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.
Turning the tide
I guess what I keep hoping is that the people who are using the skills of working together, of growing food, making things, of connecting with people despite barriers and differences, that when there is an inevitable big shift in this particularly unsustainable political and economical world we live in...there will be enough of these to...turn the tide.
A revolving door of resistance
I feel like it's a revolving door of resistance where people are...doing stuff and they leave or people become disgruntled with it and then [even though] more people...are becoming politicized, they're not necessarily taking it a step further and really trying to push that agenda of active resistance and direct resistance against the state. [My] frustration with that is the lack of people who really want to get involved but I also have to remind myself that the place where I am at right now has taken fifteen years [for me to get to].
Indigenous struggles and deep democracy
Working on [building settler solidarity with] Six Nations…[it] was very interesting...and inspiring to see Six Nations, which is this Indigenous group that has the oldest surviving democratic constitution in the world, who have been actively fighting colonialism for five hundred years, who have retained a great deal of their culture in the face of genocide, and still works by those sorts of principles that we were trying to discover in 2001. Things like consensus, broad deep forms of respect, broad forms of solidarity and affinity. They have methods for cultivating those that have lasted for literally thousands of years. So seeing that in action and also seeing what the state does in the face of that and how they try and divide and conquer was very inspirational and changed my thinking a great deal.
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.
The future, darkly
I'm cynical and pessimistic so I'm just going to tell you my science fiction dystopia. Everything will be privatized, more than fifty per cent of the people will live in total poverty, those who don't will be eking by except for a much smaller top of the pile, [the] twenty-first century aristocracy, who have access to the latest technology to spy on us and control our behaviours. They can censor whatever, they can use this media...to message us in any way they want repetitively to the point where we believe whatever [they] want [us] to believe….[A]ny opponents will be disappeared, concentration camps, the whole nine yards.
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.
Youth of colour fight back
Some of the really inspiring stuff that I've seen...since September 11th, 2001 has been...immigrant and refugee youth taking on leadership roles, oftentimes beginning with the fightback that they're seeing in their own communities but extending well beyond that...to a far broader social perspective.
No going back
I always think it's really exciting when people...move...and I think that the key thing…[is] not necessarily to take them and show them exactly what to do, but [to show them] there's no going back. They're either going to win or they're going to fucking lose and I think that's an important position. To push people out to taking those risks that they wouldn't normally want to take and getting them to feel like that's their decision, feeling empowered, and then creating that contrast, and then there's no going back, you're pretty much taking a leap.
Doing it ourselves
We've already been compromised and co-opted…[b]ut out of that…I think movements will continue to grow. Underground movements, grassroots movements...there was a woman I spoke to a few weeks ago, she's from San Francisco, where a huge grassroots midwifery movement took place in the ‘70s and ‘80s and...she said, ‘what do you do when women just start catching each other's babies and no one has titles, and no one has credentials, and no one has equipment, but yet that's what women want, and babies are well, and women are well, what if we just caught each other's babies?’ What would that look like? What message would that give?
I don't want to point to a specific example of an activist initiative and say that this is the guide to the future. My own feeling is that there are values that I think I'd like to see broadened to be values that people can work with. Things like solidarity, affinity, autonomy, cooperation over competition, these sorts of vague themes. And then there are various experiments with those which are sometimes inspiring, like cooperatives. Those sorts of things have those values in them.