An anti-austerity movement is a good thing to have around. It makes it easy to connect different movements -- from women to migrant workers to unions and the environment -- by referring to the economic origins of their issues: sacrificing the common good for corporate profits.
In the past few months, we at Smart Change are excited to be a part of a surge of activity that is analyzing, opposing, and proposing alternatives to austerity.
We printed over 100,000 stickers and posters, which we have been distributing across the country. Over 3,000 people have shared UniteAgainstAusterity.ca with friends. We were featured in Ricochet, the Media Co-op and Rabble.ca. We organized packed panel discussions in Toronto and Vancouver (photos here and here; early video here; Reilly Yeo's fantastic powerpoint here). These were followed by lively discussions about connecting different movements to unite against austerity. (More events are coming soon!)
We're not alone! Popular organizations in Quebec carried out a May Day bank occupation in Montreal, and numerous marches converged in the city centre. Avi Lewis gave a talk in Alberta entitled "Battling Austerity with a Bold Green Vision" before he joined our panel in Toronto, and Nova Scotians have united against austerity in opposition to the Liberal party's cuts. The Media Co-op announced a special issue addressing austerity.
South of the border, Jacobin magazine took a long look at the Canadian Liberal Party's contributions to austerity, and Ruth Wilson Gilmore, a leading black scholar of criminalization, called mass protests in Ferguson and Baltimore "uprisings against austerity." In Europe, mass anti-austerity rallies marked May Day, while a slow-motion showdown over austerity measures continues, notably in Greece and Spain.
Our goal is to make sure that, going into the next election, all Canadians understand how austerity policies have affected us, our friends, relations and neighbours.
We're looking beyond the election, a part of a growing, global movement that seeks to reverse the flow of wealth to the 1%, and build a sustainable and just economy.
Want to get involved? Here are some options, and stay tuned for more: