A new model of multi-issue social justice organizing in Oshawa

The rabble podcast network offers an alternative take on politics, entertainment, society, stories, community and life in general. All opinions belong to the podcaster; however, podcasters are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new podcasters -- contact us for details.

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca in its summer fundraiser today for as little as $1 per month!

On this week's episode of Talking Radical Radio, organizers Tiffany Balducci and Jim Freeman talk about We Are Oshawa, a new organization working on multiple social justice issues in a small Ontario city.

Oshawa is a city of just over 150,000 people on the north shore of Lake Ontario, east of Toronto. A centre of auto manufacturing, it was also the birthplace of industrial unionism in this country, after a crucial strike in 1937. Though certainly not as hard hit as some manufacturing communities across North America, things like unemployment, poverty, and income inequality have a presence in the community today in a way that just wasn't the case 40 years ago.

New times require new ways of struggling to create change. We Are Oshawa is a new-ish group, and when you hear it described -- what it draws from past struggles, how it goes about its work, who it involves -- it sounds just like common sense, like the sort of thing that's probably already happening everywhere. Yet it's not at all clear to me that that is the case -- We Are Oshawa is actually, I think, quite an exciting experiment. It is multi-issue. It is quite pointedly not a coalition, but rather a horizontal, democratic membership organization whose political focus is determined by those members. It involves labour activists, students, community activists, environmentalists, retired people, youth, and more. It is campaign-based, it emphasizes creative actions, and it seems able to apply a healthy share of strategic thinking. It combines newer activist tools like social media with a major emphasis on older approaches that many groups today don't do nearly as much as they should -- things like face-to-face encounters, door-knocking, and canvassing. Balducci and Freeman talk with me about the group, its campaigns and actions so far, and its approach to mobilizing people.

To learn more about We Are Oshawa, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada. We give you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show in general, visit the recently revamped website here. You can learn about suggesting topics for future shows here.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.