Responding to Anarchists on the eco-racism issue

Chuck0's picture

What I have written up until now has been aimed at a general readership. Now since the issue is being debated upon anarchists I will write directly to anarchists, for I have also been an active anarchist for over 30 years. Below I will answer some of the comments I seen made by some anarchists on this issue.

1. Some say that the struggles of Indigenous People are not anarchist issues. This would be true if anarchism were just a philosophical club debated in back rooms by those sitting in armchairs. But to many anarchists, we seek to create real social change by dismantling the ruling class's political power (the state) and economic power (capitalism) and creating a stateless society based upon the well-being of all. This means that we must deal with all the different groups of people, unless we seek to either force our ways on others or exclude people from our new society. Thus, the struggles of the people against the ruling class are also our struggles.

2. Some people when faced with the struggles of Indigenous People will point to one thing or another that some Indigenous People have done that they don't like and then say that supporting Indigenous struggles means supporting some things that maybe not so good. Anarchist struggle is both a revolutionary and evolutionary process. Even among anarchists we have not yet been able to deal with all the oppressive, exploitative and authoritarian aspects in society, nor has any other group, including Indigenous People, been able to do so. It is the evolutionary aspect of our struggle that learns about these things and brings them into out struggle. This is true among Indigenous People and we need to support that as it happens. Though tradition is very important to most Indigenous People, but tradition is not set in stone nor did it stop progressing upon some date years ago. I'll use one example that being the great amount of organizing by Indigenous Women. They are redefining women in indigenous tradition.

3. Some of the worker struggle anarchists like to say that Indigenous struggles are not worker struggles. This takes a Eurocentric view of who is a worker, which is defined as only those who are wage slaves, what is a worker struggle as only the struggles of wage slaves, and what is work that being only the work done by wage slaves. While it is true that I am a wage slave having worked in the maritime industry for over 20 years, worked as a long haul truck driver, a roughneck on wildcat oil rigs, worked as a zincstripper in the hard rock mining industry and as a farm work, still I take a different view. I view those as workers as all those who do useful work, regardless if they are wage slaves or yet to be enslaved, I view the working class struggle as all struggles by those that work against the domination by the ruling class of the capitalist system. Thus, in my view the struggles of Indigenous People to resist the assimilation into the capitalist statist system is just as much a working class struggle as any factory strike.

4. Some read what I have written on the Makah situation and think that I believe that all environmentalists are racists and that I seek to divide environmentalists from those that support Indigenous struggles. These people are not really reading what I have said. I view myself, and have for many years, a radical environmentalist. But my view is different than people like Sea Shepherd, I place the blame for the great environmental damage done to the earth on the political and economic system of the ruling class and not on those that have no control over that system like Indigenous People or workers. Next, I believe that Sea Shepherd and its supporting organizations have sold out the environmental movement by joining forces with people like Rep. Jack Metcalf and Sen. Slade Gorton. These two people who Sea Shepherd praises are leaders of not only of the racist anti-tribal campaign but they are also front men for the "Wise Use" movement that is out to open up all resources on public and tribal land to the corporations. One person brought up the forest struggle, here in the U.S. there is no greater enemy to those that seek to protect the forests than is Sen. Gorton.

5. There are some that do not view the actions of Sea Shepherd as racist and believe that it does not matter what they do to promote their issue. The fact is that Sea Shepherd and its supporting organizations came into the state of Washington, joined forces with the extreme right wing racist anti-tribal campaign and sought to arouse white people against Native people in order to win their issue. As Watson stated "if the Makahs take a whale all Indian People will suffer." Sea Shepherd has also stated that they will go after Native treaty rights. Though Sea Shepherd likes to claim that they have the support of some Makahs (in reality they only have the support of one "born again Christian" Makah) they attack all Makah people. Things like protesting and trying to disrupt cultural and spiritual Makah events, the "Boycott of Neah Bay", the attack on the Makah bus of young kids, the campaign to refuse service to all Native people in the surrounding white towns and other such things is a direct attack on all Makah people, not just the whalers.

What this comes down to is this: On one side you have Sea Shepherd and its supporting organizations joined with the extreme right wing racist anti-tribal campaign that supports them because it helps with their motive of destroying the treaties which would open up Native land to the corporations, and is also supported by white businesses and property owners and some misguided so-called environmentalists. On the other side you have traditional Makahs, who used a referendum of all Makahs to decide on the whale hunt (over 80% said yes), used open meetings of the Makah people to make the decisions on the hunt, the leader of the hunt was elected by all those involved with the hunt, the whale meat was first given to Makah families and what was left was given away at a potlatch, the Makahs are supported by many Native organizations (not one Native organization supports Sea Shepherd) and many others who support Native struggles and resist racism. So now the question is; which side are you on?

Sea Shepherd and its supporting organizations have tried to discredit me because I have stood up to their racism and their being used by corporate interests. They have tried to use my membership in the IWW against me. They have threaten me with legal actions. I have even received death threats. Even some anarchists have tried to discedit me. So I will state who I am. I have been an anarchist since 1968, having been a member of ACF and AAA. I have been an active member of the IWW since 1970. I have been involved in radical and anarchist publications since 1968, published the San Diego ABC Newsletter, the Survival Network Newsletter and the anarchist journal Bayou La Rose for over 21 years. I have been involved in support work for prisoners since the '60s including working actively for 20 years on the case of Leonard Peltier in that work I am the coordinator of the Northwest Leonard Peltier Support Network. I have through the years resisted racism and I will continue to do so no matter how much some try to discredit me or threaten me. Those that seek to do such things against me will not find me an easy victim, I will fight back by any means necessary.

I live in the city of Tacoma, Washington and some of the Native people who have experienced acts of violence are members of the local group I belong to. I view Watson as just another reincarnation of Gen. Custer and I hope he shares Custer's fate.

I do wish to thank those who have supported this struggle against racism and corporate domination. For even if the eco-racists were to find away to get rid of me it would do them no good because I am just one person in a movement of many and they cannot get rid of all of us.

In Solidarity
Arthur J. Miller

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