Image: The Purple Billow, Georges Lacombe, 1896-97
Full excerpt is published on Berfrois, here: https://www.berfrois.com/2018/11/a-flight-of-objects-that-seemed-real-lital-khaikin/ , and an excerpt of the excerpt is here:
Presented with life itself, what does the debt of birth nourish? When this forest was sewn, was it the work of fruits or of people, of noble flowers and laurels, or the calloused grip of the state? We were told to watch the forest move over the hills. At the foot of the desert was a mountain. At the foot of the mountain was a village. The village was levelled, the people strewn like so many seeds, castaways in their own lands looking for air, the divination of an ancient light, an apparition that spread wide. The world outside is blisteringly loud, and this particular silence, the particular knowledge of which is a great inconvenience, is a consumption over an earth made wretched, divided by the measures of suffering. The clamour of the silences forced in the name of statehood, by which names become exalted for the construction of roads that lead to the cadavers of civilization. How many colours the land has taken on as time makes its conflicts indisputable—was it really so easy to be deceived into an illusion of absence, to impart the vulgarity of poverty on the spirit in the name of fear, in favour of the meekness of words from a distance? Who denies the apathy offered by time begins again. And so was the division between a tree and a tree…
Come here, my soul. Let me bring you closer.
As long as on the barren highways
The humbled city gates mark,
The dewdrops are red טל אדום over the graves of children. Policy is to think of the children. Small wasplings climb over one another, out of the paper nest. The paper is old and has many holes so that the wind passes through. There are dewdrops drying on the backs of the wasplings and they are black. Their nettling stings extrude sharp metal.
That a wrathful God may still have mercy on us.
Have you ever played a game, of spot the sniper? The value and dignity of human life in the face of all obstacles. Birds became metal. Cutting the air. Thin lines of foam that dissipate. In descent overhead. To the soil, small parts that unmake things. Dew still rises on the ruins. For a moment, the edge to the ground disappears.
via the press’ website: “SORORITY MANSION is an institute of deinstitutionalization for heretic women: sibyls, visionaries, insurrectionists, poetic dissidents, and other exiles. like a beguinage, but without lords and saviors; like an isolated seaside sanitarium, but the doktors have been cast out. the husbands the boyfriends the fathers the rapists the men are not here. so there’s no need to beg. we’ll get off our knees; we don’t need his permission. asylum, sanctuary, nerve-center, leper colony, decolonization cloister, SORORITY MANSION is a home for the bloodrush inside and the riot. speak aloud, louder, all your unpretty things.”
sorority mansion review (1) : year of the dog
“if my best friend’s a dog, what am i? how will anyone ever love me? i am doomed to be in a world to which i do not belong.” // Kathy Acker
featuring work by
To Justify Land was published in a serialized form in Berfrois, and republished in the Media Co-Op. Thank you to Billie Pierre and David Gray-Donald for their close editing of the essays for republication in the Media Co-Op; Shuwei Fang and Berfrois for the first publication of the essays; and Nathan Medema for his support, patience, and encouragement.
excerpt from To Justify Land: Of Coercion, Complicity, and Consent
Ethical justification for residential or industrial development projects is often created through a strategic purchasing of participation; that is, a propaganda campaign that celebrates the inclusivity and cultural diversity of workers who are manipulated for the profits of private developers and their investors. It is this ‘inclusivity’ that contributes to the normalization of exploitative practices and development projects, inculcating the idea that a development is acceptable because it meets a certain demographic quota. Conflicts that arise around the acceptability of developments are often reduced to levels in which negotiation occurs only on the unquestionable basis that the development will indeed go forward and be constructed. This means, for example, reducing the Zibi development to a conflict of corporate-approved ‘territory’, where the bargaining chip is the exchange of land between Algonquin people, Ottawa’s municipal government under mayor Jim Watson, Domtar Corporation, and Windmill Development with their realty partners, DREAM Unlimited. In this scenario, the developers mediate factors like which Algonquin people they approve and speak to, whether the land is indeed sacred, and where the margins of this sacredness technically begin and end. If it’s not approved by anyone who is not profiting from the project, it’s blasphemous and standing in the way of progress! By marginalizing the implications of ethical difference that would make their developments both unnecessary and impermissible, companies persuade public opinion in their favour because they flaunt inclusive hiring practices and syphon off money for the benefit of the most collaborative individuals.
There is an important distinction between Indigenous traditional self-governance and government-sanctioned First Nations, which may often differ in their principles in resisting or collaborating with private industry development. Contemporary territorial definitions for First Nations in the eyes of the Canadian state were formed largely following the 1876 “Indian Act,” which dismantled traditional systems of governance and subjected Indigenous peoples to dependence on systems of recognition and authorization from the Canadian government. Colonial-delineated First Nations governance, which is typically decided by an electoral system enforced by the Canadian government, tends to hold concentrated forms of power and wealth that are very different from the leadership structures in traditional governments. First Nations often receive both government and industry funding, and receive protected jurisdictions and rights for land-use. By contrast, autonomous, traditional governments like that of Unis’tot’en, represent a traditional way of life, and tend to exercise inherently anti-capitalist values that respect and protect the earth and water. They may not be officially recognized by the Canadian government, and may be in conflict with the priorities of the Canadian government and the First Nations governments and bands accepting what rewards industry dangles in front of them for compliance, partially filling gaping holes in the meager funding distributed by the Canadian state.
In Canada’s west, for example, oil companies have celebrated the support of First Nations for their projects during the tumultuous phase of approvals and reviews through 2015, to – well, today. The same companies were quick to throw their investments behind the creation of Indigenous-led pipelines. Throughout 2017, the Pacific Trail Pipeline, Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project, Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project, and Westcoast Gas Connector Project claimed support from First Nations in British Columbia and Alberta. “Frog Lake has built homes, community and senior centres, and helps fund education programmes with oil production dividends” (BBC, Dec. 7, 2016). Despite the protective action of the Unis’tot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation (in northern B.C.) against Lions Gate Metals and “seven proposed pipelines from Tar Sands Gigaproject and LNG from the Horn River Basin Fracturing Projects in the Peace River Region”, there remains a perceived economic incentive for some First Nations to collaborate with extraction companies.
On one hand, the urgency of providing for basic living needs that are denied through systemic colonial oppression will coerce First Nations into the acceptance of bribes offered by extractive companies and the Canadian government (explored in sections 2 and 3). One of the arguments being made for First Nations’ collaboration with oil companies or other extractive industries is that, facing an apparent inevitability of such projects’ approval, First Nations investment would relieve some financial support on the federal government, allowing for communities’ self-determination to be more quickly realized. As quoted in an article in the CBC on the Trans Mountain pipeline, Stephen Buffalo of Samson Cree Nation – president and CEO of the Indian Resource Council of Canada – said, “There’s a lot of money going through those pipes, and First Nations can’t stand to the side and watch it go by” (CBC, Aug. 21, 2017). On the other hand, there are simply inflamed desires for ownership, profits, and participation in the lucrative oil industry, for which identity doesn’t stand in the way of bloating profits. In this case, there are projects like the pipeline between Alberta and British Columbia which was proposed by Eagle Spirit Energy Holding Ltd., intended to be twice as long as the rejected Northern Gateway pipeline. The Eagle Spirit pipeline, under company president Calvin Helin, is Indigenous-led, backed by Suncor Energy Inc., Cenovus Energy Inc. and Meg Energy Corp, and intends to overturn a ban on constructing oil tankers along the coast of the Great Bear Rainforest (Financial Post, Nov. 23, 2017, and Financial Post, Nov. 29, 2016).
The Vancouver Sun quoted Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation Chief Fred Seymor in 2016 saying “As the old saying goes, we’re open for business.” This was portrayed as representing the support of the First Nation for B.C.’s pipeline projects,(Vancouver Sun, Oct. 7, 2016). The quoted Chief Fred Seymour is an ex officio member of the board of directors for Venture Kamloops, an economic development company in Kamloops, British Columbia. Seymour’s “support” for the oil pipeline appears to fit with the interests of other current members of Venture Kamloops, such as: Margot Middleton (President of Middleton Petroleum Services); A.J. (Tony) Ryan (Domtar Inc.); Greg Munden (President of transportation, forestry and commercial vehicle maintenance company Munden Ventures Ltd.); and Peter Aylen (controlling shareholder of agricultural product company Absorbent Products Ltd.). Oil companies will gladly champion First Nations-led pipelines and celebrate First Nations workers as part of their projects, if it means they will continue to make their ludicrous profits.
In Canada, as abroad, corporate stakeholders get to decide if their projects should continue because they make “significant investments in the country” or “help the area to flourish” – without consultation (gestural meetings staged for the media are equated with consultation), and often at the price of the lives of those who resist. In May 2012, Musqueam and Tsawwassen First Nations protested the construction of a condominium over c̓əsnaʔəm, or Great Marpole Midden – a four-thousand year old Musqueam village and burial site in Vancouver, B.C. The Musqueam First Nation succeeded in halting the construction of the condominium, under developer Sean Hodgins with Century Group, by purchasing the land in South Vancouver (Vancouver Sun, Aug. 6, 2012, and CBC, Oct. 2, 2013). In August 2017, Freddy Stoneypoint was arrested for blockading continued oil surveying by Jumex in Gaspé, Québec. In a statement released to his lawyers the same month, he wrote, “As a representative of Bawating water protectors, my only wish is to activate my ceremonial being in defense of land and waters through peaceful means. I am not an activist, I am an Anishinaabe man working to protect the land for future generations” (Camp de la Rivière, Aug. 17, 2017). In July 2015, James Daniel McIntyre was murdered by the RCMP outside of a restaurant in Dawson Creek, B.C., where a BC Hydro-sponsored event was happening for the Site C dam construction (CBC, Jul. 14, 2016). McIntyre was an Anonymous activist, and an outspoken activist against the Site C hydroelectric dam development in the Peace River Valley.
How fast are we to forget the Oka Crisis? Wherein the Mohawk of Kanesatake, Kahnawake, and Akwesasne resisted the expansion of Club de golf d’Oka over Mohawk burial grounds – a resistance that, under Trudeau Senior’s Liberal Government, received a militarized response from Sûreté du Québec (Québec’s provincial police), the RCMP, and Canadian Armed Forces. What exactly do these lives mean for those who only see “a lot of money” and are “open for business”?
The Gangrene: Unofficial Fragments is published with The Green Violin. Link to publication is here, and below is an excerpted introduction:
On June 16, 1959, La Gangrène was bravely published in France for the first time by Jérôme Lindon for Éditions de Minuit, a French publishing house that operated secretly under the Nazi occupation in 1942. La Gangrène documented the tortures endured by Algerians under the hands of French police. On June 20, the book was confiscated by the French government under President—and Minister of Algerian Affairs—Charles De Gaulle. On June 23, French police smashed the plates intended for printing a second French edition. The following spring, New York author and independent publisher Lyle Stuart re-published the book in English, breaking through a state-imposed silence. In France, it would be followed by Henri Alleg’s book La Quéstion and critical writings by Pierre Vidal-Naquet, both of whom publically denounced state-sanctioned torture. The censorship of La Gangrène also extended to similar works like Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1966 film, The Battle of Algiers, which was based on the memoirs of FLN leader Saadi Yacef and was banned for five years after its release in France.
The re-publication of La Gangrène in this form is intended as a kind of commemorative edition, not in time with its original publication, but rather in dialogue with the printing date of November 11, 2018 and the printing location of Montréal, Québec. This date commemorates Armistice Day—exactly 100 years ago in 1918—and echoes with the words, Lest we forget . . . French military general Charles de Gaulle was captured by German forces during the First World War and was released on Armistice Day. During the Second World War, Charles De Gaulle would become celebrated as a leader of French resistance against Nazi Germany, and would emerge as the leader of a “Free France”.
Under De Gaulle, however, a “Free France” incubated its own racism as these testimonies will show, cultivating anti-Semitism among French police, a hatred towards dark-skinned North African immigrants within France and oppression towards Algerians living under French colonial occupation. De Gaulle also remains a figure celebrated historically and today by Québec nationalists—recalling his speech “Vive le Québec libre” that was given on July 24, 1964 and united nationalist sentiment over another form of French colonial occupation in unceded Indigenous land. Under de Gaulle’s government, Algerians fought for independence and attempted a coup, and eventually won their freedom—the universal, basic human right to exist for which, it would seem, the Second World War had been fought.
It becomes even more important to remember narratives such as those of La Gangrène as bigotry and right-wing ideology gain political fervour across Québec and the Americas, police are permitted more abusive powers, and anti-immigrant sentiment becomes policy. So we return to the sentiment that is attached to Armistice Day—what is it we are warned of in the symbolic phrase, lest we forget? We celebrate political leaders as icons of liberation and freedom, we elevate political caricatures and with them discard entire histories.
alethe is published with Italian e-book publisher, Versi Guasti, an imprint of Kipple Officina. The edition is translated from English into Italian by Valerio Cianci, with an introduction by the editor, Alex Tonelli. The cover is a section of a painting by Francesca Macor.
“Potremmo chiederci da dove arriva la sua scrittura, il connubio caotico di prosa e poesia, il versificare sfrenato e senza condizioni, le trame oscure e confuse, il coacervo di immagini che creano dimensioni al di là della stessa surrealtà. Immaginare che vi sia una fonte di pura creatività dentro la poetessa, un nocciolo profondo di assoluta ispirazione magmatica e incontrollabile, una demoniaca possessione della parola poetica. Ma non sarebbe ancora ciò che andiamo cercando, Lital Khaikin infatti non è una poetessa surrealista, non trae la propria forza espressiva dalla dimensione inconscia del proprio sé, da quel magma che è l’Es freudiano, così potente, però così chiuso in una individualità monadica. Nulla è più personale e non condivisibile dello spazio nascosto che giace in fondo alla seconda topica di Freud. La poesia di Khaikin non è affatto un viaggio personale alla ricerca dei segreti recessi della sua personalità multiforme: non c’è Breton fra le sue fonti, né l’Eluard più ispirato.”
The Green Violin is printing once again, and expanding distribution! Copies of all Green Violin publications are always available for mail by request. The Green Violin will be distributing a few publications in Vancouver in early October. Special drop-points are also forthcoming in Atlantic Canada (Moncton, Sackville, Halifax, Saint John, and Fredericton), thanks to an H. de Heutz tour late September, and in Trois-Rivières on October 26.
Tour dates are here, go see the show if you want Green Violin publications!
OCT.26.2018 / TROIS RIVIERES : Zenob Cafe-Bar / + Duo Camaro / doors 9:30pm music 10pm $8/pay-what-you-can
SEP.29.2018 / MONCTON : Plan B Lounge / + Usse / 19+
SEP.28.2018 / SACKVILLE (NB) : Thunder and Lightning / + Usse / doors 9pm music 10pmSEP.27.2018 / HALIFAX : Radstorm / + Secretary, Usse / doors 7:30pm music 8pm ALL AGES
SEP.26.2018 / SAINT JOHN : Taco Pica / + Ophelya, Usse / 9pm $8
SEP.25.2018 / FREDERICTON : Cafe Loka / + Usse, Wangled Teb
More copies of the first run of Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s not meant as poems and ko ko thett’s four poems in Burmese translation will be available through ground and mail distribution later this month (including at the aforementioned Atlantic locations).
New publications are printing now!
A chapbook called Ahn Hak-sŏp #4 by Don Mee Choi is first off the rollers, followed by a broadside titled Prophet Seekers, and other poems by Rethabile Masilo.