Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Legal Advice for Canadians

Some excellent legal advice from activist lawyer Davin Charney.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Starhawk on Strategic Nonviolent Direct Action

"Just as we call for accountability and transparency, we ourselves must be accountable and transparent. Some tactics are incompatible with those goals, even if in other situations they might be useful, honorable or appropriate. We can’t be transparent behind masks. We can’t be accountable for actions we run away from. We can’t maintain the security culture necessary for planning and carrying out attacks on property and also maintain the openness that can continue to invite in a true diversity of new people. We can’t make alliances with groups from impacted communities, such as immigrants, if we can’t make agreements about what tactics we will employ in any given action.

The framework that might best serve the Occupy movement is one of strategic nonviolent direct action. Within that framework, Occupy groups would make clear agreements about which tactics to use for a given action. This frame is strategic.
It makes no moral judgments about whether or not violence is ever appropriate. It does not demand we commit ourselves to a lifetime of Gandhian pacifism, but it says, “This is how we agree to act together at this time.” It is active, not passive. It seeks to create a dilemma for the opposition, and to dramatize the difference between our values and theirs."

Sunday, July 3, 2011

thoughts on real change

"It struck me really hard that day that perhaps the route to real change, long-lasting and deep change, isn’t through deepening polarity, but through a re-weaving of what has been torn apart, a seeking of common ground, an appeal to universal values, creating a safe space where people can sit together and not feel judged, and through the creation of viable, nurturing and life-affirming alternatives that have a strong and broad sense of ownership. "


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Resisting Canada's War Economy at the CANSEC Weapons Bazaar

June 22, 2011 – Two days before the now-former Senate page Brigette DePape spoke the truth about Canada’s political climate—that we need to build resistance outside of the lifeless chambers of Parliament—her message was already being enacted by a group of war resisters who put together a lengthy June 1st civil resistance action at the CANSEC weapons bazaar.
            The protest was not just about CANSEC – Canada’s largest annual weapons fair – but the whole war economy itself. It’s one to which both the majority Tories and the official opposition NDP are devoted, a $23 billion splurge that includes orders of 1,000 new smart bombs at $100,000 apiece. These come complete with the  names of Libyan citizens on the receiving end, under the euphemism of collateral damage. If you are homeless tonight, needing shelter from male violence, on a boil-water alert on a First Nations reserve, awaiting health care, locked out of daycare, or suffering from the other maladies affecting Canada, think of what each of those $100,000 smart bombs could have done if they had been turned into smart funds for social needs.
            That is the choice of an almost unanimous Parliament, and the message came through loud and clear when everyone save Green Party MP Elizabeth May voted to extend the Canadian bombing of the Libyan people (a most convenient focus for a make- work War Dept. that, drawing down its forces in Afghanistan, needs an excuse to keep bringing in the big bucks). People who view the NDP as a traditional voice for peace – a record certainly not borne out by the facts (see http://homesnotbombs.blogspot.com/2011/05/canadas-massive-military-budget-is-off.html), in the same way that Canada’s mythological status as a peacekeeper cannot stand the scrutiny of its own history – may have been surprised to see the official opposition voting to bomb other human beings (with a few caveats thrown in, of course!).  But one can imagine NDP strategists with their eyes on the next election telling their members they must appear to be a “responsible” government in waiting, and idealistic notions like rejecting murder from the air must be discarded. Those are for irrelevant fourth place opposition parties. When you have your eye on eventually getting elected, you have to be prepared to kill with your $23 billion arsenal.
Arming Your Arsenal
            And that’s where CANSEC comes in. It’s where you go to get the tools for your arsenal; where foreign governments can sample Canadian weapons systems and components; where paranoid border control enthusiasts can find new means of stopping refugees from finding safety and asylum; and where police forces can sample the latest tools of repression. Whether you are a diplomatic staff member of Syria or Libya or a member of the bloated Canadian War Dept., the free pass through the gates is available for you.
            Interestingly, though, Members of Parliament do not have such easy access. Elizabeth May – even though her party’s stand on military spending is slightly less atrocious than the rest – was unable to gain access, something which she later told the rally outside of the weapons bazaar symbolized the manner in which militarism shuts down democracy.