Today was the Toxic Tour of Toronto as part of the themed day on environmental justice. Appropriately it was very hot and humid and smoggy. It seems the numbers of people showing up have been doubling every day. Hooray!
A few more people came in from KW today which was great. Rachel Small (whose blog is linked on the side) made some pig snouts outta egg cartons, and we dressed up as corporate pigs, meaning I wore my one nice white oxford shirt and my skinny tie cuz that’s all I’ve got. Happily the white shirt was not too hot, probably because I didn’t button it up to the top button as usual.
I got to the march about half an hour late but they hadn’t left yet. There were some awesome floats! I liked the BP float that had ducks and birds covered in black with a drilling rig, though it was kinda sad. People spent some quality time on these things.
The Raging Grannies were there! Decked out in bucket hats with lots of buttons and long floral skirts, and one even had her cane. They seem to me, quite hardcore. They sang some songs on the mic.
Now, for a guest writer! Kevin Field! Take it away Kevin!
I had the privilege of hearing Rachel’s spoken word piece on Guatemala for the third time, and so far it has not failed to move me to tears and move my feet to action. It’s the reason I decided to come to the G20: I couldn’t stay at home with these stories fresh in my head, when there’s an opportunity to stand up and speak out for those that Canadian mining companies have silenced, through intimidation, murder, and rape, over and over again. All so that I can type this shit up on a laptop and lock my door at night and drink from a metal Nalgene (less cancer, don’tcha know) and BBQ my potatoes in tinfoil while arguing with someone over whether small arms or L-3-Communications-guided bombs or cars or rocket ships are a bigger waste of metal.
But back to the point, Rachel is among several inspiring, courageous, articulate, and caring women I have been overwhelmingly blessed to learn from and hang out with thanks to the G20. It’s been both hilarious and sad to witness the juxtaposition between the living, loving, engaging communities (not without problems, of course) and the destructive, fearful, and manipulative environment the state has sponsored for this week. Even the cops had to laugh–it was a nice humanizing moment for everyone, I think–when someone suggested that the only way he’d talk with cops would be if they were naked. Indeed, if only we could disarm ourselves that much both physically and metaphorically…but I’ll take a moment of shared laughter when we can get it.
Hey Janice, are you asleep yet? How about now? <insert LRAD sound here>
I.e., back to your original and more talented storyteller, whom I believe you know as Janice:
Give it up for mad poet Kevin Field!!!!
Haha that was cool. I must add that when Rachel did her poem I definitely teared up again. The people felt it and several came up to her afterwards and told her how moved they were by her words.
More on the march. It stopped in front of RBC, an old stone building that had MINING engraved on it (I don’t know what the building was exactly, probably had to do with um, mining), and in front of the court house. Uh, I’m getting tired of doing these play by plays so I’ll give you the highlights.
At RBC, an INGENIOUS chant went “Tar B C!” WHICH I can’t believe I had not heard before or seen on a banner. Tar BC in reference to RBC as the premier financier of the tar sands (oil sands as known in the corporate media) oil extraction project in Alberta, which is one of the most pollutive and environmentally destructive mining projects in the world. RBC likes to advertise that they are a “green” company, you know, they suggest a paperless option for your bankbook! But in reality, they make the big bucks on investment projects that are clearly not environmentally friendly in any way. Best part in front of RBC was when a couple of activists ran up to the window (before the cops formed a bike line) and hit the glass with their foam hammers. Haha. I enjoyed that very much.
Paul brought the flag that I forgot at home in Kitchener for me today which was great. I made it based on one of Emily Slofstra’s cool t-shirts, and it says “Stop destroying our planet! It’s where I keep my stuff!” and it had a very impressionistic painting of Earth with a big black splotch in the south Pacific labelled “Oil crisis. Shit.” I chuckled to myself alllll day about it. The other sign I made says “The opposite of war isn’t peace; it’s creation!” (a la Rent) and the other side “When injustice becomes law, dissent becomes duty.” Oh!
The rhythms of resistance samba band was in full tilt again and I boogied with the group east on College to University. The last stop at the court house there were some speakers. A social justice lawyer who is part of the firm that is suing the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Canadian ambassador to Guatemala around Canadian mining company in Guatemala, which Rachel Small knows more about. (Check out her blog!) And then Test their Logik, the actually radical hip hop duo busted some mad rhymes. It is so refreshing to hear hip hop that is political and challenges the state and injustice instead of bumpin and grindin to lewd beats about bitches and hoes and shorty is my girlfriend bling I got shot, you know.
So Kevin and I are both staying with Keren tonight. Our friends Marcel and Marina came over and Keren made us an epic dinner that we enjoyed on the back patio. We talked the usual dinner talk: Nietzsche, the rule of law, jello brains, the futility of lighting candles in the wind, that bastard Freud, that shit-flinging Foucault, and Keren’s amazing maple syrup/cider vinegar and oil salad dressing. Oh my taste buds. The evening has been cool, breezy and lovely. It is still breezy inside now, because Keren has a fan.