There have always been liars and cheats in government, but right now they seem particularly noxious and particularly ascendant.
And there have always been sensational stories and people who twist facts to mobilize people to their ends. In fact, rabble.ca‘s raison d’être was to help progressives fight right wing media and mainstream media bias when it was founded 18 years ago. Today, however, in the age of social media manipulation, it is astounding how fast the lies and hate can spread. So fast that this year saw an unprecedented increase in hate crime.
As we end 2018, the Activist Toolkit is highlighting the tools we amplified through the year to fight the liars and the media they’ve developed to share their lies, as well as ways to stand in solidarity and help on the ground.
Ontario fightback. Before the 2018 Ontario provincial election, rabble.ca, like progressive activists across the province, did what we could to fight the surging Progressive Conservatives. Now that we are fighting against their devastating win, the Activist Toolkit has launched the Ontario Fightback series to amplify activists’ efforts. After the election, the Activist Toolkit surveyed NDP MPPs to find out what made them run and what their constitutents were saying to them at their front doors. The Activist Toolkit intends to continue to amplify the work of work these MPPs as they fight for their consitutents. We also want to amplify the important work of activists and community advocates as they lead the grassroots efforts which will move political change. In 2019, the efforts to protect health care, public services, workers, and the greenbelt will all ramp up. Please reach out to the Activist Toolkit at [email protected] if we can help.
Stop Hate. The Activist Toolkit’s Stop Hate series continues to amplify the work being done by activists across the country to stand against the far right’s weaponization of Islamophobia and xenophobia. In December, the right started using the Global Compact on Migration to whip up support and build a right-wing Canadian version of Franc’es yellow vest movement. There will be protests and counter protests in the months to come, and the Activist Toolkit will share the efforts to fight for immigrants and refugees.
In the interim, there is real fighting to be done online. Right wing content is surging online, with a global internet audience of 4 billion people. We need to figure out how to win what openDemocracy calls the battle of the bots. These two research efforts to track Faith Goldy voters and to track Ontario Proud donations are the kind of tools we need to develop. We need less averages and more maps, names, and ways to organize around strategic research.
South of the border, organizing against migrants has reached a completely different level of cruelty. The Activist Toolkit published lists of organizations working with people seeking asylum in the southern United States and in Mexico. If you are looking for organizations to support this holiday season, these organizations are overwhelmed and need our support.
In terms of global issues, the genocide of the Rohingya, Israel’s oppression of Palestinian peoples, and the ongoing attacks on Venezuela are three conflicts where fake news has been particularly pernicious, and have been top of mind for the Activist Toolkit rabble.ca.
Rohingya. In August 2013, as Canada and others worked to build embassies and extract the natural wealth of Burma, Fatema Panju was interviewed for a rabble.ca podcast about the Rohingya Muslims. Since then we have highlighted a series of tools and initiatives to help the Rohingya and have been particularly impressed by the work of our In Cahoots partner Inter Pares. If you want to give a donation to help on the ground, Inter Pares recommends donating to the Burma Relief Centre (BRC), which promotes civil society development in the conflict affected areas of Burma and supports local community organizations providing humanitarian aid to these areas.
Palestine. For many years, Israel has violated well-established standards of international law and has defied numerous United Nations resolutions in its occupation of conquered lands, in extra-judicial killings, and in repeated acts of military aggression. The increasingly right wing government in Israel has been particularly savvy at manipulating social media and mainstream media, maintaining an army of bloggers to attack online critics. This year has been particularly horrific. Scores of people have published articles on rabble.ca standing against the attacks on Palestinians and demanding the same of the Canadian government. We have covered each of the freedom flotillas and boats to Gaza, and this year we covered the 2018 Mission of the Canadian Boat to Gaza.
Despite the pressure from the current government of Israel, there are more and more countries deciding to stand against Israel. This holiday season, if you want to support groups doing important work on the ground in Palestine, prisoners rights groups are an important place to start. Since the beginning of the Israeli occupation in 1967, Israeli forces have arrested more than 800,000 Palestinians. Many are detained with no trace and now almost everyone is being tried under military law regulations and not civil law.
Venezuela Elections 2018. One of the highlights of 2018 was when our friends at Common Frontiers invited rabble.ca to send Humberto daSilva to Venezuela as part of a delegation of election observers. DaSilva and others from the delegation spoke to people on the ground and produced thoughtful blogs and video clips to show what really was happening Venezuela during the election and contradict the mainstream media sensationalism. Since Nicolas Maduro won the election, countries around the world, including Canada, have imposed sanctions. rabble radio posted this interview about the real causes of the mass migration from Venezuela. We are disappointed that Chrystia Freeland and the Trudeau government have rejected citizens’ petitions to stop attacking Venezuelans through sanctions and other pressure. Common Frontiers is working to bring people who are supporting communities on Venezuela to Canada in 2019. Reach out to support their work.
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