Ten Activist Success Stories from 2012, and Some Tools to Recreate Them
A Harper majority. Stifling anti-union legislation. Provincial unrest and austerity across the country. At a glance, it seems like activists don’t have a lot to celebrate this holiday season. However, in these trying times, organizers, Indigenous people, workers, youth and ordinary citizens have come together for the common good.
Inspiring actions have touched communities and emboldened movements with historic victories. Here are our top 10 activist successes in 2012 — and the tools they used to get there.
1. Creative labour actions
The infamous Bill C-377 passed this month, adding to the ever-growing list of anti-worker legislation passed by the Harper government in 2012. Being pushed into a corner has inspired Canadian unions to take unorthodox and creative actions as bargaining tools. Despite this bleak political climate, when the Harper Government forced back-to-work legislation on workers, they found ways to fight back.
After being issued legislation that took away their ability to strike in April, Air Canada pilots began calling in sick on the same day, resulting in 75 cancelled flights. Other workers called a wildcat strike and simply walked off the job at a Toronto airport.
In the U.S., workers took on anti-union behemoth Wal-Mart. The workers’ organization OUR Wal-Mart led a mass walkout on Black Friday.
Tool: Creative protests
The Toolkit’s overview of creative protests is a good place to start finding new ideas. From artistic displays to stretching loopholes, creative actions continue to inspire innovative activists.
2. Legacy of Occupy: From Occupy Sandy to Quebec’s solidarity Casseroles
Occupy Wall Street started a discussion in the mainstream about class and the distribution of wealth that continues today. Occupy changed everything and the world is forever different because of it. In Canada, Occupy camps were still up and running in 2012, despite dropping temperatures. After mainstream media lost interest, rabble.ca was still changing the conversation around Occupy, producing a print newsletter for Canadian camps.
Not only were spaces reoccupied throughout 2012, the energy of the movement kept it alive in different reincarnations.
Actions sprung out from the fertile roots of Occupy, from Occupy Sandy to the Quebec Casseroles, to democracy rallies in Spain, to actions against police brutality. Occupy isnot dead and gone but a movement still growing and diverging. The legacy of the original camp in Zuccotti Park has outlasted its need for a physical presence.
Tool: Consensus decision-making
Synonymous with Occupy is the popularized process of fast, accessible consensus decision-making. Because Occupy organizes without leaders or hierarchies, the movement has been able to adapt to include many struggles pushed to the margins by mainstream society.
3. Mega quarry in Ontario stopped Read more…