A brief reflection.


(Edited to correct an error made in identifying people as belonging to a group they do not)

I’ve noticed a jump in my stats since I published my Under the Volcano talk on here yesterday, and I’ve got to say that makes me feel pretty good because more people have now read it than would have heard it at the festival. Plus I got to re-add stuff in that I had taken out because I only had 15 minutes. So I hope it’s been a good read, even though it was originally meant to be spoken outloud (with asides and examples that didn’t make it in).

I’m not sure exactly what to say about what happened on Sunday – for those of you who aren’t aware, a group of people (that would be Mike, Lyn and Leon among others who I don’t know) came out to stop me from speaking because of my support for Darren, and my public statement about that three years ago. Rather than allow for a public statement to be made about me by Lyn, the moderator shut down the forum and thus the last workshop at the last Under the Volcano came to an end in this rather crappy way.

Almost exactly three years ago, coming out of one of the worst periods of my activist life, I wrote (in the above posted link)

I suppose we each have to ask ourselves would any of us have made a different decision given the facts laid out above? And if we are even slightly hesitant in our answer of yes, then who are we to judge another in difficult circumstances? Do we want a movement based on martyrdom? Do we want to participate in the exclusionary silencing occurring right now as people like myself try to bring ethical questions out into community only to be met by stone walls? Is this the movement we want to build – a mob who passes judgment without trial and who enforces a single morality that is not up for discussion or debate?

And I suppose the answer to that, from these three and those who support them is… Yes. We want a movement in which there is no room for compassion. Yes. We want a movement where shutting people up is more important than dialogue. Yes. We want a movement where bullying wins the day during disagreements.

Which is really depressing, particularly given the times we are living in. Hard times for activists already, but even harder if we build our movements out of anger and self-hatred. Even harder if everything is taken from a black-white perspective with no room for humanity in between.

What I really hope comes out of this is some recognition from other radicals out there is that the tactics we use are part and parcel of the future we are building. And if that movement is so dark and mean to itself, what will it be like against those who it really has ire for? That’s nothing I want anything to do with. That’s a pretty nasty place to be.

2 Comments on “A brief reflection.

  1. The fact that people would demonstrate against you, years later, for supporting Darren is bizarre. The propensity of radical activists to fight among themselves, rather than focussing on the big picture, is the biggest obstacle to achieving real success.

  2. Diversity of tactics was not on your list, Megan, and for good reason, as it marked a low point in the Canadian left. In fact DOT interfered with your ability to even speak. The sectarian bullies who apparently conspired to wreck the panel had the confidence to do so in part because of the ‘toxic certainty’ that black block defenders are exhibiting in abusing those who want to discuss the effectiveness of tactics.

    But I liked your choices for the top five, all mass movements, all reminders that people can fight back powerfully, even in defensive circumstances. And your remarks about hope set the list up with a humanity that is critical, just like your poem. We need to show our political vulnerabilities in starting new relationships and renewing old ones.

    Many thanks for your contributions.

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