Center for World Indigenous Studies
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Working Against the System

Published: December 4, 2008, Author: JayTaber

Abolishing slavery is an easy position to take: pass some laws, and sent out the cops; any politician can do it. Abolishing poverty — the desperate condition that makes slavery possible — is another matter.

Abolishing poverty entails challenging the system of power that creates sweatshops and brothels where slavery flourishes. Challenging the institutions and markets that protect the powerful is not as easy as running promotional campaigns that generate big emotions and little change.

The poverty that drives the deprived into prostitution, for instance, is partly the result of intentionally-created disparities between societies, and partly the consequence of internal disparities–all supported by the institutions and markets benefiting from the arrangement. Human rights parasites — those who promote themselves and their organizations to the detriment of the movement — ignore the engines of exclusion, allying themselves with official foreign policy sanctions against such things as human trafficking, while ignoring domestic policy that is contrary to the human rights they champion.

Poverty is not an accident. Pretending it is, in order to please powerful philanthropists who bankroll high profile campaigns to distract us from their role in creating poverty, only perpetuates the system.

Authentic activists do not have the luxury of choosing to support only what is permitted by the powerful; they are, after all, working against the system.

Chief George Manuel Memorial Indigenous Library

The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.

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