Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Idle No More - Secede Already!

I believe First Nations people should secede from Canada. Contrary to the PC thought-police, I am not a racist for advocating such an action. First of all, I believe all Canadians should secede from the federal, provincial and municipal governments of the Crown. However, given the current grassroots Idle No More movement, I believe this presents a perfect opportunity to further the separatist agenda.

Now a common misconception is that if the First Nations secede, they would be worse off politically, socially and economically then they are now. In this post, I would like to dispel these misconceptions by looking at some cold hard facts regarding the wealth of the First Nations and the inherently violent structure of the Canadian political system. Contrary to popular belief, Canadians don't subsidize First Nations. In fact, it's the other way around.

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake are the property owners of a territory that spans over 10,000 kilometres. They have never voluntarily given up this land, either in a century-old treaty or by a current contract. Yet, an estimated $100 million per year is extracted by the state and its cronies from this property in the form of logging, hydroelectric dams, hunting and fishing.

The Barriere Lake community lives in poverty. Although most Algonquins may not see the state's actions as a private property matter, they do see a problem with how the state intrudes on their land. In response to this, they initiated a peaceful road blockade only to be met by 50 fully-armed riot police with tear gas.

Surprisingly, a majority of the individuals in the Barriere Lake community aren't demanding fundamental change. Many of them are fine with the state coming in to use their resources and in exchange sending them money through its bureaucratic channels. The debate is based on how much money actually makes its way to the community and having a say in how their resources are being used.

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake are sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars of resources. Secession from Canada wouldn't leave them any poorer. In fact, secession would be a drastic improvement. For starters, the community would have direct control over their land and how it's used. Wealth would arise from the individual property owners using their land as they see fit. Currently, wealth comes from a federal bureaucracy throwing the community a bone while the state plunders the natural resources without regard to the long-term sustainability of the land. Welcome to the Soviet Republic of Barriere Lake. This is exactly how Marxist totalitarian systems work. No wonder the Algonquins live in abject poverty.


MP Charlie Angus referred to Attawapiskat as "Haiti at 40 below." The Chief of this community, Theresa Spence, is in the news for her ongoing hunger strike. She's also in the news for the blatant corruption that goes on between the federal and First Nation bureaucracies.

The scam works like this: the federal government claims ownership on all land and resources within its territorial monopoly. On First Nations reserves, the federal government contracts resource extraction out to private companies. In the case of Attawapiskat, DeBeers was awarded a contract to build a $1 billion mine on the property of the Āhtawāpiskatowi ininiwak. Anticipated revenues exceed $6.5 billion. The federal government will collect their share and use it for whatever end they have in mind. The percentage transferred to the First Nation community? Less than one. Since 2006 the federal government has spent $90 million on Attawapiskat.

Again, this is exactly how the Soviet system worked. The state claims ownership on the resources, extracts as much revenue as possible and then spends just a fraction on the populace, who have little opportunity or incentive to improve their lot. The Attawapiskat community will have job opportunities in the mine but, again, this is no different than the centrally planned "full employment" of the Soviet Union. There is no market where individuals can create jobs that "branch off into new kinds of work."

Secession is a good first step toward solving the problem of having a federal police state trespass onto your property and then use your resources without any concern for the environment or for the long-term financial well-being of the community.

The Lubicon Cree

The Lubicon Cree, who have never signed a treaty ceding their property rights, have waged a decades-long battle over $14 billion in oil and gas that has been extracted from their property. The community lives without running water and suffer from environmental consequences of oil and gas extraction such as stillborn births and toxic chemicals polluting the air. In 2011, an oil pipline burst, spilling 4.5 million litres of oil onto their property.

A hunting community, the Lubicon Cree have been crippled by a depopulation of moose and other animals who have fled the area due to the state's activities.

Clearly, the oil and gas belong to the Lubicon Cree. Whether they decide to develop these resources is the decisions of the property owners. The state does not own this property. Remember, the Crown stole this land. They are the enemy.

Why Secession?

There are many who may find secession to be too radical and would rather work with the state. After all, resource extraction - if done properly - can generate wealth that lasts for generations while still adhering to the environmental sensitivity of the land. All that is needed is a little more accountability from the Canadian government and more responsibility from the companies using the land, right?

Wrong. Here's why:

From a historical standpoint, First Nations were here first. Even according to a European-based explanation for property rights, the First Nations are the rightful owners of the land and resources since they are the original users. Although an aboriginal secessionist movement is unlikely to find general support for an appropriation of Yonge Street in Toronto, clearly places like Barriere Lake are the property of the Algonquins. The Crown has no legitimate claim to this land and it's high-time First Nations recognize this fact.

From a political standpoint, the state is a territorial monopoly of ultimate decision-making. Clearly, a monopoly is bad and this "badness" is compounded by the fact that the state forces money from individuals. Add to this the large centralized bureaucracy of the federal government and it's no wonder First Nations get the short-end of the stick. A monopolist of ultimate decision making will cause and provoke social conflict in order to "settle" the conflict to their own advantage. The state claims that First Nations are unable to govern themselves, so they steal their resources and when inevitable conflict ensues, the state uses its judicial system to further isolate First Nation communities while continuing their plundering. It's that simple.

From economic standpoint, how the state funds itself (i.e. taxation, monopoly of currency) doesn't make any sense. Prices are an objective expression of the subjective valuations made when two or more people voluntarily exchange. This indicates the costs of using the traded resources for whatever end is in mind. The act of forcing money out of an individual destroys this cost calculation and thus destroys or greatly distorts the price system. All this talk about First Nations, the Canadian government, land claims and resource usage simply ignores the primordial fact that without market prices, any discussion about "change" is meaningless.

From a biological perspective, property rights are an inescapable fact of nature. All living things must occupy space and consume resources. Given the nature of human evolution, our ability to adapt and transform resources is eminently distinctive from other species. However, this doesn't negate the fact that these are territorial claims - a human territorial claim can be transferred to another human being through voluntary exchange. Our ability to peacefully co-operate creates a market that can produce everything from computers to condoms. The fact that all goods ultimately come from nature-given resources only goes to emphasize this fact. This unique "property market" may set us apart from other species, but it does not change the fundamental aspect of property ownership as a biological mechanism. An organization - like the state - that disrupts this process by imposing a mandatory confiscation of property is an affront to the territorial claims that are the evolutionary building blocks of human civilization.

Friendly Advice for the Idle No More movement.

Make a concrete demand. Rallying against Stephen Harper is a good start, but take your criticisms further. Denounce this whole fascistic corporate-state system and demand the right to exercise your sovereignty. Secede. It's the only option worth fighting for.

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