The following represent a random sampling of voices from those activists and organizers who participated in our research project. To see more, refresh this page. Use the tag cloud to the right to navigate by theme.
Winning right now
So, short term what would winning mean to me? I would like to see the Canada health act pass into legislation right now. I'd like to see [the former] NDP government pushed on a variety of different fronts from below to keep it to the minimum promises it made and I'd like to see the beginnings of building some kind of mass progressive movement here in Nova Scotia. That to me would be the short term win.
Difference and possibility
I think imagination…[is] the ability to think of something different, to enact something different, to believe that something different is possible.
Means and ends
You have to decide before your action, what is my end result? What do I want to achieve? Do I want to engage the masses and try and change them or not? Because if it's not, then hell yeah, do whatever you gotta do. But if you want to play it this way then violence won't play.
Youth of colour fight back
Some of the really inspiring stuff that I've seen...since September 11th, 2001 has been...immigrant and refugee youth taking on leadership roles, oftentimes beginning with the fightback that they're seeing in their own communities but extending well beyond that...to a far broader social perspective.
Coexistence without domination
To me winning would be being able to live life without feeling like I owe something….I think it really depends on the situation. I think it's safe to say that if there were no need for prisons, no need for borders, or money, all of these sort of institutionalized methods of control, I think if you got rid of all those and just had the co-existence of people working, living together and not depleting and stripping the ecosystem in which they're placed, to me I guess that would be [winning].
You always have the obligatory paragraph or two paragraphs about these youth who we want to disassociate from because we have no problem with the police. So [the 2010] G20 [meetings in Toronto] was an eye opener because the police deliberately attacked people. The police deliberately threatened people in the prisons and people who would normally say, ‘well, it's these youth who bring on the violence of the state because we're decent, orderly people who participate,’ were stunned when they were there. They saw the state attacking people willy-nilly. So I think that was an eye opener and I think that provides the context we consider this in. We have our differences but we can have political unity and we can have discussion about tactics but…[it doesn’t] because [some people] have a denigrating concept of youth.
I think the most dire consequence of the evolution of capitalism today is its capacity for cooptation. It is extremely adept at commodifying and co-opting any sort of movement at all, even the most radical. I think that the reformist strategies, whether they’re NGOs, or unions, or other things….I wouldn't say I reject all of them I would just say that all of those in and of themselves are not sufficient.
In between winning and losing
I can't conceptualize political movements as win-lose. Maybe I could conceptualize them as winning and losing in that it's a constant process. I don't think there is anything to win. Not only is it a myth but also it’s dejecting. If I try and think about what it would mean to win, I just can't, it's not possible for my brain to think about that and so anything that comes short of having won is then a failure. Even if I were to try and conceptualize winning and losing, obviously, I think right now we're losing but I do feel like I make gains when I have a conversation with my sister and...at the end of the conversation [she] commits to changing her behaviour in some way that I find impedes her ability to have meaningful social relations with other people, especially other women.
Industrial civilization and root problems
As long as we continue to be preoccupied with material consumption and economic growth that's based upon material consumption then we're just sort of pissing in the wind in terms of solving these problems. The fundamental root of the problem is an industrial growth model that is based upon this false premise that you can use resources within a human economy and that the only consequence of it is having to deal with the waste on the other side or having to find more resources to exploit. We're now encountering the point of pushing ecological thresholds beyond their finite capacity. So if that's the case then we need to reinvent the system so that it is one that is more aligned with what the finite ecological capacities of this planet are.
The necessity of decolonization
...I think Canada is a colonial state and the question is to what extent will First Nations ever have self-determination as long as Canada is a settler state? I guess never maybe….So does that mean I overthrow Canada?...I think we need to decolonize, I think we need to think through how we're colonizing by being here and...actively confronting that...in the same way when you’re part of a system of oppression. For example, gentrification, if you live in a low income neighbourhood because that's the only place you can afford but you recognize the fact that you’re also forcing people out who are on a...lower income, a different bracket of class...or of color, how do you oppose it? I don't know, burn down the condo?