[Marxism] Absence of left at Ottawa demonstration
djnesbit at connect.carleton.ca
Sun Jul 23 22:09:37 MDT 2006
Marvin's analysis of the July 22 Ottawa demonstration is largely
correct. He and I ran into each other at the protest - I was one of the
IS paper sellers he spoke of. I think there were two reasons for the
low visibility of the left at the demo. One factor is local, the other
1) In terms of local factors, the lack of any organized intervention by
any left group, except the IS, gave the impression of a lack of a left
presence. I saw many people from the Ottawa left but they were not
there in any organized manner, thus making a left presence invisible.
Aside from the IS, and occasionally the CP, there are usually no
visible interventions by the left at Ottawa demos. I'm confident Marvin
will agree with me on this, if anyone thinks it's just sectarian
2) Ottawa's large student left was either present at the demo in no
organized manner, working, or working out of town. I'm sure this was
partially the case across Canada, the US and elsewhere. The largest
home of the Ottawa student left, the Student Coalition Against War, can
mobilize hundreds of students during the school year. This summer it
has been a skeletal organization and was unable to organize a serious
intervention (SCAW did put up the huge "Troops Out Now" banner on the
bleachers). As for working or out-of-town students, this was certainly
the case of the IS and also of SCAW. I know that most of the IS members
were working that day or working in other cities. Had the demonstration
been during the school year, students would have been there in the
hundreds, possibly thousands. During Bush's visit to Ottawa in November
2004, the vast majority of the 15,000-20,000 protestors were students.
The next Ottawa demo will likely be organized by a new coalition
uniting trade unions and student groups with Palestinian, Lebanese and
Muslim organizations. The coalition is being launched this Tuesday.
And if it is any consolation, I sold upwards of a hundred copies of SW.
But I suppose that all depends on what you think of the Canadian SW!
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