Friday, March 4, 2022

NCSJ Communication After Lindsay Counter-protest


A couple of you who wanted to but couldn’t attend Saturday asked if we could pass along an e-mail address to which you could send best wishes to the Lindsay high schoolers who have been organizing the counter-demos up there.


After spending the afternoon with them yesterday I (Derek B) think that rather than just passing along the key organizer’s address to everyone, it would be better if you sent your messages to us.  We will ensure that they get there.


We say this because we have not, though we probably should have done, checked the credentials of everyone on this list.  We’ll get to that soon with some help from Google.  But so long as there’s a chance that someone who’s idea of social justice is closer to the convoy supporters crowd than ours who has managed to get onto the mailing, we’ve a bit of a concern about what messages might be sent.  And those half dozen young people are already taking a fair bit of abuse; they neither need nor deserve more.


Yesterday we had five older folks join the students.  Possibly as a result they were not approached by the police.  We held signs towards traffic and chatted amongst ourselves, trying hard to converse despite the bullhorns and honking car and truck horns.


There were about 75-100 convoy supporters.  They received considerable support in the form of vehicle horns getting a workout as they passed through the intersection.  Here’s a bit of taste of what things were like.


The students were approached by some elderly women who asked the young women in our group if they were vaccinated.  They then expressed their condolences to the younger folks as apparently it is well-known in certain circles that the vaccines are likely going to induce menopause in recipients; the chances, they said, are that they will not be able to ever have children.


Reproduction seemed to be something of a theme with the convoy supporters.  A man carrying a UN flag with a red circle around it and a slash through it was handing out leaflets detailing, a la Pat King, how the vaccines have the effect of sterilizing men.  Further, and again following the speeches of Pat King, he says, through a bullhorn at maximum volume, that the reason why the global north has higher vaccination rates than the south is not the results of inequities in the global health system but is instead designed to sterilize ‘white people’ so that the Black and the Brown folks and the UN can take over the world.


There was also a lot of student-baiting by a number of convoy supporters with bullhorns.  Invitations to leave their corner and go to one of the convoy-occupied corners to ‘figure things out’ with a clearly implied threat of violence for example.  It might be worth pointing out that the students are all between 15 and 17 years old.


All in all it is one thing to read about these things or see a few seconds on TV but it is quite disturbing to experience it directly.


More disturbing even, were the number of very clearly disenfranchised people involved.  Those still unemployed for example.  They formed the majority of the convoy supporters for sure but they were and are being organized and recruited by the white supremacists and others.


On the up side, those young people are very, very impressive indeed.  We’ll continue to do what we can to support them.  The Lindsay Labour Council is working with them this week to get them some media coverage and more bodies.  Other than the letter to the editor from the key student organizer which we forwarded on Friday, the coverage has all been of the convoy supporters.


The Lindsay students will continue their counter demonstrations for as long as the pro-convoy events continue after most of the public health restrictions end in the coming week.  They’ll let us know as soon as they can if we’re needed and we will pass along any further requests for assistance if there is time.  Two hours in the cold is not terrible and there’s a decent pub with excellent poutine not far from the demo location.  😊  There are worse ways to spend a Saturday afternoon even if it does involve an hour’s drive.


Stay well.


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