Oct 10

Facing Canada’s Racism and Colonialism

These posters are about Canada. They are about foundational myths. Foundational double standards.

If you are from the wrong side of whiteness, colonialism and capitalism – witness the frenzy and fury when you arrive at these shores.

Now, turn to these posters from Canadian Pacific Steamships, and consider, who is being invited to bring their families, to travel and to enjoy leisure – and at whose expense? Whose land, whose labour, whose bodies and whose cultures are being violated to underwrite these experiences?

Come Britishers. Bring your racisms, bring your patriarchies, homophobias, and ableisms to Canada.

Enjoy native land, enjoy native culture, enjoy native people, enjoy native land, enjoy our land, enjoy our land.

See the noble savage? See the servant?

Of course not, he has no face. She has no face. Coal face. Coal face has no eyes.

We do our duty to support the wars. Visit our tributes to empire. Stay a while, take comfort.

The world is in our hands. Sail the White Empress. Go Empress to the Orient. Go empire.

Go anywhere – until the empire strikes back, until truth speaks to colonial power, until the double standard is called, and boats show up on your doorstep.

No One Is Illegal!

Sources (in order of image appearance from top to gallery):

[1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11] Posters of the Canadian Pacific, Marc H. Choko and David L. Jones, 2004.
[3, 4, 5, 8] L’affiche au Québec: des origines à nos jours, Marc H. Choko, 2001.

Sep 10

Mapping People’s History

I just found out about this Labour History Map produced by CUPE Local 79′s David Kidd and Maureen Hynes from the School of Labour at George Brown College. The map consists of 3 tours organized by 19th century, early 20th, and post-war Toronto.

It joins a constellation of existing projects that are attempting to popularize a “people’s history” of Toronto like the Great Indian Bus Tour of Toronto organized by the Toronto Native Community History Project, the Missing Plaque Project,  and the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty’s (OCAP) History’s What We Make It perpetual calendar. Long-time OCAP organizer Gaetan Heroux is also known to organize a tour on “Relief and Resistance: A Poor People’s History of East Downtown Toronto” and activists Bonnie Burstow and Don Weitz have given a people’s history workshop on “Fighting Psychiatric Violence and Oppression”. While a student I produced a Radical Map of UofT and folks have organized Disorientation tours.

With a much larger focus, No One Is Illegal – Vancouver produced a People’s History of Kanada poster project. It’s hard to mention NOII-Vancouver’s poster project without mentioning the Celebrate People’s History posters produced by Justseeds and their recent collectively-produced book Firebrands, or to even mention any of these projects without recognizing the foundational work of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States that has inspired so many of us.

People’s histories have taught me the invaluable lesson that we are not just the targets of historical forces and events – we actively shape it. History’s what we make it!

Two final recommendations: when I was in New York last summer, it was great to have Radical Walking Tours of New York Cityhandy, and to explore the Chicago Poetry Tour when I was there.

Aug 10

Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance

Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993). Infuriating. Illuminating. Essential. Watch here or here.