To Justify Land

Autumn 2017

To Justify Land 1: Introduction is the first in a series of essays. The essay series begins with a hydro-electric dam expansion and condominium development currently under construction on a few islands on the Ottawa River, between the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau. These islands have long been sacred to the Algonquin people who lived here before the establishment of the Canadian nation. The series examines the rhetoric and capitalist logic that justifies the continued development of such infrastructure, and the region’s history of economic and physical displacement of working classes.

The third section compares the hydro-electric development of Québec in the early 20th century, and continuing today, with that across northeastern and southern Siberia. The legacies of displacement of Indigenous peoples in the northern boréale as in the Central Asian steppes are the same, with similar structures and manipulation of ‘reserves’ and ‘savkhozi’. Many of the companies involved in resource extraction industries that benefit from dam development in Russia are familiar to the same struggles in North America. The later sections examine resource extraction and hydro-electric development in the province of British Columbia, Honduras and Bolivia; the language of ecological resistance in Peru through the work of Marisol de la Cadena; and a thorough look at the resource extraction and war industry money that is fueling the Board of Directors at Ontario Hydro and corporate interests in Asinabka.