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.
The state and class rule
The Canadian state itself is an instrument of class rule, and the Canadian state itself...has been deployed...against workers, against progressive peopl[e], against the First Nations, against minorities….The Canadian state[‘s]...foundations are colonial, we only have to talk about what happened to the First Nations, we only have to talk about what happened to Louis Riel.
Violence, clarity, and context
Diversity of tactics - really what it boils down to is black bloc versus no black bloc and that...gets turned into violence versus non-violence [but] they don't line up. I think starting with a definition of what is violence, and what is the black bloc, and where does it fit on the spectrum of violence, and what's the particular advantages and disadvantages of a black bloc, and taking that out of the conversation of violence versus non-violence because it's not the same question as far as I'm concerned. Equating those things doesn't make any sense to me. When I think of violence...in social movements [I think of] revolutionary wars or something [like that] which has no bearing [on] what's happening in our context at the moment. So what do I think of violence? I think it's certainly justified and necessary in cases of self-defense.
[I spend] a lot of time networking with people and trying to be inspired by others and also trying to have conversations with people to...share some of my experiences and knowledge...with them and...be an active part of the resistance against capitalism, against the state, against prisons, and to support people who have had…[their] freedom taken away from them by [the] prison society that we live in.
Solidarity and sectarianism
After the student day of action, the organizers of the student day of action, sent a really, really nasty message about why did we have to go and yell chants that weren't the chants they wanted us to yell. Like, ‘what was that all about? Are you trying to act more radical than [us?]’ It felt like we'd kind of gone out in solidarity with them…..So after that I felt like we weren't on the same team.
There's lots of people who, if you tap into their values in the right way, will be able to get onside with you in a way that at least will keep us going, that at least will keep us on a more positive track. I think it's just a matter of bringing out those values and framing them in such a way that they enable us to make more intelligent political decisions.
Talking – or not – about patriarchy
A really sad truth...is that when you start talking about patriarchy, people shut down.
Imagining the future together
I'm sitting on this side of the river saying ‘I'm happy to cross over with you,’ I don't know what the bridge looks like, but I think we have to sustain this bank of the river so that it doesn't collapse on our way to that one. Because I do not have sufficient radical imagination to know how we're going to get from here to what I imagine for the future, I don't have that. I don't think that gives me an excuse not to keep on keeping on because I think the struggle against slavery in the United States took four hundred years. I've been working for about forty and not consistently….I'm saddened that I don't have the imagination to understand [how] we're going to get from a and b but I think we need to discuss how we're going to get from a to b together because there are smarter people than me.
Winning, solidarity, and common sense
I guess in a grander way, I'm thinking of a quote...by Zygmunt Bauman who is a post-modern theorist. I remember reading an article of his and he ended by saying something along the lines of: the day you don't have to justify yourselves for being in solidarity with everybody else is the day that that's achieved. It's an abstract thought but in a way if you don't have to defend your decision about entering [into a relationship of] solidarity with someone, if you don't have to justify that, then it means that it's understood in common sense and therefore, if you don't have to explain that or justify that to anybody, then that means that you've won...in a way.
Popular education and action
Before getting people to act you need to educate them and then you need to incite some sort of emotion in them. Those are vague but that happens just with grunt work like posters, discussion nights, talk nights, showing movies, making it on people's radar...people need to be reminded of issues of social and environmental justice as much as we're being reminded that we need to buy Blackberry.
Dispelling the myth
I think a major part of what the Left needs to do now is to dispel this myth that capitalism can ever actually create a sustainable future.