After three and a half years studying anarchist appropriation of indigenous voices, one lesson I’ve learned is that organizations with the word “Solidarity” in their names are often a good place to look. Barriere Lake Solidarity is an excellent example- more anarchists than a G20 bail hearing, close connections with the pro-violence AgitProp extremists at the Media Co-Op, and more bullshit than the Liniers Cattle Market.
BLS is a unincorporated “working group” running under the banner of the student fee funded Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) at McGill University. The groups founders include Martin Lukacs, an editor with the Media Co-Op and contributor to The Guardian newspaper in the UK (who often writes on First Nations issues without disclosing his activities as a “solidarity” activist). Lukacs was arrested at a BLS protest with fellow Media Co-Op leader Dru Oja Jay in 2008.
Anarchist Shiri Pasternak is a post doctoral fellow at Columbia university who has worked closely with BLS. She’s also an associate with Defenders of the Land, and works closely with their leader Russ Diabo. Pasternak came out with a sensational accusation last week claiming that “The Harper Government” has frozen BLS’s PayPal account- “due to our successful campaign to raise money for families who were going hungry because of negligent government service provision”. Really?
As recently explained in an article on the Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement’s website (OPIRG Carleton), the Chief and Council at Barriere Lake have refused to release the consolidated financial statements that are required as part of the First Nations Financial Transparency Act. Due to their non-compliance, the Chief and a member of the council haven’t been paid since November 27, 2014, and several people have had their financial assistance withheld. People were asked to donate money to help through BLS’ PayPal account.
Pasternak posted an alert on her Facebook page about the PayPal cancellation on Friday afternoon, a story was published in the Media Co-Op on Saturday. It’s important to note that the Media Co-Op is one of the most unreliable news websites in Canada, if Bill C-51 is passed, it’s likely a lot of their content will be classified as terrorist propaganda.”.
[Curiously, the Media Co-Op is funded in-part by the Ruth & Henry Goodman Fund For Social And Ecological Justice– a Quaker influenced foundation using money from the Tri-City Group, a company that made much of its fortune building residences in Fort McMurray, Alberta.]
Of course, whenever a story is sourced from a group of Che Guevara wannabes, it’s likely it to come with a side of pork pie (covered in bovine excrement). Pasternak’s follow-up Facebook comment conflicted with her previous statement, explaining how BLS’s PayPal account was taken down because “our non-profit status as a QPIRG working group is suddenly insufficient”.
PayPal’s rules for non-profit accounts state that they must be verified with the organization’s Notification of Registration from the Canada Revenue Agency- a standard procedure created to combat fraud. As we’ve mentioned, BLS isn’t a registered non-profit so, by default, they don’t qualify to have a PayPal non-profit account. BLS’ account wasn’t “suddenly insufficient”, it was wrongly assigned from day one. There’s also one other little problem.
The PayPal account was actually titled the “Barriere Lake Legal Defense Fund”. Legal defense funds are used to cover activist’s legal costs after they’ve been arrested. One can understand how using the account of an anarchist led legal defence fund to collect money for families in-need would raise a few red flags. The fund that was used to collect donations was mismatched with its original purpose.
This leads us to ask some important questions. How were donations intended for Barriere Lake families differentiated from those intended for anarchist troublemakers? Who did the money go to? Why haven’t donors been given access to the books? Defenders of the Land refused to release accounting for money raised by Idle No More’s to the four women who founded the movement- did anyone get screwed this time?
One of the most curious parts about this story is how Pasternak and the Media Co-Op neglected to disclose which sinister government agency (allegedly) asked PayPal to close the account. One would think that this is the most important part of the story, what are they trying to hide? If the allegation is true the request most likely originated from the Canada Revenue Agency- Harper’s “evil minions” tasked with regulating and non-profits and monitoring for fraud.
That said, it’s equally possible that the allegations are complete bullshit- “PIRG” affiliated anarchists are notorious sources of misinformation. Pasternak is no angel either, the last time she graced the pages of this website she was caught writing a passionate article standing up for Clayton Thomas-Muller after a publicly released RCMP document disclosed they’ve been tracking his connections to extremist groups since 2010. Following the anarchist tradition of bullshit and murky disclosure, Pasternak neglected to mention that she and Thomas-Muller worked together at Defenders of the Land.
Is there anything else she’s neglected to disclose about this story? I’ll leave you today with a video that tells the story why the RCMP would be so interested in a “nice guy” like Clayton Thomas-Muller. Take back the land, kill the white man!” (Oh, and f##k the police & stop Harper!)