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.
I might not live to see it, it might be a hundred years after I die, but [the] fall of democracy, [the] fall of the monetary system, I see that accelerating. I actually can almost see it before I die. Just the way capitalism is like a cancer, they both want the same thing, constant growth, and just like cancer it's starting to chew on itself, and it's starting to get out of the control of the masters, and cracks are starting to show in its facade, and it's evil, and I just feel that blackness getting thicker, [like] fog.
Organizing and alternatives
If the goal is equality, for example, then you have to organize society in such a way that you're going to get that equality and you have to organize the economy in such a way that gives you that equality. That means that the very ethos of this economy has to be overcome, has to be destroyed because as long as the economy is running on the basis of profit, and accumulation of wealth, and growth we can never achieve equality because it's the antithesis of the system. On a political level we have to have a decentralization of power. I don't agree that we can achieve it through...spontaneous uprisings all over the place, I don't think that's going to get us anywhere. We need to see centralized organizations as facilitating the grassroots movements rather than dominating the grassroots movements.
Hope and fear for the future
I draw a lot of my inspiration, especially when it comes to environmental activism, from the compassion that I have for the planet, from the emotional connection that I've built to the earth through many excursions, and wilderness trips, and exploring in nature, and the huge amount of appreciation I have for the world around me. So yeah, compassion, that is where I draw a lot of my inspiration from and also a little bit of fear and anger as well....Fear for the future. If nobody does anything then what is our future going to look like?
I volunteered with an underground midwife....she still caught babies, still did the exact same job...but there was no funding for it, women still paid her out of pocket. So where did that take me? I guess that was a turning point in my politics because it really made me think not just about women's choices and how women conceptualize those choices and manifest them but how...the broader society manipulates women, or offers certain choices for women.
A rock and a hard place
Yes, socialism is still necessary but at the present moment if there is no real socialist possibility we might have to bite the bullet and become involved in reform activities which we have very little hope in. That's the present tragic dilemma of the Left and of the world.
Engaging the system
I do believe that...there's not much difference between political parties that are offered to us. For example, the Conservative Party that is in power right now is so far right that it is shifting the cultural paradigm in Canada, right now, to the right, I think more than any other party has done so far and I think that's really dangerous and that affects many people concretely. All the social programs that are cut, all the policy changes that are happening at different levels, for example immigration, that has concrete immediate effect[s] on many people who are marginalized and have very little influence in our society and have a serious lack of security. So engaging with the political system that we have now in terms of achieving imperfect...short, term goals that have a concrete, immediate impact on people I think is important.
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.
To what ends are we growing this economy? I think there's sort of three fundamental objectives of development in the twenty-first century: low carbon because of climate change, adapting to climate change, [and] reconciling some of the differences that exist within the current system. We need low carbon development and we need to create food security, energy security, and robust, resilient systems that people will be able to provide for their needs, and provide for their families, and so on. It's pretty simple. It's not growing the economy, because that's what got us into this mess in the first place.
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.
Values in action
We're not as good at making our messages attractive….People like to talk about their values and people make their political decisions, whether it's voting or...what they're engaged in, what they choose to support, and they do that based on values. They don't do that based on solid analysis for the most part….we've come to a point in human history, I guess, in our civilization, where it's not about solidly analyzing everything unless it has to do with you personally, unless it's like your RRSPs, then you do it, but in terms of your politics people vote their values.