Being a ‘radical’

“Radical” is a relative term. In terms of ambient genocide and oppression, as can be found in canadian society and attitudes toward Indigenous peoples, “radical” is simply stating that oppression and genocide is wrong and needs to stop.

In a culture of resistance, speaking against genocide and oppression when it is present is a given and can lead to a cessation of the oppression and genocide as fluency in social justice increases proficiency of application.

If we can create a society where the act of speaking and acting out against genocide and oppression of Indigenous peoples is not seen as “radical” but as a normalized response to those conditions, then we may gain the fluency in social justice necessary to create a society with justice for all. Seeing that the foundational injustice of this society is the continuing oppression and genocide of the original peoples of these lands, it would set the foundations of justice for these lands on solid moral ground which is what social justice organizations are seeking, and not finding with the rare exception. Solid moral ground that has eluded the people living in these lands called “canada” or “vancouver” or “british columbia” or other names colonial settlers insert rudely with the intent of erasing Indigenous peoples from the lands they have inhabited for thousands of generations.

But first we must bear the label “radical” without being shamed by it. We must bear it without fear, trepidation, or guilt or any of the other manipulations from those that would use them to see the status quo of genocide and oppression continue. We must speak against the genocide and oppression of Indigenous peoples in the face of ignorance, true or willful. We must bear the term “radical” and claim that word if it is to be thrust onto us who seek social justice and a just society. We shall be proudly “radical” until such a time that speaking out and acting out against genocide and oppression is no longer “radical”. We must accept that we are “radical” until such a time that the word loses its relative meaning because we have normalized justice. Until we have given moral foundations to the societies on these lands and we can ensure that the term “radical” is placed on the shoulders of peoples and groups who do not want justice.

In a time where the term “radical” is placed on environmental groups committed to protecting clean water and responsible development projects free from obliterating contaminates, and when Indigenous peoples standing up against genocide and the same things that environmentalists are standing against, are labelled “radicals” we must accept that we are radical in the face of a social order that accepts genocide, ecocide, and perhaps worse as normal in a democratic society.

In a society that accepts genocide, ecocide, and oppression of dissent as societal values and actions and voices of dissent to those social norms are called “radical”, I gladly and gratefully accept the label “radical”.

I will wear it with pride as I continue to speak out against genocide and oppression. I will accept it as part of the package of social justice activism because being radical is simply being committed to a better world for all based on a foundation of justice for all.

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