Posts Tagged ‘activism’

The Whole World is Watching Montreal

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

109 days. That’s how long they’ve been protesting in Montreal. Over 3 incredible months. What started out as a demonstration against an impending 80% tuition hike has now blossomed into a full-out fight for civil rights.

Now, whether you’re Canadian or an unCanuck (a term I’ve never heard used until just now), there are many great reasons you should be paying attention to what is happening in Quebec. Here’s three:

Reason 1: It’s massive. Over 400,000 people – 1/4 of Montreal’s total population – have been out in simultaneous protest.

Reason 2: It’s about more than tuition fees. The movement has always targeted the systemic corruption in government, highlighting the way powerful corporations and big business get taxpayer-funded benefits while taxpayers themselves get the shaft.

But now that Premiere Charest clumsily stifled the right to protest, the movement morphed into protecting individual liberties, saving our precious democracy, and, most importantly, sending a clear message that we will not stand idly by while civil rights get violated.

Reason 3: The Montreal uprising is just a sign of things to come. Humans everywhere on earth are undergoing a great awakening. The internet is fostering a social revolution, shifting unprecedented powers into the hands of the masses. Governments, corporations and other major institutions will prove no match for millions of coordinated humans working together in real time.

A new day is coming, where actual democracy gives everyone a voice. With this newfound solidarity we will build a more just global civilization. People will take priority over profits, cooperation will supersede competition, and a brighter, more secure future will be upon us.

May Day General Strike Tomorrow

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Just a reminder that the May Day general strike takes place tomorrow. No school, no work, no banking, no buying – all to protest the threat of corporatism and to show solidarity with the world’s migrant workers. Over 125 cities are involved, and there is a comprehensive directory if you are interesting in joining. (more…)

Canadian Cops Crush Peaceful Protests

Friday, April 27th, 2012

MONTREAL: Seizing upon the distractions of a public protest, a handful of unruly miscreants take the opportunity to vandalize private property. In response, heavily armed police units crack down on the demonstration as a whole, claiming protection of the public good.

Peaceful assembly: 0  Police State: 1 (more…)

Transport Workers Union To Help Occupy Wall Street

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Just twelve days in, and the movement to hold bankers and corporations accountable to the public is picking up some serious momentum. A massive organization – New York’s Transit Union – just voted to help the movement to Occupy Wall Street. With tens of thousands of members, the activists on Wall St. can expect a surge in bodies, come Friday at 4pm.

Like freedom fighting figurehead Michael Moore believes, the revolution ignited on Wall St. will spread like wildfire. Moore describes the “army of Americans who are just waiting for somebody to do something”, and because of the demonstrations in New York, “the something has started.”

If your wondering why the so-called 99% are so upset, we can turn to eloquent words of wisdom from the man himself – Noam Chomsky:

The banks are bigger and richer than before with corporate profits reaching record levels, and unemployment is about the level of the Great Depression – I mean real unemployment. These people are saying, let’s blame the culprits and the institutions behind them – fiscal policies like taxation, rules of corporate governance, deregulation – it does set in motion a vicious cycle that is getting worse and worse.

If you walk down the streets of New York you can see very serious poverty and phenomenal wealth side by side, very much like a Third World country. Meanwhile, infrastructure is collapsing, schools are collapsing and all that keeps this cycle going.

And one factor contributing to these problems are the big money interests, which have been allowed to undermine democracy. Chomsky:

Each [presidential] candidate spends over US $1 billion. Where does that money come from? A lot of it comes from financial institutions. What gave Obama the election were primarily financial institutions’ contributions. They preferred him over McCain, they expected to be paid, and they were. It has become increasingly difficult to distinguish between elected officials and concentrated capital.

So, unless you are in the 1% who benefit the most from our distorted distribution of wealth and power – and face it, you’re not! – you should be out there protesting too. Get out there and let your voice be heard. Take to the streets and be part of a movement for greater social justice, because that is what democracy looks like!

Athens On Fire

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Hundreds of thousands of protesters are taking to the streets in Greece’s capital to voice their opposition to the austerity measures going through parliament.

While some of the protesters have been peaceful, many frustrations have boiled over into violence, with angry Greeks trashing property, lighting stuff on fire, and attacking security forces.

Frankly, I don’t blame them for being upset. Their government is about to take on another bailout from the global loan-sharks known as the IMF, complete with many deep-reaching strings attached, in response to a crisis many say was caused by bankers and politicians.

But throwing petrol bombs at police officers won’t help anything. This just tarnishes the image of the demonstrators while making it harder for peaceful activists to get their voice heard.

Peace Activism Takes Courage

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Former soldier Clancy Sigal shares an inspiring piece called In a War-Loving Society, Peace Activism Takes a Lot of Guts and Bravery. In it, the author describes his newfound affinity for peace activists, writing:

Over time, my attitude to conscientious objectors and deserters has shifted. Once, I held them in contempt. But the Vietnam war, when I came into contact with war resisters, changed me. I saw then, and see now, that often it takes a different kind of moral and, yes, even physical courage to resist a call to serve your country in a war you believe is a crime, when all your family, friends, teachers and the vast American majority support joining up.

But what about those “cowards”, “traitors” and “slackers” who don’t want to kill other people? They’re an odd breed who count among their number such as Muhammad Ali, Mahatma Gandhi, Sergeant York, David Hockney, three US weapon-refusing combat medics who won the medal of honour, and the 27 Israeli air force pilots who refused orders to “track and kill” civilians in Gaza and the West Bank.

I continue to be amazed at the stupendous bravery of any currently serving soldier or marine… but what kind of guts does it take for war objectors, who simply don’t want to kill?

Sigal offers a refreshing perspective. All too often, individuals who stand against war can be labelled pussies, cowards and traitors. But really, if the majority of the people around you are beating the drums of war, it is actually courageous to go against the grain and stand up for one’s beliefs, knowing full well you might face the scorn of your peers.

The road to war is well worn, so oft traveled by us humans. The path to peace, on the other hand, is rough in some areas and uncharted in others. This means that those of us who dare to wage peace must act as pioneers, beating the way towards a brighter future that, right now, exists only in our heads.


Pave the Path to a Peaceful Planet

Monday, June 6th, 2011

(Egypt, 2010)

(Egypt, 2011)

Take a close look at these two pictures, for they reveal the true power of numbers. Amazing, isn’t it.

Even more amazing, perhaps, is that between 2010 and 2011, very little had changed politically for the Egyptians. They still had the same dictator and repressive regime. They still lacked a democratic voice, and continued to suffer through the same rampant poverty.

The only thing that really changed was the attitude of the population. They decided, en masse, that enough was enough and it was time to take action.

Let this be a lesson to anyone who wants a better world: a trickle from the undercurrents of discontent can easily become a torrent of revolutionary fervor, once enough people recognize that others feel the same way.

So don’t be afraid to take a stand for what you feel is right, even if it seems like you’re going up against insurmountable odds. Your actions may very well carve a path for millions to follow in your footsteps.

Dance for Your Freedom

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Earlier this week, activist Adam Kokesh was brutally slammed to the ground, choked and arrested alongside several cohorts, all for dancing at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The group were protesting a recent court ruling that prohibits expressive dancing at national monuments, activism that would have likely been supported by Jefferson himself, who once wrote “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.”

Perhaps most telling of this story is the power of regular people. The police department was inundated with support for the activists and hostility for the arrests, prompting a quick release. While the individual officers might not care about the public, their bosses are likely to make them use more caution in the future.

And we’ll see soon enough as Kokesh has another dancefest planned for noon this Saturday at the Jefferson Memorial. What would be great to see is the police force standing back and allowing the demonstration to go uninhibited, but this is the capital of the United States of Oppression were talking about.

Either way, if you find yourself near D.C. and you’re free on Saturday, be sure to be at the Memorial for noon. If you’re not interested in dancing for your freedom, at least be there, camera in hand, to record the event in case some power-tripping police people decide to beat some hippie skulls.

Cyberattacks? Cyberwarfare? More like CyberActivism and CyberProtests

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

The latest turn of events in the Wikileaks Cables debacle – namely the collaborative efforts to make specific corporate websites disappear – is being called cyberwarfare. It’s not.

Thousands of hacktivists have set their computers up to send out as many information packets as possible towards intended websites. When enough of these bits of data reach the same destination at the same time, the servers get overwhelmed and the website goes down.

These are not acts of terrorism. They are acts of dissension.

Big corporations – like Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Amazon – are now hearing the collective discontent of the people. See, Big Money? We aren’t all passive consumers. We do have some teeth. We won’t just quietly accept injustice.

Thanks to the actions of these protesters, the same executives who decided it was a good idea to drop Wikileaks might now consider the financial ramifications of capitulating to political pressure.

And the politicians who responded to the threat of transparency with a heavy hand, they might just begin to wonder what would happen if these protests grew bigger. What if millions of people get upset at the same time? The dam might break, and the entire system could be restructured in the flood.

The Yes Men – Fix The World

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

The Yes Men are a group of activists who pretend to be spokespeople for powerful organizations, and then say what they wish these organizations would say.  Their pranks border on criminal, yet they persist, and by exposing these powerful evildoers, they have the best intentions for humanity on their side.

The Yes Men

In 2003, the Yes men released a self-titled movie, which was truly enjoyable.  Some highlights were:

  • when they gave a speech in Finland, pretending to be from the WTO, espousing the profitability of keeping slaves in their homeland instead of importing them.
  • when they offered feces as a solution to world hunger -reBurger Mmmm
  • entering a televised interview/debate on CNBC where one of the Yes Men posed as Granwyth Hulatberi of GATT (The WTO predecessor), and said how privatized education will be good because it will indoctrinate the students to support privatization, how the rich are right because they have power and the poor are wrong because they don’t.

Now, they are back again, with The Yes Men – Fix The World.  This movie was just HILARIOUS!!! Absolutely brilliant.  It is truly inspiring to see what this team can do, when they take a chance, muster up the courage, and show these large organizations as to what they could be doing.

The Yes Men - Fix the World

Some highlights this time around are:

  • Causing Dow stock value to drop by 2 Billion in a few hours by pretending to be a Dow spokesperson, and admitting blame in the Bhopal disaster.
  • Helping with a phony NY Times paper that showed an idealized version of what could happen in the future, inspiring hope and optimism
  • Pretending to be from HUD (a group supposed to rebuild housing) and saying how housing complexes slated for demolition were now going to be reopened.

In this film, they took into account the reactions of those who they inspired false hope to, like the survivors in Bhopal, or the victims in New Orleans, and were able to find at least a few people who supported their work, stating how the Yes Men expose these large group by showing what they could and should be doing.

All in all, the Yes Men do excellent work, and their films are pure gold.  Check them  out, if you haven’t already.