Prior to the divisive segregation of the modern political conscience into “left” and “right” – increasingly meaningless labels – there was only one cause, that of freedom versus tyranny. People that have toiled under the yoke of monarchs, of conquerors, of racial apartheid and genocide all understood this distinction in a way that perhaps cannot seem quite real to those of us living in a time and place when liberty and wealth is the norm. But seen against the backdrop of history, this is a precious and vulnerable enclave. Jefferson said that the “price of freedom is eternal vigilance”, and in fact any time a people, satiated and happy, turn their eyes from the castles in the distance they will be overrun by a most banal evil – the consent of ordinary people to conform to mass opinion and sanction injustice by their inaction. Protest is not, must not be seen as some tiresome imposition by ne’er-do-wells, but a crucial heritage of freedom, and when a state is incrementally degrading civil rights, bombing wedding parties half way around the globe, taxing its citizens into poverty and imprisoning political activists it becomes the crucial duty of everyone who values justice and can still draw breath.
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” – Elie Wiesel
“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” – Abraham Lincoln
“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” – Howard Zinn
“No cause is left but the most ancient of all, the one, in fact, that from the beginning of our history has determined the very existence of politics, the cause of freedom versus tyranny.” – Hannah Arendt
“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” – John G. Diefenbaker
Smoking Guns — Suggested Reading
Archive (Most recent headlines first)
Canada Day: 2,000 protest G20 summit arrests | Outraged G20 protesters rally against police abuse and arbitrary detention | The G20’s ignominious end: Panic, outrage as police detain hundreds for hours in pouring rain | Peaceful Eastern Ave jail solidarity action attacked by Toronto police | Police Raid U of T Student Union for Hosting G20 Protesters | Black Bloc tactics sparked Saturday G20 vandalism, confrontation | G20 protesters clash with Vancouver police | ‘Anarchists’ leave trail of destruction, peaceful 3hr march forgotten | Naomi Klein and 500 marchers crash party at tent city | Protesters flood the streets on first day of Toronto G20 summit | Mass sit-in in Egypt over police killing | Huntsville G8: Military, locked down security, few protesters | Canada flunks on indigenous rights: G20 native protesters | Greek anti-austerity strikes hit tourists | Marcus Gee: Why the G20 protesters won’t condemn violence | Hospitals, medics prepare for G20 injuries and tear gas | Peaceful protests continue in Toronto as G20 nears | Iran to send ship through Gaza blockade | Experts Draft Document Critical Of ACTA: Signatures Wanted | Anti-poverty activists occupy ESSO station during Monday G20 protest — for ten minutes | Toronto activists launch G20 alternative media centre | Police add water cannon to G20 arsenal | Ban G20 summit agents provocateurs: activist groups to PM | Oxfam astroturf march leads early G20 protest for bank tax | Russian police seize 100,000 anti-Vladimir Putin books | Activists plan walkout and tent city to protest G8/G20 summits | G20 centre for protesters set to open | Police use teargas on disgruntled World Cup workers | London G20: Jury acquits protester accused of being ringleader in clashes | G20 activists accuse CSIS of intimidation | G20 protesters say they won’t be intimidated by police | Egypt says Gaza blockade has failed, border crossing opened in wake of aid flotilla assault to stay | Canadian protesters condemn Israeli raids on aid flotillas | Autopsy: Gaza flotilla activists were shot in head at close range | Bilderberg 2010: Why the protesters are your very best friends | Underground economy emerges in Ontario in response to HST | Gaza flotilla activists unarmed: Canadian | Toronto police show off G20 summit security | Prospective G20 prison camp medics told patients may be faking | Protests in Middle East, Europe, follow deadly Israeli attack on flotilla as UN convenes emergency session | Russian police crush anti-government protests | Israeli troops attack ship carrying aid to Gaza killing 16 | B.C. anti-HST petition hits target weeks ahead of schedule | Toronto police buy four ’sound cannons’ for G20 | The Toronto G20 Police State Crackdown | Couchiching First Nation’s highway ‘toll booth’ peaceful: OPP | Toronto banks review G20 security after Ottawa RBC fire | RBC firebombed as protest, group claims | Anarchists plan ‘militant’ protests at Toronto G20 | Anti-HST petition nears goal in B.C. | HST rage puts B.C. Liberals in a spot | Bid To ‘Storm’ Irish Parliament During Bailout Protest Foiled | Toronto labour, native protesters ready for G20 demonstrations | Toronto G20 protest area moved to Queens Park | Greece erupts as men from IMF prepare to wield axe | All Toronto G20 protests will be directed to Trinity Bellwoods Park | Halifax G8 protester charged with assault | Protesters and police get ready to square off at G20 summit | Masks off at G8 protest: rally leader | Grassroots summit calls for international climate court | First Nations protest against HST | Greek civil servants strike, challenge EU/IMF talks | BC Govt, Anti-HST Campaigners Dispute Legality of Pro-HST Leaflet | Up to 50,000 protest Charest’s tax hikes | HST fight makes allies of B.C. political foes | Toronto braces for G20 logistics crunch | ‘Anarchists’ Plan to Disrupt April 15 US Tea Party Protests | Thousands protest Quebec budget | Montreal police accused of protest sabotage | 100 arrested at anti police brutality march in Montreal | Former premier Bill Vander Zalm rallies against the HST in BC | General strike cripples Greece as protesters clash with police | EU Parliament votes down ACTA global copyright resolution by overwhelming margin | Athens erupts as Greek austerity plan passes | Anti-prorogation group becomes pro-participation | Downtown Toronto to become a fortress for G20 summit | Black bloc taints anti-Olympic movement | China insider sees revolution brewing | Greek workers stage general strike | Feared police crackdown absent during Games | Toronto braces for G20 disruption, Ottawa to pick up security tab | Vancouver Olympics protesters fall silent as Black Bloc ruins it for everyone | Ivory Coast protesters killed | Convention centre confirmed as location for Toronto G20 summit | Police lines block overwhelmingly peaceful Olympic protest march on BC Place Stadium | Protesters in Vancouver slum force Olympic torch off-course | Clashes reported as Iranians march on 31st anniversary of revolution | Greek workers ‘give their reply’ to proposed austerity plan with national strike | Activists Shut Down Australian Government Websites in Internet Filter Protest | Protesters target final leg of Vancouver Olympic torch run | Domestic threats biggest Olympic security concern: expert | Kremlin shocked as Kaliningrad stages huge anti-government protest | Pie tossing is terrorism, MP says. Seriously. | Thousands of Canadians protest shuttering of Parliament | Anti-prorogation protest dogs PM | War resister released from U.S. prison | UK: Anti-terror stop and search policy ruled illegal by European human rights court | German ‘Fleshmob’ Protests Airport Scanners
Iran admits jailed protesters were beaten to death | Olympic torch delayed by Toronto protest | Copenhagen: the sound of silence | Olympic torch protested in Montreal | Italians march to demand Berlusconi step down | Anti-HST protest at Ontario legislature spills onto Toronto streets | Tory HST protest halts Ontario question period | D.C. to pay 13.7 million to mistreated World Bank, IMF protesters | UK Doctors say most Britons reject swine flu vaccine | Anti-Olympic activists decry ‘Orwellian’ treatment | US citizens fight back against traffic cameras | Iranian demonstrators clash with police | Protesters block Olympic torch relay | Protesters disrupting question period detained and bloodied by hill security | UK Police in Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£9m scheme to log ‘domestic extremists’ | Montebello police provocateurs called before ethics panel | U.S. artists slam use of music in Guantanamo interrogations | Students Protest Cops In School After One Of Their Own Arrested | Students to protest police role in schools | China executes Tibetan protesters | Police fend off protesters at Bush speech in Montreal | Nortel employees to lose pensions, Liberals vow change to bankruptcy laws | ‘You’re a terrorist’: Palestinian heckles Tony Blair in West Bank mosque | UK: National Health Service frontline staff shun H1N1 vaccine | Police break up IMF protests in Istanbul | UK: G20 ‘Police’ Protest Troupe in Bras and Stockings Charged With Impersonating Police | Provocateur Cops Caught Disguised As ‘Anarchists’ At Pittsburgh G20 | US braced for surge of protest over war in Afghanistan | G20 Police & Military Savagely Attack Peaceful Protesters In Pittsburgh Park | Military Police Kidnap G20 Protester, Shove Him Into Unmarked Car | G20 protesters blasted by sonic cannon | American Citizens Attacked With Military Sound Cannons & Tear Gas At G20 | Thousands rally against coming HST tax in BC | Tens of thousands march in Iran | Iraq shoe thrower released from jail, testifies to brutal torture | Up to two million march to US Capitol to protest against Obama’s spending in ‘tea-party’ demonstration | Sonic weapons used in Iraq positioned at congressional townhall meetings in San Diego county | American dissenters urge: “Stop the 9-11 cover-up” | Hutterites press fight vs. licence photos | ‘Freedom lover’ behind ‘Obama Joker’ posters | Prominent protesters stand trial in Iran | Sarnia resident plans ‘moon’ protest of US border spy balloon | Pentagon Caught Subverting Protest Group | Chinese dissident saved by Canada details horror | Global protests condemn new Iran crackdown | Protesters defy Iranian protest ban, violent clashes ensue | Iranian doctor on protests: Regime covering up deaths, using foreign militants | Urumqi Massacre: The repressive reality behind China’s modern mask | Anti-G8 demonstrators clash with police in Italy | Cynthia McKinney Demands Immediate Release After Her Gaza-Bound Boat is Seized by Israeli Navy | Pro-rights ‘Charter 08ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â² Manifesto author could face prison in China | Are the Iranian Protests Another US Orchestrated “Color Revolution?” | France forbids protesters from wearing face masks | Violence on the streets of Tehran as police beat back protesters | Iran protests: Fifth day of unrest as regime cracks down on critics | Twitter emerges as news source during Iran media crackdown | DoD Training Manual Describes Protest As “Low-Level Terrorism” | Gunfire breaks out at massive Tehran protest | Iranian protesters trash Tehran | Mohawk protesters block Ontario bridge over arming of border guards | Peru protest violence kills natives and police | Protests against Putin sweep Russia as factories go broke | Police pounce on 20th Tiananmen anniversary | Tiananmen Square: briefly, anything seemed possible | Gitmo protest captured on film | ‘Brothers’ Bush, Clinton draw ire, ovations during Toronto visit | UK: Retaining images from surveillance of protesters ruled illegal | Tamil protesters blockade Gardiner expressway to highlight Sri Lankan plight | G20 police ‘used undercover men to incite crowds’ | Cars moving, but Toronto Tamil protest questioned | May Day sparks clashes in Germany, Turkey | UK: Police caught on tape trying to recruit climate activist as informant | Israeli troops kill apartheid wall protester | Thousands Join in Georgia Protest | Moldova’s ‘Twitter Revolution’: Made in America? | Amateur video blasts G20 death coverup | Protests in Moldova Explode, With Help of Twitter | Canadian Parliament votes again to let U.S. war resisters stay | Britons block Google Street View van | G20 ‘kettle’ police containment traps protesters, photograph a requirement for exit | G20 protests: Riot police, or rioting police? | G20 protests: riot police clash with demonstrators | UK media primes London for violence in advance of G20 summit | G20 warned unrest will sweep globe | More than 1 million protesters take part in nationwide strike in France | Annual anti-police protest leads to chaos in streets of Montreal | Pakistan restores outspoken judge | Pakistani police attack opposition march for independent judiciary | Judges give Iraqi shoe thrower 3 years in prison | UK police maintain databank on thousands of protesters | Irish Police Protest And Call The Government A Criminal Accessory | British Secret Service, Army Alert on Bank Riots | Greeks shut airports, services to protest economy | UK: Police warn of ’summer of rage’ due to recession | Huge protest over Irish economy, pension clawback | Seventh Tamil suicide by self-immolation to protest Sri Lankan genocide | UK: Landlord fights police plan for CCTV at pub | UK: Why protesters are now stalkers: An object lesson in legal usage creep | Police and farmers clash in Greece, militant group attacks police station | Thousands protest in Russia over financial crisis | Sri Lankans protest genocide at Toronto’s Union Station | France responds to economic downturn with a general strike | Iceland’s government collapses | Montreal in bid to unmask protesters | Anarchists battle police in central Athens | Olympic security boss puts protesters on notice | London Times: 2009 Heralds “A New Age Of Rebellion” | In Iceland, the heat is on | Police fire pepper spray at Iceland protesters | Rioters Were Paid To Provoke the Police in Bulgaria | Mass Protests in Sofia, Bulgaria, After Protest Ban | Protests over Israel’s Gaza offensive held in Canadian, world cities | Worldwide protests urge end to attacks on Gaza
Food, medicine, fuel needed in Gaza, agencies warn | Gaza relief boat carrying former Congresswoman rammed by Israelis | Protests in Canada, Europe, Middle East condemn Israeli attacks in Gaza | Greek Cops Caught on Video Posing as Anarchists | UK Culture secretary wants international age restrictions for web | Protests in Australia over proposal to block Web sites | Russian police beat auto tariff protesters | ‘Greek Syndrome’ is catching as youth take to streets in France, Sweden | IMF Chief Warns Of Riots In Response To Economic Crisis | George Bush shoe-thrower ‘too severely beaten’ for court appearance | Greek protesters seek European support | Army ‘Strategic Shock’ Report Says Troops May Be Needed To Quell U.S. Civil Unrest | Amnesty: Disproportionate Police Force Used Against Peaceful Greek Demonstrators | Greek Police Battle Mourners, Memories of Dictatorship after Student Shooting | Zimbabwe tackles cash shortage amid riots and looting | Protesters clear out of Thai airports | Icelanders storm central bank in protest | Thai PM stripped of power as court finds government guilty of corruption | Thai protesters begin ‘final battle’ against militarist government | 5 injured during protest in Iceland over economic meltdown | Beijing peasants bullied, beaten off of family farms by state-developer blocs | ACLU wants probe into police-staged DNC protest | Ex-Italian President: Provocateur Riots Then “Beat The Shit Out Of Protesters” | Wall Street banks in $70bn staff payout | Peace activists demand Canada leave Afghanistan | Protesters: Police pepper-sprayed peaceful gathering | Suddenly, Denver ‘like a police state’ | News crew crashes Denver’s DNC ‘concentration camp’ | ‘88 uprising scorched in Burmese memory | Supporters, protesters greet Olympic torch’s arrival in Beijing | Chinese citizens dutifully file protest applications in Beijing, suffer detention | Journalists urge ban on police posing as reporters | OPP officer posed as journalist during 2007 Mohawk protest | OPP threatened natives to end blockade | Protestors added to database of terror suspects | Chinese riot in Shenzen over rape, murder, subsequent police coverup | Police inspector posed as militant protester | Alberta natives protest oil exploration on their land | Anti-terror cops probed Ottawa punk band for Cartoon, Political Speech | Toronto rallies denounce Burma, China regimes | CSIS Spying on Natives, Olympic Dissidents | A Report On the Ottawa SPP Protest, April 19 | Toronto Chinese Rally Turns Ugly–UPDATED With Video | A word from the opposition: Mass antiwar demonstration takes to the streets of Toronto | Massacre of the monks in Burma
Burmese monks sent to prison camps | Protesting monks beaten by security forces in Burma, miltary junta buying monk robes | Quebec police admit agents posed as protesters | Undercover cops tried to incite violence in Montebello: union leader | Officers never posed as protesters: Quebec police | Revolution, flashmobs, and brain chips. A grim vision of the future
Discuss your findings here.