Idle No More activist Ron Plain, from the Aamjiwnaang First Nation near Sarnia Ontario, is being personally victimized because members of his community dared to challenge CN Rail on their own land.
Courts, acting in the interest of powerful corporations, have fined him $16,000. The court proceedings reek of injustice and conflict of interest. Ron Plain needs our solidarity and financial support.
Just before Christmas 2012, Idle No More protests were sweeping the country and Chief Theresa Spence was fasting in opposition to Tory attacks on First Nations sovereignty. The people of Aamjiwnaang blockaded a CN rail line serving corporations in Sarnia’s “Chemical Valley”. This was a grass-roots movement from the community, and well-known activist Ron Plain was not even present at the beginning.
CN applied for and was granted an injunction by Judge David Brown. Before being appointed to the bench Brown had worked as a lawyer for CN, and at one time even testified on CN’s behalf at a US legal hearing.
It was agreed by the blockade group to move the protest to a different location, a section of rail on Aamjiwnaang territory. Plain became the spokesperson for the blockade as it gained national and international media attention.
CN Police–a federally sanctioned corporate force with jurisdiction within one kilometre of any CN line–issued a second injunction on December 27.
A well-attended community meeting saw strong majority support for the blockade and the need for an exit strategy. The blockade came down according to the community’s timetable, not that of the injunction.
Plain was charged with civil contempt, as he was individually identifiable for his role as media liaison. Attempts to argue Aamjiwnaang sovereignty were thrown out of court. Arguments that the judge issuing the injunctions was biased–something of an understatement–were rejected and instead the courts found Ron Plain guilty--fining him $16,000 to cover CN’s legal fees arising from the case.
You can hear Plain explain the case in greater detail, and contribute to his legal defense here. Idle No More supporters across the country should be fundraising and taking this appeal to their schools, unions, faith groups and organizations.
The message from the courts and corporations is clear: activism like Idle No More will not be tolerated. We cannot let this intimidation stand. Not a penny of this fine should come out of Ron Plain’s pocket.
To hear Ron Plain and John Bell discuss indigenous resistance and the fight against Harper, watch the video below from this year's Marxism 2013 conference in Toronto