rn: Re: Guns & Carolyn Chute’s candidacy


Jan Slakov

Dear Renaissance Network,

I sent the message about Carolyn Chute's candidacy out to several lists,
including one Canadian peace list... and right away got some very strong

I will copy one of those replies below as well as a letter to Carolyn Chute
that I wrote, which is perhaps as much to the many people I have been
dialoguing with recently on the topic of violence/nonviolence, as to Carolyn.

all the best, Jan
From: "Marjorie Stewart" <•••@••.•••>
To: "Bruna's list" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: New Atlantic Confederacy - a plan to start breaking up the empire
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2001 09:23:40 -0700

Dear Bruna's List,
I was so disturbed by this message that I am replying to all who received
The militia attitude is anathema to me because it plays by the one of the
old boys' rules: might makes right. I believe in finding other forms of
I am uneasy with many "deep ecologists" because they have appeared to
espouse dominatory methods over opponents to get a "quick fix" answer to
global depredations by the ruling elite. I suspect that the BC Green party,
since a brutal purge last year, is now in the hands of individuals who have
shown contempt for people's rights in the name of other aspects of our
ecology endangered by our behaviour. We are still part of that ecology,
though. and "respect" is the watchword.
In my view, domination is the problem. I don't want to be dominated by
Carolyn Chute (never heard of her and don't give a plugged nickel for her
literary award) and her ilk any more than I want to dominate or be dominated
by anyone.
Libertarians also leave me cold because many libertarians seem to have
difficulty deciding where one person or group's freedom ends and another
person or group's freedom begins.
Life is just not this simple. If Che had lived, he'd have learned that as I
bet Fidel has.
The reason I am not active in Council of Canadians, although I support most
of their policies and actions is precisely this: I don't want to be part of
a group that is also attractive to jingoistic "patriots". As Jan implied in
her comments about lack of interest in boundaries, my country is the whole
planet, my race is the human race.
If it sounds like I am picky about who I work with, you're darned right. Not
just who, but the terms of collaboration are vital to meaningful direct
Let's not be lured up any garden paths of derring-do. The call right now is
to be creative about our resistance and not put people's lives in danger and
waste the painstaking work of centuries of peaceful protest.
No John Wayne solutions, please, I am a peace person, not a
testosterone-worshipping guerilla.

Yours in peaceful anarchism,
Marjorie Stewart,
Vancouver Island.
Dear Carolyn,

Thomas sent me the "Mother of the New Atlantic Confederacy" article he wrote
and I was so happy to hear of what you are up to that I re-typed it and sent
it out to a few lists by e-mail.

Within hours I had strong reactions from people I work with who were very
upset that I would in any way support someone who believes in using guns in
the struggle. 

While I know that someone who is armed can be less violent than someone who
is unarmed, I also know that showing up at a demonstration with firearms
contributes to the culture of violence which is part of our North American
culture that I reject. 

What about the right to bear arms? I know there are people, in Canada as
well as the US, who feel that it would be very unwise for the only people
who were armed to be those whose arms were issued by the government. They
can probably imagine scenarios where some agent of the government could show
up at their door and want to arrest them or even shoot them for doing
something perfectly legitimate such as publicizing government corruption,
and they would want to protect themselves. 

And I know how much you despair that the guns issue will be used to separate
those of us who must learn to work together if we are to effectively resist
corporate globalization.

Even knowing all this, I realize now I cannot support things like target
practice and marching in the streets with arms. Ultimately, I cannot support
the right to bear arms. 

This does not mean I cannot work with you, and certainly I value our
friendship very much and would be find it a big loss if you felt you had to
reject me as a friend because I cannot agree with you about guns.

I have long worked with people with whom I disagreed with on certain issues
and I feel shutting people out of one's life because they are somehow not
"politically correct" (or even "spiritually correct") is a type of violence.
It makes sense sometimes to avoid certain people or to avoid saying certain
things to some people but running away in fear is not my way, anyhow.

...As I was thinking about all this, an image came to my mind from the film
about Gandhi's life. Near the end, when India fell into Muslim/Hindu
violence despite all Gandhi's efforts to build a non-violent culture, a
desperate man came up to Gandhi and said he had killed a Muslim child; what
could he do? Gandhi's reply was that he should find another Muslim child
whose parents had been killed and raise that child... and raise it as a
Muslim. The man looked back at him in shock...

I can imagine that someone in your militia could some day kill a child,
maybe a child of some "corporate globalizationist". Would we be willing to
have that person go out and raise another child as a hyper-consumer who
would make a good CEO/corporate raider in order to right that wrong?

I look forward to hearing from you, and maybe even getting to meet you some day!

Love & best wishes, Jan