Socialists and Indigenous activists interconnected, says Langara club

Fundraising for the arrested Gidimt'en protesters sparked by an alleged link in values

Musqueam activist Rhiannon Bennett speaks in the Roots Cafe on Main Street, at the Feb. 19 fundraiser held by the Langara International Socialists. Photo: Missy Johnson
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Reported by Missy Johnson

The Langara International Socialists is tethering its cause to that of Indigenous activists in Northern B.C.

The money raised by their parent club, the International Socialists, at their Feb. 19 fundraiser will go towards covering the legal fees for protesters arrested at the Gidimt’en checkpoint in Northern B.C.

The controversial camp

“It’s a key battle between the Canadian state and those of us who want to see reconciliation and justice for our Indigenous brothers and sisters,” said Bradley Hughes, head of the Langara International Socialists and chair of the astrology and physics department. “And also for those of us who want to see a just transition away from climate chaos.”

On Jan. 7, the RCMP arrested 14 people at the Gidimt’en camp in Northern B.C. Those arrested were protesting the temporary injunction issued by the B.C. Supreme Court in December 2018 that would allow Coastal GasLink pipeline workers to cross the blockade and begin work on the pipeline.

Beliefs that bridge time and space

Bryan Jacobs, who attended the fundraiser, sees a link between Indigenous cultures and socialist beliefs. Jacobs believes that Indigenous people have been practicing a form of socialism for a long time.

“I think that we really need to have Indigenous activists and socialists kind of working together to figure out what we can learn from the past and bring into the future,” he said.

Valerie Lannon, a member of the International Socialists and author of Indigenous Sovereignty and Socialism, said that socialists and Indigenous activists share an understanding of and respect for the interconnectedness of all life on the planet.

“We also see that capitalism and materialism exploit both people and land to the point where all of us are now facing extinction,” Lannon said.

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