Make sure you stop in to check out our workshops!
Panelists include Parker Johnson and Roger Annis.
3:00 - Zapata Vive- La Lucha Sigue! (Zapata Lives - The Struggle Continues)
Panelists include Oliver Hernan Valladares, Adriana Paz Ramirez, Erika Del Carmen Fuchs and German Fernandez
Panelists include Bill Lightbown, Megan Adam, Sid Tan and Billie Pierre
Inspired by Naomi Klein’s Book “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism”, this workshop addresses disaster profiteering, and the political contexts in which these events transpire, specifically with the earthquake in Haiti and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. In both cases, governments were both complicit and in collusion with big corporations who used the tragedy to profit and to restructure communities to fit their agendas.
Since the Haiti earthquake, foreign domination of Haiti has continued to increase, with foreign troops and NGOs flooding into the country. A majority of seats on the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti, authorized to spend billions of dollars in reconstruction money, represent foreign governments and international financial institutions.
Post Katrina, corporations benefited from the broken levees as most FEMA rebuilding contracts went to Bush allies. There the disaster also presented an opportunity to radically reform the public school system and many public schools have not been rebuilt. Many communities affected by Katrina have been gentrified and much public housing has also not been rebuilt.
In both these cases, agencies and governments responded with charity, not justice, which would have demanded looking at the structural and socio-political histories of these communities.
Parker Johnson is an African American, who’s originally from Boston, and who left Los Angeles 8 years ago to move to Vancouver. Professionally he works in employment equity and human rights, while his community work and passion has focused on inter-group relations, youth empowerment, racial justice conflict resolution and economic justice.
Roger Annis is a coordinator of the Canada Haiti Action Network (an advocacy and activist group for sovereignty and social justice for Haiti) and its Vancouver affiliate, Haiti Solidarity B.C. He is also an editor of the CHAN website, http://canadahaitiaction.ca. In August 2007, Annis traveled to Haiti for two weeks as part of a human rights investigative delegation. He wrote extensively on the delegation’s findings and has spoken across Canada on matters pertaining to Haiti’s social, political and human rights situation and Canadian government policy towards the country. He resides in Vancouver, works in aircraft manufacture, and is a member of the International Association of Machinists.
This workshop will highlight the commonalities shared between four communities who continue to fight neo-liberalism and global capitalism with cultures of resistance. The panelists testimony will draw important connections between the struggles for land, liberty, and Indigenous rights and sovereignty in Columbia, Honduras, Mexico , and Bolivia. There is a long history of military repression and violence in many parts of Latin America and this shameful legacy continues today, including the attempted silencing of activists in post-military coup Honduras, the murder of journalists and unarmed protesters in Oaxaca, and the ongoing struggles of the Zapatistas and Indigenous peoples in Bolivia, Colombia and throughout Latin America for the rights to their land and crops. The ongoing war against these people and their communities continues to meet with strong resistance, and these struggles will be represented by our panelists.
Oliver Hernan Valladares is from a campesino family that worked in agriculture in Honduras. Oliver came to Canada in 1989, but returned to Honduras in 2006 to grow coffee and assist his family. Following the June 2009 military coup, Oliver joined the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP) that sought to support the democratic President Manuel Zelaya. On June 24 2009, at an anti-coup demonstration, Oliver was brutally beaten and left unconscious by the army and police. His beating was filmed by the international TV networks Telesur and Al Jazeera. As well as being an active member of the FNRP he also works with the Honduran Human Rights Commission (CODEH) and is a founder of the El Paraíso radio program “Siempre al frente con el Frente” (Always in front with the Front).
Oliver returned to Canada in February 2010 to denounce the human rights violations and to organize support for the FNRP in B.C.
Adriana Paz Ramirez is a Bolivian social activist with more than 10 years of engagement in social justice struggles. She has a degree in Social Communications and Journalism and has worked with several Bolivian and Canadian non-profit and community based organizations. In Bolivia, Adriana has worked mostly as an educator, using popular education as a tool for empowerment and self determination. In Canada she has focused her work on advocating for North-South collaboration, as well as on immigrants and migrants rights. She is co-founder of both B.C. chapter of Justicia/Justice for Migrant Workers and the Canada-Bolivia Action Solidarity Network.
Erika Del Carmen Fuchs is a community organizer and a founding member of Justicia for Migrant Workers B.C, which advocates for the rights of Mexican and other migrant farm workers who come to work in Canada. Since 1999 Erika has been going to Zapatista communities in Chiapas, Mexico and has trained others as human rights observers. She has also done extensive political prisoner solidarity work and regularly organizes Cafés for Chiapas to support the Zapatistas through the sale of handcrafts and coffee. She has a Masters in Environmental Studies from York University, for which she did research with the MST (the Brazilian Landless Rural Workers Movement).
Claudio Ekdahl Emigrated from Chile his country of birth in the later years of Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship where as a student of History and Geography Pedagogy he actively participated in the student movement for democracy. As a political and social activist, Claudio’s work has locally been developed through a number of initiatives, collectives and coalitions in solidarity with Latin America and for social justice at home and abroad. Lately he has worked with the La Surda Latin American Collective, bringing into the local scenario the main issues pertaining to the politics in Latin America with special attention to the social and armed conflict in Colombia for which the BC–Campaign for the Humanitarian Exchange in Colombia was launched to support the efforts of Colombians to free all prisoners of conscience and war prisoner as a humanitarian gesture that may lead to a dialogue for peace. A La Surda member, Claudio has organized, participated, and spoken on several socio-political conferences and events in Vancouver and abroad.
Part 3 of our series The People’s History of Kanada will honour some of the important successes of the last twenty years of social justice activism in Vancouver and B.C. By no means exhaustive, we will present an overview and hear personal stories from each of the panelists about their on-going political work. From Roots of Resistance organizing to the APEC protests, Anti-Racist Action to Anti-Olympics organizing, the Gustafsen Lake stand-off to the Woodwards Squats- we have a storied and diverse history to draw from. Finding the commonalities and connections between different political issues and movements, the panelists will help us continue to forge alliance building, as well as honour a diversity of tactics.
Bill Lightbown is a Kootenai Elder, who has been involved in activism since the early 1960’s. He was the President of B.C. Association Of Non Status Indians, which then became United Native Nations of B.C. where he was a two term president. An advocate for Original Peoples’ sovereignty, Lightbown was a staunch supporter of both the Ts’peten Defence Committee during and after the Gustafsen Lake standoff, as well as the Mohawk warriors during the Oka crisis. Lightbown is also the co-host of the CFRO radio show When Spirit Whispers, focusing on Indigenous programming and current cultural affairs.
Megan Adam is a writer, union activist, communications worker, gardener and musician living in East Vancouver. For the past twenty years she has been involved in several radical projects including the Direct Action Network, the campaign to save the Elaho, Resist! Communications, the Flying Folk Army, and the Victory Project. Currently she holds an elected position in her union (the Public Service Alliance of Canada), and is working on neighbourhood strength and solidarity projects in Hastings-Sunrise. She blogs at http://red-cedar.ca and her photo-poems can be found at http://slipperyfish.ca.
Sid Tan is a media producer and community organiser, who is a descendant of Gold Mountain pioneer adventurers. He is best known for his over two decades of work in community media and the redress movement for the Chinese head tax and exclusion laws. He is a founder and current president of Head Tax Families Society of Canada, successor to the BC Coalition of Head Tax Payers, Spouses and Descendants, which was constituted in 2006 following the Stephen Harper government’s unilaterally imposed settlement. The Society calls on the federal government for an inclusive, just and honourable redress for those families excluded from the settlement, especially the affected elderly sons and daughters of deceased head tax payers and spouses. http://www.headtaxfamilies.ca
Billie Pierre, from the Nlaka’Pamux Nation, has been an activist for over 15 years. Some of her activism includes Native Youth Movement (who were the official opposition to the B.C. Treaties, along with much other crucial resistance work), the sovereignty struggle of the west, international indigenous resistance to globalization, anti ski resort development, anti 2010 Olympics, and the struggle for the salmon.
In 1996, she co-founded Red Wire magazine with her sister Nena. Red Wire created space to critically examine the band council system, the treaty process, the effects of residential schools, targeted army recruitment in Native communities and also highlighted many local Native artists and musicians. Redwire was specifically uncensored, so that even though the founders may have had personal goals or principles, people could still be published even if it conflicted with these principles.
Pierre’s documentary “Our Sacred History and White Man Lies” details the history of the American Indian Movement and addresses the struggle of John Graham to clear his name.