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.
Building solidarity, not conflict
I do believe that non-violent action is more effective as a strategy because the object is to build solidarity rather than conflict and I feel that that is ultimately what we're fighting for. Certainly I feel that non-violent action is more effective just by the very nature of what it is. It's less alienating to people who are largely ignorant of the issues that are being confronted. That it's less intimidating and therefore approachable and it's easier to communicate with people through it.
Taking a stand
That's where I feel the stand is at. I think the more people that we can have engaged in demanding and effectively achieving their rights, that is a great way to begin, like little mice gnawing at the base of the machine which is government and big business in my mind.
I think there's something to be said for keeping our internal struggles internal. Stephen Harper does that really well and that's not say again that we need to become authoritarian or hierarchical. It's just to say that if we're going to argue about whether we're libertarian or communist or something else we should not argue about that in the Chronicle Herald. We should not split our broader leftist movement apart publicly.
Capitalism, motivation, and social reproduction
I think it's really foolish to think that if the competition of capitalism was taken away or if the goal of money were taken away that people wouldn't do things…[that] people would just sit around. No, people will maintain roads if they’re important roads, and maintain the public systems that they use or whatever, or grow food, but we won't do things like build $6 000 000 passing lanes in spots we don't need them...
Managing disagreement effectively
Thoughtless action is obviously going to lead to unintended consequences and it's going to be less effective than if you are measured and considered and reasonable and have a plan and account for contingencies....I think it's really important but at the same time I think that the left does suffer from too much...crippling talk. There should be more mechanisms in left wing groups if there is a major point of disagreement to compartmentalize that disagreement, and not to ignore it, but to defer it...until we're effective with all the stuff we agree with.
Social and personal change
...I...realized that while I could identify what was wrong...with certain actions that promoted hate against other individuals, I didn't see how I was part of that system….It was the first time that I realized that it wasn't just about me fighting other people, it was also about me changing myself.
[The future] could go either way. It could be so good or it could be so awful and there seems to be this almost masochistic yearning for an apocalyptic future. Almost self-destructive, you know, it's all bad...it's all going to fall down. People seem to almost anticipate that [but] I don't think they get the implications of it.
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.
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.
Imagination and living otherwise
I think that the imagination is what animates really robust, resilient, dynamic social struggles. So in that way the radical imagination has to speak to how we [are] going to organize ourselves. How are we going to make sure, for instance, while we're busy imagining how our radical action is going to change the world that people with kids or with different abilities are going to be able to be a part of this? How are we going to meet the needs of people on the ground? How are we going to make sure that we have the resources to sustain people? How are we going to make sure that we protect each other from oppression whether internally or externally? And I think imagination has something to say to all those things and for me imagination is that. It's the social imagination of a people’s spirit to resist and live otherwise than they do right now.