Wednesday, November 24, 2010

where do you stand on nonviolence?

Rhetorical question... - the following post is from the opirgmcmaster.blogspot.com site:

[participants playing the violence spectrum game]
Despite the obstacles presented by a last minute change of location, 20 people made it to the Creative Protest and Nonviolent Civil Disobedience workshop with facilitator Matthew Behrens, held in the comfy confines of the McMaster University Student Centre.

Lots of interesting discussion, with participants, from high school students to university professors, health care workers and university students, contributing much to the overall tenor of the workshop. Some shared their experiences with recent protests like the G20, and others sought ways to creatively address social justice in the workplace.

["Puppy Pile" method of protecting someone from attack, demonstrated by participants in Saturday's workshop.]
Much to think about, and hopefully a more detailed article to follow...

Friday, November 19, 2010

LOCATION CHANGE: Creative Protest and Nonviolent Civil Disobedience

Gee, thanks for the notice! St. Paul's pulled our booking at the last minute due to an administrative blunder, so OPIRG McMaster's workshop on Creative Protest etc. is now being held at the McMaster University Student Centre Atrium (1st floor of Student Centre), Saturday, Nov. 20, at 10 am.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Nonviolence Civil Disobedience Workshop Saturday!



REMINDER - pre-register for this Saturday's workshop at OPIRG McMaster - e-mail randy.opirg@gmail.com or call 905-525-9140 x26026

Friday, November 5, 2010

Creative Protest and Civil Disobedience Workshop

video

(Silent advert for upcoming workshop - November 20, 2010 - pre-register with randy.opirg(at)gmail.com or call OPIRG McMaster at 905-525-9140 ext. 26026)

Monday, October 25, 2010

anarchistic tendency

"My feeling about anarchism is that it is not a movement with an ideology. It is a tendency in the history of human thought & action which seeks to identify coercive, authoritarian, & hierarchic structures of all kinds & to challenge their legitimacy — & if they cannot justify their legitimacy, which is quite commonly the case, to work to undermine them & expand the scope of freedom."

— Noam Chomsky, anarcho-syndicalist, media-myth debunker, linguist, prolific writer
http://www.eskimo.com/~recall/bleed/1026.htm

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Video Plant



Participants in this October 10/10 planting were technically "trespassing" on the farm fields in this fertile region to plant garlic at the so called Airport Employment Growth District - EAGD - a euphemism for greenfield or sprawl development with all its imported (i.e. non-locally produced) farm eggs in one big basket of hope - hope that the airport will be an anchor for airport related jobs growth, mostly warehousing, at an airport with a poor track record for attracting flights and with a current business park mostly empty.
One of the last votes on council before elections approved the first phase of this development, with, sadly, only two members of council voting against it - McHattie and Bratina.
Find out more about opposition to the expansion into foodlands, which is ongoing. It ain't over while there are still people ready to take action to save the farmland!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

local garlic news

Protest with a bite

By Ken Peters, Hamilton Spectator

Westdale High School Grade [10] student Evelyna Kay chose a unique and demonstrative way to make the most of a glorious Thanksgiving Sunday morning.

She donned an orange costume, boarded a chartered Hamilton Street Railway bus and helped plant garlic in a farmer’s field across from Hamilton International Airport.

“I care about the environment and I don’t want to create a world that is not sustainable. That’s why I dress up as the Climate Carrot,” said the 14-year-old Hamilton environmentalist, who is a member of Students Bridging Borders, her school’s popular social justice group.

Evelyna was just one of about 50 Hamilton members of the city’s 350 Committee which boarded their “garlic bus” for the ride to the “aerotropolis lands” to plant garlic bulbs to protest the potential loss of some of Ontario’s best agricultural lands.

Local organizer Jennie Rubio said the Hamilton event was just one of some 7,000 activities promoting climate change action taking place in 188 countries.

The group’s 350 name refers to the target, in parts per million, of how much carbon dioxide needs to be in the air. Currently, she said, there is 390 with the threat the figure could hit 450.

So, what does this have to do with garlic and the Hamilton aerotropolis lands? Well, the Hamilton 350 Committee opted to protest the planned urban development of prime agricultural lands adjacent to the airport. The development is 662-hectares.

And the garlic?

“We know our food supply is becoming less and less secure. Instead of importing our food from around the world, we could be growing,” Rubio said.

“So as part of this protest movement we’re going to plant garlic because you can’t buy local garlic in the supermarket, it is all imported from China. Yet it grows perfectly here,” she said, as her work party waited to board the bus in front of the Sky Dragron Centre on King William Street.

“It’s to send a message to our local government that we need to be making better choices with what we’re doing with this wonderful land. The idea of paving it over, you can’t go back. Once it is paved over it’s gone. We need to be thinking about what kind of decisions we’re making,” she said.

Rubio, an editor with Oxford University Press, said she loves cooking and she particularly loves garlic.
“There are a lot of things we can be growing here instead of importing.”

And so the local garlic growers, armed with cloves and spades, boarded the bus.

Well-known Hamilton environmentalist Don McLean was among them. He acknowledged the group was trespassing on private land but was hopeful no arrests would be made.

“We’re not doing any significant damage here, it is fallow land. If we are approached on the subject of trespassing, the people who are doing it will decide whether they want to back off or if they are so determined to get arrested doing it. But it is a symbolic event,” he said.

Hamilton environmentalist Glenn Robinson was working the spade.

“I believe there are a lot of opinions about what is happening in the community and this is one voice that should be heard,” he said.

The city’s planning and economic development committee approved moving forward with the airport development and the issue will come before city council Wednesday for ratification.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Planting not Paving

The "Garlic Bus" took about 50 people from Downtown Hamilton to this fertile farm field across the road from the Hamilton Airport to plant garlic - why? Because the city of Hamilton is one step away from voting to pave 2,500 acres of prime agricultural land so they can support an "Aerotropolis" scheme.
Yes, the failing airport is the cornerstone of the grand scheme to create hoped-for jobs on these greenfield sites far from the infrastructure required, infrastructure that exists in the downtown area in "brownfields" that could be converted to productive use with the kind of money required to build the aerotropolis (the present airport business park is 85% empty...)
Participants in the day's activities, ranging from young children to seniors, were all strictly "trespassing" as they carried out their work.
350 cloves of Garlic were planted in the shape of the number 350 in a field directly across the road from the Hamilton Airport.
The 350 number is significant because that is the amount in parts per million of Carbon Dioxide the atmosphere can handle without more serious effects of climate change, according to scientists.
Trouble is, we' re already past that number, so our efforts - including stopping sprawl developments like this one - need to address this serious issue.
This Global Work Party was organized by the Hamilton 350 coalition. Find out more at their web site, and follow the Climate Carrot on facebook.

NOTE: OPIRG McMaster will be hosting a nonviolent civil disobedience workshop on November 20/10
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Saturday, October 9, 2010

raise a stink!

The Garlic Bus

Help us plant a message on aerotropolis lands...with garlic!
  • Date: Sunday, October 10, 2010
  • Time: 10:00 AM
  • Departure Point: SkyDragon Centre (27 King William Street, Hamilton - between James and Hughson)
  • Cost: $3
Hamilton lost 20 percent of its agricultural land between 1991 and 2006. On October 13, 2010, city council votes to convert an additional 2000-plus acres of foodland around the airport into an "aerotropolis industrial area."
Garlic is a symbolic crop for our campaign. Not only is it is planted in the fall, but most of the garlic available in Hamilton is imported from China. By planting garlic on lands designated for aerotropolis development, we are sending a strong message to city hall: Productive agricultural land should be used to grow food, not warehouses.
Without a protected and supported local food system, Hamiltonians will be vulnerable to global price fluctuations and world food shortages. It's about an individual's fundamental right to food security. It's about our community's need for food sovereignty. And it's about climate change. Our leaders need to guarantee access to locally-grown food so that we can reduce the number of miles our food travels from farm to fork-thereby reducing the contributions our food makes to greenhouse gas emissions.
Passengers on the Garlic Bus will have the opportunity to plant garlic on lands designated for industrial development. These may not public lands and we may be trespassing. We are looking for peaceful radicals!
Want more information about aerotropolis development plans? Check out Hamiltonians for Progressive Development.
Hamilton's latest 350 campaign is part of the global 10/10/10 movement, organized by 350.org.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Saturday, October 2, 2010

gendered forms of resistance

"the contexts and forms of women’s resistance often differ quite markedly from those of most men. They often depend less on work-related or formally structured organizations and more on local networks of friends, family, associates, or co-workers. Much more so than men’s, women’s protests tend to be of the direct action sort, functioning as much to mobilize and raise the consciousness of participants as to influence those in power....Formally structured organizations, particularly those constructed along hierarchical lines such as union organizations and political parties, are defined as political. More loosely structured and non hierarchically organized ‘spontaneous’ forms of protest such as food riots, rent strikes, peace demonstrations, and public shaming – the predominant forms that much female activism has taken – are often dismissed as nonpolitical....it suggests a denial of the legitimacy of organizations structured differently from the norm: the truly political is the formally structured; temporary organization is not deserving of that title."

Martha Ackelsberg, FREE WOMEN OF SPAIN  

radio free school: not equal, not average....

Not waiting for an alternative, but creating one now, that's direct action. Radio Free School continues to support people who want to find an alternative to formalized educational institutions, especially those seeking a non-coercive and holistic approach to learning - learner-directed, learner-empowered.
Check out their blog:

radio free school: not equal, not average....: "'Equal opportunity, yes. Equal results, impossible. The ones who're so upset about everybody not being the same, about competition, about st..."

Monday, September 27, 2010

garlic and carrot acting up for the environment

This is the most interesting civil disobedience locally in a long, long time...It also brings back memories of being arrested with Toronto Action for Social Change for planting a vegetable garden at Queen's Park in Toronto in the fall of 1996 (it was Winter Wheat and Jerusalem Artichokes that time) to protest the slash and cut policies of the Provincial Conservative government.  rk.

The Carrots and Garlic of Climate Change
The Hamilton 350 Committee is participating in the global day of climate action on Sunday, October 10 – 10/10/10. We need your help.

As the title suggests, our action focuses on the implications of climate change for food security. Hamilton lost 20 percent of its agricultural land between 1991 and 2006. On October 13, 2010, city council decides whether to convert an additional 2050 acres of foodland around the airport into an aerotropolis industrial zone. 

On the morning of October 10 (Thanksgiving Sunday) we’ll be planting a message on those aerotropolis lands – with garlic. You can get there on our Garlic Bus and we’ll supply the garlic. Tickets are $3 per person to cover our costs. These may not be public lands and we may be trespassing. We are looking for peaceful radicals! 

Garlic is one symbolic crop for our campaign. Not only is it is planted in the fall, but nearly all the garlic now available in Hamilton is imported from China. By planting local garlic on lands designated for aerotropolis development, we are sending a strong message to city hall: Productive agricultural land should be used to grow food, not warehouses! 

Without a protected and supported local food system, Hamiltonians will be vulnerable to global price fluctuations and world food shortages. It's about our fundamental right to food security. It's about our community's need for food sovereignty. And it's about climate change. Global climatic disasters this summer in Pakistan, Russia, Saskatchewan, Australia and elsewhere pushed wheat prices up 70 percent! We need to guarantee access to locally-grown food so that we can also reduce the number of miles our food travels from farm to fork-thereby reducing the contributions our food makes to greenhouse gas emissions.

The Hamilton 350 Committee is also using “giant carrots” (see photos at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Climate-Carrot/124094217640246) to alert the public about our concerns. Unlike garlic, there are still lots of locally-grown carrots available. We’re distributing the attached carrot flyer – and need your help to do this before October 10! Please respond to this email if you can help. Please forward the flyer to all your friends and connections!

Want more information about aerotropolis development plans? Check out Hamiltonians for Progressive Development.

More information is available at www.hamilton350.com. Hamilton's latest 350 campaign is part of the global 10/10/10 movement, organized by 350.org.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

away from Tracts and calls to "revolution"

"To the ordinary working-man, the sort you would meet in any pub on Saturday night, Socialism does not mean much more than better wages and shorter hours and nobody bossing you about....His vision of the Socialist future is a vision of present society with the worst abuses left out, and with interest centring round the same things as at present - family life, the pub, football, and local politics. As for the philosophic side of Marxism, the pea-and-thimble trick with those three mysterious entities, thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, I have never met a working man who had the faintest interest in it."

George Orwell, Road to Wigan Pier

Saturday, September 4, 2010

meeting the hunter

I've often found meetings to be a waste of time - not always - but especially when it comes to creativity, you can't schedule a good time for everyone to be on the ball.
This insight into Inuit hunting (below) was, for me, not a revelation, but an affirming articulation of some of the process that I've always felt a meeting can't address, and of course the idea of "long range planning" (some of which, granted, is good and required) is also shown to be artificial as events continuously shift and change:


Hunters make thousands of critical decisions each year. The processing of this information leads into the domain of spirituality and metaphor, where accumulated knowledge, intuition and the subtlest of connections with the natural world can generate choices on a basis that is quicker and surer than a narrow rationality. In this way, the decisions of hunters are close to certainties of artists. By denying a reduction to a limited set of variables, the fullness of both culture and consciousness come the bear on each day’s activities. The mobile and flexible behaviour of hunters is inseparable from this state of consciousness, this form of decision-making. Actions cannot be planned long before they occur; too many of the important variables are constantly changing. There can be no long interval between a decision to act and the action itself. By the same token, there can be few simple continuities and little formal organization: hunters must respond to an ever changing environment with quick alertness. Each individual or small group plans and alters plans with spontaneity as swift as it is subtle. There is no room for committees, organizers or institutional formality.

Living Arctic: Hunters of the Canadian North. Hugh Brody