One of the benefits of having a pretty diverse group of friends is that they feed me very different views of the same issue, and today was a good example of that. Within the span of hours today someone shared this link glorifying the Idle No More movement as the savio(u)rs of the universe and someone else shared this link which, in between tactless pot-shots, raises some very valid questions about the validity and motives of the hunger striker in Canada who is the face of the movement. I recommend that you check them both out, but I realize that time is precious so I’ll take the liberty of summarizing them in my brutally inaccurate style.
The first one ties Idle No More to Occupy, the Arab Spring, and the hacktivist group Anonymous, and sums the entire set of movements up in a single, pointed question:
It is a simple choice: continue to be part of the cancer that slowly destroys our water, our air and the resources that are the fabric of life by staying unconscious, or become the conscious antidote that slowly kills the cancerous disease which threatens the existence of life on the planet?
As far as I can tell, the Idle No More movement is about aboriginal rights (and ultimately, money) and has no real ties to the other movements that Mr. Delaney mentions. His depiction of the movement as the seeds of a global uprising against corporate greed and environmental damage is a fantasy of his own making. To state that Idle No More and the Arab Spring have common goals you have to view the movements from such a great distance that they become featureless “grassroots uprisings” and nothing more.
The second one is a very biased attack on the coverage that Theresa Spence’s hunger strike in Ottawa is getting in the media. Ignore the speaker’s irritating manner, the way that he asks questions and implies the answer he wants without actually supporting it, and the way he spins the story for media appeal while decrying the way media cover news. Ignore all that, if you can, and concentrate on the questions that he asks. Is Theresa Spence really on a hunger strike? What will a meeting with Harper gain? Most importantly, where does the money go? Don’t let his implication of waste and luxury fool you, there is a real answer to this somewhere and he does NOT provide it. I really hate the tone of this article (you may have guessed that already) but Ms. Spence’s hunger strike doesn’t pass the smell test at the moment. Something’s not right.
The truth, I think, lies somewhere in the middle. Idle No More is a grassroots movement to raise awareness of aboriginal rights (more on this in a future post) and you shouldn’t be surprised if they manipulate the facts to lure the media into covering them for free. Whether or not Ms. Spence is really on a hunger strike, the issue of aboriginal rights and responsibilities is a massive issue in Canada, and one that is NOT being addressed. The common ground that Idle No More has with the other movements is that they are all signs of increasing unrest among the have-nots and the declining middle class at the increasing disparity between the rich and the poor. These movements are unlikely to combine, either because of geographic separation (the Internet will not compensate for this) or because they simply do not have the same goals at the micro level. Still, to ignore them and to ignore their causes would be a very foolish thing to do and I’m confident that the Western governments are foolish enough to do just that.
Before jumping on this bandwagon or trying to knock the wheels off of it, do some more research and make sure you’re really supporting what you think you are. There are a lot of people out there trying to spoon feed you.