“Where a rebellion is feasible it will occur.” Report: Canada, First Nations and the threat of Insurrection
The analysis paper titled "CANADA AND THE FIRST NATIONS Cooperation or Conflict? (MAY 2013)" by Douglas Bland and the Macdonald-Laurier institute is anything but Bland. In fact, anarchists and others towards the confrontational end of the left-to-postleft spectrum should find the piece to be fascinating reading for several reasons. First off it confirms a suspicion that at times can feel a bit paranoid: that corporate (in this case energy) interests work closely with government and academic institutions not only to devise basic/generic security plans, but also to actively and specifically target and neutralize the potential causes of immanent insurrection (even in first-world, industrialized, western democracies). It also advances a view which some of us may find comforting, if not merely interesting for its cognitive value: that insurrection will happen if it is feasible, almost regardless of the specific political will or impetus to foment revolt. I personally do not find the argument to be entirely convincing, but I do find it and its supporting evidence to be pertinent at the very least.
The report opens on a decidedly optimist tone, one which provides some important background. From the preface:
"The Aboriginal Canada and the Natural Resource Economy project (of which this paper is a part) seeks to attract the attention of policy makers, Aboriginal Canadians, community leaders, leaders and others to some of the policy challenges that must be overcome if Canadians, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal alike, are to realise the full value of the potential of the natural resource economy. This project originated in a meeting called by then CEO of the Assembly of First Nations, Richard Jock, with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. Mr. Jock threw out a challenge to MLI to help the Aboriginal community, as well as other Canadians, to think through how to make the natural resource economy work in the interests of all."
Namely, that the First Nations Assembly was instrumental in helping to catalyze this undertaking and that it views charity and philanthropy to be its ideological underpinnings.
From there the introduction starts to get at the real meat of the matter.
"For all the meetings, plans and requests by prime ministers and native chiefs, conditions within some First Nations communities languish. While a growing number are improving, others suffer from severe deprivation. The poorer communities often seethe with frustration. Expectations raised by legal victories and government announcements seem to lead nowhere, or fall away. As the frustrations of unfulfilled expectations rise, anger in the communities festers, especially among young people. The outcome? An idea that most Canadians would have seen as preposterous a year ago, but which is now very real: the possibility of a disruptive confrontation between Canada’s Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal communities. This paper examines that possibility in the context of five determinants central to an accepted ‘feasibility hypothesis’ developed by an Oxford researcher:
-The ‘warrior cohort’
-Economic and resources factors
-The security determinant, and
The contours begin to reveal themselves. From this point on things start getting pretty interesting. We start seeing comments like these:
"The young warrior cohort is here to stay. By 2017, about 42 percent of the First Nations population on the Prairies will be under the age of 30, over twice the 20 percent in the non-Aboriginal community. To reduce the feasibility of an uprising in the First Nations, Canada needs educational and employment policies that immediately transform future First Nations cohorts aged 15 to 24 into productive, self-reliant people."
"The minimal capabilities of Canada’s security forces are well understood in Aboriginal communities. Native leaders also understand the reluctance in governments, in the Canadian Forces and police organizations (as demonstrated at Caledonia) to intervene in Aboriginal demonstrations, even when there are urgent and lawful reasons for doing so. This reinforces the feasibility factor, and makes more certain future challenges to civil authority at times and places of Aboriginal leaders’ choosing. Finding the right balance between legitimate protest and armed confrontation may be difficult, but it must be found. An indispensable part the solution will be policing regimes that assure peaceful Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people of their rights and freedoms under the law."
Eventually pretense largely falls away.
"The key assertion is that feasibility, and not root causes, provides the incentive to challenge civil authority. As we shall see, it follows that the prevention and/or suppression of insurgencies and rebellions requires a determined effort directed not at so-called root causes, but at the factors that make such uprisings feasible."
"Others might ask: if the conditions of young Aboriginals provide a motive that ought to ignite an uprising, why has the uprising not occurred? A quick and credible answer is that it has and is occurring – as a quick head count of the Warrior Cohort inside our penal colonies will demonstrate. In any case, this dismissive question cannot be left to answer itself: no rebellion, no problem."
As I hope these quotes have indicated, this report deserves to be read by students and advocates of insurgency just as much as it is already being studied by the architects of counter-insurgency.
The full report can be found here: http://www.macdonaldlaurier.ca/files/pdf/2013.01.05-MLI-Canada_FirstNati...