1.24.2010

harper gets smacked in more than 60 cities

If you liked launching shoes at Bush, you'll love smacking Stephen Harper.

Mr Harper got a big smack yesterday, as thousands of Canadians expressed their displeasure with his prorogation of Parliament. Plans are already in the works to keep the movement alive with a second wave of action. You can stay informed through the Facebook group CAPP: A second wave of actions and through No Prorogue.

There's very decent coverage in the Globe and Mail, Star, CTV, Global, CBC.

Of course crowd numbers are under-estimated, but that's always the case. And I do mean always. I think it's best not to get too caught up in crowd counts. People cared enough to take to the streets in January in 60 Canadian towns and cities, and another handful of locations around the world, and everyone watching TV or picking up their newspaper or clicking on news sites can plainly see that crowds were both significant in size and spread throughout Canada. That's what counts.

Everyone in the activist community is saying the same thing: none of us have ever seen anything this big spring up this fast. This is truly a people's movement, bubbling up from the grassroots, both multi-partisan and non-partisan.

Apparently wingnut marching orders of the day are to spam comments on all news stories about the protests, claiming turnout was low and declaring it a failure. Sadly for them, and happily for us, we saw otherwise with our own eyes. As did the media, and, you can be sure, the Conservatives.

Two beautiful photos from the Daily Dose of Imagery, here and here.

25 comments:

L-girl said...

My favourite sign yesterday: "My Canada Includes Parliament". !!!

Some Person said...

I have mixed feelings when it comes to young children at protests. Sure the child holding up the sign is endearing, but that's my knee-jerk reaction. S/he probably has no idea what any of it means, and I make that point very clear when young children are used (in all the passive connotations that word entails) to hold up a sign that I disagree with.

So do I have any real point or recommendation? Err...not really. It's not like I'm going to suggest to the anti-prorogues that they leave their kids at home.

redsock said...

Mine: "Harper Smells Like Farts"

L-girl said...

I have mixed feelings when it comes to young children at protests.

That's a shame, because teaching children about activism is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give. The child will end up becoming an adult with his or her own opinions, as we all do, but the lessons of working collectively for change can last a lifetime.

L-girl said...

S/he probably has no idea what any of it means

Children can understand a lot, if things are explained well. There's no reason to assume that young children can't understand simple political lessons.

Some Person said...

I just get really sensitive about young children being used for adult purposes, whether it be pageants, commercials, or protests when they probably either don't have any real input in the situation.

However if mom and dad are going to a protest and their child actually understands and agrees with their position, then yes, it would be a great lesson in collective action. Otherwise the child may well resent that they were used as a tool by their parents for something they didn't really understand or even now disagree with and abandon activism altogether.

L-girl said...

I just get really sensitive about young children being used for adult purposes, whether it be pageants, commercials, or protests when they probably either don't have any real input in the situation.

But children almost never have input into what they do. I don't see involving children in activism as using them for "adult purposes". I see it as similar to "forcing" children to go to school. Only more valuable. :)

Obviously I would never want parents to force children to protest, that would be absurd. But if it's wrong to take children to a protest, then it's wrong to take them to a theme park or hockey practice.

It's an experience - there are potentially valuable lessons involved - and it's worth trying. If it turns out it's not for them, then so be it.

L-girl said...

Photos of Toronto rally from Kim_in_TO.

James said...

Photos from the Daily Dose of Imagery

impudent strumpet said...

Yeah, I totally see what Some Person is saying. When I was a kid, my father (either consciously or unconsciously, I don't know) used the fact that parents generally teach kids how the world works to instill some really quite distasteful opinions in me, and I didn't think to question it for many many years because it was presented as fact. Here's your times tables. Here's the story of how your ancestors came to Canada on a boat. Here's how a mortgage works. Here's why you should be a judgemental dickhead towards Those People.

I even ended up writing some very stupid, reactionary letters to the editor that, inexplicably, actually got published (I'm really surprised they did - they were rooted in factually incorrect premises). These letters still exist in newspaper archives somewhere (and relatives have insisted on keeping copies - and occasionally bragging about them, as though I haven't done anything more impressive since) and I'm hide-my-face-and-weep ashamed of it. I'd be even more humiliated if I had been photographed holding up a sign expressing one of those sentiments.

I once saw an anti-abortion protest that included active participation (shouting stuff independently of adults, handing things out and repeating slogans to the people you hand the things to) by children who were clearly too young to understand much more than the fact that a baby grows in the mommy's tummy. (And I say this as someone who knew at the age of 8 how the baby gets there, how you tell if you're pregnant before you start getting fat, and that if you don't want to have a baby the doctor can help you.) That can't possibly be right.

But at the same time, I don't think the answer is to not take kids to protests. It's a part of life that they should get to witness, just like how you take them to vote and you take them grocery shopping. I just wish there was a way to do it without taking advantage of their inherent trust.

L-girl said...

James, I linked to those in the post. :)

L-girl said...

I also see where SP is coming from, in terms of using children for our own purposes. And I definitely see what Imp Strump means in terms of indoctrination.

But children are, for better or worse, empty vessels for their parents' opinions and the opinions of other adults, until they reach a certain maturity level of their own. I know tons of people who grew up in right-wing homes who are now progressive, and a few conservatives who grew up in progressive homes.

I would imagine that every parent conveys opinions to children, including the opinion (possibly unvoiced) that protest is stupid and worthless. I don't know that there's any way around that part of parenting.

impudent strumpet said...

Maybe the happy medium we need is to just stop actively celebrating the involvement of children. If a kid is at a protest with a sign, they're going to get attention, they're going to get their picture taken, and many people's initial reaction (including mine, when I agree with the protest) is "How wonderful to see kids who are politically engaged!"

Whereas in reality they might be politically engaged, they might have been dragged along and handed a sign, they might have asked for a sign just because everyone else gets a sign, and they might be either proud of or ashamed of their involvement five years from now.

When kids go along with their parents to vote, we don't go "How wonderful to see kids involved in the electoral process." When kids are grocery shopping with their parents, we don't think "How wonderful to see kids involved in planning nutritious family meals!" We just see it as life happening. Maybe we need to start thinking of kids in demonstrations as no more and no less special than any other demonstrator.

L-girl said...

I think I already do that (not sure). I don't like to make a fuss over the presence of kids anywhere. I friggin hated when people did that to me when I was a child.

But photographers do pick them out, so I imagine there is a lot of what you're talking about.

L-girl said...

I'm told 100 people came out in Mississauga and 200 in Oakville! WOW!!

And this made my day.

Dharma Seeker said...

With respect I was delighted to see kids out yesterday. Since this was a people's movement to preserve our democracy I was actually happy to see kids being raised to understand that democracy is important. If this had been a partisan issue I would agree 100%

But the beauty is what we showed up to defend yesterday was democracy - a society in which everyone has a voice, regardless of political affiliation and or ideology. The government will belong to them one day, I hope the government they inherit is democratic and responsive to the will of the people.

John F said...

One of my earliest memories is of riding on my father's shoulders while I held up one end of a banner that read "Women Are People!" I was four. I knew exactly what it meant.

Nitangae said...

As far as I can gather, the wingnut argument is:

1. Don't those people have jobs!
2. Only 50,000 people demonstrated. Ha! Everyone who didn't protest must support Harper! That means 99.9% of Canadians support Harper!
3. If you really cared, you would be helping in Haiti

I haven't bothered to respond to these comments on the CBC etc. May I do so here?

Number 1 tells us all we need to know about Conservative attitudes towards democracy (don't complain - just do your work and the government will sort things out for you) - please keep that up as a talking-point! It is so helpful identifying the key ideological characteristics of Harper supporters!

# 2. Isn't a serious argument at all - everybody knows that the number protesting is only ever a small part of the number of people who care about an issue. Perhaps - as talking-point #1 suggests, some of the protesters had to go to work or look after children that day ( I missed the pre-protest ont he previous Saturday because I was too busy. I made it two days ago, however).

#3. Is a wonderful non-sequitur, and is contradicted by the fact that, at the Vancouver demonstration at least, money was raised for Haiti. Also, should we assume that the above mentioned Harper-supporting 99.9% were either at their jobs or helping with Haiti? Please tell me more, and also cancel the Olympics in the meantime (cannot distract us from our jobs and helping Haiti!)

L-girl said...

One of my earliest memories is of riding on my father's shoulders while I held up one end of a banner that read "Women Are People!" I was four. I knew exactly what it meant.

Very cool. In case it's not obvious (it probably is), that's what my background is when it comes to this issue.

I've identified three positive things I got from my father, and number one is my political consciousness, my progressive worldview. I went to anti-war and civil rights marches as a child, and those experiences were foundational for me.

L-girl said...

I haven't bothered to respond to these comments on the CBC etc. May I do so here?

YES, and thank you for doing so!

L-girl said...

1. Don't those people have jobs!

This is amusing, since

1. It was on Saturday, most people don't work on Saturdays.

2. I work on Saturday, and took the day off to go.

3. Check out any online news story during conventional working hours, and you will see evidence of a small army of wingnuts posting long, virulent, bigoted comments everywhere possible. Don't those people have jobs??

Some Person said...

I went to anti-war and civil rights marches as a child, and those experiences were foundational for me.

I'm no psychologist, but I think you might have revealed one reason for why our views on this diverge. Protest was foundational to you. My first protest wasn't until I hit 26, the night Iraqi Freedom began. My arch-conservative parents only went to their first protest last Sept. 12 (yes, they're teabaggers). That kind of makes me wonder where that whole "don't protest because Jesus Christ controls human history" bit I grew up with went, but there you go.

Since I realized about a decade ago what utter bullocks that part of my childrearing was, I now think to myself, "Man, if my parents were the protesting/activist sort, and they made me go with them, I would HATE activism now because it would have been just an excuse to use me to put a cute childish face on their mean-spirited idiocy." So that's the emotional impetus behind why I'm suspicious of kids appearing in protests, but I think I understand why you feel differently.

impudent strumpet said...

Especially since for that last-minute protest on a weekday afternoon where like 50 people turned out, they were all "See? Facebook fail!"

L-girl said...

Especially since for that last-minute protest on a weekday afternoon where like 50 people turned out, they were all "See? Facebook fail!"

I know. With like 2 hours notice, around 50-70 people turned up. That's very impressive.

L-girl said...

I don't know, Some Person, you might be over-reaching a bit there. Most of my parents' childrearing was utter bollocks, too. And neither of my siblings are activists (although both are liberal).

I just think protest is no different than anything else we involve children with. As children, we never get a choice, wey do what our parents do, then later we decide what to discard and what to keep.