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Trouble-dot, Sept. 2001

Trouble-dot is a monthly bulletin of news & views from Toronto's anarchist, anti-authoritarian and radical community. Folks are encouraged to submit short news items, upcoming events, and opinions that have a Toronto focus. Trouble-dot's mission is to provide a news bulletin about anarchism and popular struggle in Toronto for distribution in Toronto as well as letting anarchists around the world know what's going on in T-dot.
Trouble-dot, Sept. 2001

Trouble-dot is a monthly bulletin of news & views from Toronto's anarchist, anti-authoritarian and radical community. Folks are encouraged to submit short news items, upcoming events, and opinions that have a Toronto focus. Trouble-dot's mission is to provide a news bulletin about anarchism and popular struggle in Toronto for distribution in Toronto as well as letting anarchists around the world know what's going on in T-dot.

Editor's note: As you may have noticed Trouble-dot is now hosted by tao communications. Apologies to everyone who attempted to subscribe or correspond with Trouble-dot last month, we never received your email as disinfo terminated the account after the 1st issue was sent. To contact Trouble-dot please email troubledot (at) To subscribe to Trouble-dot email lists (at) with the following in the body of your message: subscribe troubledot

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PO Box 90033,

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News: OCAP, Common Front, Reclaim the Streets, Freyheyt

Upcoming events calendar

Publications: On the Prowl, The Unsettled, No Turning Back, and more.

Article: THE GEOLOGY OF PROTEST by Kris, Anti-Racist Action Toronto





Bail conditions for some of the 19 people arrested in connection to the mock eviction of finance Minster Jim Flaherty have been "relaxed". Following an appeal to the superior court four OCAP members had their bail conditions of non-association removed but had to accept a condition banning them from any public demonstrations whatsoever. While this makes sense for some OCAP members who are engaged in case work, or were under severe house arrest, other OCAP members refused the "deal". To quote one OCAP member who refused "To trade one freedom for another like they're baseball cards is too much for me to accept. Freedom isn't something you bargain with the state for it's something you have to exercise for yourself."

Ontario Common Front (Toronto section)

The Ontario Common Front is a coalition of anti-poverty, anti-police, anti-racist, union and community organizations engaged in a campaign of economic disruption across the province with the eventual goal of removing the Conservative government. The Toronto group is busy organizing a shut down of Toronto's financial district on Oct. 16th. For more information contact the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty at ocap (at) or 416-925-6939 The long retreat is over! Defeat Harris!

Safe Park screening.

Cheers to everyone involved at the free outdoor screening of the OCAP safe park film on the 2nd anniversary of the OCAP safe park in Allen Gardens. A fantastic movie and documentation of poor people building community and fighting back.

Reclaim the Streets was held on August 17th.

A crowd of 300 people gathered at Grange Park and dancing to a DJ and a sound system mounted on a trailer proceeded to Queen & John where the po-po pooped the party. Police moved police horses into the crowd, pepperspayed people and arrested three (one for mischief for allegedly chalking police horsies trailers and two for allegedly "obstructing" police). No wonder this town is fast regaining its reputation as a tight-assed protestant hellhole. Reclaim The Streets then proceeded to 52 division and waited as the three were released later that night.

The Freyheyt collective hosted an educational forum about anarchism on August 22nd. An outstanding attendance of 50-60 people in a basic introduction to Freyheyt, NEFAC and the anarchist-communist and platformist traditions. Future educational forums will follow and hopefully will only improve upon this first effort. Contact them at freyheyt (at) or see


Upcoming Events:


Sept. 3rd, 8am, University & Armory (in front of 361 university courthouse) The Ontario Common Front will be blitzing the Labour Day parade with thousands of leaflets about the fall campaign and marching in a large boisterous contingent during the parade.

Sept. 6th, 1pm, 26 Grenville St. (between Bay and Yonge, north of College) There will be a demonstration outside the Chief Coroner's office to call for a coroner's inquiry into the death of Dudley George. Dudley was murdered on Sept. 6th 1995 by the provincial police for defending, unarmed, the territory of the Stoney Point first nation. Just into the premier's seat Mike Harris saw the occupation of Stoney Point (then known as Ipperwash provincial park) as a challenge to the government and may have ordered the police attack. A coroner's inquest will allow questions about the government's role in the attack to finally be answered. Coroner's inquest! Public Inquiry! Return the land to the Stoney Point people! For more info contact ARA Toronto at: 416-631-8835 or ara (at) For more information see

Sept. 8, 9pm, ARA Birthday bash! at the Katherdral (Queen & Bathurst). Help ARA celebrate 9 years of fighting fascism with a balls to the walls punk rock show. Featuring: Hoodrat (Reuniting for tha cause), Mt. Tai (Detroit), Bunchofuckingoofs, Constable Brennen, Montreal hardcore crazies Eksniilo and Hot Video Action of past ARA demos over the years. $6 cheap!

Sept 9, 4:00pm Is Electoral Politics Relevant to the Anti-Globalization Movement? @ OISE, 252 Bloor St. West (St George subway station). Judy Rebick, author & vs. Prof. David McNally, York University

Sept.12, The trotskyist "spartacus youth club forum" will be presenting a one-sided presentation on "Marxism vs. Anarchism" at 5:30pm, room 430, student centre at York university. Contrary to common sense, this "Marxism vs. Anarchism" forum is not a debate as, surprise, no anarchists were invited to argue the anarchist viewpoint. It is obvious that the sparts will engage in an unprincipled attack on anarchism and only included the word anarchism in order to draw people who would normally ignore a lecture on "sectarian trotskyism 101". Anarchists are encouraged to attend to refute the nonsense that will no doubt be presented by the sparts as some unaware students will no doubt attend expecting to hear a presentation by anarchists as well. Heck, maybe folks should even stand outside their meetings and push anarchist literature for a change of pace.

Sept. 14th, Ward Churchill speaks on genocide, corporate colonialism and resistance. 7:00pm OISE Auditorium, 252 Bloor St. West, at St. George Subway. Proceeds go to local mobilizing for the 3rd Encounter for Humanity and Against Neo-Liberalism and the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty's fall campaign.

Sept. 14-15 Friends of Move Toronto will be traveling to Philadelphia to attend a massive rally in support of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal who has a crucial court date on the 15th. If you’ve ever supported Mumia now is when he needs you the most. Possible Toronto demo in the works. All out for Mumia! To go to Philly contact Friends of Move Toronto at 416-760-2152 For more information on Mumia see

Sept. 15-16, Toronto, Mobilization for Global Justice will be holding an activist assembly for Oct. 16th and the IMF/WB meeting in D.C. Contact mob4glob (at)

Sept. 20: 7pm: Howl & OCAP present "Direct Action & Resistance; Bringing the Struggle Home" with a screening of TVAC's Safe Park documentary and OCAP fundraiser videos plus speakers from the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality and Le Comite des sans emplois. Innis college, 2 Sussex Avenue. $5 or pay what you can Info:

Sept. 21 8pm: Media Democracy Day in collaboration with HOWL and IMC present a social/fundraiser to launch Media Democracy Day (October 19) and the IMC conference (September 22). With speakers, spoken word and music. Imperial Public Library, 58 Dundas St. E. Admission by donation - proceeds to MDD&IMC Info: klc (at), education (at), info (at)

Sept. 22 9am-5pm: Ontario IMC presents a day-long conference for independent journalists and creators planning to cover OCAP's fall campaign. With workshops covering skill-sharing, logistics, safety and much more. Tentative location: Oakham House, 63 Gould St. Registration: might be 10-20 bucks sliding scale Info: education (at) 9pm: HOWL & Technot present an evening of experimental music from Toronto and beyond, with Tinkertoy, DJ Utility, DJ Ovalroaster & Dubrocket. Rancho Relaxo, 300 College Street Info:

Sept. 23, 10am: Ontario IMC holds a closing plenary for its conference. Pending confirmation. 1-7pm: Broken Pencil presents CANZINE 2001, Canada's largest zine fair with independent creators of all stripes, plus panels and screenings. The Big Bop, 651 Queen St. West Free Admission, $7 for a table to hawk your indy wares Info: 8pm: HOWL presents an evening of revolutionary music and spoken word to wrap up CANZINE 2001, with Ian Ferrier, Catherine Kidd, Anna-Belle Chovstek, Jennifer Patterson and Kaie Kellough. The Big Bop, 651 Queen St. West Admission: $5

Sept. 22-23, Toronto, direct action training, contact Mob4glob (see above)

Sept. 27-29, 4pm, Toronto, Queens Park, Seventh Fire Gathering. Come to Queens Park with hundreds of first nations peoples for three days of speakers, feasts, socials, organizing and resistance.




There's been a recent and encouraging upsurge in local anarchist publishing lately. Here's what's new:

ARA Toronto put out a new issue of On The Prowl in a new newspaper format. The issue includes anti-fascist scene reports from across Canada, an interview with ARA Cincinnati about the anti-police rebellion, updates on the cases of Mumia and the murder of Dudley George, OCAP and O16, the summit of the Americas, and a hilarious trash-talking gossip column from one of their infiltrators in the nazi scene. Contact ARA at POB 291, Stn. B, Toronto ON, M5T 2T2 or ara (at)

"Unsettled" is the new monthly news bulletin of the Toronto IWW General Membership Branch. Issue #2 will be out in mid-September, with articles on OCAP, workplace health and (lack of ) safety, and a report on the IWW General

Assembly. Free, but donations to cover costs appreciated. PO Box 47643 Don Mills, ON, M3C 3S7

The Freyheyt collective has published a number of introductory pamphlets such as "No Turning Back" which covers a basic introduction to why the Freyheyt collective formed, capitalism, the state, the organizational platform of libertarian communists, and NEFAC's aims and principles and is working on a first issue of their magazine "Ye Drunken Sailor". Freyheyt has also reprinted other anarchist propaganda, notably "what really happened in Genoa" by the Workers Solidarity Movement and is distributing publications by NEFAC and other anarchist groups. Freyheyt can be contacted at Box 116, 339a College St., Toronto ON, M5T 1S2 or freyheyt (at)

Not exactly new but highly recommended is OCAP's fourth issue of "They call it struggle for a reason." which has articles on anti-capitalism and anti-poverty, direct action tactics for economic disruption, a call to pysch survivors, the war on drug users, and pigs in poor neighborhoods. Contact OCAP at 249 Sherbourne St., Toronto ON, M5A 2R9 or ocap (at)

For more information on anarchism Trouble-dot recommends:





By Kris, Anti-Racist Action Toronto

Anti-Racist Action Toronto

P.O.Box 291 Stn.B, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5T 2T2

(416) 631-8835 e-mail: ara (at)

"When there is movement on the lower rungs of the social ladder, everything above is shaken up."

[The Rebuilding the Left initiative is an effort to build a "structured movement" against capitalism, more than a coalition but less than a party. Launched in Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver in the fall of 2000, 100s of people have met through this initiative to discuss the relationship between grassroots organizing and electoral politics, and between militancy, community work, and union activism. ARA was invited to speak at the last conference in June 2001. This is a somewhat edited version of the speech.]

It was a real challenge to figure out what to say here today. Anti-Racist Action is a youth-based group, and our political perspectives have been informed by many different strands or tendencies in the Left and in the various youth subcultures -- everything from the classic Left line, to anti-authoritarian distrust of everything and everybody, to identity politics -- for example, there's always been a lot of young women involved with the group, for whom standing up for themselves as young women has been a very important part of their motivation for being involved in politics. Overall, also, we've traditionally had a strong preference for action over talk, and most of us have not been very confident about speaking out in forums like these.

The main point I want to make today is that we're in a time of tremendous opportunity as political organizers, even as we're facing one crisis after another. But the only way we're going to be able to take advantage of the opportunities, and face the crises, is if we orient ourselves to the most radical positions that are emerging and not settle for middle-of-the-road ones. I'm going to try to illustrate this by describing a few examples where radical organizing really made a difference and changed a situation that people might have thought was unchangeable.

I'll start close to home, with ARA -- the example I know best. You might remember that back in early 90s, the neo-Nazi Heritage Front was organizing in Toronto, inspired by the surge in fascist activity in Europe. The Front formed in 1989, and for three years was able to organize without any real opposition in Toronto. They held public meetings with over 200 people, hosting international speakers. They planned public rallies and were recruiting in high schools, on the streets, outside of movie theatres. You would run into nazi boneheads in many downtown bars and other social spaces where youth hung out. There was plenty of street violence associated with that organizing too.

All of this was going on without any sustained community response. The police were watching, Jewish community organizations and First Nations activists were monitoring the situation. Some of the youth, some punk rockers, were taking them on, but there was no organized counterforce on the street. Bear in mind that this was during the Bob Rae time, when the left was involved with running the government! It wasn't until the youth themselves got organized, to defend their scenes and get the nazis out, that anything changed. ARA formed in September 1992 and until 1995, we did constant organizing. We didn't look to the police or the authorities to do anything about this problem, we took it on ourselves. It was a lot of work! For the first year, we actively sought out and disrupted their events. Sometimes there were confrontations -- with nazis themselves, or with the police. People might remember that January morning in 1993 when 600 people gathered to disrupt a fascist rally at the courthouse on University Avenue. I'll never forget seeing punks and high school kids, some of whom would hardly ever get to morning classes on time, meeting before 8am in the freezing cold, bringing piles of placards and having last-minute marshalls meetings to go over plans again, for how to keep people as safe as possible. People might remember an afternoon in June 1993, when we marched on a house in Toronto's east end. A Heritage Front organizer lived there, and that afternoon he learned that he couldn't rely on the community's indifference, that people would track him down and make his life miserable as the windows of his house were smashed. He left Toronto soon after. People might remember the campaign we ran in 1994 and 1995, when we identified and targeted two shoe stores on Yonge and Queen, owned by nazis -- places where nazi youth could hang out and buy white power music under the table. Those stores were both closed down by our campaign.

We didn't get a whole lot of props in those days. When the media smeared us as hooligans, there were few on the left who stood by us publicly. Many decried our so-called "irresponsiblity" and "violence". Some accused us of making things worse for people of colour, although there were obviously people of colour involved in the group. Many mocked us for focusing on what they considered a marginal problem. But what I want to draw attention to, is that we were successful --- because our strategy was based in a community that had a real interest in taking care of business, and because we didn't try to control that community, but rather to empower and encourage the most radical and militant responses that we could. And by staying true to that course, this small and marginal group had a tangible effect on the practical reality on the streets, and also on the overall political climate. After we began to organize, other community organizations kicked into gear and also mobilized against the fascists. They took advantage of the space we had created, the attention we had brought to the issue, and the information we were able to provide.

Our group is still active, still tracking the fash and taking action against them when we can, and also contributing to broader struggles. We're now part of a Network of ARA groups across North America, we share information and resources, we travel to support each other in actions. Since Seattle, we've also been discussing our role in the anti-globalization movement -- what's becoming known as the anti-capitalist movement. We were totally excited to watch Montreal's Anti-Capitalist Convergence begin to organize for the Quebec Summit of the Americas. They were putting the radical politics up front. They were organizing the militants openly and with great pleasure! They called for a respect for a diversity of tactics, and they were willing to defend that position publicly. So a lot of ARA people from all over Ontario, Quebec and the northern and midwestern US, travelled to Quebec for the Carnival Against Capitalism. We've returned inspired and invigorated. CLAC never had a lot of money, didn't have a name, didn't have "respectability". But with their clear political position and radical stance, they were able to empower people to stand up against 6,000 cops and make a strong statement that resonated both in the local community and around the world. Because of their work, more moderate organizations who never would advocate rioting have been hard pressed to do anything but express their admiration for those folks who took to the streets and fought.

There are so many other examples. The people of Stoney Point, an indigenous community whose land was stolen from them in 1942 to make room for a military base. They worked to get it back for 50 years through letter-writing, petitions, lobbying. In 1993 they had had enough of waiting and moved back onto their territory, right onto the firing ranges where the military were doing their exercises. And two years later, the military vacated the base. The community pushed ahead and next took control of a burial ground that had been desecrated as a provincial park. Dudley George lost his life in that courageous resistance. But the community is still there, and neither tourists nor the military are ever going to get back onto that land.

There's one more story I want to share, because it's so inspiring and such an example of how organizing on a radical basis, for radical demands, can change a seemingly unchangeable situation. I heard this story from Luis Nieves Falcon, of the Puerto Rican Human Rights Committee, who was speaking in Toronto last weekend. People may know that Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States. A straight up colony, since 1898 when Spain transferred control over to the United States as one outcome of the Spanish-American War. Since that time, the people of Puerto Rico have been fighting for more autonomy -- some have been literally fighting for independence, decolonization. In the 1980s, a group of independence fighters were convicted of robbing banks and blowing things up in the struggle for decolonization. They were sentenced to long prison terms in totally horrible conditions. It wasn't until late 90s that the movement was able to come together and decide to make their freedom a priority, and Falcon described a little bit of how that campaign was run. They gathered 60 people from the movement. They talked about how to frame the campaign and decided that because the independence struggle itself was in a bit of a retreat, they would frame the issue as a human rights issue. They trained each other about how to present that to regular people, how to talk to people and get their support for that campaign for their freedom. And they went to every town, every city. They knocked on every door. We're talking over 3 million people. They collected 250,000 signatures calling for freedom for these imprisoned fighters. The Human Rights Committee took those signatures to the White House. Next they planned a mass demonstration. Some were afraid, according to Mr. Falcon, that they wouldn't get more than 1000 people to come out. This demo is a mistake, they said, it will only show our weakness. But they went ahead and worked their asses off, as Falcon said, and ended up with 150,000 people in the streets of San Juan. Within two weeks, most of the prisoners were released.

That movement has been the basis for the current campaign - to get the US Navy out of their base at Vieques, a small island that's part of Puerto Rico. The Navy does training exercises that involve bombing runs, often with live ammunition. That 6000 or so people who live on the island live with the constant sound of artillery, with environmental devastation, and with the threat of live ammunition. In 99 they began a mass campaign of civil disobedience, breaching the fences and interrupting the exercises by simply being in the wrong place at the right time. The Network that the Human Rights Committee built in the campaign to the free the prisoners are now hard at work to get the Navy out. What's really significant here, I think, is how all levels of the society are coming together on this demand. People from all over are joining the courageous people of the island in the civil disobedience. Church leaders denounce the exercises. The mayor of the municipality has passed noise bylaws that the Navy is continually violating and now she's taking the Navy to court. Sports heroes and music stars like Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez have endorsed the campaign.

How clearly we can see that initiatives emerging from oppressed or marginalized communities can successfully take on problems that seem insurmountable, situations that seem inevitable. When there is movement on the lower rungs of the social ladder, everything above is shaken up. And as long as they are strong enough to maintain a clear orientation towards their radical demands, those campaigns can enlist support from all levels of society.

John Clarke described OCAP's campaign in the fall, and clearly it's going to be one of those moments where things will be shaking. There's going to be huge opportunities to bring new forces into the fight against Mike Harris and the agenda he enacts. The challenge for everyone here, obviously, is how to relate to that campaign. Not everyone is going to be on the streets, and not everyone is going to agree with OCAP's strategy in all its points. That's ok. There are so many ways to contribute and to take advantage of the space that the campaign will create. Whether it's organizing teach-ins in our neighbourhoods, vigils at police stations, parties to raise money for legal fees, fax zaps to city councillors, banner drops, bake sales -- whatever! If people don't feel part of the communities that OCAP is directly organizing, then organize in your own. Adopt that fighting spirit in whatever work you take on -- people can relate to it, they want to be inspired and to feel a part of something that has a chance of winning. Just don't try to tell OCAP what to do, and don't try to reign in the forces that the campaign will unleash, because none of us are necessarily prepared for what might come out of it.

I'm thinking of Quebec. Even after the fence fell on Friday afternoon, only a few hundred people crossed that psychic barrier and went inside the perimeter. There was no plan, no strategy because people did not expect that line to be breached. I think it's an amazing metaphor. The Carnival Against Capitalism created new space, new possibilities. OCAP's campaign will carry that process forward. Our challenge is not only to support that, but to think about how to take the next step. I'm not saying that system is about ready to crumble. But we never know when there will be a breach and we have to prepare ourselves to step in, to cross that psychic barrier.

The last point I want to make is a little less optimistic, but I'm going to make it anyway because it's part of my job as an anti-fascist. There's another risk as we go forward, part of what we have to contend with as this new wave of anti-capitalist mobilization sweeps across our cities. While it's tremendously exciting to be part of mobilizations like the Quebec Carnival Against Capitalism, and to see 10s of 1000s of people on the streets against the government -- it's important to remember that the movement against these free trade deals is so broad in part because it can include the right as well as the left. For decades the standard of living of the middle classes in North America has been subsidized by Third World Labour, including Third World Labour here at home as Chris Ramsaroop described earlier in a presentation about the conditions of life for migrant farm workers in southern Ontario. I'll situate myself within that subsidized class. Now we're concerned that that subsidy is coming to an end, that capital is going to abandon its favourite sons and daughters. We're too expensive. With all these new technologies to run its economy and police its property, capital doesn't need enormous privileged middle classes. So yeah, we're pissed about these trade deals, about the prospect of competing with people who will work for a tenth the wages, no health insurance, no pension plan. And so people who have so much to lose, are just as likely to turn to the right for solutions as they are to the left. More so, really, given this continent's history of colonialism, racism, and straight up genocide.

This is more apparent in the U.S. where the far-right has made public and obvious gestures to cozy up to the anti-globalization movement. At the same time as the anti-IMF demonstrations in Washington D.C. last year, the Teamsters invited extreme right politician Pat Buchanan to speak at a rally denouncing trade with China. Fascist leader Matt Hale wrote approvingly of the black bloc in D.C., as he had of the militants in Seattle. We haven't seen that kind of right-left alliance so much here in Canada, although just a couple weeks ago, when ARA organized a solidarity demonstration against the repression in Quebec, and in solidarity with the Germinal 5, there was a young man leafletting for a group with far-right connections. (We told him to stop.) So there's no basis for complacency on this front. How many people who would scrap the FTAA -- if given half a chance -- would also vote for the Alliance Party?

We can't forget that just to the South of us, the right is far stronger than the left. They've got churches and other institutions, military training, weapons, money, connections in law enforcement -- and most importantly -- they have more of a plan than we do. We need to learn lessons from Europe too. In the 1980s all of Europe was rocked by protest after protest against the World Bank. Anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist on the surface -- but meanwhile the racist right was growing under the surface with no serious opposition from the Left. 10 years later, we have fascists being elected all over, and racist attacks are a daily occurence. Hardly even news anymore.

Basically, we get excited about the movement against Free Trade, and tolerate a sort of soft-sell Canadian nationalism. But we can't assume that all the energy that goes into these mobilizations against Free Trade is going to automatically be there for us when we take on the oppressive things that our own government does, and that's particularly true around issues of race and how communities of colour are targeted by the whole repressive apparatus of the state and also how indigenous people are targeted whenever they stand up for their lives and for their territories.

I'm going to depart for a second from my prepared script here, because it's of concern to me that we're having this discussion as if the whole 1980s and early 90s, when people of colour and women were speaking out for their own communities -- it's almost like that hasn't happened. We don't refer really at all to the whole feminist movement, we don't refer to the need for communities of colour to organize autonomously, according to their own needs and priorities, and for First Nations communities to organize on their own autonomous goals and agendas. I think that we do ourselves a disservice by pretending that that period of the Left's history just didn't happen and that we're just going to go forward on an unexamined politic from the 1970s. We do have an opportunity to learn from that period of the Left's history and to incorporate it. And if we're going to be doing analysis, thinking about the directions of our movements, that's one very important direction. We have to understand how class actually operates in this country of ours that was founded on the theft of Native Land and that has routinely imported Third World labour either to be cheap labour, or imported the resources and skills that people can bring from their countries in the Third World. We have to look at how the system relies increasingly on raw exploitation of women's labour, and keeps women in line with murderous violence. Doing that analysis will make our movement stronger. Whether it immediately addresses the "representation" issues within the Left is of less concern to me, actually, than whether we're building our politics on a firm basis to take it forward. I also don't want to say that analysis can be separate from action, because the way that we test all of our theories -- the way we actually learn what is actually true on the ground, the way communities and the economy are actually structured -- is by engaging in the struggle.

When we look at this picture -- the role of groupings like Rebuilding the Left becomes ever more clear. Not only do experienced activists need to back up the organizing initiatives emerging from the lower levels on the economic ladder. But we also need to challenge the reactionary currents in our own communities. People are waking up right now, reaching for political solutions. They see stuff on TV, they know they can't trust the media, they know they don't trust the government. They are going to take the answers that are available. We have to be ready to provide some answers or at least ask the right questions.



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