Vigil

Aug. 13th, 2017 11:28 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
Went to a hastily organized vigil for Charlottesville. There were maybe about 50 people and almost as many TV cameras. A blessed minimum of speeches as we all knew why we were there. We sang "The Red Flag" and "Solidarity Forever" and marched with drippy candles to City Hall.

it helps, at times like these, to be with folks that get it. There's another demo tomorrow morning but I don't think I'll make it because 8 am is very early. So I'm glad this one happened.

ETA: as I type this, I'm reading of another attack, this time at a solidarity demo in Montreal. Fortunately the victim survived. We must fight these bastards; nothing less than our survival and the survival of the most vulnerable communities is at stake.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
 It was cold. It was well-attended. There were too many speeches and not enough marching, given that the temperature was minus balls.

Much too cold to take proper photos, but here are the two I managed. Note the dudes with guns on top of the US Consulate, despite the fact that it's a Saturday and it was closed:

protesters us consulate

ETA: Better picture, taken not by me, giving a sense of scale:

big crowd of protesters
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (luke cage)
• I'm going to be reviewing Luke Cage over at [livejournal.com profile] terror_scifi. I just posted the first review, and I'll try to keep it to a weekly schedule if school permits. Incidentally I'm only two and a half episodes in and trying to avoid spoilers, so if you binge-watched it this weekend, try to keep schtum, okay?

• It's been an epic time of concerts. There are more concerts than I can reasonably attend given that I have this annoying need to work for money and such, but I am still managing to hit a lot of concerts. Legendary Pink Dots last Tuesday, the Levellers on Friday, Billy Bragg next Tuesday, and Stiff Little Fingers, Tanya Tagaq, Peter Hook, and Dido and Aeneas all in the near future.

I can't stress enough how completely brilliant the Levellers were. I've never seen them live before, and they were just incredible. I ended up right at the front and danced for like two hours straight.

• Went to the big $15 and Fairness demo on Saturday. It was worth attending.

• I think the pedometer on my phone is fucked. It's seriously undercounting my steps compared to what I'm used to, except for at the Levellers show, where it thought I somehow walked 7000 steps during the time I was inside the Opera House. I checked all the things that it could possibly be and they were all functioning normally, which lead me to the conclusion that Apple wants me to buy a new phone but since I don't want to do that, Apple's going to end up with me buying a Fitbit instead.

• L'shana tova to everyone celebrating it.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (pinko pie)
Also spotted at the demo: a glitch in the Matrix:

IMG_3708

After the demo, we went to [livejournal.com profile] jackspryte's, where I got to meet the tiniest puppy:

IMG_3728

(No, we did not let the puppy drink the beer. The puppy wanted to drink the beer, but he is too tiny.)

Also I sang karaoke. There was the best karaoke songbook that included the Sisters of Mercy.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (march)
FullSizeRender 5

Last night, there were demos in at least 18 Canadian cities and towns. I went to the one here with [livejournal.com profile] misslynx. It was surprisingly large, given the two days that the organizers had to get it together. We shut down traffic at Yonge and Dundas and Yonge and Queen* and rallied outside of the Canadian Border Services Agency office.

Here's some coverage from CTV.

More photos )

Meanwhile, the Tories remain sad that all this dead baby stuff is making them look like big meanies during an election campaign and committed to taking in fewer refugees and supporting Assad (reminder: the reason the war in Syria started four years ago) by bombing anything we can.

There are a lot of horrible things in the world. I can't do anything about most of them. I can do something about this.

* Non-Hogtowners: The busiest part of the downtown.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (red flag over TO)
A few people have asked about FordWatch and why I've stopped posting a count of how many days it's been since the Honourable Wife-Beating, Drunk-Driving, Ass-Grabbing, Bird-Flipping, Crack-Smoking, and Possibly Drug-Dealer-Murdering Mayor has done something stupid. The answer is that I designed the graphic to display only whole numbers demarcating full days, and he can't go a single day without doing multiple things that are so stupid that it breaks my brain to even think about it. [livejournal.com profile] bcholmes still has it up on Under the Beret, but as you can see, the counter is permanently stuck at 0. Apparently someone asked her why there was space for four digits there. Heh.

So! What's going on with our fair city today? Well, a body was discovered in the Humber River in Etobicoke, but it appears to be that of a missing man who drowned rescuing his dog and not that of our still-missing video guys. The Star is now saying that Anthony Smith was not killed over the crack video but because of local drug feuds. I wouldn't rule out the possibility that said local drug feuds involve the Fords in some way, but the Star is, and it's kind of their business to go after Ford. So. The HWB and/or allies likely did not kill Smith, but with the whereabouts of the video guys still unknown, I'm not striking "potential murderer" off his list of crimes.

Link round-up from the Star:

Premier Kathleen Wynne, who had previously hinted that she might step in to save Toronto from its current chaos, actually can't do anything. Good. I respect her for trying, but it's best for everyone if she keeps this at arm's length and lets Doug Ford's connection with Tim Hudak take down her biggest opponent. (You know, not that I want Wynne to win the next provincial election—I'm still hoping for Andrea Horwath to do something impressive.)

The latest on Ford's popularity and chances of re-election. Unchanged. The interesting thing is why it's unchanged, and what this says about the various factions of the wingnut right.

I know if my job title was consistently prefaced by the terms "embattled" and "scandal-plauged," I wouldn't go courting any additional controversy and I'd be out there trying to make friends. But then, I'm not Rob Ford. So he's once again decided not to go to Pride. Heh. Again, good.

Here's an article about yesterday's (poorly organized and disappointing) demo calling for Ford's resignation. Hopefully we can build up some momentum—after I've sold and distributed more t-shirts. And here are some photos from the demo. Both [livejournal.com profile] rbowspryte and I can be seen in some sporting said t-shirts.

I think that's about it. I don't think I posted Corey Charron's new track, "Smoking Crack With Rob Ford," so in case you haven't heard it yet, here it is:

sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (march)
I am a bad, bad blogger.

Like the rest of the English-language media, I've been totally crap about blogging what's been happening in Québec, which is only the most politically significant event in the country right now. I mean, I've been re-linking to a bunch of things on Facebook, but that's not the same as getting the word out about what's been going on there, what those red squares are all about, and the massive violations of civil liberties that are taking place while the rest of Canada has a long nap.

Okay, so it all started with a student strike over tuition rates. Yes, Québec tuition rates are the lowest in the country. Entitled Boomers, forgetting all about their own advantages, say that Québec students are spoiled brats for wanting them to stay that way. I say, if your city has the lowest amount of homicides, does that mean you should raise that rate to be on par with the rest of the country? A post-secondary education is mandatory for any job above minimum wage (and increasingly required for minimum wage jobs), and tuition rates are a barrier that keeps lower-income people out. Period. Québec's low tuition rates have kept the province more egalitarian (that and universal daycare).

So it's not just any strike, but the largest in Canadian history. And it's been violent. By which I mean the cops have been gassing and shooting these kids. Several young people have lost eyes because the cops are aiming for their heads.

If that's not enough to hit all your rage buttons, the government just passed an emergency law, Bill 78, drastically restricting civil liberties, particularly around campuses. It initially defined a "riot" as a gathering of 10 or more people; that was later amended to 50, which still rules out some of your more exciting dance parties. There have been mass arrests and kettling, the same techniques that, two years after the G20 here, have been deemed illegal and immoral.

And yet the movement keeps growing. The students aren't discouraged, the protests keep getting bigger, and are drawing international support. Even—and you're going to love this one—the National Post is coming around:

“Entitlement.” We hear that word associated again and again with student protesters in Quebec. Usually, it’s preceded by the words, “sense of.”

“They think someone owes them a living,” disgruntled critics harrumph. “Wait until they get into the real world.”

Setting aside the fact that this intergenerational hectoring dates back to Socrates, let us ask: Who exactly is making the charge? Quebec has had low tuition rates for a half century. That means almost every living adult in the province, having already been afforded a plum goodie, is now wagging his finger at the first generation that will be asked to pay the tab. So who really is entitled here?


So that's why a lot of us are wearing red squares. This has become much more than disgruntled students not wanting to spend half their careers repaying a massive debt. This is about class, and wealth distribution, and equal opportunities for all.

And it's kind of amazing.

cut for video that autoplays )
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (iww manifesto)
Things [livejournal.com profile] sabotabby is already sick of hearing:

"Violence!"
Which is very seldom the actual violence of the cops cracking in heads or Barrick Gold literally and figuratively raping the Third World. No, it's always, "some Black Bloc moron smashed a Starbucks, boo-hoo, violence is WRONG." I don't have a high opinion of the Black Bloc, but it's slightly higher than my opinion of people who go on about the Black Bloc as if they're the only non-electoral political force worth mentioning.

"Anarchists did/plotted/thought [insert bad thing here]"
One of these days it's actually going to be anarchists doing it. I'm pretty sure this time it was meth heads, though.

"Occupy is unfocused and has no leaders or demands."
Stop trying to make me be an anarchist again.

"Occupy is the most important political movement in the history of ever."
STFU hippie.

"Cops are people too!"
Yes, they are. Some people are assholes.

Drum circles.
Can we stop with the drum circles? I swear to God yesterday I saw a drum circle entirely composed of 18-year-old girls dressed like they were from the 60s, and I couldn't suppress a rant about how they probably were not in any way politically active before six months ago and did they go out and buy all that stuff, or was it in their closets already? And if so, how did it get there? Anyway, if the Left really wants to get anywhere it must abandon drum circles. Damn kids get off my lawn.

"911 was an inside job/Obama is a Nazi Illuminati Muslim Communist NWO dupe/whatever conspiracy theory is in these days"
Thanks to Jon Ronson, I'm now more affectionately amused than irrationally irritated by conspiracy nuts. We still need to purge them though.

"Street protests don't do anything!"
Yeah, you're right. You know what's a lot more effective? Sitting on your ass, eating Cheetos, and posting to Facebook about how street protests don't do anything.

Okay, that's it for the rant. Here's how Toronto's May Day looked.

Photobucket

cut for big )

Shorter [livejournal.com profile] sabotabby: May Day was awesome but haters gonna hate.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (iww manifesto)
If nothing else happens today, May Day 2012 will be forever remembered as the year the Left remembered about graphic design.



post 'em if you got 'em )
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (watchmen orly)
If so, you will like this badass sign made by the fabulous [livejournal.com profile] neko_zoi:



I am also a terrible [livejournal.com profile] sabotabby for not blogging on the protests in Russia at all and not making the solidarity demo here last week (when the revolution comes, I really hope it's not on a school night). Anyone have any good analyses they'd care to share?
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (fighting the man)
Your goal, ladies, gentlemen, genderqueer, and sundry others, is to be more like Dorli Rainey, badass octogenarian. This retired schoolteacher has the Seattle PD quaking in their boots so hard they had to pepper-spray her, lest she foment global insurrection against their ruling class masters. This was not enough to keep a superheroine like Rainey down, and she got right back up and continues to fight the Man.

May we all follow her example and become just a little more awesome.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (march)
So who wants a whole whack of photos from Occupy T.O.?

occupy toronto

Some of these came out well for demo photos )

So, I think OWS and its global offshots are an amazing historical moment. Like many veteran activists, I'm struggling with what a movement that claims to represent 99% of the population really means. Obviously, it involves some diverse and possibly unpalatable ideas—the lack of leadership, vague ideology, and the presence of so many people who have never protested in their lives leaves the movement open to being co-opted by, say, the Truthers or the Democratic Party or other opportunists. It's also a strength. It's been a long time since the Left in North America was truly populist, and we desperately need those new bodies and new ideas.

Strategically, I feel that Occupy T.O. has already made a few crucial errors. Megan Kinch, a dedicated activist whose opinions I trust, has an inside look at the planning meetings, which were not as democratic as one might hope. I also heard that the organizers discouraged unions from bringing banners (my union was going to bring its banner, but a call early this morning nixed that); rejecting the resources and expertise of organized labour is a huge mistake. Unions have made vital contributions to OWS and OWS has radicalized and reenergized unions. No reason why we shouldn't bring our banners and identify ourselves!

The biggest problem I felt was that we did not stay in the Financial District long enough. Sure, it's great to have a camp-out in the park, at least until the cops evict everyone at 2 am like they do to OCAP all the time. But OWS is not, primarily, about sleeping in a park; it's about maintaining a presence on Wall St. We marched through the Financial District but didn't stay there, and certainly on a Saturday, we weren't disrupting business as usual. The symbolism of sleeping in a park is questionable at best.

Finally, I felt like our newest and freshest activists repeated a mistake that is common to seasoned activists—adopting the forms of historical or international successful actions without thinking about pragmatism. The human megaphone tactic seen in New York was adopted because blasting speakers in Manhattan is apparently illegal. In Toronto, it is perfectly legal. However, the organizers ignored the perfectly functional speaker system in favour of the human megaphone. It may sound cool and get many (but not all) people in a crowd participating, but it doesn't get detailed information, like march routes across as easily as just using available technology. I actually saw a group of maybe eight people voting on something ("we won't serve food until the sanitation issue is dealt with"—eek!) using human megaphone tactics, which makes no sense whatsoever.

This said, it was a positive thing to not only see this many people flood the streets of my city, but also that they were promoting an overtly radical, anti-capitalist message. It wasn't altogether different than what we were saying during the G20, but there was absolutely no violence—the police were shockingly unobtrusive and I didn't see them hassling anyone—so the messages actually didn't get lost.

Here's the Occupy T.O. site, if you're interested in following what's happening here.

I went home because I was starting to feel dizzy and tired again. It seems like they've got events planned into January, so I'll be back.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (march)
I went to this today. The Star gives an estimate of "hundreds," which was probably accurate; it was a pretty small demo, consisting of a whole bunch of people I hadn't seen in awhile. I didn't actually get near the demo proper because I just kept running into folks I knew and having conversations. Brigette DePape, Rogue Page, was adorable; in general, there were better speakers than usual, though significantly worse music.

There are good bands out there who write political songs, even in Toronto. If they can't or won't play demos, perhaps we shouldn't have musical interludes at all. It would be better than hastily-written songs that don't scan.

At one point, a conspiracy theorist decided that I should read his pamphlets. This was probably not wise, as I immediately got excited and asked about lizard people. He avoided the question in favour of a convoluted theory involving ice cream and the Rothschilds and One World Government. I then got even more excited and told him that, what a coincidence, I was part of said conspiracy, and that I figured that if there was going to be a One World Government, I should get in on that. He became visibly upset and asked, plaintively, "BUT DON'T YOU KNOW ABOUT BIOMETRICS?" I replied that of course I did and I couldn't wait for them to come out with new ones.

I am a bad person.

Later, I mused aloud on where these conspiracy theorists, particularly the Truthers (who sent one representative with a full-colour placard, t-shirts, DVDs, and so on) got all their funding from, as it costs money to produce DVDs and they were handing them out for free. [livejournal.com profile] sphinctourist suggested that they might be funded by the Bilderberg Group.

Anyway, it was great being out in the nice weather and catching up with friends. I am increasingly dispirited about the prospects of any significant progress coming out of the whole debacle last year. There is no peaceful, legal way to hold the police accountable for beating people and ruining lives, no real restitution for the people who were jailed, lost their jobs, lost their relationships, and continue to suffer PTSD. I think the Star has actually been doing an awesome job at nailing down the worst offenders and highlighting the stories of activists who suffered the worst brutality, but when it comes down to it, the vast majority of people in this city and country seem to feel that it doesn't matter all that much or that it couldn't happen to them, and are increasingly inured to abuse of power. Maybe they even like it, I don't know. No one trusts the cops anymore but no one has proposed any sort of solution either.

In related news, the NDP have been awesome, holding a 39-hour filibuster to stop back-to-work legislation against the locked-out postal workers, but CPAC is now reporting that the bill passed despite their best efforts.

SlutWalk!

Apr. 3rd, 2011 05:48 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (march)
I imagine that some of you would like to see SlutWalk photos.

Toronto is pretty cool sometimes, and here's why: A member of our corrupt and rancid police department remarked that I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this, however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized. This, at York University, where rape is tragically common. In response four women organized a massive demonstration to stick it to the cops, the city, and the patriarchy.

slutwalk

more under here )
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (she)
It was supposed to be a vigil for the maybe 150, maybe 300, maybe more, people killed in the Egyptian protests. Instead, the sadness turned to celebration with the news of Mubarak's resignation. There were the requisite speeches and moments of silence, but also music and dancing and people hugging and handing out candy. Despite the freezing weather (fortunately, [livejournal.com profile] frandroid brought tea!) I wouldn't have wanted to miss this.

egypt rally,dundas square

more under the cut )

P.S. Douchebag traitor Bob Rae was there, mugging for the cameras. Yes, the guy who said: “As Egypt transitions towards democracy, it is essential that stability be maintained through respect for their international obligations .....” because God knows Arabs can't be trusted with freedom and it needs to be qualified with "stability." I tried to get some folks fired up to confront him, but we couldn't find the exact quote to throw in his face in front of the cameras.

Egypt links

Feb. 1st, 2011 02:42 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (fighting the man)
Try to imagine a situation where two million people gather in your city to protest something. Try to imagine this happening in theoretically a democracy, where the army and police are unlikely to open fire on the demonstrators, and where the government might at least pretend to listen to the demands.

Two million people are in Cairo's Tahrir Square, with around 8 million people protesting across the country. This, despite the fact that 150 people have already been killed. And whatever our government and the U.S. government says, Egypt's no democracy (though the military has said that it won't fire on the demonstrators).


[Photo of the massive amount of people gathered in Cairo. See those tiny things? Each of those tiny things is a person.]

It's amazing to see this happen. Al Jazeera has the most reliable coverage, including a video that shows the sheer scale of the demos.

If you haven't seen it, check out laura.fo by LJ's [livejournal.com profile] slit. [livejournal.com profile] imagines has an excellent links round-up here and here.

Access Now is helping Egyptians circumvent firewalls, and you can go here to find out how to run a Tor bridge. (Thanks [livejournal.com profile] smhwpf and [livejournal.com profile] secretsoflife!)
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (march)
I was here, briefly, today. I think there were more than 400 people.

Here are some photos of the rally.

As anyway, if anyone knows something more helpful to do, I'm open to suggestions.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (fighting the man)
So, Toronto Police! Tell us more about these 1090 hardened criminals who necessitated over $1 billion in security and brought the city to a screeching halt.

16 of these miscreants remain in prison, 14 of whom will apparently appear in court today.

Jaggi Singh surrendered to police, presumably for conspiracy to provide crash pads.

This is among the most horrifying stories to come out. Cops ripped off a man's artificial leg, dragged him over the pavement, and held him in custody for 27 hours. His crime? Not getting up fast enough when the cops told him to.

To serve and protect what, exactly?
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (march)
Never let it be said that, even under the threat of a police state, Hogtowners don't have a sense of humour. I was pleased to see that, for example, Scary Cop Lady now has a Facebook fan page and has become somewhat of a local meme. Toronto Tourism Board is also pretty fun.

Also, someone posted G20-related demotivational posters.

cut for big )

In other news, the LARPer guy has stepped forward to condemn police for displaying his fake weapons as if they were real weapons seized from protesters. Police have apparently admitted to targeting Québecers.

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