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.
When most people think of politics, they think of electoral politics. So while many of us may think of this in much broader terms as far as measuring winning I think we have to give ourselves things that can be actually measured and [success in] electoral politics in the next two to five years probably wouldn't make sense for any kind of political movement that would develop. So I don't think that that would be on the goal post but it would certainly involve engagement with that political process in some way. So we actually have to be able to win things because that's the only way that we convince people that we can succeed.
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.
...voter turnout in provincial and national elections keeps on going down...I don't think it's a question of apathy...people have no real say in how things operate. That's one particular issue. Second, I think it's a question of empowering Canadians as a whole. I think first we have to begin with this electoral process which...serves the big parties and doesn't serve the ordinary Canadians. So how do Canadians participate in the political process? How do they make decisions? How do they control the decision makers? These are very important issues that have to be taken up but also the empowerment of each Canadian.
A world without rape culture
I try and imagine a world without rape culture sometimes and it's pretty exciting.
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.
Precarity and inertia
I think...one of the most present problems right now is...how precarious everything is around us in terms of our living spaces, we have no control over [them], we...pay all this rent [and] it's just burned off….The places we work, we have no control over the vast majority of them so that we're just thrust around here and there. We're fired with no notice, we have to deal with all kinds of unfair working conditions depending on the whim of the employers and this creates a lot of problems for everyone. We're stressed out, we're just left with no energy and time at the end of the day other than to watch TV or zone out or whatever.
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.
Winning is a collective process
Winning is the ability to develop a collective process in which we're destroying the things that are unjust in this world. I have my particular perspectives of what that world should look like but my overall perspective is that that perspective should change as that's happening, especially since it's a collective process….I can't [inscribe] an individual viewpoint onto a collective future, it should be a collective viewpoint onto a collective future. I think then that what a post-capitalist society would look like [is] hard to exactly imagine...because it would still be a place of constant struggle. There's no ideal way of being.
Building to revolution
The point is to keep doing something until...there comes a point where everything shifts….all the things that people understand [come through struggle], not by some theoretical discussion, [but] by creating an action based on what it is people want and when you do that action, the action itself leads to awareness….Little by little, incrementally, those things shift and quite frankly that's what a revolution is. It's kind of like boiling water, you put the pot on and at one point it's 210, and then at 211 it gets real hot, and then at 212 it turns into steam, something totally different, that's a revolution.
I've [retreated] from being so action focused because I didn't see the sum of all the actions I was doing actually building anything that was creating any fighting potential to actually challenge the social conditions around me. I just felt like it was going nowhere. The cafe was different. With the cafe we were putting together a project [which] we hoped would be an example of something that was organized differently on different principles. So we were organizing on this principle called participatory economics and we were organizing as a workers’ cooperative so, as we saw it, this cafe bookstore venue was...how we were organizing a very political space that was living by example and the hope was we could encourage other people to organize like that.