On a weekend early in November 2012, 80 activists, organizers, and strategic thinkers from across Canada and Quebec, including Indigenous organizers, met in Port Elgin, Ontario.
This was the Port Elgin Assembly Call Letter everyone received:
We are at a pivotal moment in history.
As a species, we are confronting an ecological crisis of our own making through global warming that requires social change both urgent and profound if we are to prevent a near future in which human life – maybe all life – is burned up in famine and war.
In addition to increasing climate chaos, fresh water is growing scarcer, and agricultural capacity is in danger of collapse. At the same time, we are living through the economic and political crisis known as “neoliberalism”: a comprehensive strategy waged by corporations since the 1970s of breaking the power of the organized left in order to dismantle the welfare state, depress wages, and transfer ever greater wealth to capital.
Here in Canada, we have the most right-wing government of any liberal democracy in the world. Stephen Harper is a formidable strategist and his agenda is supported by a large, well-funded, and coordinated network of think tanks and conservative organizations, including national media outlets. Harper has targeted the democratic basis of opposition to this corporate/right wing agenda.
The weakness of those who are fighting for progressive social change, and fighting to address climate change, is a product of this deliberate disorganization. For us, the crisis is not only a crisis of the other side’s strength – it is a crisis of our weakness.
There is plenty of evidence that most people are not happy with the way things are.
We must begin to develop a longer-term strategy aimed at developing our capacity to achieve fundamental change