Meeting and discussing about indigenous issues is good, but in the long term worthless if not matched by action. Any seed must touch the ground in order to grow. Karl Marx in his “Eleven Theses on Feuerbach” said, “Philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change the world.”
The simple idea must be concretized into a forum where significant discussions occur. We were fortunate to have the following as our guests in the forum, Radhika Desai, a professor and author of the book “Geopolitical Economy” who spoke on Neoliberalism and Its impact on Indigenous Rights, Wanda Luna Galdames who presented the Chilean Perspective and Peter Kulchysky, professor and author of the “Indigenous Rights are not Human Rights”, who discussed Mapuche Issues and Struggles.
Henry Heller, another author (The Birth of Capitalism, A Twenty-First-Century Perspective), delivered a poem by Berttolt Brect. The speakers analyzed the issues from the global perspective down to the local level to crystallize understanding and pave the way for further solidarity with the Mapuche struggle.
Aside from the speeches, it was also interspersed with songs not as entertainment, but culturally to reinforce the message and rouse the listeners to care and move to organize and resist.
Reflecting on history of the social movements of the 60s to the 90s, cultural forms of education were quite effective in rousing the people to participate in movements for change.
The participation of Johsa Manzanilla, a singer-songwriter and human rights activist, and Maree Rodriguez, who delivered “spoken word” piece, are important in raising awareness about the issue.
Acts of solidarity by Zully Trujillo, who recited a poem and also Francisco Valenzuela, who expressed a message of solidarity, are equally commendable. The event ended up with the song “Imagine” by John Lennon performed by Jason Schreyer, who is also a great artist and performer.
Admirable was the role of some members of the academe for their collective effort in making the Francisca Linconao event possible.
Thanks to grassroots organizers like Pablo Herrera and Simon Baer of Las Americas and Chilean Human Rights Council, a founding organization of Winnipeg Multicultural Human Rights Forum or WMHRF, Migrante Manitoba, Ana Vergara of the Winnipeg Chilean Association and its cultural branch “Grupo Quidel” and to Johanna Quintana of the Manitoba Chilean Association with its cultural arm “Grupo Rumel”, Ian Desales of Serve The People-Winnipeg and Ali Saaed of the Solidarity Committee for Ethiopian Political Prisoners (SOCEPP) and one of the founding members of WMHRF, for supporting the forum.
Simon Baer also asserted that Pablo Herrera was instrumental in organizing the event. He networked with many of his Chilean comrades and friends and invited huge number of people to participate. Without his hard work and commitment, our event would not have been as successful.
So, what’s happening next? The Francisca Linconao committee will continue on drumbeating the issue and write a series of articles revolving around the struggles of the Mapuche of Chile.
Anybody interested is welcome to join the forum for change. The hope is to slowly organize a movement for change with a clear perspective towards contributing in building a just society through solidarity, ever weary of movementism that serves as a tail and subtle instrument of imperialism and its monstrous neoliberal facade.
(❚ Levy Abad is a freelance writer and also a singer songwriter/recording artist and a member of Migrante Canada-Mb chapter and also a founding member/ program coordinator of Winnipeg Multicultural Human Rights Forum, Levy has released four albums , Canadian Experience Vol. 1 (iTunes ), Never Give Up and Rhythms of Compassion CanEx 3. and “Tara ng Maglakbay”( June2017). You can reach Levy Abad through , email@example.com or on Facebook.).