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.
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.
Building a new world
All the things that are happening, the crisis in the earth, the political crisis, the monetary crisis, all those things can make people retrench. So the foundation that needs to be laid, we have to do it right now in the struggle to say ‘no!’ and send a clear message about where we should go. So where we should go [is to build] the Pachamama Alliance, which is the Indigenous People and non-indigenous of north and south com[ing] together...to build a world that is socially just, spiritually fulfilling, and environmentally sustainable.
It's easy to be angry, and rant, and say the things that you don't agree with but when [do] you take the next step of, okay, how can we build something new? How can we build something better? How can we go forward? That's when the imagination is the most important because the imagination, it allows you to maybe think of something in a way that you've never thought of before.
Popular education and action
Before getting people to act you need to educate them and then you need to incite some sort of emotion in them. Those are vague but that happens just with grunt work like posters, discussion nights, talk nights, showing movies, making it on people's radar...people need to be reminded of issues of social and environmental justice as much as we're being reminded that we need to buy Blackberry.
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.
State violence and movement strategy
I think if you've got enough people you can take a stand in any way to prevent stuff. But let's face it, the state has all the firepower, all the guns, and all it takes is an excuse and they'll use it….So when [the state] move[s] in they have every right in their mind to come in and surround and corner people...but if you defend yourself, if you resist that then you're the aggressor.
The discussion that's had around diversity of tactics is shallow. I think that we…[talk so much] about tactics that we don't ever talk about strategy and I don't necessarily think that diversity of tactics, writ large, is a strategy in itself….If I say that we accept a diversity of tactics, there [are still] obviously some tactics that [some] people support more than others and I think that we need to do better to define what we mean when we say…‘diversity of tactics’ because we never mean all tactics….[T]here's always people who think that engaging with government is selling out and there's always people who think that breaking windows is violence.
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.
So our strategies are influenced by the [institutional] foothold we have and us wanting to hang onto that. And the strategies of this other [radical] group that might be coming up are in reaction to their perception of us failing at [being radical enough,] so they're going to do it. So their strategies and tactics are going to be different and I think in order for [social change to happen] they both need to be in place.
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?