“This is the most immediate fruit of exile, of uprooting: the prevalence of the unreal over the real. Everyone dreamed past and future dreams, of slavery and redemption, of improbable paradises, of equally mythical and improbable enemies; cosmic enemies, perverse and subtle, who pervade everything like the air.”
-Primo Levi, Se questo è un uomo
I am very sorry that you have chosen to back out of the upcoming gathering, Cascadia Rising: A Bioregional Confluence. I feel that the perspective you folks have to offer, in regards to the tumultuous arguments that are ongoing in our various communities revolving around oppression and identity politics is a vital one. I hope that you will reconsider your move to silence dialogue within the bioregional movement and a creative attempt to decolonize a stolen land base. Please feel free to let you voices be heard.
I have been informed that your decision to not participate in this gathering is due to the fact that Vince Rinehart (Tlingit) has been asked to speak on a panel discussing the positive and problematic points of intersection between Indigenous Nationhood movements, and the Community Rights Movement here. Vince is a co-editor with me on a project called Autonomy Cascadia: A Journal of Bioregional Decolonization. However, your objection to his participation at this gathering is due to his involvement with the “big-tent” pan-sucessionist blog Attack the System, which I have also participated in a public dialogue with, in the form of a recorded interview. This blog has given voice to the perspective of so-called ‘National Anarchists’, whom, by the admission of the ideologies’ originator, Troy Southgate, practice Entryism using Left and Anarchist communities to covertly spread ‘racialist’ ideologies with an intellectual genealogy directly connected to classical fascism and the ‘Left-wing’ National Socialist ideologies of Otto Strasser, whom Hitler expelled from the German Nazi party in 1930, 3 years before it’s rise to power. I am also aware that your organization was formed by the German Communist Party in 1922, before the Communist-perpetrated holocausts of the 20th century. (see below)
Why anyone would want to identify with either ideology is beyond me. I am distrustful of both. However, as a Glasgow Celtic fan, my sympathies have always been with Antifa, extra appreciative of the Green Brigade’s more appealing color scheme (red is really not my color, see below)
I want to be clear that I am not denying Fascism’s unsavory past and present. I will also not deny the unsavory past and present of the Left. I am hopeful that Bioregionalism can be formulated in a way that opposes both toxic ideologies, and I see both the Left and the Right as his-stories not to be repeated. I also reject both the Trojan Horse of ‘Third Position’ racialism, and the re-colonizing impositions and racial animosities that thrive in Leftist subcultures. However, attacking everyone I don’t see eye-to-eye with has proven a terrible way to build a community, and I have engaged in dialogue with a good handful of people expressing remarkably problematic ideas about life, taking my fair share of flack for this in the process. I feel this risk is worth it, as I feel no human being is motivated by pure evil intentions. Pardon my optimism if you must. I have also observed peoples ideas change over time, mostly as the result of relationships with other people who are not quick to judge.
You have made false accusations about Vince and I, and are now moving to silence our voices. This is very much uncalled for. I would invite you to rise above making straw man targets by degrees of separation, and step up to a real, face-to-face dialogue. Neither Vince nor I are National Anarchists, nor do we work closely with white supremacists. We have obviously and publicly been critical of both. We both agree that the people drawn to National Anarchism have a legitimate search for an identity, free of guilt and self-hatred, and that everyone deserves this. The Left certainly does not offer this to everyone, creating an environment that pushes exploited and marginalized people who are racialized as ‘white’ straight into the arms of the Fascists you are working to oppose. There is a battle for hearts and minds going on here, and the horizontal social war is no way to win this battle.
Beyond that, I cannot speak for Vince, but I will say I have a deep respect for him and his desire not lash out blindly into the “sea of whiteness” that has engulfed his land of Tlingit Aani and the rest of the colonized Pacific Northwest. Refusing to scapegoat even white ‘racialists’ is, I feel, both morally courageous and highly intelligent with a view of the decolonization of his home and Nation in mind. The global economic trajectory that is now in play could very easily cause the streets of Portland and Seattle to look like the streets of Kiev and Athens in the next few years. Those in power want gangs of right-wingers and gangs of left-wingers to kill each other in the streets. Both Vince and I agree that this would be a loss for both the Earth and Humanity, and a victory for those who’s hearts have gone cold and who’s fear is driving them towards a lust for global domination.
Unfortunately, both the right-wing gangs and the left-wing gangs are acting as pawns in the hands of those in power. So I hope they are paying at least some of you! But as Ward Churchill, another Native who was politically assassinated said, “You don’t have to be a cop to do a cop’s job.”
In my heart of hearts, I believe that you are brave and beautiful people who’s consciences burn at injustice ,and resent the institutionalized racism that the world dominating colonial settler-states have built themselves upon. But why are you trying to silence an Indigenous person just for not falling in lock step with your ideology? Cherry-picking and tokenizing only the People of Color who are willing to be your mouth pieces is just one more manifestation of privilege and racism. Please ask yourself why your own decolonial desires are running completely afoul of the living, breathing Indigenous people who are your neighbors. Is that too much to ask? Or are you simply one more group of Red-flag waving apologists for colonialism and Empire, like the others from Marx to Negri? I can’t help but think better of you.
Calling Vince a crypto-facist is intellectual suicide, and it appears that you all are even refusing to leave a suicide note. Hatred of Indigenous people runs deep, so much so that it has infected even those who claim to be in opposition to genocide and domination. My friends at Ancestral Pride have been repeatedly called “racist” for asserting their sovereignty and exclusive ownership of their unceded, unsurrendered land-base, despite their good hearts and remarkable willingness to work together with those who have colonized them.
Hearing the real voices of real Indigenous people is often unsettling, because despite any patronizing assumptions we may be projecting, we don’t always hear what we may want to hear. It’s easy to get defensive, it’s hard to find security as settlers, and it should be, because who want’s to be a product and beneficiary of an ecological apocalypse and cultural genocide? Nothing to be proud of, but we deserve at least a little sympathy, as colonization is as the root of most human diasporas. And when a colonized person, who by all rights should see even the best of us as their enemies, is capable of empathizing with some of the worst of us as a potential friend, with more in common than not, exploited by the same power structure; could this at least be reason to talk humbly with each other first, instead of issuing veiled threats of violence and racially motivated intimidation?
I am very concerned with the culture of fear, silencing of dissent, and dehumanization of European Peoples that passes in many Leftist communities as somehow not bigoted or just plain “racist.” This reinforces “whiteness” rather that deconstructing it. Resentment towards the “Race” who have benefitted the most from an institutionalized power structure and an often unquestioned racialized, sexualized socialized hierarchy is more than understandable. But when colonized Indigenous people are willing to validate the search for a legitimate identity amongst these same People, who live on their land as settler colonists, should we silence them, or ask ourselves what their motivation is? Perhaps there is a reason which we are unaware of.
I am not aloof to this process. I see a desperate need for Europeans to be proud of who we are. Proud of our languages, proud of our Nations. And then completely owning our stories as simple truth, the good and the bad, whether of colonization or conquest, resisting genocide and assimilation, or perpetrating it. We are still who we are, and that in and of itself is not a bad thing. Remember that punitive nature of the Treaty of Versailles was the primary cause of the rise of Nazism, not nature. So may we all remember the bad stories especially, so we don’t repeat them. I certainly am proud of being Irish, and as much as I should hate Troy Southgate for being a British Nationalist, a genocidal Hun against my people (before either of us were born), I can’t help but think, maybe the poor guy is looking for something real?
And what about the settler colonial Orange Order thugs who were looting and burning down the homes of Natives last week back in the occupied Northeast of my Island Nation? Well, maybe putting bombs in their bars for 30 years straight didn’t help us out as much as we wanted it to. Oops. Sucks to be us, but HAIL HAIL anyway?. Or is it time to risk our necks and our identities for the sake of the Earth and Humanity? Maybe even, gasp….talk to our “enemies” before decades of war lead to phony peace talks where we all lose anyway?
I want to be a Bioregionalist, because I don’t want to re-live the nightmares of the 20th century, and yes, they are all rearing their ugly heads. I believe Place is more powerful and alive than Race or Ideology. The “far Right” is not my enemy, nor is the “far Left.” You two can fight over “contested terrain” if you so desire, but please keep your gang warfare and intimidation to yourselves and amongst yourselves. Those of us who choose difficult dialogues over silencing and skull-bashing have the future and all Earthly hopes for the 21st century on our side, so don’t mess with us. The more that folks wake up from this nightmare of loss and find their truth, find their ancestors, find their languages, find their stories; the better chance we all have. And we will have been Left, and we will have been Right. No victory is a true victory at the expense of another, yet none of us need surrender. Look at the stars above, and the earth below. I say what they say. There’s more to all of this than we know.
Cathasaigh Ó Corcráin (anglicized Casey Bryan Corcoran)
Bend, Oregon, Cascadia. Ceded lands of the sovereign Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.