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.
Asserting ourselves effectively
We had massive demonstrations, for example, against the war in Iraq, massive protests all over the world. Massive protest, [a] vast [number] of people...against the war and yet...the invasion of Iraq [happened anyway]. So there's this institutionalization of protest, so people sit back and say, ‘okay, I get all this anger, and yet I have no power, I'm impotent in terms of affecting policy.’ So once again this raises the issue of how [do we] effectively assert [ourselves?]
Organize where you are
You have to organize where you are. If you go to high school, you organize high school students, you don't organize pensioners or something. If you're a...pensioner you organize other people who are like you, you organize your friends, you organize. And that's something that's really important, it's building those [struggles] link by link, person by person. So if you're doing environmental organizing...you're bringing a radical perspective that links that struggle to other struggles. People often come into being active or caring about certain things through particular...issues, right? Going through the process of gaining a political consciousness...usually centers around one thing and then hopefully there's people there who can make links between that one thing and a broader perspective of capitalism, a broader perspective of a whole range of things.
I think one of the problems with the Left is the idea that they can return to the past….if you take Canada, for example, people believe they can return to the social contract of the post-Second World War era. Coming out of this era there was a sort of agreement between the labor unions and capital for the social welfare state, pensions, and so forth and that it's possible with this latest onslaught against workers right here...people think they can go back. I think that social contract is dead, it's a corpse. People need to come up with new arrangements, new ways of organizing society. So they need to think anew.
Imagining the future together
I'm sitting on this side of the river saying ‘I'm happy to cross over with you,’ I don't know what the bridge looks like, but I think we have to sustain this bank of the river so that it doesn't collapse on our way to that one. Because I do not have sufficient radical imagination to know how we're going to get from here to what I imagine for the future, I don't have that. I don't think that gives me an excuse not to keep on keeping on because I think the struggle against slavery in the United States took four hundred years. I've been working for about forty and not consistently….I'm saddened that I don't have the imagination to understand [how] we're going to get from a and b but I think we need to discuss how we're going to get from a to b together because there are smarter people than me.
Equity across time and space
Equity is a really challenging thing, when you're dealing with equity...on a geographic scale. I'm drinking a coffee, obviously someone had to like pick the beans, and it is a fair trade coffee so I have that sense that I've purchased a product and I'm able to see the connection, at least tangentially understand, that there's ways and means to creating more equitable distributions, but again that's...just relying on some of the functions and features of capitalism to solve problems that are fundamentally being precipitated by [it]. And then equity across generations is an even more difficult thing, especially when you're talking about climate change because...the decisions we're making now are going to have an effect on our grandkids.
Anarchism and radical social change
Eventually I came to [anarchism]... and a complete rejection of the entire system and seeing its destruction as the only possible solution. It didn't seem like it was hierarchical in any way. It didn't seem to be intimidating in the sense that you had to prove yourself to be a part of it or climb any kind of ranks or whatever, or find a place to be. You were just an individual making your own decisions and individual actions for what you saw as a potential for change.
Crisis and opportunity
I think along with the situation looking grim it's also maybe inspiring for some people who have already become politicized through some sort of radical resistance. I've often had the conversation with people who will say that they can't wait for the situation to get worse. As things become more desperate more people tend to seek other options for change and maybe they're seeing current vehicles for change as just not even an option anymore. Seeing other places in the world like Italy, the UK, Tunisia, Nigeria having large...uprising[s is]...inspiring.
Marginality and denial
More and more I see an obsession with state repression and class power [as an avoidance tactic].....If you're framing those themes as separate [from] race and gender and sexuality, what's up?...It's either an avoidance or a direct minimization of those experiences which is appalling and no wonder you're marginal because you're denying the reality of the majority of people.
Solidarity against the prison-industrial complex
Definitely supporting people who have had their freedoms taken away by the prison system and by the state...is one of my political priorities and I do that through doing fundraisers, letter writing... staying updated is another important priority. I try and check websites that have updates of global resistance movements regularly.
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.