Security threat ahead of 2010 games? You’d think so wouldn’t you?
It was recently revealed that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is monitoring potentially violent activist groups in Vancouver ahead…
It was recently revealed that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is monitoring potentially violent activist groups in Vancouver ahead of the 2010 Olympic games.
One of the most scrutinized radical groups in Vancouver is the Anti Poverty Committee (APC).
While the APC is often maligned by the media, the group is small and their actions have been relatively few and far between.
In a city with such crushing poverty, where so many are deprived and desperate, I would have expected to see the rise of a large militant social movement, but so far this has not been the case.
I witnessed first hand the vital role that direct action often plays in a successful social struggle.
During the 2005 Quebec Student Strike, 300,000 university and CEGEP students went on strike after the provincial government cut $103 million dollars from the Quebec bursary program.
After months of petitioning, letter writing and peaceful protest the government refused to give back a cent of the money they had cut.
However, as the strike grew, protests became more heated and blockades, occupations, and property destruction occurred daily.
As the strike gained momentum and the level of militancy increased, the government offered to return more and more of the money until finally agreeing to give back $90 million.
Movements often need teeth. When faced with a government that refuses to make concessions, social struggles need radicals to engage in coercive activities and lend strength to the negotiating position of the moderates.
While CSIS is completely justified in forecasting a radical movement, as the conditions are perfect, it seems for now that they are chasing ghosts.
But as more social housing is lost and more people are made homeless as the games draw nearer it will be interesting to see how the situation develops.
I cannot think of anything more frightening to a government than a concentrated group of thousands of starving and angry citizens with absolutely nothing to lose.