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.
Forces of demobilization
There are significant reasons why it could get harder to socially organize in the future. For one we could get a more socially progressive federal government and that would blow some of the steam out of the long-term strategies that social movements need because people would be like, ‘oh we did it!’ Kind of like what happened in the US...when Obama got elected. And also it could go the other way and there could just be a criminalization of dissent...but I think, for the most part, people of my generation realize that they've been dealt a shitty hand and are probably reluctant to do that to the next generation unless they can really convince themselves that everything is okay. But I think that every generation that comes is getting harder and harder to convince that everything is okay.
...what is possible today? What would it look like if the people won? On the one hand, I believe that Lenin was right, a revolution can't be sustained without a very highly organized and disciplined central group. This is the big dilemma. On the other hand, a highly trained and disciplined central group tends to want to perpetuate itself and you can't have one and you can't have the other.
Leadership not dictatorship
Things can happen awful fast sometimes...and [when it does happen] I think that the Left needs to...be...there to try and pick up the pieces and give it some coordination and leadership. Because I do believe in leadership, I just don't believe in the form of leadership that dictates to everybody what should happen. We've never really had a democracy.
Women, power, and winning
It would be about women recognizing power, women understanding that they hold that power, and that they can exercise that power, and that exercising that power can change society, can change the individual, can change the family, can change the community, can change the society. And that would look not only like women recognizing and exercising that power but the society...recognizing that that power is valid.
Hope in the dark
There's always going to be that kernel of good possibilities and I think it's going to be a lot harder for rich people to keep in this bubble that we're in right now which is not having to realize the incredible poverty and the incredible suffering going on in the rest of the world. Especially as climate change refugees start to come to North America. And as stuff in North America starts to get flooded and in Europe, so that part to me is hopeful. Unfortunately it's going to come with a lot of shit and we're probably going to end up killing a lot of people and I also think that neoliberalism cannot exist in that future, in that vision of the future, because something as powerful as the state might not be able to exist except through a huge amount of coercion or totalitarianism.
It's well within the realm of possibility that we will see...increasing...violence and warfare precipitated by [climate change]....Sociological instability will continue along with ecological change.
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.
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.
One of the things we do a really bad job of is fostering a sense of hope. I know that's kind of cheesy but people come to radical politics because they think it's going to do something and be a legitimate option and we don't make it that. We make it seem like a club, we make it seem like something that people of only a certain ilk can engage in….It should be a part of everyone's day to day experience.
The politics of fear
When people are insecure, when people think there is instability, and they feel atomized like we feel in this society, then anybody who can guarantee security and stability will receive their support, including the far right. Even intelligent people who you would think would have left wing positions would adopt that because when it comes to insecurity and stability...people want to opt for security and stability.