The following speech was given by comrade Darcy Seekaskootch at a demonstration in solidarity with Mi’kmaq fishermen, in Montreal on Nov. 1. Video of the speech can be viewed here

Hello. My name is Darcy, I’m a member of Fightback. I am also Nehiyaw, which is the traditional name for a member of the Plains Cree. Before I begin, I wanna give a big thanks to the organizers for setting up this march! It’s been a long-needed event and I am extremely happy to see all the people here standing in solidarity with the Mi’kmaq fishermen!

For too long we have seen this struggle play out. When Indigenous people defend land, the state sends the RCMP to break our resistance!  When we go to hospitals we are humiliated and mistreated. And right now! As the Mi’kmaq try to feed their community they are met with violence! The government and police watch on passively as their catch is destroyed, lines are cut, and gear is stolen! Shameful!

We must ask ourselves—who benefits from this?

Right beside this conflict between the Indigenous fishers and non-Indigenous, there is a big company: Clearwater. Possessed by the richest billionaire of Nova Scotia. Which violates conservation methods and can operate freely all year-round, with an entire fishing zone for themselves. They process the seafood, and make huge profits off of this.

Meanwhile non-native fishermen are pitted against poor Indigenous fishermen.

Non-natives are made to believe that a few traps from Indigenous fishermen are a threat, while the rich play by different rules.

Monopolies like Clearwater are the main enemy. As long as capitalist interests run the economy, we will be left fighting for crumbs!  The struggle to maintain economic resources like seafood is a struggle against capitalists! 

Trudeau and his ilk continue to do nothing. He speaks of reconciliation, and sheds tears when confronted by the plight of native peoples across this country! Yet, the government has time and time again proven that they don’t give a fuck about Indigenous rights! We saw that, with the Wet’suwet’en people in their struggle, earlier this year! It’s been clear to me, for years now, that the government will never honor treaty agreements and will continue to let situations in Indigenous communities get worse! This has been the role of the government historically. They keep native people low and uphold the Canadian capitalist system at all costs! 

It’s become routine in the labour movement to make land acknowledgements and voice verbal support for native people. But now is time for real solidarity action! We need trade unions to organize demonstrations, to be present on the wharf to help defend the Mi’kmaq fishermen—because it’s not the fucking RCMP that’s gonna do it! The labour movement has the resources to move to support native people in more than just words! Such working class solidarity would go a long way in fighting the scourge of racism. 

I myself am a socialist. I joined Fightback almost two years ago to fight for this cause and I am proud of my people’s struggles against private companies and capitalist governments. Because those are the two things that are responsible for the sufferings imposed on us.

They gave our brothers and sister the right to a “moderate” livelihood. But why should they be satisfied with a moderate livelihood? We want a real livelihood, not just the crumbs off of the rich’s table!

But this will not be achieved under this capitalist system. Malcolm X once said: you can’t have capitalism without racism. The long history of our peoples show this. To combat racism against Indigenous peoples, we have to unite and fight against the capitalist system that benefits from it and perpetuates it. 

The capitalist class trembles at the thought of a united struggle! Of native and non-native workers standing together to fight a system that is failing us all!

Let’s move to make their fear a reality!

I’ll end with the incredible words of the Wet’suwet’en: Reconciliation is dead! Revolution is alive!