#ShutDownToronto is anything but certain
Right now, it's early Friday morning, February 13, 2015, as I write this. I have been trying to stall for as long as I could to try and make sense of everything that is supposed to occur today across the country.
You see, today is supposed to be #ShutCanadaDown day.
First a word concerning online organizing.
There was a time in Toronto, that coincided with Occupy Toronto (and Occupy Canada), where activists were trying out using social media platforms for more than just announcements but actual organizing – in lieu of calling a meeting, agreeing on logistics and debating about tactics, etc.
I think at some point, the fusion of social media and #Occupy was so tight that no one at first questioned the merits of this type of organizing.
But the proof was in the results.
Demonstrations condemning police brutality against a transgenederd activist here in Toronto were being organized online; for at this point in history, there was no physical occupy presence in the city GA or otherwise.
Thousands of Torontonians were involved in Occupy but only a hundred or so had acknowledged that they were going to indeed attend the demonstration.
And of that, only four people actually showed up.
Yes – only four people.
As a community it took us a while of having the exact same results in the pure definition of insanity for us to realize the severe shortcomings of social media activism in an organizing capacity.
The event itself is supposedly ongoing from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, outside at Yonge and Dundas Square, in these cold-weather alert temperatures.
While the call out was equally as grand as the organizers ambitions, and more than 600 people have agreed to show up at some point during that long stretch of time, time will only tell if this will even get off the ground – literally as estimates are now being bandied about that around 100 people will actually attend.
If you look down at the poll to determine what time was best suited, a total of thirty-three people responded who pledge to show up.
Show up and do what, you ask?
Well, the idea for the day was to actually, literally, shut Canada down, with a fire that is not unlike Occupy or Buy Nothing Day when the call out was for activists to prevent the mainstream from engaging in business as usual for that day.
This meant shutting down ports and major highways, railway lines and shopping malls.
That was the original callouts intention – at least for #ShutCanadaDown and for a Vancouver action to #ShutThePortDown
The national call out reads: "CALLOUT for communities across Canada to blockade their local railway, port or highway on February 13th. Don't buy, don't fly, no work and keep the kids home from school. A diversity of tactics is highly recommended! Get everyone involved. The goal is to significantly impact the Canadian economy for a day and demand there be an independent inquiry into the 2000+ cases of missing or murdered indigenous womn. It's Time to #ShutDownCanada."
But it seems Toronto based organizershave decided against doing any direct action on Friday and will instead be encouraging those coming to hand out pamphlets – though the content of said pamphlets has yet to determined.
This decision to not partake in any direct action might have caused a drop in numbers to some degree, but the political conversation and tone on the Facebook page had dropped an already low morale.
And yet on both national and Toronto Facebook pages have devolved into mudslinging (calling anyone who will participate in strategic voting in the next Federal election an idiot) and calling out organizers for being too indulgent of Indigenous issues.
I'm currently not even sure what to expect in Toronto.
I will be dropping by the Toronto event in the afternoon after 3:00 pm when the bulk of the crowd is expected to show up with its twenty-nine people.
I will also check in with other locations during the day as things occur.
And the organizers have tantilizingly stated that this might be only the first of such rallies to come.
Just in case you're curious, here is a list of the 24 events:
Vancouver: Blockade @ the port.
Vancouver: Dance Party
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