Naomi Klein writes, “How else can we interpret the G20’s final communiqué, which includes not even a measly tax on banks or financial transactions, yet instructs governments to slash their deficits in half by 2013. This is a huge and shocking cut, and we should be very clear who will pay the price: students who will see their public educations further deteriorate as their fees go up; pensioners who will lose hard-earned benefits; public-sector workers whose jobs will be eliminated. And the list goes on. These types of cuts have already begun in many G20 countries including Canada, and they are about to get a lot worse.”
The G8/G20 countries and their criminal corporations manufacture most of the weapons on the planet, profit from war, subsidize oil corporations such as BP, and are responsible for displacing millions from their homes and lands into poverty each year.
The government is being heavily criticized from all sides both for the violent policies of the G8/G20 and for this unprecedented security budget that turned Toronto into a rights-free zone. The government wants to deflect blame onto those who stood up to protect communities from the daily violence of G8/G20 policies. We stand in support of all of the brave people who protested the G8/G20 in Toronto, including the organizers being targeted via pre-emptive and targeted arrests, who are our allies and friends.
As we saw in the streets of Toronto, in preventative arrests of respected long-time organizers, and in mass roundups and police violence, the state wants to expand its power against the people. The government is targeting community organizers, including several people of colour. These targeted arrests and politically motivated, malicious charges are intended to make us afraid to speak up, and to silence the dissent the state knows will follow from the undemocratic decisions and austerity measures passed at the G20 meetings that will affect us all.
VANCOUVER STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FOR TORONTO G8/G20 ARRESTEES
· We call for the immediate release of all those being held, most notably of the much-loved and nationally respected community organizers who are being targeted by politically motivated, pre-emptive, and malicious arrests.
· We call for all these politically motivated charges against long-time organizers to be dropped immediately.
· Police state tactics such as pre-emptive arrests, targeted arrests, and mass roundups, seek to quash dissent against G8/G20 policies that affect us all; Vancouver stands in support with all those being held in Toronto.
Statements of Support:
Ian Angus, Professor of Humanities, former Director of Canadian Studies at Simon Fraser University, author of books on Canadian political culture A Border Within (1997) and Identity and Justice (2009):
“Canada is unravelling. The social and economic security net that was constructed by the struggles of working people and community organizations is being dismantled by the neo-liberal global economy that the G8/G20 represents. Homelessness, unemployment and marginalization are on the increase. Canadian society wants to be able to debate these matters, to have full information available to them, and to be able to present their views to the wider public. Without such a national and international debate, citizens are held captive by the private interests of wealthy corporations. The role of the police in this situation is significant. Recent events in Toronto suggest that the police are acting solely to protect the agenda of the wealthy few and the Harper government that is their tool. Canadians must stand together with their international allies to oppose the use of police repression to silence the exploration of alternative socio-economic forms and policies.”
Rita Wong, Writer and Associate Professor, Emily Carr University:
“These arbitrary mass arrests are unconstitutional. Furthermore, mass roundups and pre-emptive arrests serve a very unethical political purpose: to deflect attention from the systematic and widespread violence caused by the G20 policy decisions, which aim to slash public, social, educational, and health infrastructure around the world instead of holding the private financial sector responsible for its own errors and corruption. Those being held should be immediately released, and the focus of our attention should be to refuse the damage that the G20 attempts to inflict on democratic public spaces and networks.”
Dr. Stephen Collis, Professor, Simon Fraser University:
“The pattern post economic crisis is becoming clear—not a move away from a failing neoliberalism, but an unprecedented extension of its policies: privatization and cuts; meet any dissent with billy clubs, pre-emptive arrests and mass roundups. What we must do is just as clear: resist with all our might; stand together in solidarity. Free all Toronto G20 arrestees now!”
Charles Demers, Author of Vancouver Special and Comedian:
“The same government that pleads powerlessness and poverty when it comes to saving our environment, looking after retirees or ensuring that our health and education needs are met seems to discover new virility and incredibly deep pockets when it comes to cracking heads in defense of the most powerful people in the world. It's a shame.”
Dr. Dave Diewert, Streams of Justice (a faith-based social justice group in Vancouver), former Graduate Professor of Theology:
"The death of democracy is upon us. The brutal criminalization of dissent and the vicious police assault on protestors at the G8/20 reveals how state-sanctioned violence is employed to protect the ruling elite from hearing the legitimate concerns of people whose lives are deeply impacted by decisions made behind the steel fence. When a massive security apparatus aggressively shields the leaders from the people, and punishes them for attempting to make their voices heard, we have an untenable political system.”
Endorsed by: Brad Cran, poet laureate of Vancouver; Council of Canadians (Delta/Richmond chapter); Vancouver Status of Women; Ian Angus, Professor of Humanities, former Director of Canadian Studies at Simon Fraser University, author of books on Canadian political culture A Border Within (1997) and Identity and Justice (2009); Jerry Zaslove, Professor and founding faculty member of Simon Fraser University, Meredith Quartermain, award-winning BC poet; Gillian Jerome, Professor at University of British Columbia and award-winning author; Samir Gandesha, Professor and Graduate Chair of Humanities at SFU; Anthony Fenton, Independent Journalist and member, Canadian Freelance Union; Larissa Lai, Professor at the University of British Columbia and award-winning author, Stephen Collis, SFU Professor and award-winning poet, Dave Diewert, Streams of Justice organizer and former Graduate Professor of Theology; , Jeff Derksen, SFU Professor, critic, and award-winning poet, Simon Fraser University Teaching Support Staff Union(TSSU) Social Justice Committee; Rita Wong, Professor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and award-winning poet,Mark Leier, Professor of History at SFU, Charles Demers, Author and Comedian, Sid Shniad of Independent Jewish Voices BC, Clint Burnham, Professor at Simon Fraser University, Peter Quartermain, Emeritus Professor of English, University of British Columbia
None of us is free until all of us are free!
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