Why Do Filipinx Youth Activists in Canada Support the Wet’suwet’en Land Defenders?

For Immediate Release | February 9, 2020 | Reference: Fatima Barron, ANAKBAYAN-Canada (anakbayan.canada@gmail.com) | This statement is also available in Filipino and French

Anakbayan-Canada, its chapters, and affiliate organizations strongly and vigorously condemn the attacks against the Wet’suwet’en people as they defend their lands and their laws against the encroachment of Coastal GasLink and the violence of the settler-colonial Canadian state. 

Progressive Filipinx youth and students across so-called Canada stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en in their struggle to assert their sovereignty and self-determination on their ancestral and unceded territories.

As Filipinxs dedicated to the movement for National Democracy in our homeland, we study our history of resistance in order to understand the current conditions of our people today. 

As diasporic Filipinxs on stolen Indigenous lands, it is also our responsibility to learn and understand the histories of those peoples on whose lands we have made our home. We seek to militantly support the anti-colonial struggles surrounding us and firmly connect it to our own.

Knowing the Enemy

Through this study of the past and present, we know that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has been the military enforcement of capitalist-colonial laws since its formation

This week’s military invasion of Wet’suwet’en land is only the most recent instance of a long history of attacks and encroachment. The Canadian imperialist ruling class repressing Indigenous resistance with its RCMP attack dog – this is their system working exactly as it is meant to.

This is the same colonial state that attacked the Gidimt’en checkpoint in January of last year. It’s the same colonial state that hanged Louis Riel. It’s the same colonial state that deployed its military to attack the people at Kanehsatake, the same colonial state that fired 77,000 rounds of ammunition at Sun Dancers at Gustafsen Lake, the same colonial state that massively and disproportionately jails Indigenous people

This is their system working exactly as it is meant to.

It’s the same colonial state that has spent decades stealing children from their families and attempted to forcibly assimilate them in an act of cultural genocide. It’s the same state that continues to kidnap Indigenous children today through its desolate “child-welfare” system. 

We also know that when the Canadian imperialist state acts to protect its economic interests that it is in blatant disregard of not only Anuk Nu’at’en (Wet’suwet’en law), but also of the ruling on Aboriginal rights and title as decided in Delgamuukw v. British Columbia and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)

From Turtle Island to the Philippines

As activists engaged in study of the conditions in our own country, we see it as our internationalist duty to draw the connection between the Indigenous struggles here and the struggles of the Indigenous peoples and land defenders in the Philippines. 

Just as the Wet’suwet’en fight to assert their traditional laws over their lands, so too did Macli-ing Dulag, pangat (leader) of the Butbut tribe assert the laws of the bodong (peace pact) to organize Kalinga and Bontoc Indigenous tribes against the dictator Marcos’ Chico Dam project. 

Just as the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs call for their rights to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) for any project affecting their territories, so too have the Indigenous leaders in the Philippines denounced false attempts at FPIC that have allowed development aggression from foreign companies into their communities.

Just as the Wet’suwet’en stand strong and resilient in the face of brutal state repression, militarization, and criminalization, so too have Indigenous peoples’ organizations of the Philippines remained steadfast amidst red-tagging, harassment, and extrajudicial killings.

Indeed, the strategies of state fascism are deployed in similar ways around the world. When the Philippine government released a terrorist proscription list in February 2018, it included a significant number of Indigenous activists, including the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Kankana-ey activist Vicky Tauli-Corpuz. This list included “Jane” and “John Does”, placeholders for individuals not yet known to the government to be added later, allowing authorities to target anyone they please. The injunction filed by Coastal GasLink against Wet’suwet’en land defenders in January 2019 employed the exact same tactic.

Just as the Wet’suwet’en stand strong and resilient in the face of brutal state repression, militarization, and criminalization, so too have Indigenous peoples’ organizations of the Philippines remained steadfast amidst red-tagging, harassment, and extrajudicial killings.

And, just as the root reason for the invasion of Wet’suwet’en land is for Canadian extractive companies to be able to make huge profits, so too do Barrick Gold, Oceana Gold, TVI Pacific, and many more Canadian companies profit wildly from the encroachment, plunder, and destruction of Indigenous lands in the Philippines

How is Canada’s ruling class able to commit atrocities against Indigenous people here, just as the Philippine ruling class commits against Indigenous people there? What gives the Canadian ruling class in Canada power, and how is it connected to the power of the Philippine ruling classes?

Fight the Common Enemy

The ultimate connection we seek to make clear is that we have a common enemy with the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island. That enemy is the world system of capitalist imperialism, whether in its settler-colonial form pointing at Indigenous peoples ‘at home’ in Canada – or reaching from imperialist countries like Canada, overseas to countries like the Philippines.

At the same time as the Canadian ruling class enacts settler-colonial violence on Wet’suwet’en land defenders to uphold its global capitalist interests, that same Canadian ruling class works hand-in-hand with other imperialists and the Philippine traitors and sell-outs to plunder and exploit the people of the Philippines.

We are on stolen land here in Turtle Island, and we come from a place where our land has been stolen. As people who have also suffered the ongoing violence of colonization and imperialism, we must act in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en and with other Indigenous struggles, so as to bring these closer to each other and close to victory. 

Our concrete contribution to these struggles can be found through our knowledge of our revolutionary history and our aspirations to national liberation. Knowing our history means understanding how imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism have pushed our families out of the Philippines due to poverty, landlessness, and lack of opportunity. 

Our concrete contribution to these struggles can be found through our knowledge of our revolutionary history and our aspirations to national liberation.

By organizing with other progressive Filipinx youth and students and pushing for National Democracy and the ability to make our livelihoods back home, we can address the root causes of labour export and mass migration. We can stem the tide of continued settlement on these Indigenous lands. History teaches us that, if we arm ourselves with unity and organization, genuine social transformation is possible.

This is why we call on Filipinx youth across Turtle Island to fight against this global system of capitalist imperialism. Join in the international anti-imperialist and anti-fascist movement by joining the Philippine national liberation struggle. Join Anakbayan to fight our common enemy.

Long live international solidarity!

#WetsuwetenStrong
#AllEyesOnWetsuweten
#NoPipelinesOnStolenIndigenousLand

One thought on “Why Do Filipinx Youth Activists in Canada Support the Wet’suwet’en Land Defenders?

  1. Thank you for supporting the indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island (north america), if we have international support the rcmp cant kill them without consequences.

    Like

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