beer, soccer….decolonization?

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I’ve not always tried to hide my hostility towards alcohol and sports being the main association with the Cascadian bioregion in the popular media as of late (remember the good old days of road blockades and ecological sabotage?)  Well, I might be changing my mind.

With the recent news of a Cascadian “national” team being recognized by the “Non-FIFA Board” and eligible for the VIVA World Cup, the Seattle Weekly gave a giggling write up that I normally would also be laughing at.  But this time it all strikes me differently.  What if every People who are denied Nationhood started their own sports leagues and competed on a global scale?  What a beautiful political statement, right?  Well, it’s already happened and I didn’t really have a clue, and now I can’t wipe the smile off my face!

Seriously:  Tibet.  Kurdistan.  Québec.  Sápmi.  Tamil Eelam.  Padania.  Zanzibar.  Greenland.  Cascadia.  Chechnya.  Provence.

This is starting to sound like a world I want to live in.  Not to mention a sports tournament that would have every pan-successionist giggling in a euphoric stupor.  And at the 2016 VIVA World Cup, I just might be one of them.

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Now, the associations between politics and fútbol are not lost on me, and from an Irish perspective, this kind of thing runs deep.  The world knows of Glasgow’s “Old Firm” rivalry, and the idea of replicating bloody political rivalries in the form of sports teams seems to be a thing that should be avoided like the plague.

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But….this feels different.  And it is.  The league mentions that they organize teams “regardless of political and religious factors.”  Great for us Cascadians, because Cascadia is a place, not a political construction.  In this case, you have an entire league that, quite literally, are a rebel team together.  Thumbing your noise to politics is a political act whether you’re trying to act that way or not, and such behavior is eminently Cascadian!  I mean, how may revolutions started out as illegitimate and laughable?  Umm…. ALL OF THEM!  So come ’16, count me in.  {Éirí Amach na Cásca….Dia?)

And the potential feels so thrilling.  Where is Catalonia!? Been there since 1904, but not recognized by FIFA!  So let’s go!   And how ’bout fielding a 32 county Irish team (Ireland United!!!!)  Seriously, what the hell  is stopping us?

Any Indigenous Nations from Turtle Island or Australia care to join?  The Maori and Sámi have teams, and the latter already has a 21-1 victory over Monaco under their belt.  Do the Republic of Lakotah or Republic of Murrawarri want to field teams?  See how much fun this could be.  Just innocent fun with no political implications, right?

So fútbol has me as a new convert, but what about the relationship between alcohol and colonialism?  I’ve had friends in jail recently from the efforts to shut down the colonial outpost of White Clay, so when the good folks of this fine bioregion champion the dark, bitter double-strenght inebriant we’re draining our rivers for as somehow revolutionary, I balk.

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Oh, and did I mention I’m Irish?  Think I haven’t watched relatives lose their livers rather than face generations of trauma breathing down their necks?  I live in a small watershed with 20 breweries, and despite the claims of capitalist boosters: ALCOHOL ≠ CULTURE.  And do you tourists think that the ongoing colonialism in Ireland isn’t related to our infamous national reputation?  Well, it’s not just a reputation.  Not back on our Island or on the reserves and reservations here on Turtle Island.  It’s a sick reality, a spiritual disease, quite frankly.  And calling out booze culture for always being mysteriously hand in hand with colonialism is something that I will not shy away from (don’t think I just don’t like the stuff….I do, I do).  But if we are going to WARRIOR UP and fight for the land and our communities, we’d best keep in mind what the poison has done to so many resistance movements in the past.  (a high-enzyme, low-gravity, unpasteurized, hop-free home brew in the evening is one thing; half a bottle of Knappogue Castle is another.  I’m not a Puritan, just speaking from experience here.)

Seriously, I love how unique and independent we are out here.  And I love to watch tourists gag on our black bile.  But this stuff has taken my friends and family, in the past and in my lifetime.  Those homeless people you see on the streets, from East Hastings to small-town Oregon; those are our relatives.  We knew them before the spirits had taken them.  No, I can’t just blame fermentation, because that would ignore the history of colonization.  But don’t think your drink  isn’t part and parcel of that history.  Would that Cascadian culture meant sacred and herbal ferments and not over-hopped barley wine, there may be a healthy relationship to evolve into with the spirits.  But this is a war, and the poison is their weapon.  Don’t forget that too soon.

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So up the CAFF!  Down with their alcoholic regime.  And at the very least, let’s make decolonization an unpasteurized phenomenon!?  I’ll be the guy at the pub drinking the NA piss yelling “Tiocfaidh ár lá” when the band plays ‘Back Home in Derry’

the sun never sets on the irish resistance

Wait just a minute here.  British Columbia?

Fáilte!  This is my new blog where I will be focusing much of my energy, and refrain from posting Hiberno-centric rants over at Occupied Cascadia, which is supposed to be a travel blog about the adventures of my friends and I who made a film about Raven’s Bioregion.  So here you will find my take on being a settler in a colony remembering a colony where my People and I were and are not settlers.

But is seems for us Irish, one fight is as good as another, so I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a good hand-full of us old Fenian souls find ourselves here at the edge of the Oikoumenê as the British Crown tries to come to terms with that which it will never come to terms with.  That being it’s doom.  My involvement in the Cascadian bioregional movement is deeply informed by my ancestry, and this is something I’m proud of.  This is the continuation of a story that started long ago.  And I think we’re just getting to the good part.

I will use this space for all the vitriolic rants I care to muster against the neocolonial reality of globalization, which to me is nothing truly neo, just the growth of the same old cancer.  As the B.C. Treaty process tries to inch forward, this anti-treatyite will be holding nothing back in reminding the folks here about what can happen when you sell out your land and your people.  And though I’m a US citizen down here in the state of Oolichan, my country is my watershed and neither the land nor I respect that colonial border crossing N’chi Wana.  So that makes me a Cascadian.  Still Irish.  Always Irish.

Stay tuned, I think our time has come.