One of the more controversial demonstrations that’s come out of the Idle No More (INM) movement is the Aamjiwnaang rail blockade. It began on December 24th when a group of people setup a camp on the middle of a rail track in Sarnia, Ontario. And, despite that Chief Theresa Spence and INM have called for only ‘peaceful acts’, the blockade continues to this day.
The picture up above was taken at the Sarnia blockade- a group of native people supporting the fight against ‘the Harper government’. On the surface, it looks like a typical INM protest- only, these people have decided to block a railroad instead of a city intersection. What’s more interesting than the picture is what’s missing from it. Equally, there’s a lot more to the story than a simple blockade against CN Rail…
What’s missing from the picture is a number of familiar faces from the anarchist/Occupy world- including at least two members of the Ruckus Society. It’s obvious that they’ve taken care not to be part of the official face of the blockade but they typically make mistakes- this time they published their photos on Facebook.
The first person I recognized in the pictures was Dave Vasey. Dave was the self-styled leader of Occupy Toronto (an officially leaderless movement) where he and his compatriots conducted some horrific acts of group bullying. Dave is also a member of the Ruckus Society (who promote group bullying)- an anarchist organization that’s been funded by the TIDES Foundation. Vasey was also the first person arrested at the Toronto G20.
Vasey’s girlfriend (on the far right) is Lana Goldberg, a union campaigner who put a lot of effort keeping Occupy Toronto’s focus on union issues. She’s probably most well-known at Occupy for setting up a pro-Steelworker’s flash mob in defence of usury by the banks. In September Goldberg tricked a group of people from Occupy Toronto into travelling to Ottawa for what turned out to be a rally to back-up Sid Ryan of the Ontario Federation of Labour.
Next, there’s Sakura Saunders- one of the biggest bullies to come out of Occupy Toronto. Saunders is a revolutionary Marxist who works with No One Is Illegal, and runs ProtestBarrick, an anti-mining group that’s a front for an attempt to attack Peter Munk and the Jewish National Fund. In here past, Saunders has worked with a couple of George Soros/OSI funded organizations including Prometheus Radio and Corp Watch.
Saunder’s husband, Darius Mirshahi, was there. He’s half of a surburban sounding Hip-Hop band called Test Their Logik [sic] who are famous for promoting that people ‘break up shit’ at the Toronto G20. Mirshahi was on-stage with Sid Ryan in Ottawa at the rally hijacked by Lana Goldberg. There were a few other recognizable characters including Curtis Nixon & Rob Roy from Occupy London. And there was Trey Winney from Occupy Toronto who is famous for following Sid Ryan’s leadership and deciding to assault a member of the press.
All of these people, with the exception of Saunders, have something in-common with Sid Ryan- they all participated in last months gathering of the Ontario Common Front. OCF is led by Ryan’s Ontario Federation of Labour, and appears to be the first official co-gathering of union flying squads, OCAP and other Marxist leaning organizations with the anarchists.
As they say at TIDES Canada- strange bedfellows…
So, what’s the big deal? CN Rail is losing some money- who cares? Well, it appears that many of the local residents care- both indigenous and others. The rail spur that they are blocking leads to the Chippewa Industrial Park industrial park. Now, this is really curious- because the park is owned by the Aamjiwnaang First Nation.
One of the residents of the reserve, who has owned a business in the park for 14 years, has written a rather heart-wrenching letter trying to appeal to the people holding the blockade. It appears that the businesses in the park are suffering- one of them, ARI fleet services, is on the verge of shutting their operations in the park.
Here’s one of the most disturbing quotes from her letter:
“Not only have you jeopardized these jobs but a whole company who is unwilling to do business in our Industrial park. What do you think the band will do to make up the rent lost by ARI? I,m not afraid to guess that an operation that size would pay approximately 400 000.00 a year in rent to our band to care for their people.
This protest has also hurt men at the railroad who cannot go to work to put food on their tables and pay their mortgages at the end of the month. Does anyone really believe these men and their friends and families will want to support the causes and needs of the native community who would do this to them?”
So, in essence, the ultimate victims of this blockade are going to be the very people who INM is supposed to be supporting- the indigenous people who are benefiting from rent payments, jobs, and the viability of the band’s business. So, who is really benefiting here?
Well, first, the anarchists are seeing some benefit. ARI Fleet Services makes train cars- including tankers that can be used to transport oil and chemicals. There’s also a chemical company that’s beginning to idle because of a lack of the propane that gets delivered over the rail. So, this action suits their purposes just fine.
The only other people who would benefit would be those who want to see the Aamjiwnaang Band Council suffer. This is probably the most interesting part of the story. When Theresa Spence made an announcement to INM that they should take the leadership of the chiefs, there was a great push-back by the radicals. In fact, two of the radicals who were involved with causing division at Occupy Vancouver jumped-in only moments after Spence’s announcement.
Right after, they started a new Facebook page focussing on taking the chiefs out of INM. What they’re doing is a virtual replay of what happened at Occupy. After conducting one of Occupy Vancouver’s most socially violent meetings, Tami Starlight then tried to re-name and re-structure Occupy Vancouver into “Decolonize Vancouver”. Anarchist attention seekers live for opportunities like this.
The Occupy/Anarchist crowd are revolutionary Marxists who have been actively promoting division on indigenous reserves for some time now. Alongside with the unions, they are the vanguard of Canada’s Marxist community’s attempts to bring this country to the point of a Marxist revolution. It sounds comical, as it is, but this hasn’t stopped them from trying.
These are many of the same people who brought con-artist Kevin Annett onto the reserves….
What’s happening in Sarnia is a lot like what happened in Toronto with Zach Ruiter’s GE-Hitachi uranium plant fiasco. The anarchists started-off giving the impression that they were crusading on behalf of the residents next to the plants. But, when it came down to it, all they did for the locals was to put a dent into their property values.
A judge has now filed an injunction against the blockade, and according to a story in the Toronto Star, the protesters have said they will leave the track by tomorrow. I’ll leave you with an ‘organization chart’ pointing out some of the relationships involved. Notice how INM’s spokesperson, Pamela Palmater, is a close associate of Judy Rebick, who is a close associate of Vasey & Saunders….