Real Crisis, Fake Responses: Editorial

Winter 2016 cover art 3This issue of The Volcano circles around two main topics:

One: The ongoing, widespread Indigenous resistance and resurgence through land-based struggles against dispossession. From our cover art, by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Gord Hill, to the page three piece on Lelu Island, and the pages documenting and making a case for the central importance of Indigenous struggle in our time, we could only scratch the surface of the actual number and magnitude of struggles going on today.

And two: The real, devastating, overlapping poverty, homelessness, and health crises in our cities, towns, and reserves. And the government is doing nothing.

The response to this crisis by powerful people and the Provincial and Federal government has been callous indifference. When pushed, by either the momentary visibility of catastrophe or by protest, our leaders of state utter platitudes. You have the sense that they are irritated by the inconvenience, that they are drumming their fingers on their oak desks, waiting for the news cycle to turn.

Housing crisis? After much ballyhoo Prime Minister Trudeau turns over a budget that will barely keep existing projects going.

Overdose crisis? BC Premier Christy Clark declares an emergency in order to roll out immediate action of… data collection.

Homelessness explosion? BC Housing Minister Rich Coleman extends the contract for some of the winter emergency shelters for an additional two months.

Climate change crisis? Trudeau joins other do-nothing heads of state in a much-photographed but ineffective signing of unenforceable and exceedingly mild far-off “targets.”

Suicide crisis in Attawapiskat? It took two full months after the crisis before Trudeau even bothered to announce that he would consider visiting.

At the same time, these same governments show no hesitation in taking action to intervene in the pressing issues that concern them. In response to pressure about gang violence in Surrey, rather than expand youth services and programs, Premier Clark was quick to call gang members “cockroaches” and announce $23 million for a cross-regional anti-gang police force. And the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade agreement barrels onward with the sort of blinkered determination we could only dream of for projects that would benefit those affected by these destructive crises.

“Crisis” and “emergency” must be more than a brand and a photo op for politicians, it must be a call to action; to take whatever means necessary. In a time when governments use real crisis to posture with fake responses, the solutions must come from below. We hope that by discussing the real crises here we can contribute to creating real solutions in the streets.

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