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what is your view on indigenous land rights?

+1 vote
this topic has recently been brought to my attention due to the current dispute over ihumatao, a site in auckland that is scheduled to be developed, in opposition to which there is a large protest and occupation, involving many different groups and people.  in principle i am opposed to pretty much any 'land development', given the total and violent mismanagement of structures, resources, and land in pretty much every country i know of.  but what relevance does the concept of land rights and indigenous rights have to an anarchist perspective, in your opinion?  i disagree with the idea of 'rights' or -formalised- land ownership, and yet i am hesitant to outright dismiss the idea of indigenous land rights... what are your thoughts?  perhaps you could like this topic to things that are going on in your locality?
asked Aug 4 by shin (2,170 points)

rights are a concept that can only exist in the context of dominant authority; authorities define and enforce rights. it is difficult for me to look at rights from an anarchist perspective, other than to dismiss them. (that of course doesn't preclude the need for anarchists to deal with situations that involve rights, given the world we live in).

i also have a bit of a problem with using "indigenous/native" terminology, but that's for another discussion.

the fact that dominant authorities take over (and largely destroy) land that humans and other life have lived on for generations is of course a massive problem. the fact that there are still humans on this planet that live on land thus far not appropriated by authorities is both inspiring and sad.

but it sounds like you are saying:

i don't believe in rights, but when it comes to "indigenous land rights", maybe i do.

i would simply ask why you hold that particular "right" in some special regard?

the plight of large groups that have been particularly hard hit by the spread of civilization and its paradigm of domination are surely glaring examples of how fucked up shit is. that is a primal driving force for leftist activism. but feeling/showing solidarity - whatever that means to you - with folks you have affinity with is often one of the only things you can do, if you feel like doing something is desired/required.

i lived for 15+ years in an area of the southwestern u.s. that has a largely indian (mosty puebloan, some apache) population. taos pueblo (the closest one to where i was) has a rich history of defending their autonomy; from the raiding apache (and probably other) tribes, and subsequently the spanish and then american colonizers. to this day they retain their own government and laws. the question of "land rights" in that area is, was, and probably always will be a huge conflict, due to the "land grants" that the colonizing spanish issued centuries ago. those grants are the source of constant conflict in the area (in fact all over new mexico), and there are always legal battles being fought around them.

land rights?

i think of this somewhat similarly to how i think about the black church. both involve institutions that are antithetical to any anarchy i value, and both involve groups of people who have different enough experiences to mine that i hesitate to believe that i understand the nuances of their positions. i think i'm as anti-christian as anyone, more than most, but to the extent that both "rights" (which is a word, remember, as much as--or maybe more than--it's a thing) and that particular-experience-of-church are tactics for a set of problems that i haven't dealt with, i'm just hesitant to jump in with both feet.

i guess what i'm saying is that how i come to whatever position i'd defend to a person would depend on the conversation, but that's an unsatisfying answer to the question, for sure. sigh.
under the anarchist framework, you have to be a "hypocrite" to promote indigenous land rights. That doesn't stop a lot of people from doing things, so it's just better just to use as few identity-labels as possible when doing anything.

On the other hand, promoting the concept of "rights" in and of itself is confusing because you don't have any rights whatsoever if the state decides that you don't. A lot of people like to use the term because it has some authority behind it, as if something is indebted. The zero-rights concept overall has been very helpful to me, and in fact makes it easier for me to figure out how to enlist help from other people.
"The zero-rights concept..."

never heard it put that way, but right on.

check out george carlin and doug stanhope on "rights" (for anyone who hasn't already). they get it.
yeah im looking up the george carlin bit. I guess the zero-rights thing can be confusing because really powerful people use that knowledge to fuck masses of people over. I'd be surprised if the Koch brothers really believed any of the political bullshit they spew out of their mouths, but they probably think they are hyper-intelligent ultra-rational capitalists who have the "natural right" to maintain their position in the world. There's a big tension between many people on the left who despise those types of nihilist positions and people like me who think delusions and dishonesty are masochistic.

i can only tell "the truth" in very incomplete and limited ways.

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