15 May, 2017

Survey Results

Responses to the Courage survey of March 2017

When Courage launched in 2017, we issued a survey aimed at the left (defined as anyone who cared to respond to a survey of the left) asking a series of questions about movements and electoral politics in Canada. Here’s a summary of who responded and what they said.

Key findings:
  • A majority of respondents (75% of whom have volunteered for the NDP) think the NDP has an important role to play in progressive change
  • A strong majority (over 75%) believe that movements are essential to achieving progressive change
  • Over 80% believe that the NDP should mobilize between elections on non-electoral issues
  • Over 80% see a need for a shift away from staff-driven leadership and toward members in the NDP
  • 70% see a need to push the NDP leftward, hold strategy discussions that involve multiple sectors and movements
  • Over 90% see a potential for movements to reach beyond their current bases of support
Who responded:

We received just under 400 responses. Not everyone responded to every question, so numbers may not add up to the same totals. Non-responses are not included in percentages below.

34: median age

37: average age

129 were born before 1980

223 are under 37

99 are under 27


138: Southern Ontario

66: British Columbia

59: Quebec:

37: Saskatchewan

34: Alberta

23: Nova Scotia

18: Manitoba

7: Northern Ontario

2: Prince Edward Island

2: Outside of Canada

1: Northwest Territories

Political involvement:

46% Federal NDP

42% Provincial NDP

37% Labour movement

36% Feminism

34% Anti-racism

33% Indigenous Solidarity

30% Environmental Justice

Time spent in the NDP:

25% had never volunteered for the NDP

55% indicated “dozens of hours” or more volunteering for the NDP

30% indicated “100s of hours” or more

“The most effective or most promising political moment you’ve been a part of”:

The full list of 195 responses:



Quebec student strike

MST in Brazil

2015 election where we tossed out Harper

Hard to say. Organizing and working with $15 & Fairness, Leap Ottawa Saute, the IWW, Solidarity Ottawa, and my union local, have all been rewarding in their own way. I also ran for the NDP provincially once, and that had some promising moments, namely speaking to more people outside the nominal Left. Overall, however, it’s depressing how few major victories there have been on all of these fronts.. It’s the little victories that keep me going, coupled with the knowledge that the big victories remain infinutely possible. Hard to distill this into a single moment. Perhaps going on strike with my fellow workers, establishing our first picket line. That was a powerful moment.

No One Is Illegal – Fredericton, anti- deportation rally

Indigenous solidarity

Labour movement – because the $$$ resources and huge membership have so much potential to make change, even if it often falls short.


the fight against northern gateway and kinder morgan

The 2011 Federal Election Campaign with the New Democrats

Local organizing and mobilization efforts for Gary Holman MLA, specifically Grace Islet, Bayside Middle School, and Kraft Hockeyville

Hmmm… maybe the Quebec City anti-FTAA protests in 2001?

Getting anti-choice organizations booted out of presenting fake sex ed in Edmonton’s schools.

Working with the Work Less Party during the 2009 Vancouver Election when Betty K came third in Mayor’s race

New age labour activism.

Grassroots support for youth getting interested in activism – might not see the results for some time, but it always feels worth it.

CUPE Local 3903 strike of 2000-2001 — a victory won by democratic, solidaristic, militant unionism

QS – Manon Massé

I am not sure I would call it a movement, but my most successful campaigns have been at the civic level in New Westminster, BC.

Independent Jewish Voices Canada

Provincial NDP

The labour movement has been the most successful and organized movement that I’ve been a part of.

Strike and early days of the global justice movement

Industrial Workers of the World

Stopping Enbridge

Anti-pipeline movement

Being a volunteer on David Eby’s campaign in the last BC election in which he defeated Christy Clark. It was the first time I realized that it was possible for the effort of hard-working, like-minded people could achieve victory even against seemingly insurmountable odds.

Daughters of the Vote conference to inspire young women to go into politics, etc.

Socialist Fightback, an unappologetically marxist/socialist campus-based organization, spreading the ideas of Marxism and socialism within the university and beyond

Anti war movement in the early 2000s.

I’ve yet to find it …

I found the International Women’s Strike to be very inspiring and promising. People are interested in and open to anti-capitalist movements/arguments. I organized a rally, march, and celebration in London (ON) and it drew way more people than I expected even though it had an explicitly working class feminist message.

Niki Ashton NDP Leadership Campaign

The Art Babbitt Appreciation Society, a movement to form a labour union in Canadian Animation.

NDP #Rally4Change in Peterborough


To be honest, there have not been many inspiring political moments in my lifetime. Perhaps when the outcry against ACTA and TPP led to them being abandoned, although the powers that drafted them are engaging in similar projects again.

Divest Mount Allison + Federal NDP

Anti-tuition rallies and Day of Action within the student movement

Printemps Érable // Casseroles

tricky question! I loved the anti-war movement of 2003 that I think helped keep Canada out of Iraq.

Part of provincial coalition on electoral reform – proportional representation won plebiscite although not recognized by provincial government – many other efforts as well

The founding of the short lived Socialist Party of Ontario

The Left in the NDP

National Farmers Union

International Women’s Day

Canvassing for the NDP IN 1967-1970

Supporting the LEAP Manifesto/voting out Mulcair

black lives matter (montreal)

Save Canada Post – Our work and visibility managed to make the Door-to-Door mail delivery campaign an election issue.

Fight for 15

Environmental Movement



Nathan Cullen’s 2015 re-election campaign

The most effective political movements I’ve been a part of have always included dedicated people who are there to serve the movement. The people involved speak and act with confidence; listen with compassion and stay silent unless what they have to contribute is relevant or substantive. These groups are accepting of all but also wary of giving too much power to those who would use it to further personal or egotistical agendas. Comradship among members is fostered and built on mutual respect and trust. Every person is valued for their contributions and no one is asked to give more than they are able. Meetings and work sessions are well-organized and professional but also leave room for levity and playfulness.

Feminist coalition building within communities.


Indigenous movement

The fight for higher wages

municipal elections

Jennifer French election

antiglobalization movement before 9/11

The current fight for electoral reform, specifically advocating for proportional representation. It feels like a broken promise that can lead voters back to the NDP.

The student movement, Idle No More

Eat Think Vote event organized by the Food Regina Network leading up to the last federal election. Many Regina citizens gathered to share a local meal and engage their local candidates on food policy issues. A very well attended and engaging political event.

trade unions

Federal NDP

I have never been part of anything I would refer to as a political movement (nothing on a large scale), but perhaps I am unclear on what that means. The most effective or promising political work I have done is neighbourhood tenant organizing with Parkdale Organize in Toronto, a semi-anarchist neighbourhood organization composed primarily of working class tenants from Parkdale.

The Quebec student movement

2015 federal election


I currently feel really discouraged by partisan *political* movements, however social oriented movements (which are arguably political) have been the most inspiring. The most effective has been peer-to-peer education, both in discussions and workshops. The most intense has happened in the last few months in university settings, however the most inspiring was working with high school students on engaging them with food security, HIV/AIDs, and refugee/migration issues.

Not quite sure what your looking for. I’ve been part of Sask Union of Nurses political action, SCC charter challenge, SUN nurses exempted from superviosor language in SEA, arbitrated C.A. In 2016.

Fight for $15 and Fairness

New West United against racism and bigotry. Volunteer for local federal, provincial, and municipal candidates, although not a party member.

1983 Anti-Nuclear Actions, 2002 Anti-Harris Actions, 2017 Women’s March on Washington

Labour – working at employee level to protect workers rights

Reform at the municipal level

Feminist movement

BDS organizing in Regina. There was a wider network to tap into, a clear call for solidarity and clear local campaigns that could be won (and were!)

Working to defeat of Stephen Harper

So far, working with my local NDP MP and volunteering for the federal NDP has been most of my experience. Going door to door for to get our MP elected was exciting, but it was not necessarily a battle ground riding.

Likely the municipal campaign in Saskatoon where we elected a load of women and progressives

Ryan Meili campaign

Forming a union in my workplace

Rachel Notley’s victory in Alberta in the 2015 provincial election

Anti-mining resistance in Latin America; educational campaigns that taught decolonization and principles of feminism.

Building student activist networks at the University of Winnipeg

The Social and Communitarian Minga, Colombia, 2008

Whichever moment we are in

they all have been poor

Live-in protest camps

Electing David Eby for VPG

Z Media Institute

I organized a successful meeting for journalist Eva Bartlett to discuss Syria

There were moments in the anti-globalization movement that felt very effective and like we were winning. More recently, municipal organizing sometimes feels effective

The antiwar march before Bush 2 went into Iraq.


Jennifer Hollett’s 2015 election campaign in University Rosedale

When i ran in the 2015 federal election as a Cooperative Interdependent candidate, after being disqualified by central NDP as a nominayion contestant for secretly promoting cooperation on facebook.

Leading a 2 year campaign to get my student union to divest from 4 companies involved in the Israeli occupation (among others)

Occupy Toronto

My union

Queer or divestment or leadnow under Amara

I worked for Bernie’s campaign and was part of the win in Michigan

Food justice and active transportation

Casseroles protests – celebratory activism with broad public support

I made a play that had travelled the country crowdsourcing regular citizens who acted out abuses at G20 Toronto. I was inspired by how every community we went to had active and willing participants.

I don’t know if it’s happened yet? Maybe Vote Together?

Building a grassroots anti-cuts movement on the University of Manitoba campus

Student strikes in Quebec

Women’s marches and marches in solidarity at airports.

Occupy Movement

Student movement and the skills from excutiveship

Being a delegate at the Manitoba NDP policy convention and seeing many positive progressive resolutions being passed by a large majority.

no one moment, it’s been in building communities of solidarity and trust

Fight for $15 and Fairness

Effective: Labour; Inspiring: Environmental Justice

None, really. That’s why I’m here

Jack Layton sweeping of Quebec, had encouraged my children and their friends to support N.D.P. , seeing their excitement of their first election!


Leadnow Vote Together; People’s Climate Plan – got to have a theory of change that works, got to build lists, got build teams powered by love and beer.

Orange wave in Quebec (when NDP MPs took office in many ridings at once)


The Quebec student movement and Quebec Solidaire

Hopeful for some progressive Labour Law Reform


Maple spring/student strike

Divest Dal.


Lead Now

Solidarity Halifax (presently), ACORN (past)



Leadnow Vote Together campaign

Anti-colonial organizing with Onkwehon:we people of Six Nations for the last 11 years.

Engaging/learning with worker centres in the US. Inspiring

Days of Action in the 90s?

Quebec Student Strike of 2012

Midwifery advocacy

Anti homelessness organizing, Ocap, circa 1999

student movement strike

Russ Ford campaign, Ward 6 Etobicoke-Lakeshore

A few environmental wins, and stopped a massive casino expansion in Vancouver

NDP Renewal Initiative

THIO, a trans health organization in Ottawa that works outside of partisan politics by engaging directly with the provincial medical bureaucracy, advising them on medical best practices towards transgender individuals.

CUPE Equity committee panels and protests at Brock University

Food Co op

Campaign for free education

Post-anti WTO (1999) pre-9/11 anti-globalization organizing that brought together and coordinated multiple movements working together towards a common goal.

WTO shutdown 1999

2012 Québec student strikes

Probably the global justice movement?

Fairvote Canada

Union organizing

womens march

When Students 4 Teachers held a rally outside of province house from dawn till dusk on Monday, December 5th 2017. With help from Parents 4 Teachers and the Canadian Labour Congress, we successfully ended the one day lockout in Nova Scotia public schools. It was seen as a response to the student walkout held the Friday previous, and the NSTU’s decision to begin job action.

2011 election, non-profit creation (Welcome Box), Niki Ashton’s leadership campaign.

University of Ottawa NDP

NDP McGill

2015 Alberta Provincial election (NDP)

I successfully got my university to designate and install gender neutral washrooms on campus. There is now at least one in every building and on every academic floor on campus.

Shutting down a university Board of Governors meeting

Prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Alberta’s NDP with Rachel Notely

Electing of new opposition leader at municipal level


Work floor organizing

The anti-pipelines/indigenous solidarity movement in British Columbia

Tackle Tax Havens campaign

Building a rank and file campaign to overcome the reticence of our union executive and ultimately win a month long strike

Latin American Solidarity networks

NDP Socialist caucus and teh effort to draft #SidForLeader

Now retired from 38 years of teaching — but finally winning our case at the Supreme Court of Canada was a great feeling.

Yihi Katseme Movement defending artisanal salt in Ghana

Signing petitions aimed at politicians

NS NDP in the 80s

Local / Municipal issues

Participating in the Bernie Sanders campaign and the positive energy that all the young organizers had

I think the labour movement has had its moments.

Provincial Hydro rates

Electoral reform

local vigil to mourn the death of six men killed in the mosque in Ste Foy, Quebec

Healing circles rooted in Earth-based spirituality

Ambushing Kellie Leitch or holding a rally for Electoral Reform

Protesting on Burnaby Mountain against KM

Ontario Days of Action, 1990s

CFS-FCEE Nov. 2 Day of Action

2012 student strike in Quebec.

Organizing against FTAA, 2001. Grassroots organizing against g20 policies 2002 and 2010

Strikes at York U in 2000 and 2013

Pro-choice struggle

What sector do you work in?

No sectors stood out except “other” which suggests that some key areas were possibly missing from our list of options.

The top sectors:

41% other

22% public

20% postsecondary education

17% political organizing

14% service

Attitudes toward political parties and social movements


“Political parties are the most effective way to achieve fundamental social and political change.”

“Social movements are the most effective way to achieve fundamental social and political change.”

“Political parties don’t do much without movements, but movements need political allies to consolidate their gains.”

“Things I’d like to see the NDP do”:

Mobilize members between elections: 84%

Engage in non-electoral campaigns: 83%

Hold educational events: 69%

Attend protests: 69%

Training and leadership development: 64%

Give more control to EDAs: 39%

Attitudes toward the NDP:
1. NDP leadership is responsive to input from me and my community. 2. The NDP is the best hope we have for fundamental change in this country. 3. The NDP is fundamentally flawed and should ideally be replaced.
Disagree 25.73% 14.81% 22.40%
22.02% 15.06% 29.43%
Neutral 36.34% 21.56% 26.82%
11.67% 29.61% 13.28%
Agree 3.98% 18.70% 7.81%
4. For the NDP to really change, it need to be a transparent body where the will of its members is prioritized over party staffer objectives. 5. Members of the NDP participate in social movements.
Disagree 1.83% 1.83%
3.66% 8.88%
Neutral 14.62% 25.33%
30.29% 39.43%
Agree 49.35% 24.28%

“Roles where I think Courage could be useful”:

Put pressure on the NDP to achieve strategic goals: 79%

Host strategy discussion for the left: 71%

Host cross-movement dialogues: 69%

Hold educational events: 62%

Join in existing campaigns: 61%

Strategic direct action: 60%

Organize within the labour movement: 58%

Forming local chapters: 51%

Create new campaigns: 50%

Create cooperatives and other economic alternatives: 48%

Organize reading groups: 34%

Time spent in non-electoral movements:

5% said they had spent no time in non-electoral social movements

68% spent 100 hours or more

32% spent over 1000 hours

15% indicated “a lifetime”

Attitudes toward movements:
1. Attending a protest makes me feel inspired or energized. 2. In the movements that I participate in, I feel a sense of transformative possibility. 3. I feel like we’re fighting defensive battles and don’t get to articulate a vision for society. 4. There is potential for movements to resonate with a larger audience.
Disagree 2.61% 1.04% 3.39% 0.78%
7.57% 8.09% 11.23% 1.56%
Neutral 23.50% 24.80% 21.41% 4.94%
35.51% 42.82% 35.51% 34.55%
Agree 30.55% 22.98% 28.20% 57.92%

Attitudes toward Courage:
1. Courage seems to provide something that didn’t exist before. 2. I’m going to wait and see the response to Courage 3. Courage looks like a place I could put my skills to effective use. 4. I’m too busy with other stuff to think about Courage.
Disagree 4.50% 3.75% 4.77% 9.07%
7.67% 11.80% 6.37% 25.33%
Neutral 45.24% 35.12% 47.48% 38.13%
30.42% 29.22% 29.97% 19.20%
Agree 11.90% 19.84% 11.14% 6.13%

Vision for movements:

We took the results of two questions (1: “What opportunities, if any, do you see for current social movements to “break through” like Occupy or Idle No More?” and 2: “I see the most potential for Courage to change the game by doing the following”) and put them into a more accessible format:

» Visit the Ideas for Movements page «

If you want the full list all at once, here are the responses, lightly edited:

Expose the failures and corruption of the status quo.

Look at how social movements around the world have succeeded, and how a true left movement can be formed that is assessable to everyone.

Envision an entirely improved paradigm for how society functions and survives.

Bring citizen action groups/issue-oriented organizations together with NDP supporters.

Recruit, train and support a flood of young couragous non affiliated (Cooperative Interdependent) candidates during upcoming elections. Organize a parallel movement alongside but seperate from the NDP and other parties and create a shared platform to enable local communities to self organize and connect cross country to select their own candidatea in open democratic nominations. NDP will respond or evolve if we flood the elections and take the space they refuse to occupy and in so doing receive the contributions of the non partisan politically progressive social movements.

Target young voters with cross campaigns.

Introducing socialist ideas to the movement.

Form your own party.

Leadership training for activists and organizers across the country.

Make the NDP left again.

Get directly involved in politics and journalism.

Create a place were progressives can gather/organize/learn to play an active role in the political landscape.

Bridge activists together – cohesive left communication and ensure the NDP goes left and principled.

Short term gather people together for political gains on the left to put through a progressive candidate and help propel that candidate the way Bernie Sanders has been propelled in the US.

Hold weekly educational meetings for the membership.

Organize 3rd party debates, analysis, intersectional communications.

Become a resistance force and unite the left.

Build effective solidarity with Indigenous nations and push the NDP to actively support real Left, Indigenous and anti-war movements.

Adopt a bold socialist program.

Help bring movements together and pushing for progressive action within political parties and labour movements. This survey should really distinguish between the federal NDP and the various provincial NDPs.

Find someone who has a strong voice to become the leader of the left and bring all groups under one umbrella so energies can be focussed, so we don’t have to join multiple groups, so a TRUE “leader” is the voice/face of the entire movement.

Provide a solid platform for the expression of true democratic-socialist ideology in Canada, which is currently lacking on our political spectrum.

All issues are economic issues currently. The symptoms need to be addressed as well – issues gender, race equality – but that won’t go far until people have decent life opportunities. Only labour organizing can get us there.

Focus on matters that effect everyone. Get away from identity politics.

Help coordinate between movements and provide a platform for education and organization.

Place direct pressure on NDP leadership candidates to not only move left but sustain that position after the election. Also, build a strong and united rank-and-file left group within the NDP.

Create a more unified left in Canada.

Mobilize resources to do grassroots, shoe-leather organizing.

Push the NDP to adopt an intersectional analysis of issues. The question in the last leadership debate on colonialism and anti-Black Racism showed that candidates do not know how/not comfortable speaking about key issues that the NDP needs to be engaged on.

Energizing a hungry base a la Occupy, Sanders, etc.

Holding the NDP accountable to social/labour movements, bringing and advocating the messages of social/labour movements within the party and publicly, being willing to enter the difficult space of simultaneously participating in electoral politics and criticizing it as a limited and inadequate form of democratic politics.

Long-game power building — too many of these types of initiatives are a flash in the pan. This will take time, and a willingness to use plain language to speak beyond the converted.

Cross movement dialogue and strategy (though both courage and The Leap Manifesto appear to be covering similar ground).

I feel like we’re just in defensive mode right now. The left is not united behind a common vision and shared sense of purpose, we don’t have clear goals that we are working towards other than stopping bad things from happening. I want to see a justice-based, intersectional movement that captures the populist moment we’re in. I want to see power wrested away from cynical and out of touch party staffers and to see people with real vision and yes, courage, pushing few big, game-changing pieces of policy that will gradually move Canada to the left. I don’t know if that should happen within the NDP or not but I think the NDP establishment will be comfortable with incrementalism and I think there’s actually never been a better time to be bold instead. So it’s not going to happen within the NDP as they are right now — there’d either need to be a new party or a total overhaul of the party.

Push the NDP platform hard to the left and support a strong candidate.

Get organized into some sort of current, faction or network. We need a modern Waffle or New Politics Initiative. Social media, the internet and email should make this more viable in some ways than it was in the past. It can’t be sectarian, dogmatic and dominated by a specific far-left group (see the Socialist Caucus). It should be open to discussion and different ideas and it should take a critical but constructive approach to the party. It should do things like encourage and facilitate New Democrats bringing similar resolutions to their riding associations. Sponsor discussions and educational events and broaden the issues discussed by the party. But also show up and work on electoral campaigns. Finally, don’t get too focused on the leadership question. Build a network for the longer term, rather than rushing to endorse a leadership candidate or trying to take over the party! Courage is needed but so is a little humility.

Be aware of–but avoid getting bogged down by–the inter-institutional and organizational politics of progressive organizing circles and capturing the attention of a millennial base who are dissatisfied both with party politics and with the existing NGOs and social movement organizations.

Put pressure on the NDP leadership.

Push the NDP to take riskier positions and not play politics anymore. Push the left to the left.

Connecting progressives and radicals to build an electoral movement that overturns the neoliberal status quo and challenges the entrenched NDP party hacks, like Sanders and Corbyn did.

Connecting with transformative social movements.

Supporting the transformation of the NDP, particularly as a first success/goal, and then turning into a permanent organization for social mobilization that is connected to the party/builds social democratic space and society.

Make it clear there are a ton of us and we’re not knocking on any doors or donating any money unless things change big time. Let’s articulate the vision for transformative change that is required and not back down. Anything less why bother?

Create local chapters.

Create a space to assist with silo-busting and building a bridge between movements and the NDP – A bridge that goes in both directions!

To mobilize youth and marginalized people in politics.

Make an action plan. Offer leadership training for people to organize in small communities. Community chapters implement the plan and give feedback – which should be listened to. Revise plans and move forward with improvements.

Mobilizing a wide cross section of people and groups and getting at it.

Avoid rhetoric, jargon, sensationalism only for the sake of attention. Be resolute without straying from the boundaries set by common sense.

Support the NDP membership to build excitement and commitment from the ground by consolidating research and best practices of each NDP policy and using the outcome of that research to directly challenge or recommend the present policies and recommend new ones. Establish a link to creative resources for each policy. Assist members in navigating for input to party decisions.

Another slogan that’s simple and explains the movement that resonates e.g. from occupy 99% vs. 1%.

Facilitating broad unity of purpose between the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary Left.

I think that, in the US since the November election, the DSA — whatever the limits of its politics, or the lack of political clarity that may or may not plague it — seems to be serving as an entry point for people drawn to a ‘left-populist’ political project, broadly of the type associated with Sanders and Corbyn, to get their feet wet in the activist left, without having to first plug into social networks via friends (which is too often the main route, at least in smaller cities). I like the idea that they hold relatively big public meetings and people can converge there and feel like they are joining some kind of anti-capitalist project, even if they’re still unsure what exactly they mean by that. It would be great if Courage could be a kind of doorway into the anti-capitalist left, for people who are not yet integrated into the ‘scenes and subcultures’ of the left, e.g., the various milieux of marxists, anarchists, etc., and who may not (possibly for excellent reasons) be attracted to or interested in those milieux.

Building a left organization that is independent of the NDP and that allows for participatory democracy (unlike some advocacy organizations that are very top down and don’t allow for activism). I would like to participate in Courage if it is independent of the NDP.

Bringing anglo students into the national student movement en masse.

Bringing people from NDP/the Left together to have outside of part discussion.

Maintaining absolute loyalty to the truth as you see it, and following the harm principle as the guiding light of all right action.

Offer a bridge between social movments, uniting criticisms of class, racial, and gendered domination which have become divided.

Work with Idle No More, 350.0rg, Leap Manifesto and create links between movements and with the NDP and mobilize discussion and activism.

Getting people out of the house and onto the street.

Unite QS, NDP and social movements on important issues.

Include the Quebec left. This is a pan-Canadian movement, not Anglo.

Standing in solidarity with the needs of marginalized communities and using their position of relative privilege to highlight the voices of the most marginalized people in our society.

Workplace and community syndicalism, new forms of worker organization.

Unite the Left.

Organize to put pressure on NDP leadership candidates & NDP. Push the Leap Manifesto. Support anti-pipeline movements.

Pull the NDP way more left.

Articulating a vision of the cooperative commonwealth for the 21st century.

Create a large and very visible voting block of young Canadians to counter-balance that of baby boomers and seniors.

Introduce a principled and consistent socialist perspective into Canadian politics and building an organizing capacity that brings social movements together on key issues.

Change the story of jobs vs environment and other divisions in the Left. But also, be sure to work closely and support other similar coalitions and initiatives like the Leap etc…so not duplicating efforts. So much work to be done and is being done. Don’t want to waste any by duplicating or working at cross purposes. I’m left thinking: what if electoral politics is our best hope at big scale change quick but electoral politics is inherently doomed. What then?

Fight for 15 and Anti-Austerity.

Raise awareness publicly, and state the convictions of democratic socialists clearly, without embracing condescending cliches, would be ranked highly on my list. As someone who grew up in rural Alberta, the only views I was exposed to until I got to university were basically conservative. In my admittedly limited view, we need to demonstrate how persuasive our politics can be, how terribly urgent environmental and social justice is, and to provide the opportunity for Canadians to realize how relevant our convictions are to their lives, both in the everyday and over a lifetime.

Don’t lose itself to internal NDP politics (I get the value in pressuring the NDP or endorsing leadership candidates, but there’s also the potential for this to just become an informal wing of the NDP/NDP activists – which is fine but then that should be clear); recognize the valuable work of non-partisan lefties who are contributing to – and have demonstrated – positive change in Canada. I’d be totally down to see a place/network for anti-racism activists to connect with migrant labour activists and/or young educators or NDP organizers, etc., etc.; sharing their skills, resources and insight…Because there isn’t a nation-wide broad space like that, that *isn’t* a political party… However, I would definitely disappointed if the NDP is central connecting force for these exchanges (in my experience, when political-party organizers join such exchanges the conversations derail to party politics instead of retaining focus on the initial business of sharing) — I guess its a question of whether Courage is meant to truly be a non-partisan- or rather a multi-partisan -left space, or not.

I am having political conversations in my workplace, hair salon, and many other places where people don’t normally talk politics. This is one positive result of the Trump era and I think this increased consciousness could be leveraged for good.

Getting people involved in politics and elevating the level of political debate.

1) Denouncing the NDP 2) Sabotaging the rotten pig-loving NDP whenever possible 3) Putting the Mass Line into practice 4) Applying Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.

Get grassroots members more actively involved in policy development of the NDP as well as welcoming member to feel that they are an important part of the party, as opposed to the “social club” atmosphere that seems to pervade some of the NDPs past events.

Lead the NDP.

By encouraging the New Democrats to remain true to left-wing, progressive values.

Educating and mobilizing.

Write a comprehensive guide to renewed Canadian progressivism, establishing the organizing principles for the movement, and uniting various disparate groups together in this new effort. That’s how I’d like to contribute.

Creating space for a radical electoral option in Canada.

Call out the NDP on their bullshit.

Economic alternatives (local monies), cross-movement dialogue & discussion on strategy for the left.

Bridge social movements and political parties (NDP or Green), raise awareness.

Create spaces and securing funding to create clearer channels of communication between grassroots movements from marginalized groups and progressive political parties.

Mobilizing a generation of young people to fight for socialism.

Taking principled non-electoral positions. For example… pull Canada out of NATO/Nationalize banks. Fight for fundamental change and not try to weaken the programme to get elected and then, once elected, have no mandate to do anything you believe it. This is a waste of time and energy. Better to fight 10, 20, or 50 years for what you believe in than to look for a short cut to power that really leads nowhere.

Influencing the NDP to live up to it’s ideals and charter.

Fostering deep and transformative embodied experiences of connectedness within the self, with others, and with Nature, destabilizing the hegemony of disconnected individualism from within, and with it, disintegrating the ideological basis of war, oppression, and ecological destruction.

Articulating a clear vision of a “public good ” future based on solid research.

Moving the mainstream political discourse to the left, opening up possibility in the collective imagination. This may require direct action to disrupt current narratives. Courage likely can’t be an umbrella group for lots of different social movement actors (given how movements already exist and have long histories), but it can support those movements and push the NDP and labour to support those movements. Courage also can change the game by using a more populist message in its actions, seeing as neither the NDP nor (many) social movements are doing a good job at making their message palatable to a large audience.

Fostering growth of ideas, coalitions, and people who can challenge those who currently appear to call the shots in NDP. Less electoral strategy and more principles and passion. The NDP should not be all about winning elections, but about moving the conversation in a different dorection, and we need a lot of courage and people taking part to help do that.

Connecting local struggles through a national organization. Solidarity is cool.

Changing the debate within the NDP, influencing the leadership and future nomination races, races for various elected offices thoughout the NDP at multiple scales (and perhaps other parties as well).

I have done work with people with disabilities and implementation of the UN CRPD. Was disappointed not to see reference but it is more important to build “common cause” to fight all exploration.

Education, dialogue dialogue dialogue!! Reinventing the currently “broken” system.

Much food for thought, the Venus Project comes to mind…

Changing and reminding public attitudes and perceptions and building coalitions.

Applying a Nestor Makhno approach to politics. No formal structures!

Not requiring a huge time commitment and acting as a national liason between different social movements and organizations in the country.

Not talking down to those who are active in political parties like the NDP. All activism is beneficial, and division will never achieve the results we want to see.

Political organization and mobilization that is driven by social justice and not directly tied to a party.

Workplace and community syndicalism, new forms of worker organization.

Cross-movement building.

Build a strong network of individuals and communities with common goals. Advocating for real social, economic, environmental leadership in the NDP race. To educate and empower. To ultimately lead to strong communities with a strong policital party that reflects the ‘basis of unity.’.

More vocal critisism of the Wall government.

Bring a cross-section of people together.

Get the NDP to talk about Palestine, pipelines and decolonization and to articulate a non-neoliberal vision.

Build a large and active membership base.

It would be super cool to have an actual, anti-capitalist, left option in this country. Also if somehow we could “unite the left” here maybe it could happen in other places. I mean the fascists have certainly seemed to do that with the right in Europe and the US so I sure hope we can.

Provide a talking circle opportunity for those folks who we all know who just want to show up and talk about their own outrage, rather than working for the common weal.

Talk with and listen to other organizations, don’t just become another silo. I’ve seen a few different groups (cough, Broadbent Institute, cough, Leadnow and others) start but not really actively engage with other orgs that are out there and this makes them less effective than they might have been and increases territorialism. I would strongly encourage chatting with board and staff of The Council of Canadians, Leadnow, SumofUs, Leap, and other orgs to show that you want to be collaborative and listen to others not just speak.

Being a force to be held, and being consistent with your decisions. Also showing the public that we do what we do and follow through. Stop pointing out all the negative, try to offer a solution instead of just saying the negative of this government.

Organize successfully, have examples to point to. Be crisp and defined, not vague “activists”.

Leadership development and networking around strategic goals. (e.g. influencing the NDP).

I think that social movements need to do more to resonate with the larger population – capitalism and neoliberalism are hurting people yet many don’t make this connection. I think over the next few years, growing income inequality and loss of jobs due to automation will cause turmoil and unrest, and I see potential for a mass political movement to break through.

I do not see movements making any progress without political allies.

I think occupy and idle no more did a lot but also needed to go farther – they weren’t able to translate gains in awareness into gains in action, or electoral victory. Our movements need to get more serious at engagement, building communities of changemakers, and we need to find messages that enable us to do that, to bring in new folks and make those already here energized to take action.

Choose issues that have accessible hooks and point to broad and future-oriented change: automation, basic income.

I honestly think that important systemic change is not going to come from the actions of social movements. We need broader leadership for social and environmental justice to be fostered and supported from within all equity seeking groups, communities and areas of crisis. We need leaders to use their leverage inside and outside of sectors and systems to support actions, and policies that can be broadly amplified and overturn today’s entrenched power structures.

Climate movement has potential. It effects everyone. We need a broad vision with economic and environment at the forefront and less focus on softer social issues.

A left moving NDP on a Socialist program to transform lives including free education which will win the youth.

Having the NDP actually take up and endorse (and actively implement) the asks of these organizations. I mean really, I haven’t seen the NDP do much in the way of action regarding reconciliation (other than make speeches about UNDRIP – important, but still merely a gesture).

Idle No More has resonated with indigenous communities and has created a new space for pride of person, but I don’t know if it has found a larger audience with non-indigenous people. I am not convinced it has been able (or should be responsible for) transforming the opinions of settler/white folks, for instance. see: rural SK racism and “stand your ground with a gun” kind of attitude.

Learn from movements in the South. Rather than social movements, we need to build societies in movement that engage and captivate the frustrations and aspirations of regular, working people.”

Without a change in strategy or tactics current movements are unlikely to find their revolutionary moment and “break through”. Movements and protest without a plan to gain and wield power will fail and continue to fail.

Resurrecting Canada’s Bison populations should be priority one! Returning the animal to our lands, our plates and our backs!!! A completely sustainable animal that onced roamed in the millions. A nutritious option for nourishment as well as a warm coat in winter. Our indigenous people could lead the way since they undoubtedly will have the best knowledge on how to use the Bison for its full potential.


With stronger infrastructural support, movements can transform from reactive/retail to transformative solution-driven, particularly if cross-movement coordination can be facilitated.

We need to engage on the “economic arguments” – meet people where they are at. The wealth gap is growing, this is a root problem.

Connecting movements.

Occupy had traction in the early days because it was a spontaneous protest by all members of society. If you don’t engage the ‘bored middle’ you won’t make a meaningful change on society. Movements need to learn to gain these quiet boring types as allies.

Women at the forefront of struggles for the rights of all.

Electoral reform, stopping pipelines, climate commitments, green energy, meeting needs of Indigenous children.

Social movements need to find ways to work with, or even potentially even take over political parties, to consolidate and solidify their wins though public legislation.

Unless people stick with it and are able to defend their position in an informed manner “break through” will not occur.

I think the anti pipeline movement can break through.


The movement must become relevant to the majority and not be seen as narrow issue groups. “We are the 99%” statement came closest to this. The middle class must not be shamed or browbeat into joining these movements. They, with their fears, limits, and needs, should be embraced.

We need something clever, occupy and idle haven’t reached the scope intended. We need something to engage more members of society.

The women’s march was intersectional. This is what we need to develop.

A broad and intersectional party platform that presents a vision for addressing the climate crisis while lessening inequality.

Leap; opportunity for NDP and labour to embrace new economy; who is the worker in era of automation, precarious and information technology, articulate this.

Universal childcare would change the face of society. Equal pay across genders. Clean energy / sustinence agriculture employment in rural areas? Maybe I missed the point of the question. Focus and energy needs to be put on issues in Canada’s “Bible Belt”.

Migrant justice groups have a huge opportunity, as do labour-green alliances.

Finding commonalities and ways to work together and support each other to strengthen the individual movements and social movements as a whole.

More public and disruptive acts of civil disobedience that draw attention to injustice and shift the discourse.

Connecting with people on income inequality and fairness would be the most likely way to break through.

It would be hard under JT to break through due to his impeccable capacity to ‘do no wrong’ in the eyes of a lot of people, and also being ‘less evil than Harper’. Where opportunities may arise are through projects like BLM, and projects like Occupy, BLM and Idle No More have all been effective tools for at minimum reshaping the language that we use to think about income inequality, and indigenous rights.

I think there is a chance to break through. But it takes time and effort. Many of these movements run out of both before any real change has manifested.

Focus on examples of inequality and unfairness (like occupy, like the student strikes, like idle no more) as a rallying point but articulate clear and concrete goals of the movement. Don’t be afraid to take clear stances on contentious issues. To consolidate the left, take clear stances ahead of time on important issues that are not the central focus of the movement (eg. Palestine, black lives matter, Quebec independence, etc.). Accept that you will lose some support because of this, but not as much as you will lose via the internal division/argument caused by not taking a position.

Fighting racism/fascism/Trumpism.

The worsening migrant crisis, particularly this summer should US policy become more severe and the trek across the border become less perilous for folks seeking asylum in Canada.

Frankly, the history of progressive movements shows that movements often break through relatively quickly. Or, more accurately, years and years of organizing will suddenly become a movement, often with little warning. There is no question that the organizing underpinning the left has taken serious hits over the past several decades, but at the moment there appears to be some momentum in a variety of camps. Similarly, there is every possible catalyst available, from rampant misogyny, to continuing colonialism and white supremacy, to the dire circumstances of working people the world over, to rising panic about environmental collapse. Predicting which of these will “break through” is outside of my expertise but is certainly seems that we are reaching a time of opportunity for the left.

The Women’s March on Washington seemed to generate a widespread energy, though it’s whiteness in Canadian renditions needs to be destabilized.

I am not sure what the breakthrough looks like, but I do know it needs to be a result of greater solidarity among progressive organizations.

YouTube. We need 10,000 leftist YouTube channels.

The environmental movement is about to become central, and younger people from diverse backgrounds are starting to show up there. I see also ongoing and growing indigenous battles against resource extraction. And I found Bernie’s groundswell in the US a strong sign of anti-capitalist youth action potential.

I think it’s partly about how a bold vision is both articulated and shared.

Linking economic justice with racial justice (fight for 15, employments standards, temp agencies, migrant workers).

I think the academic concept “social movement” is misleading. “Social movements” are by definition non-partisan and largely unorganized, which is a fundamental flaw. Organization is the goal.

Social movements need to be more accessible. Plain language is key. I often find the NDP can be better at this than some of the social movements I have been a part of.

The anti-Kinder Morgan pipeline movement is promising.

Idle No More should come back.

I think that we are on a tipping point in terms of sexualized violence. There has been increasing media attention and public campaigns to raise awareness about rape culture. We do however need to change legislation and the arbitration of sexual assault cases.

It’s difficult. With media becoming more concentrated and people becoming increasingly isolated within their social media spaces, people are less exposed to different ideas and points of view.

None really. Many are propped up by routine organizers and can’t function without them. Few new organizers are entering the struggle and when they do it’s often to get involved in identity-politics movements where the average Canadian is side-lined. This is the primary value of the party, a true cross section of struggles.

Seeing leaders who look and think like real people gain prominence and attention in larger national discourses and media.

I think there’s an opportunity to not just run a media campaign, but to take a page out of political parties, and have “kitchen table” chats across Canada, to help spread understanding and support. I know that before I learnt what these movements were about, I thought they were stupid. After learning and listening, I quickly understood just how much was at stake. I think there needs to be a willingness to education, I know it shouldn’t be a job that has to be done, but it still needs to be.

Currently, the majority of our most successful social movement organizing is on defensive issues and there can often be a challenge in the linkage into traditional politics. We need to pick some major non-defensive wins that would move our society structural back towards a trajectory towards a more equal society (e.g. universal childcare, universal pharmacare, etc) and push them over the finish line in a few provinces and roll up nation-wide. The success of social movement organizing will determine the boldness of policy change. With some big wins, we can have more sustained momentum.

At the federal level, the clearest opportunity is to start building a movement now to attack and expose the mirage of progressivism the Liberal party has built around Justin Trudeau. That movement needs to present a strong progressive direction with policies and clear actions that will improve the lives of Canadians. Those actions should be thematic, bold and ample enough to tackle the root problems in our society today.

Media portrayal of poverty and addiction through candid humanizing documentaries. Social media. Making the Netflix list level.

Unsure. This is difficult for me to judge from a place of privilege (White Cisgender Male).

Boycotts and similar threats to economic/corporate status quo.

Use social media sites to organize especially rural areas.

The Bernster had it figured out: you have to show people who are suffering under the dominant political economic system that it’s because of that system and show them they have a role to play in the new eco-social economy without making them feel stupid by talking to much about political correctness or being high and mighty.

A large strike movement.

Popular education on grassroots levels: committed structured organizing, inspired talks & regular cultural events, ie. Potluck-coffeehouses at which talks are given & letters written.

Many more people joining.

I don’t think these types of movements will break through/resonate with the wider public, though I think a socialist message can, because it’s less frightening/unfamiliar to the average person, if articulated in a no-nonsense, grassroots kind of way. The Sanders campaign in the US is one example of this: not talking about Trotsky or Gramsci, but real issues that resonate with electorate could take hold of the popular imagination and build an unstoppable movement: free post-secondary education, universal basic income, national daycare plan, pharmacies, etc. Make people realize why socialism works for them, while capitalism always works against them.

I don’t think there really are many social movements at the moment (certainly not mass ones), though there are a range of community organizing and activist groups. Opportunities for a breakthrough undoubtedly exist but are hard to discern because of the weak social roots of existing efforts.

Climate change resistors uniting as on the ground resistance to new pipeline projects builds. Or a new financial crisis.

Household debt crisis, opportunity for student movement and free tuition. Approved pipeline projects, indigenous rights and climate justice movements.

Very little at this point.

Nationalized pharmacare; childcare.

Significant. People are looking to get involved both advance s cause and to work against a Donald Trump agenda in Canada.

Allying with political parties and changing them from within.

We need to rediscover how to organize the working class and use party resources to meet immediate needs – start free food and clothing stores, host language classes, serve the people!

Events such as the election of Donald Trump have resulted in a renewed interest in social movements and protest.

Idle No More did a lot in terms of putting Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination on the map for a wider audience in Canada. Much of the work started with Idle No More is ongoing, and will continue to ignite change. However, something new that links Indigenous, environmental, and other movements together is needed.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. We need to do for Canada what Bernie Sanders did for the States (except we must win, of course!).

Protéger Medicare.

Moral leadership; commitment to peaceful and nonviolent dissent.

I believe climate justice and indigenous/solidarity with indigenous movements can break through and are breaking through – despite huge odds.

Independent social movements have the opportunity to show incredible solidarity to capitalism and globalization only if they work together. Remaining divided prevents a single progressive vision from forming that could be marketed to a wider audience.

I thought the solidarity between Canadians and Americans in relation to the Women’s protest/anti trump, anti facist protest, that it significantly amplified the effect, the media coverage. Much more thought to political integration between North American progressives should be initiated…

Better data that is not politically spun.

Support in Ottawa for leftist movements by a government led by people and not profits or politics.

Guaranteed minimum income, Fossil-fuel Divestment, Idle No More.

1) hold fast to a political content which cannot “fit” into the vessel which is mainstream media–i.e. does not get caught in the cycle of commentary and spectacle which keeps viewers isolated and pseudo-engaged, and which nonetheless 2) impels the media to give it attention.

It must be based in concrete lasting organizations and must work to make manifest transformed relationships and collective living practices where it can, as monuments of hope, avenues to new thought for those who do not yet share our imagination, and examples for the like-minded to emulate and spread.

A political party that fully adopts ideas of movement and make them policy.

I don’t know if this is where I like to focus energy or thought – I think slow, patient organizing is key, not waiting for “burst-out” moments.

We’re facing a “perfect storm” where the failures of neoliberal capitalism are becoming impossible to ignore, while the reactionary far-right is in ascendance. This is an incredibly dangerous situation, but at the same time it presents an unique opportunity for the left to engage with large numbers of people who are becoming politicized for the first time.

Plenty. Capital is in crisis, as exemplified by the far-right upsurge across the global North (and ill-founded enthusiasm for “left” electoralism from SYRIZA to Sanders to Gary Burril). If the left can put forward a fundamentally transformative vision and break with bourgeois legalism and “the rules” , the opportunities of the moment are tremendous.

Black Lives Matter is gaining more mainstream awareness and traction, ongoing refugee crisis presents a challenge & opportunity to reach out beyond the same old networks.

Merge with political parties, reduce number of organizations and create a social/environmental coalition.

Motivate busy people (I’m talking about myself and most of my fellow lefty friends here): young professionals with families and time constraints often want to be involved, but need clear goals, clear actions to take, and have limited time to give, despite their desire to be involved. I see left wing causes getting derailed by nitpicking and infighting all over the internet, and this must spill into the organizations within these movements. I don’t see the larger society getting more engaged without a clarity of purpose and a unity of vision, where all these little fussy differences have been ironed out in the name of addressing a common goal, of fighting a common enemy. In a way the left is so much harder on itself than it is on the far right, and it’s good to be held to higher standards, but more focus on the moral depravity on the other end of the spectrum might focus social movements and make them more mainstream (speaking here as seeing myself as part of the left-leaning mainstream).

Hold conversations that matter where people are.

Proportional Representation – we don’t actually live in a democracy. 4.6 million Canadians handed 184 Politicians 100% of the power. All policy decisions flow from the way we allocate power.

Centre the knowledge of the most marginalized to transform the whole movement.

Young farmers movement.

Indigenous / environmental battles over pipelines / mining, Anti-Islamaphobia.

Social movements as somewhat organics of popular desires main goal is to stretch the current cultural Overton Window and build enough support to influence decisions. If they are to break through, they must try to evade the framings of popular media (and maybe construct their own channels of discourse) whose goal will not to be promote but to denigrate or distance the demands of the movement from their viewers. Their frames must include a mass version of their arguments. Occupy was successful in this: 99 vs the 1%. It’s boiled down argument and their performative protests impacted the mainstream identities of average citizens. Sadly, most social movements do not have that impact and they are unable to institutionalize the gains in consciousness.

I see huge potential in movements like Occupy, Idle No More and BLM.

Peace/anti-war movement.

Not many for progressives; I think there is huge opportunity for fascist/islamaphobic/anti trans “movements” to keep breaking through.

Social movements have been sidelined in our society by a hostile corporate media. While people were sympathetic to Occupy at first people soon grew sick of the movement as time wore on and many seem to have lost the will to engage with any sort of protest. Resentment against “siloization” is growing in our society, as many resent the so-called “special privileges” that they see social movements as demanding. Of course this is nonsense, for example transgender individuals demanding access to hormone replacement therapy is not special treatment, trans folks are merely demanding the same level of access to medication that is afforded to Canadians at large. However it is widely believed nonsense, and until this “special treatment” argument is defused I do not see how any social movement can capture mass support. I believe that the only path forward is for a political party, aka the NDP, to embrace both populism and the agendas of social movements, and thus bring rights for the marginalized by gaining the votes of the general population through more broadly appealing economic populism.

All social movements need to convert people in high tech and find a way to work with open source communities, hacktivists, and hackers if they plan to have more than just local influence (which is often trivial) and connect outside of their limited social groups. The model should be the Pirate Party in Iceland which pressured their government to arrest bankers following the financial crash and now forms government.


Some degree of institutionalization may be requisite to long term momentum and organizing being sustained. A universal message like Occupy’s is likely most promising, especially if the interlinkages of struggles are articulated clearly. Eg. Economic justice *is* racial and social justice, not in an exhaustive way, but in a hugely significant way.

No opportunities.

Only when there are many millions in the streets will we achieve significant changes in our society.

The ones focused on specific policy goals (15 and fairness) have lots of potential for success but there is a need for a clearly articulated ideologically grounded movement that can link smart progressive policy to an overarching ideology that transcends policy.

BLM, Canada’s Arctic and Inuit communities, precarious work, Palestinian movements.

I think an awareness of the oppressive economic structure of capitalism is an important basis for solidarity that has the potential to build bridges between movements and the broader public, and avoid the charge of merely representing particularistic interests.

The student movement has put free tuition on the agenda of all current NDP leadership candidates, and that is a very significant development. They are forced to respond to our demands.

Need to find a way of translating social movement energy into political discourse that. Many social movements lack clear political messaging that’s actionable in the way that the political/administrative/legal system works. Need to find a way for these movements to propose tangible and realistic changes that start to fundamentally shift the systems they’re trying to impact. They need to (probably) be a series of small changes that translate social movement desire and language into real changes.

Cost of living, quality of work and climate change.

Current movements need to do a better job of articulating their views to people who disagree with them.

Anti-Capitalist movements have more power than they acknowledge right now I think. Identity-based movements tend to divide power. I’d like to see movements come together under the goal of taking down capitalism, because united I believe we would have the power to affect change.

Through tipping points on public opinion.

Getting people to realize the systemic issue of Capitalism.

Organizing more workplaces, more political action committees.

Coalition government of the left in the event of a Lib or Tory minority next election.

The lack of political understanding and campaigning experience holds us back, as we saw with Occupy. It went nowhere because we named what was wrong but we didn’t know how to analyze how it got that way and how to make change. Idle No More touched something much deeper and it has had a ripple effect that spreads the message farther and farther. First Nations are teaching us settlers how to fight for change.

The food movement is a broad and holistic movement that can provide a rallying point for large scale social change. Politicians and parties dont understand that millions are literally starving and they use hunger as rhetoric but dont realize it is an actual thing which must be addressed before electioneering.

Combating ignorance with targeted educational campaigns.

Recognizing that the capitalists are the common oppressor and cooperating to bring down capitalism in order make it possible for all oppression to be done away with. This process has already begun.


The NDP in power, listening to social movements.

Simply by pointing out how the Liberals aren’t really leftist and don’t listen to Canadians or take left wing movements seriously. Focusing on pushing progressive political candidates on every level.

I think some combination of solidarity in solidarity with directly impacted communities that are already in motion (e.g. Indigenous nations fighting pipelines, Black Lives Matter, etc.) and non-sectarian multi-issue organizing that actually builds an organization (e.g. Solidarity Halifax and its sister organizations) are the most likely to have an impact.

Fight for $15.

People are eager for a vision, eg. Bernie.

The liberty movement is gaining a lot of traction. One day, we’ll definitely see a move away from government and toward the individual.

I think these social movements could make a big difference and I feel that their following is increasing. This is a very interesting phenomena with the internet involved.

Direct action against pipelines.

Not sure.

Capitalism is in decay, to fight it we need to adopt an anti-capitalist, socialist program.

I’m not sure but I would like to see these movements take a leading role in developing and fostering a more inclusive, people-cantered society designed to actually help individuals.

Stop appealing to narrow interest groups instead of average people – broader support from moderates is needed.

The same labour conditions that led to the election of someone like Trump could also lead to a re-energized labour movement, ie the only force capable of nudging median real incomes that have stagnated for 50 years.

The people need to know that their leaders are fearless, full of integrity and clear on the principles of peace with justice, equity, economic reform, no privatization, no fossil fuels, indigenous rights and reconciliation, alliances with like-minded groups, inclusive & diverse membership and leadership (big tent; end of white privilege).

If they and the labour movement can collaborate politically. That is what #SidForLeader is about.

Election Reform, Occupy, Guaranteed Income, Guaranteed Education.

More live neighbourhood information and boycott pickets, grounded in fundraising for specific issues, consciousness raising, concrete, accessible, regular contact, for the low income part time majority to be in control of, to express themselves politically. The vast majority of potential activists are low income part time volunteers, not NGOs. The newer generations are way less sectarian than we have been, and it is the passersby who raise our consciousness, about possibility. Consider expensive “meetings” where everyone already knows each other, to be a limited form, and live supplements and alternatives to the internet (which is where the contact is, now) should be our creative focus. We are just beginning to imagine new live forms, and they have to be constructed, and believed in. The simple presence of live contact. Everyday contact. Quotidian possibilities.

Addressing the basic problems in Capitalism with a socialist message (Inequality, housing shortage, lack of parliamentary accountability, environmental degradation, etc.). There has to be a coherently directed and focused message/program and sense of leadership that is responsible to the members of the movement.

People in this country want a more just society, a redistribution of wealth, a movement that knows how to speak to this will grow.

No idea what break through means.

At the moment I think Black Lives Matter has a big potential and possibly the new feminist movement that has arisen post Trump.

Black Lives Matter, Fight for 15, Anti-racist and anti-fascist organizations.

I don’t know enough to answer.

I am optimistic about climate justice.

Vision for the new economy that is not easily pigeonholed as left or right.

Women’s March is a great example of what we need more of…though organizing potential yet to be seen.

We live in populist times – we’re ripe for a Bernie moment in Canada. We need someone to articulate a clear, inspiring vision for the future rooted in a deep, intersectional understanding of people’s fears and hopes about the future and then organize to make it a movement.

Street mobilization along with bold, unabashedly left platform of the NDP with popular appeal, not white, urban, upper class focused. Plain language, honesty, unity with Leap manifesto, Bernie Sandersesque leadership.

I think that there is great potential for movements based around economic inequality, justice and fairness. I think Occupy and Bernie Sanders both demonstrated the resonance of that sort of left-populist message. But it does need to be explicitly inclusive and both those movements had some problems with that. Idle No More and Black Lives Matter have both been vital movements. Much work needs to be done, but I’m impressed with the increased prevalence of anti-colonial and anti-racist politics among younger leftists. That needs to become central to our practice, along with a feminist analysis. There will be tensions. Can we work through our differences? I hope so, but I’m not sure if people are up for it.

One of the biggest obstacles any movement has to breaking through into public consciousness is existing stigma/set perception that largely comes from bigger institutional players in these movements taking up too much space, so whichever these players are weakest is a good opportunity to break out of the existing weak narratives and build stronger grassroots power and messages.

Trade agreements reconsideration, immigration, privatization of assets.

Climate disasters and fear of the current situation in the US make radicalization of the general pubic more plausible.

Alternative ways of gathering and protesting that aren’t the same old speeches and partisanship.

I mentioned it already, but I do see the fights around the minimum wage (ie. $15 and Fairness) able to renew a form of working-class politics and provide a frame for talking about precarious work, inequality, and the need for collective action in a much more coherent way than Occupy. It’s been an energizing campaign to work on in Ontario.

Indigenous sovereignty struggles + anti-pipeline direct action + real eco-socialist initiatives to build capacity for autonomous community production outside of the market.

Massive opportunities given the crisis in the world system. But we need an organized radical left with real institutional political capacities. That means it has to exist outside of the NDP.

I think the current landscape broadly permits a less urgent electoral organizing (if the Liberals are basically the same as a Centrist NDP would be, what is the point of worrying too much? Not that there aren’t trade-offs/there aren’t reasons to organize electorally still) while the social crisis in Canada and in the US lends urgency. Contemporary online activism’s emphasis on systemic, structural, and cultural violence has been highly effective as a critique of Trudeau’s kitschpolitik and should continue to be.

Occupy, Idle No More, Manifencours, Leap – all have the potential to “break through” – but they need a political party unafraid to seem *radical8 to bring them through the other side.

We are seeing a defining transition right now and we can ride that to break through.

The best course of action is to link up various movements on the basis of their shared interest, which is anti capitalism.


I have been thinking a lot lately about some unorganized movements that are already occurring within the radical right (crazies? haters?) I see people following the USA “fashion” of expressing more and more anger and also lies against others especially Muslims now and indigenous people. So movements are necessary on the side of sanity. But I think that ones like Occupy or Idle no More work within their groups but not with many segments of the population. We need more community action – but first we need workshops and experiences to learn how to organize and to move forward without feeding polarity and divisions already growing. Community cells might work & internet messages.

If they stay on the radar and don’t revert to talking amongst themselves, lots.

Leap, Occupy, Anonymous, Wikileaks.

In order to have any success movements cannot be short-lived. For this to happen they must be membership-driven and break out of the ingrained reliance we have on leadership by one or only a few.

Each one changes the conversation for a while and moves the societal attitude ever so slowly but when a sense of success is felt, the energy wanes and then there seems to be a backlash. The challenge is to figure out how to create a foundation of societal attitude to sustain the drive for needed systematic change. Transformative change encourages even the most stoic person to have compassion, empathy and resolve to create a truly inclusive society.

Black Lives Matter.

Every crisis of political legitimacy or economic stability. The Trump election being a currently unfolding one.

Idle No More needs to build on the so-called promises of Trudeau to First Nations.

Hard to answer, but creating multiple entry points for people to engage, and inviting engagement at more than one level of commitment (that is, not just for people willing to engage at the high-commitment, ‘organizing’ level, but at other levels), and through more than one form of participation, is crucial. Needless to say, winning tactical victories and showing that struggle can work is also important.

People are really open to the concept of movements for the 99% – akin to Occupy. I was part of the International Women’s Strike organizing and, although small in Canada, there is international momentum for this type of working-class, anti-racist feminism. I feel that people are also searching – desperately- for a vision of a better world. They just have no model for a post-capitalist future. It seems very abstract. I am deeply involved in the permaculture movement and encounter many people looking for something different. I think we need activist movements that also offer a vision for another world.

Incorporate the class struggle with the struggle for racial, gender, and other inequalities.

None – they are corrupted for political gain.

Trump and the rise of the right, we can use it to make it clear that the threats we each see are interconnected. We are going to need everyone to win.

It is not like that. It is one person at a time. “Break throughs” occur when a critical mass is attained, like the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, or the last snowflake that causes an avalanche.

The crisis in centre-left politics presents an opportunity to forward a more critical analysis of modernity. The social movements must address Canadian youth in classrooms. Disseminating ideas via social or news media outlets has proven woefully insufficient.

There is a malaise out there that needs to be tapped into and able to dispel cynicism.

There is always opportunity.

Major crisis, major response.

Political parties “passing the mic” to community leaders, thus providing a platform to grassroots activists.

I’m not sure what the next flashpoint is. Possibly another Indigenous movement against Trudeau.

An independent QC.

Bernie Sanders Bold.

If there is one thing to learn from the recent rise of fascists, it’s the use of technology to be able to track and tweak the messages, and for different audiences: those who are already allies and who need more hope, those who are potential allies but who need more information and empowerment and motivation.

Keep at it! Idle No More’s public education events were really transformative. More efforts like that would be helpful.

High levels of unemployment from automation and overall structural change in our economy alongside environmental deterioration will provide opportunities while reducing the fear of losing the crumbs we hold onto.

I think that inequality and climate justice are potential breakthrough issues.

Cross-movement collaboration anchored in a Just Transition framework feels most exciting to me.

Anti-racist and anti-fascist work post-Ste Foy massacre.

National school meal program; basic income.

Get people to see beyond their particular approach to social change (like protests, or electoral politics, or education, or prefigurative…whatever) and see that all kinds of approaches play a role, are a niche of social change ecosystem. This understanding and mutual respect could help us 1) get beyond endless bickering about the ONE, best way to ‘do change’, 2) think strategically and reflexively about how to be most effective in each of our ‘niches’. 3) Collaborate better and coordinate efforts across approaches and niches of social change! Boom! That’s what I think. Thanks for this amazing initiative!

350.org should stop going dormant for weeks and months and agitate constantly.

To me there is opportunity, but to one degree or another a sustained effort to speak effectively to power must undertaken.

These things are very difficult to predict, but I notice that more and more activists have small side-projects in social-entrepreneurship. Taking these projects out of the wings and putting the center stage could produce a very interesting, positive new movement for social change. It would certainly be different.

The establishment of a movement’s focus in the mainstream political discussion.

Protracted People’s War.

Liaise with the NDP.

Intersection of climate, class war and colonialism.

Right time right place.

Movements are great at generating awareness and pushing political leaders to act.

Right now, none. The progressive humanist movement in Canada seems to be disorganized, lacking a coherent vision, and without adequate representation in parliament, media etc.

As the climate and wealth distribution crises accelerate, people’s movements will just naturally take the lead.

Resisting the right.

Intersectionality, rigourous self-analysis & feedback systems.

Issues such as: job security & discrimination, affordable housing (especially in big cities) VS speculation, proportional voting, border crossing & immigration, safer & affordable transportation.

Political education so that people turn towards the left rather than the right as a reaction to feeling left out and disenfranchised.

Multimedia engagement and storytelling for the masses, community programs focusing on basic needs, intercommunity organizing through sustainable grassroots intergenerational organizing spaces built, funding.

With the current world climate, we are beginning to see the decline of neoliberalism as more and more are becoming turned off by it and finally seeing its problems. This is where a movement like Courage comes in.


My view is that Canada being such a vast country, it is difficult to gather large masses at once, we are scattered across such vastness. This challenge must be addressed.

None right now.

I see opportunities for the peace movement.

Neither Occupy nor Idle No More “broke through” because they did not address the fundamental failure in our perception, which mistakenly sees people as individual, separate, and competitive rather than as mutually intercomposed, wholly interdependent Earth processes. Only a movement which is rooted in accurate perception can possibly “break through” our hegemonic alienation and shift our collective consciousness and behaviors towards life-sustaining paradigms.

I think they could but it needs to be more collective and more sustained.

If a vision can be articulated, and a coalition created, I think the opportunities are endless.

Ah… not sure tbh. People seem more animated in general but not as part of an overarching named movement. If anything it’s a good time for these movements to tap into that energy and get people thinking about change from multiple perspectives.

Probably few unless they impact the daily lives of those otherwise not affected by the issues they are raising.

We need a ‘trickle up theory’ and quit catering to the international corporate blackmail. The resources belong to the people and we should not hesitate to “nationalize” industries that do not cooperate and set up things like Postal Bank to provide alternatives. Tell it like it is, it is a war for the future of workers and the world not to be exploited. Turning back to the future with “prairie fire socialism”.

Enlightening the masses.

“I there are lots of ppl who are not well informed and subscribe to ingrained misinformation about social justice, racial discrimination. socialism, economics, and politics, and organized labour, ect. Messaging, campaigns, educating and empowering advocates to counter misconceptions and be able to talk knowledgeably on issues is critical. Ralleys, events, too but need to engage people to talk with friends, coworkers, and family. Twitter and social media “army” to circulate specific messages on social media.

Need the “vision of a better world” that can engages people on an emotional/psychological level. A new “love is better than hate…” vision/message.”.

Mass resistance to war on drugs.

The biggest weakness I see in social movements is that they start out as very inclusive, but then create hierarchies, schools of thought, and heavily policed terminology and social rules so that certain people can gain power and leadership. When this happens, the entire movement begins to lose its ability to relate to the outside world and it loses its ability to recruit new members.

By not bashing other activists on the left — such as those who choose to make meaningful change within a political party like the NDP.

Occupy and Idle No More didn’t emanate from a party, and resonated with people who weren’t necessarily interested in traditional politics. Other groups that are underrepresented and disillusioned with the political status quo — including even such traditionally conservative groups as progressive rural people and Christians — present opportunities for nonpartisan movement building around, say, agrarian/food system reform or antipoverty initiatives.

I can only really speak (a little) to Saskatchewan. With the recent budget, the NDP (I know, not a social movement) have a great chance to gain support in rural areas, which they have neglected immensely to now. They need to be on the ground! And stop with the gimmicky communications shtick like ‘selling’ jars of dirt… I also think that there are some very progressive churches (Wesley United in Regina for example, and Knox-Metropolitan) that are committed to social justice but maybe not tied in to movements as such. They have some infrastructure and audiences that could be allies. They also have organizational skills.


The rise of Trump in the USA is bringing an upsurge of energy into the feminist movement. There is so much not yet tapped into.

If as many hours as are spent on electoral campaigning were put into social movements there could maybe be a breakthrough.

Climate justice, action on climate change.

Occupy is taking over political messages. It’s great to hear the messages of occupy actually come out of a politicians mouth. People are starting to wake up to the fact that they’ve been taken advantage of and have just about had enough. They don’t want a politicians to have talking points anymore. People want genuine conversations and someone who can relate.

I think if someone could crack the code of how to “market” the message to traditionally conservative people these movements could blow up. Like we’re all hurting from exploitation and run away capitalist greed, but they get caught in the racist and tribalist smokescreen.

None, until they learn to stop speaking in exclusive movement-speak to a tiny academic audience.

“Hope springs eternal” I am ever hopeful.”