there are so many of us

The end result of colonialism is well summed up in the phrase:  “you do not exist,” which is the title of a recent article over at Bella Caledonia about the Scottish YES campaign.

Isn’t that what the colonizer says?  “We are the real people and you are not.”

Another line caught my attention from a “study” that found the Scottish people don’t really exist:

“Clearly it is in the interest of the SNP leadership to conduct the argument for independence on the premise that there is a single Scottish identity. No separatist movement has achieved its aims by highlighting the internal diversity of a would-be independent territory.

Scotland is uniform neither in terms of its ancestry, history and culture; that its electorate, just like that of the rest of the UK, is an amalgam of people of diverse origins who, despite the similarity of their physical appearance, derive from distinctly different cultural backgrounds; and that these differences may have a significant influence on people’s support for the concept of an independent Scotland.”



No separatist movement has achieved its aims by highlighting the internal diversity of a would-be independent territory.

What?  So Nationalism is the only pill that works, and Nationalism is false, so don’t even try.

From a Cascadian perspective, “highlighting the internal diversity of a would-be independent territory” is the perfect description of what we are trying to do here.  People from all four directions, many or most of whom belong to some dissident persuasion (religious or political), living together in a place, integral to itself.

No doubt Irish Republicanism had/has an advantage over the Scots because we  have our own island.  For all of our divisions, at least the geographical division is black-and-white for all the world to see.  The Atlantic was enough of a divide to create “America.”  And the Continental Divide is enough to separate us Cascadians from the rest of a continent.  Salmon do not swim over the Rockies.

OK.  But what I really want to do is question the ‘it has never happened so it will never happen’ mentality, apart from being leery about the historical veracity of such a statement.

I firmly believe that a diversity of people finding common ground and common cause is more powerful than ethnic Nationalism, and I am interested in the kind of common ground that is NOT Nationalism.  (a common language is most powerful, in my opinion, but this does not imply ethnic unity!) For a bioregionalist, this common ground is the real ground: the place itself.  And I suppose the Lowland/Highland divide (interestingly geographical and historical) is one impediment against Scottish independence.

But does this really mean that it is hopeless to highlight diversity as a strength?

True, there MUST me unifying factors.  There must be a “self” in the struggle for self-determination.  But I’ll be damned if ‘ethnic unity’ is the only legitimate grounds for self-determination.  Actually….EEF#&! THAT!

This is perhaps the question any modern independentista & autonomista must come to terms with.  How do we separate without separatism? How do we actively cultivate strength in diversity?

If we only share the colonizer’s tongue and are divided by colonially imposed class divisions, is there really no ground to stand on?

Well, if you can feel the sand between your toes….there is.  Because I want to read this news headline one day:

The Cascadian Bioregional movement has achieved its aims by highlighting the internal diversity of a now independent territory.



they shall fall among those who fall

“In order to maintain our way of living, we must tell lies to each other, and especially to ourselves.  It is not necessary that the lies be particularly believable, but merely that they be erected as barriers to truth.  These barriers to truth are necessary because without them many deplorable acts would become impossible.  Truth must be avoided at all costs.  When we do allow self-evident truths to percolate past our defenses and into our consciousness, they are treated like so many handgrenades rolling across the dance floor of an improbably macabre dance party.  We try to stay out of harms way, afraid they will go off, shatter our delusions, and leave us exposed to what we have done to the world and ourselves, exposed as the hollow people we have become.  And so we avoid these truths, these self-evident truths, and continue the dance of world destruction.”

-Derrick Jensen

I don’t know what to think of Kevin Annett.  I have read some of his books.  Listened to many of his recordings.  Maybe he’s too much of a loose cannon.  But so am I.

The behavior of Churches and States, be it in Ireland or on this stolen continent called Turtle Island, is so evil, and so many of us know it.  But even I have trouble not avoiding the topic sometimes.  I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist.

I’m putting this video up here because the references to both Ireland and to my home bioregion are unavoidable (this talk was given in Vic, and I’ve been to many of the places referenced in this film).  This is the exact topic I’ve dedicated this blog to.  My People have suffered at the hands of an evil religious institution for centuries now, so how can I talk about decolonization and ignore the first colonization: ROME.  Its difficult.  But how can I deny that every Irish Catholic has Stockholm Syndrome?  It helps to resent the British Empire and their Protestant false prophets, but that city on seven hills is far, far away from the indigenous life of my indigenous home.  And we were so much better off before they brought their darkness, their night that has lasted for so long.  That memory is in our bones….

Tiocfaidh ár lá

“For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is greedy for gain, And from the prophet even to the priest Everyone deals falsely.”

“They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace.”

“Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time that I punish them, They shall be cast down,”

Let’s Stay Together!

Listen sweetie, I’m not like those other guys.  I know I beat the shit out of you that one time, but I’m a changed man.  Please don’t leave me. I promise I’ll never do it again.  And I promise to stop going down to the pub and beating the shit out of perfect strangers.  I know, I’ll admit that I’ve embarrassed you in the past, but we can really make it work this time. Please.  Baby, I NEED you.

Why do you have to always bring up the past?  I’ve changed.  And just because you say it’s not working out for you now doesn’t mean we can’t MAKE it work.  I’ll prove to you I can change.  Please baby please!  I’m nothing without you.

Don’t you dare leave me bitch!  I mean, what the hell are you going to do without me?  It’s a tough world out there, you don’t even know what it’s like.  If you leave, you’ll just come back begging for me when you realize you can’t make it on your own.

And think about what this would do to the family.  You really want to shame them like this? You’ve always been an embarrassment, but I’ve loved you anyway.  Listen, no one else is going to love you.  You’re so selfish, why do you want to do this to our family?

I mean, what would the neighbors think?

July 12th Parades

Funny, I was also raised a fundamentalist Protestant, yet I didn’t have the nerve to cross over to the Shankhill when I was there! When I walked through the tiny West Bank Loyalist neighborhood in Derry, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. The police protect KKK marches in the States, and I support such expressions of free speech over shots being fired. But “scary” and “creepy” are things you just FEEL sometimes even when your trying not to judge for the sake of a greater good.

Great post anyhow! GRMA

Choosing the Green

Everyone likes a parade. I get it. They’re all pomp and circumstance – people showing off their heritage, their music, their flags. There are parades worldwide for what seems like every single little excuse that anyone can find. Some are big, some are small, some are downright silly, and some threaten a fragile balance.

The marching season in Ulster falls into the last category. July 12th is a day that roughly half of the population celebrates the victory of William of Orange (a Dutch King, by the way) over the English King James II. It’s a huge holiday which is steeped in irony, when you think about it. This is a bunch of people who violently insist on being considered British that take to the streets to celebrate a Dutch victory over their own historical ruler. Label that one for storage in the “Things that make you go hmmmm

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dear ephesus: bódhran & artemisia

 11 καὶ μὴ συνκοινωνεῖτε τοῖς ἔργοις τοῖς ἀκάρποις τοῦ σκότους, μᾶλλον δὲ καὶ ἐλέγχετε;

12 τὰ γὰρ κρυφῇ γινόμενα ὑπ’ αὐτῶν, αἰσχρόν ἐστιν καὶ λέγειν.

13 τὰ δὲ πάντα ἐλεγχόμενα ὑπὸ τοῦ φωτὸς, φανεροῦται πᾶν γὰρ; τὸ φανερούμενον φῶς ἐστιν.

14 διὸ λέγει, Ἔγειρε, ὁ καθεύδων, καὶ ἀνάστα ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, καὶ ἐπιφαύσει σοι ὁ Χριστός.

the other white: basque and irish in occupied territory

Don’t start me talking
I could talk all night
My mind goes sleepwalking
While I’m putting the world to right
Called careers information
Have you got yourself an occupation?

-Elvis Costello “Olivers Army”



Just read a fascinating article that I want to share from the Basque Tribune called “Basques and the American Indians”

Basque author Mark Bieter grew up in Boise and shares his experience of hearing the Basque people described as the “Indians of Europe.”  Avoiding too much colonial equivocation, he insightfully remarks:

The Basques are the Indians of Europe: I liked the idea. I’d grown up in the Western United States with Basque ancestry, and I suppose I felt a kind of solidarity with Indians. But when I did my own amateur archaeology and dug into it, the solidarity crumbled. I looked at my own life. Shoshone and Bannock tribes lived(sic) close to my childhood home in Boise, Idaho. They might have been on the same spot where I played as a kid. What happened to them? Looking even further back in history, I knew Basques had a role in Spanish colonization in the Americas. It’s hard to stand with the indigenous when you’ve had all the advantages as a descendant of the newcomers.

Echoing the Irish experience on this side of the pond, I appreciate the time and willingness it take to explore the tensions created by a history of colonization intersected by the assimilation into whiteness and it’s advantages within the Empire.  Sleuthing out the grounds for solidarity while not overlooking the cultural gaps created by settler colonialism is touchy, but this article turned up a gem; one that resonates deeply with the Gael:

A German doesn’t have to do anything to be a German. A Basque or an Indian has to do something more. That can be a blessing or a curse. An Apache woman can move into a city, do nothing, and a piece of the tribe dissolves. Or she can do something else. Basques and Indians, separated by thousands of miles and years, actually might have a few things in common, a similar past and some of the same questions: Does your background mean something to you? And if it means something, what are you doing about it?

Of course this made me think of Elvis Costello’s song with the words “white n*gger” and certain Indians referring to us Irish as the “Blacks of Europe.”  Really?  The only real answer is Yes and No.  No because whiteness is a very effective mechanism that cannot be ignored.  But YES because our stories do present a grounds for solidarity that has a past, present, and future that needs to be actively cultivated.  Much like the Mi’kmaq and Acadians together in Elsipogtog, a willingness to understand each others stories has more power to bring people together in solidarity than it does to perpetuate the divisiveness of privilege.


Elsipogtog: No Fracking Way!

ar aghaidh linn!

Warrior Publications

Video by Devil Dog Productions, Posted to Youtube July 7, 2014

October 2013 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police descended on a peaceful anti-fracking protest led by the Mi’kmaq of Elsipogtog and their allies. In this film the voices of some of the people involved in the anti-fracking movement talk about what happened and why they took the stand against hydraulic fracturing and how the heavy handed police response has affected their people.

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RESIST: The Unist’ot’en’s Call To The Land


A Simple Matters Films production

RESIST: The Unist’oten’s Call to the Land is a short documentary that was filmed in the summer of 2013 on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory, 1000 km north of Vancouver in northern BC (western Canada) over the duration of the fourth annual Environmental Action Camp, hosted by the Unist’ot’en (C’ihlts’ehkhyu/Big Frog) Clan.

The focus of the film is on the Camp as a year-round resistance to exploitative industry, and what it represents in relation to indigenous sovereignty and the environmental, legal, and social issues surrounding pipeline projects in British Columbia. The short film documents one of the most important resistance camps in North America at this time.

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First Nations mistaken in their celebration of Supreme Court ruling

Once again Colonial Law creates a lose-lose situation. That is what Colonial Law is.

Warrior Publications

No Justice Stolen Land buttonBy Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun, June 29, 2014

“Welcome to Colonial Courtrooms,” should have been the title of the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark aboriginal rights judgment.

While B.C. natives were busy last week celebrating the court’s affirmation of their “aboriginal title,” they should have paid closer attention to the fine print.  In spite of all the hand-wringing about threats to resource development and the land mass of B.C., this is a big victory for governments.  In the unanimous 8-0 decision, which dismissed with nary a nod the last half century of strident native assertions of sovereignty, the high court said B.C. natives are not unlike any other litigant squatter.

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