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.
You learn about history and all the really bad stuff that has happened, to the Indigenous population particularly, and I was like, wow, what keeps people motivated there?...if human society is going to get through what we're going through now, it's going to be because of the knowledge of indigenous peoples. I feel like there's that wealth of knowledge there that's just not tapped in the mainstream and it's the total opposite of the dominant culture.
[What] if we redeveloped our own local economies in North America and supported ourselves on the basis of what we could grow and what we could produce in our own countries so that we wouldn't have to be continuously stealing resources from other countries and employing people in other countries? Employ ourselves before you employ someone in China or Bangladesh. And basically just more small scale local farms. I think that is so, so, so important, just kind of a cornerstone of any society.
Recently, as a result of being in a family, [I’ve] really change[d] the way...I'm socially engaging with…[the] activist community….I feel like there was a certain point at which I started to admire people that I considered post-activist. What I [mean] by that is that being an activist or revolutionary or whatever as your main title, that is abstract and has nothing to communicate other than that you feel righteously busy. [It’s] not something that...I want to identify [as] and I feel like there are some other really important things, really important roles....I want to be a good son to my parents, I want to be a good brother to my brother, I want to be a good parent, I want to be a good partner.
Accelerating the collapse
I think that the whole concept of shit hitting the fan is a weird way to refer to a collapse that's already in progress and that's depressing. I feel like there's going to be an acceleration that could be really fast.
A new party
I think there has to be a new party. I think there has to be a new communist party, that's what I think. We see that we're not able to get legislation in this province to protect workers in the workplace. We see that we have something in the order of one in eight children living below the poverty level and families not having enough food to eat. I don't think this can be solved by tinkering around the edges and sending in a social worker. We need to have some kind of spirited organization that is going to consistently fight.
Leadership and revolution
...a belief in intrinsic spontaneity of the masses to be revolutionary without hard, slogging leadership….[is a] disease...
Failures of imagination
For every person who is exposed to the media clip that says that anarchists are notorious and violent and whatever, if they look into it more and feel that there's anarchist theory that they can really be inspired by then that's cool. There's also potential to be like, ‘I want to be that notorious and autonomous, violent person so I can have an outlet for my male aggression.’ I mean I think that the lack of strategic function of doing that, running back into a mass protest after you've smashed some stuff...it shows a lack of imagination.
Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will
"Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will," it's a famous saying by Gramsci. In other words you know rationally that the chances of doing anything radical are very small but you do it anyway. You fight anyway. You cannot have optimism of the will without some idea that it would be possible to have a different world and various institutional things have an impact on people's radical imagination.
Whiteness and the limits to movements
[What are the] conversations that need to be had? Well...there's the race conversation. Not that that conversation doesn't happen but I don't think it happens in a way that ever gets anywhere near to addressing the issue. It kind of happens in this...massaging white guilt kind of way - we're talking about it...but it never actually gets addressed at all. I think that's a major issue locally….I think there's the whiteness of our movements and then there's racism in Halifax and where the activist community fits in to addressing that. I think that's a conversation that needs to be had that isn't because I think it very much limits what groups can do and what organizing can accomplish in the city...
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.