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Idle No More and the Treadmill of Production: Corporate Power, Environmental Degradation, and Activism

West, Samantha Lynn
Idle No More (INM) is a First Nations rights social-environmental movement that began as a response to the proposal of Bill C-45 in Canada. Bill C-45, also known as the Jobs and Growth Act of 2012, deregulated �barriers to development� by making changes to many environmental protections. Deregulation made it easier for industries to pass environmental assessments in order to expand production and extraction activities. Even though this legislation decreased ability of the First Nations to hunt and fish on shared land, the Canadian parliament passed the bill on December 14, 2012 with little to no consultation with the First Nations. The purpose of this study is to understand how the Idle No More respondents on Facebook are talking about, and actively resisting, corporate power and environmental degradation within the framework of the treadmill of production. An historical context, along with literature about social movement grievance construction and the theory of the treadmill of production is included in this analysis. This study makes use of qualitative content analysis to understand grievances and narratives posted to the INM Facebook Page during the emergence of the movement in November 2012 through February 2013. Using direct quotes from the Facebook posts as evidence, this study shows that the narratives of INM actors reflect resistance to the forces of the treadmill of production by opposing corporate power in multiple ways, and suggests that extraction companies, consumption, alliances between corporations and the government, and greed of money and power causes environmental degradation.