While we can take some comfort that the kind of madness that grips the United States is absent in Canada, we would be wrong to think there aren’t seeds of it here: Toronto police have arrested three participants in two separate anti-lockdown protests downtown Saturday afternoon, the same day theContinue reading
BILLY WHITE WORKING AT HIS SHOP, ROSE TATTOO, IN ZANESVILLE, OHIO. (PHOTO BY LOCK 10 PHOTOGRAPHY, COURTESY OF BILLY WHITE) In the last few months, tattoo artists, laser removal specialists, and anti-hate speech advocates Read more…Continue reading
An excellent live webstream discussion was given last night by Sayer Ji, the founder of GreenMedInfo – the best source I know of for science-based health information. His remarks offer a calm, well-reasoned, fact-based entry into the discussion as to what in the world is really going on with theContinue reading
What do the Wet’suwet’en First Nations blockades have to do with Alberta’s Budget 2020? Everything. The blockades are the rationale (flimsy as it is) for Bill 1, Critical Infrastructure Defence Act which the Kenney government will use to quell protests when Albertans experience the full impact of Kenney’s budget cuts.Continue reading
If the objective of those protesting the construction of the Coastal Gaslink pipeline through Wet’suwet’en territory was to bring attention to the issue, they have certainly done that. If their objectives were to gain support for reconciliation and opposition to the pipeline, they appear to not only have failed butContinue reading
The numbers don’t lie, but CPC-friendly newspapers, radio stations, television programs, and assorted CPC pundits do! Across NFLD = more than 5,000 Halifax = 10,000-20,000 Charlottetown, PEI = almost 1,000 Across New Brunswick = 7,500-10,000 Montréal = 500,000+ Ottawa-Hull = 25,000+ Toronto = 25,000+ Winnipeg = 10,000+ Edmonton = almostContinue reading
“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one ofContinue reading
The CBC’s reporting on Hong Kong: “The anti-government protests present one of the biggest challenges facing Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012. And with the ruling Communist Party preparing to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic on Oct 1, theContinue reading
“We will be there to support you one 1000%. What I can tell you one thing… I promise you… you won’t have to be protesting on the front of Queen’s Park like you did with the Premier here” Doug Ford Was Mike Harris really that good that we needed aContinue reading
Paul Street writing at Counterpunch: “Yellow vest-wearers demand real democracy – popular self-rule. They have called for a popular referendum whereby 700,000 citizen signatories would force the French Parliament to debate and vote on a law within one year. There have been calls (evoking memories of the great French RevolutionContinue reading
Only the supremely naive would think that the extollment of athleticism is a central operating principle in professional sports. While at one time there might have been some purity to the contests, today it is all about making money, often obscene amounts, for the owners and agents of these present-dayContinue reading
By providing child care for protesters, racial justice organizers shift the public’s understanding of “front line” work, and make protest movements work for kids and families. The post Making our movements work for kids and families appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.Continue reading
Dear Mr. Trudeau, Ms. Wilson-Raybould, and Ms. McKenna, I could scarcely believe my ears and my eyes at the news that your government has OKed the Site C dam permits. I am stunned, disappointed, Read more…Continue reading
One afternoon last week I took part in a protest against former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres being allowed into Canada. Both spoke at a Simon Wiesenthal Centre fundraiser deep inside the bowels of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
The protest was staged by the group Actions4Palestine, but, as someone who was a regular at protests 40 and 50 years ago, I was disappointed by the small size of the protest crowd, and that our group made no attempt to explain their cause to passers by.
The protest was definitely justified. Kissinger, who turned 93 last week, is one of the worst living war criminals. In 1973, he masterminded a U.S. scheme to help a brutal military dictator overthrow Chile’s democratically elected government, and supported brutal regimes in a number of other countries.
Shimon Peres supported several Israeli actions against Palestine, include serving in the Haganah, a Zionist Militia that massacred Palestinians during 1948-1952. He was involved in the massacre of Jenin and gave the green light for Israel’s violent incursion against besieged Gaza in 2008.
The Canadian Jewish News reported that almost 2,500 people attended the fundraiser, which raised more than $3.75 million for the Centre.
While some 130 folks said on Facebook they would come out for the protest, fewer than 70 showed up.
A bullhorn was used to blast out slogans that were repeated by placard-carrying protesters as they walked back and forth on the street and later stood on the street in front of the Metro Centre.
The demonstration reminded me of any one of a number of protests I took part in during the 60s and 70s, except perhaps more people would have shown up in those days.
Our group had no intention of trying to disrupt the meeting by getting into the building, perhaps by a back entrance. Many of them were long-time protest warriors who have experienced police violence.
Police not taking chances
For their part, the police were taking no chances. On hand were about 15 police officers, all with big black batons, a paddy wagon, three police cars, and a dog barking viciously from the paddy wagon. When protesters moved beyond where they were supposed to be, police asked them to move back.
We didn’t see Kissinger or Peres, but I hope the two war-hawks were told that our group was out there. Kissinger is dogged everywhere he goes, and he could be arrested for war crimes in some countries.
If one of our group’s goals was to inform the public about what was going on, we failed badly. Folks walking along the street awkwardly passed us by.
Early in the protest, three small groups of people were gawking at us from in front of the Metro Centre entrance. I decided to walk over and talk to them. I asked a group of four female lawyers taking part in a law seminar if they knew what was going on. “No, we have no idea,” said one of them, as they gathered round. They could hear the word Israel being blasted out from the bullhorn.
I explained to the group what Kissinger had been involved in. After a brief chat, heads started nodding. Now that they understood, they agreed the protest was a good idea. I moved on to talk with three businessmen, and they had a similar reaction.
I wondered if I would have the same luck with the police. I strolled past the paddy wagon with the vicious dog, and stopped in front of four policemen. They didn’t know what the protest was about. After I explained what was going on, two of the officers seemed sympathetic.
Even though the protest didn’t accomplish very much, I don’t want to belittle those taking part. Some of them and/or their families had personally experienced the wrath of the brutal Israeli regimes. They have no doubt tried different ways of protesting without much success.
Nevertheless, with such a small turnout, and failing to communicate with people, the protest seemed it was pretty much a wasted activity. The kind of event we staged alienates everyday people.
If groups want to be effective, they need to change their methods.
First of all, perhaps the groups that stage protests should meet and make plans to support each other’s campaign better. Old rivalries should be put aside. Forming a co-ordinating committee would be a good idea. Some unions officially support the causes groups are campaigning on, so they should be expected to support activities.
Small protests should be cancelled
Protests that attract fewer than 100 people probably should be called off.
In terms of confronting the likes of Kissinger, without tipping off anyone, three or four people could have tried to meet his airplane. Where was he staying? Picket the homes of the people who brought him to Toronto.
A bullhorn can be effective if used in a way that passer bys understand what’s being said. Union-style moving picket lines can be effective if they are more friendly than aggressive.
Whenever there’s a protest, three or four people should try to talk with passers by and gawkers. This is a chance to politely convince folks of the importance of the demonstration.
I don’t know what other actions are taken by groups these days. But with the Internet such a powerful tool now, skilled techies can disrupt communications and close down websites. Actions4Palestine has an excellent Facebook page:
The organization behind the visit, the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, also should have been targeted.
One afternoon last week I took part in a protest against former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres being allowed into Canada. Both spoke at a Simon Wiesenthal Centre fundraiser deep inside the bowels of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The protest wasContinue reading
All Canadians could learn a lot from the Brits: London, United Kingdom – Activists and trade union leaders have called for a general strike and a mass campaign of civil disobedience to bring down the country’s new right-wing government as hundreds of thousands took to the streets of London andContinue reading
Secwepemc Woman’s Warrior Society leads a strong movement against the re-opening of Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mines following catastrophic 2014 spill. The post First Nation group and allies resist re-opening of Mount Polley mine appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.Continue reading
Afghanistan War veteran Paul Szoldra: In Afghanistan, we patrolled in big, armored trucks. We wore uniforms that conveyed the message, “We are a military force, and we are in control right now.” Many Afghans saw us as occupiers. And now we see some of our police officers in this sameContinue reading
August 9 saw Day of Rage demos around the world protesting Israeli actions in Gaza and calling for sanctions. Behind the fold I’ve posted a selection of photos. I’ve also posted a video from the London Day of Rage featuring a speech by a nineteen-year-old British activist named Barnaby RaineContinue reading
3 years ago, I deleted my Google+ account in protest of its real name only policy. At the time, I stated that if Google+ were to reverse its real name only policy, I would re-consider the deletion of my Google+ account, as well as my Google profile… Today, Google+ hasContinue reading