Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sick of fascist apologists, or why I’m tired of hearing the “it’s not my fault, I didn’t settle here and oppress your people” argument that I get

I’m a huge science fiction fan. One of my greatest pleasures in life is reading and thinking about science fiction. Some of the more amazing books have planted ideas and concepts in my head and I love chewing over these ideas, thinking about them and dwelling on different scenarios so different than this reality. From the time I discovered the genre at around eleven I have been a fan, gobbling these books down at lightspeed and spending an inordinate amount of time lurking in Bakka and the science fiction section in bookstores. Being a science fiction fan is kind of like being in the closet in a way – you don’t really want to out yourself in certain social settings, but once you do, it’s extremely liberating. So I’m coming out now – yep, I’m a geeky science fiction freak! Soon I suppose I’ll be attending conventions and wearing a Princess Leia get-up… but I digress.

The reason I mention this is that one of my favourite writers, marine biologist, amazing storyteller and fellow Torontonian, Peter Watts, got arrested, pepper-sprayed, sucker-punched in the face and thrown in jail for the dubious crime of “assaulting a border guard” while he was attempting to LEAVE the USA. Apparently he had to spend the night in a freaking Michigan jail and was then unceremoniously dumped at the border sans computer, notebook, or winter coat.

Seriously. Notwithstanding the fact that the border has always made me antsy/angry/anxious and full of any number of resentments, a good portion of which have to do with the entire colonial construct of the border concept anyway, especially to a righteous Haudenosaunee citizen (which I plan to get into at another time)… However, accusing a full-on science geek with trumped-up charge like that points to just how bad the fascist jackboot has gotten without anyone noticing!!

And to make matters worse, all of the blogs and newssites that are reporting on this incident have a disturbing trend to them. There are any number of people in the various comment sections basically blaming the victim and saying “he had it coming.” What? Excuse me? Asking why you are being searched on YOUR WAY OUT OF THE STUPID COUNTRY is grounds for getting the shit kicked out of you and forced to defend your innocence in a foreign country’s legal system? WTF people!!! Think about it. How stupid is that? Smells, sounds, and feels like fascism to me.

Ask the people at Akwesasne or any of our nations how they feel about crossing the freakin’ artificial border every day and see what they tell you. Ask them about intimidation and invasive searches and being targeted and held unlawfully. Fascism is alive and well and insinuating itself, deeper and deeper like an insidious virus, into both of these colonial construct countries that pride themselves on their liberty and justice for all. I call bullshit.

But what’s worse are all these apologists. Defending fascism’s right to make all people suspect, to claim that they were only doing their job, that they have the right to subject a person to an unlawful search and then whale on their head for asking why. I hate that more than anything. You freaking mealy-mouthed collaborators!! People have the absolute right to question authority, especially when authority makes baseless accusations.

It’s the same as people saying, “I didn’t ask to be born here” and “You should get over it” when indigenous people start to question a system that denies us our rights, denies us the liberty and justice for all that other (white) people get to enjoy, and a system that brainwashes all of us into thinking “If I just work hard enough I’ll get ahead and become the CEO/win the lottery/get picked up for the NHL/become a famous movie star”. No one wants to examine the oppressive systems of colonization/capitalism/race-based social supremacy that makes things they way they are. No one wants to understand why privilege exists in the world. No one wants to look at the great human migrations forced around the world by colonial capitalism and why people are uprooted, torn from their homelands. It’s not just friction between tribes and the struggle for resources. It is a widespread, ongoing capitalist system that is responsible for oppressing the vast majority of human beings. But people –specifically people in the comfortable First World -- don’t want to look at these systems. They just want to be able to buy that flat screen tv and watch the frickin’ hockey game and not worry about all that shit. That’s for them freaky pointy-head geeks to think about.

Utah Phillips, the great American folksinger and trade unionist once said “the state can't give you freedom, and the state can't take it away. Freedom is something you're born with, and then one day someone tries to deny it. The extent to which you resist is the extent to which you are free."

Right on, brother.