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Ward Churchill at bookfair- clips
Ward Churchill was one of the speakers at the 12th annual Anarchist book-fair in Golden Gate Park - March 17th 2007. This wasn't taped in its entirely, although several film segments will be loaded here. Churchill was much less grumpy sounding than during part of the Q&A when he was a speaker at last year's event.
It is important to clarify the topic that Churchill spent most of his ~25 minute talking time on. The bookfair is having quite a few panel discussions this year, and during the panel talk on Indigenous Perspectives in Anarchism, a comment was made during a listing of ways in which some anarchist noninindigenous supporters have showed lack of understanding - where they mentioned either Anarchy or Green Anarchy magazine citing Russell Means as a representative indian perspective without qualifying him for some well-known criticisms which seem to be less-known outside of indian circles of his immoderate, intense personality, including an incident with a physical fight with an in-law, where he led a long legal battle to avoid prosecution over the rules of jurisdiction ( http://www.russellmeans.com/read_litigations_01.html http://www.indianz.com/News/2006/016355.asp ). They also commented on John Trudell testifying at the Anna Mae Aquash trial 30+ yrs after her death. While Churchill spent his time responding entirely to this, it is important to point out that that there actually wasn't much of a disagreement or controversy setting up over this- rather, Churchill seems like he is just good at monologuing for 1/2 hour on topics that he is interested in. And as Means' well known friend and political assistant, this was a more favorite topic than whatever he had been planning to talk about earlier. He kept referring to other aspects of struggles from the 70s (for instance, calling some modern antiwar protests similar to a big event where pacifists tried to 'levitate the pentagon' with intense mental focus). Right after the panel, he was seen amiably talking to participants, and they didn't look like had much to disagree about.
Personally, with a sample size of myself, I perceive that the personality issues of Russell Means are more widely advertised than the Big Mountain and Snow Bowl issues, because he is the most well-known indian in the U.S., after being such a prominent leader at the center of the most nationally reported land/sovereignty struggle by AIM in the 1970s. I've heard people even refer to frustration that nonindigenous people *only* are aware of the Pine Ridge Wounded Knee II occupation and the atrocious FBI/government murders and behavior there, and barely any other land struggle focuses. With Russell Means pattern including some violence, large switches in intense opinion including right-wing alliances, and so on, it seems like if he had had a regular secure life, he could be classified as having a maladaptive narcissistic personality. But maybe being like this was a quality that let him become fairly successful in the life he's led. Someone else should probably comment more upon this. I have seen NPR bring on Russell Means as the general 'representative of the indian perspective', and what also seems to happen is journalists calling up the national faction of AIM, after googling their name - and not really being aware of the strong disagreements between different AIM chapters which exist.
These are segments which don't amount to the entire talk
(sorry for the delay here). By the way, I have had mac vs. pc vs. linux problems with Youtube, not to mention different file formats on other websites.
Sorry for the shaky camera work. Someone there had tripod video films of the speakers, and if this is available, it should replace this wire thread.
Here, although the first few seconds are cut off, Ward is referring to Chairman Bob Avakian of the RCP (who supposedly lived in Berkeley, although I don't know anyone who has seen him locally).
A lot of the questions during the question period related to the subjects that Ward Churchill is most famous during the bizarre national media phenomenon of the past two years that occurred after someone with power suddenly noticed the essay he wrote the day of the World trade center attack in 2001.
This stuff is interesting, but the bulk of Churchill's work, where he has written or contributed to 20+ books, is on other topics. His best writing is in the area of law (land, u.s. relation to indians, etc.) and the FBI's Cointelpro program.
Here is what my question would have been. I suspect Churchill doesn't really support the concept of 'open borders' in the sense that many anarchists include it in their core principles - after all, much of his work, such as his 'Indigenism' essay, is about dispossession of indigenous nations by other groups that move in, and also expresses the principle that 'The U.S. just needs to truly enforce the constitution' (such as the statement that Treaties are the highest law of the land).
He has several times strongly supported the right of central americans and U.S. citizens to move about north america, and across both the canadian and mexican U.S. border.
We're also coming up to an era where there *will* be climate refugees. I'd like the core principles here to be clarified. I suspect that one of the key ideas might be that immigrants would be expected to subvert their own culture or behavior to the national currently occupying the land.
For instance, 2-3 million irish came from Ireland when they were being starved by England, and millions more europeans came fleeing monarchy. Some of these groups, when they got to the U.S., transformed into oppressive cultures that fought local indians. It might have been variable by ethnic group - there are few african americans with polish/italian/swedish/german last names, because most white people engaging in slavery were from great Britain, yet North Dakota filled with scandinavian settlers.
A lot of Churchill's writings make me suspect he'd support staying home and fighting the king, yet also I bet he might support a principle of applications by refugees to move between countries, but with an understanding that they need to accept the new nation's laws.
But this is where a tricky area comes up. What if a region lacking agriculture is fairly sparsely populated, but another dense agricultural area might have to resettle millions of people because the sea level is rising. Would it be optional to just say no to large numbers of refugees because it would cost the welcoming nation to accept them? Is there any area of international law governing this? For instance, it is actually quite likely that tens of millions of Bangladeshis could run into trouble with water rising in the delta. Australians might have contributed to greenhouse gases a lot more than nearby india or Thailand. Are Australians compelled to accept them, or could they say no and let them die. Does India have to take them because they are closest? How does the fact that Australia is colonized affect this? The U.S. is in a similar position.