larger concern issues. The decision has highlighted well that there are essentially three poles within this gravity field in orbit around the single Enbridge proposal to transport the equivalent of over 2 of the largest strip mines in the world full of diluted tar sands bitumen.

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Tar sands on the road (starting May 29)…

For the next few weeks I will be primarily offline, and as such will not be posting the weekly tar sands updates. However, since I wanted to say something on the subject of the likely decision on Gateway upcoming and what it may mean, I will take the horrible risk of several predictions.

It will be approved. It will never be built.

The ENGO response is likely to be of scorn, and repeated calls to the public to further gather in places where the pipeline will be roundly denounced.

Community organizers will be marginalized.

More attempts to suck up to Christy Clark, the former PR worker for the firm that greenwashes Enbridge for hire. Rather than counting out the BC government, further lost time will be wasted on attaching hopes to the same premier that is currently on the all out attack against the very institutions that educate the children and, hopefully, prepare them for a world that her industrial friends are attempting to pave.

The idea of a systemic cause of tar sands pipelines will not be addressed by mainstream ENGO’s.

Fracking pipelines and their coincident LNG terminals are not to be opposed, either.

I also predict that many may take this opportunity to expose the true nature of the oil and gas economics inherent in capitalist processes, and begin to build alliances across communities. Indigenous resistance will carry the bulk of the solutions, while the talk of solutions as a buzz word for non-action will continue from outside community perspectives.

All in all, after the dust settles, the main factors– Government, federal & provincial– will continue to be the same pro-industrial, right wing and pro-corporate sector they always were. And certain sectors of the mainstream environmental movement will continue to lie to you about that, and ask you to send these people love letters in various forms.

Harper will fight, perhaps longer than is good for him, but ultimately will be busy doing the real work in the background, which is pushing every single aspect of other levels of industrial destruction from clearcuts, to LNG terminals, fracking and fracking pipes, river destruction, salmon killing and more… while the focus is moved to what I believe is the already dead pipeline.

Power is not our friend. It is an enemy, and it is coming for us wearing multiple disguises.

This matters.

Gateway is dead. Long live Gateway! It will kill off our resistance, too, if we are not careful.

…and with that, I shall be off to places in this territory mwhere the rumbles you hear are as often of raging waters as they are of logging trucks, and gas is better used to cook a small meal.

 

Tar Sands for the week (May 20, 2014).

 

Tar Sands. On that, I want to talk about the anti-war movement of the time before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. In the time between the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in various parts of the United States and the ultimate invasion of the completely uninvolved sovereign state of Iraq, quite literally millions upon millions of people flooded the streets of the imperialist countries that stood to gain the most from just such an invasion. Perhaps tens of millions were mobilized in the UK alone; Canada, later to lead the invasion and overthrow of Haiti as a “sorry” to the United States war plans, played a peripheral role.

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Tar Sands for the week (May 13, 2014).

First off, my apologies for not posting for two weeks, travel and other commitments did not allow for the weekly blog. Here, once again, is a weekly tar sands stream of thoughts.

–Macdonald

**

Well, it seems that two weeks off for travel has left wide open new tar sands stories. Such is the nature of this struggle. But that’s it, perhaps in another way. While the overall popular sentiment against tar sands in particular– along with fracking, mountain top removal and climate change itself– the demands have not grown much with the breadth of sentiment. This is, of course, not true of those who are resisting on a democratic, open and community level– fracking has been brought to attention by those who seek more than public relations. But as far as the struggle against tar sands as led by the structures of NGO’s we have repetition of failed demands. Nowhere is this clearer than in the case of Enbridge Gateway and big money organizing in BC. Continue reading

Tar Sands for the week (April 22, 2014)

One of the major ways in which social control is manifested most often in today’s decaying North American society is through marketing of supposed activist campaigns. Taking on the appearance of grassroots organizing, the centralized, top down nature of the “campaign” will seek to do two main functions: Usurp the role of the grassroots organizing that had previously taken place, and create and act out a narrative.

Much has been said of the first previously, but the second is perhaps more insidious. The recent example of– I’ve written this often enough I’m thinking it’s time to cut and paste– the Keystone XL being punted down the field by the Obama administration is a case in point. Capital has done what capital is wont to do; Centralized campaigning under a public relations exercise led by middle class climate scientist Bill McKibben publicly has declared that Keystone XL is a make or break point for the climate in the US.

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