Sat, Jun 05, 2010: Community Action for Social Justice: Toronto vs. the G20


Date: Saturday, June 5, 2010
Time: 10:30am – 6:00pm
Location: 5th Floor O.I.S.E.
Street: 252 Bloor St. West


During the G20, the elites of the wealthiest 20 countries in the world come together to determine the policies and institutions that inevitably structure economic and political activity in the rest of the world. What happens at the G20 affects all of us. Recent policies at our universities, for instance, strongly reflect the privatization agenda of the G20. Additionally, the G8 and G20 summits have become opportunities for governments to experiment with repressive security measures that clamp down on our democratic right to protest, and even our freedoms of speech and movement. Much is at stake during these summits — including our democratic right to participate in the decisions that shape much of our lives.

Join student and community activists to learn about the G20 and how your voice can be heard. Free citywide teach-in. Lunch included!



11:00 INTRODUCTION: What is the G20 and why should we care about it?


Economic Justice in Ontario: Poverty, Disability, and Workers’ Rights

The theme of this G20 summit is “recovery and new beginnings.” But the G20 isn’t pursuing anything new. The G20 has used the economic crisis to reinforce the myth of its own legitimacy, on the backs of poor and working people around the world. In Canada, austerity measures have already provoked outrage and opposition. Why should poor and working people pay for a crisis that capitalism imposed? Hear from anti-poverty activists, union organizers and workers.



Migrant Justice, Imperialism and the G20

We cannot understand Canada’s immigration system without considering the influence of G8/G20 imperialist policies, which force people in the Third World to leave their homes in search of work. Upon arriving in places like Canada, migrants are treated as “temporary workers,” and receive lower wages, do not have access to labour protection, and are not eligible for status. Migrants are allowed to work but not to stay, and are criminalized when they reject this deplorable arrangement. This workshop will explain G20 policies and Canada’s exploitation of migrant labour and shameful immigration and refugee application process.

Food and Water Security

Poor access to food and water is a determinant and reflection of social injustice. The climate and financial crises disproportionately affect poor people. In the face of devastating global statistics of chronic hunger, food prices are rising and water is being privatized. G8/G20 economic policies will deepen the food and water crises. To ensure that everyone has adequate access to healthy living, we must take action towards food and water security.

At Home and Beyond: Gender Justice in a Neoliberal World

Consistent with capitalist logic, issues of inequity are entirely sidelined at the G20. G20 members don’t discuss how profits depend on unpaid and unrecognized domestic labour. Today, a relationship of exploitation concentrates wealth in the hands of the Global North. The intersecting implications of gender and geographical location mean that women in the Global South are often the ones most adversely affected by neoliberal policies. If this concerns you – and it should – come find out how feminists are mobilizing against the G20.

G20 and the University

The G20 is pushing for further liberalization as the solution to the global economic and financial crisis. Liberalization entails the privatization of public institutions (including universities) and the exploitation of public monies and resources for private gain. Facing cutbacks in state funding, universities increasingly seek private corporate sponsorship. These private interests have a habit of encroaching on academic freedom and accountability – students have less say about the kind of education we receive. Underfunding means that, along with being stifled, we are asked to pay more. This is why tuition fees keep rising. Let’s talk about how G20 policies percolate through our campus experiences, and how students are organizing for a better future.


Climate and Environmental Justice

Environmental devastation disproportionately affects people in marginalized communities and developing countries. This comes as no surprise; those who have mandated themselves to manage the world’s resources and economy – the G20 – want unprecedented access to resources in order to benefit from their exploitation. G20 countries have given over 200 billion dollars in subsidies to oil and coal manufacturers and other extractive industries that displace people and impact their livelihood. 18 of the G20 countries have failed to meet carbon reduction targets. In December 2009, many G20 countries undermined the UN Climate Change talks to develop a fair, ambitious, and legally binding treaty. Climate change has displaced over 20 million people and put all animal and plant life at risk. Canada manages 75% of the world’s mining companies and uses 10% of the world’s energy resources. Demand that the G20 stop endangering the planet and those who are hit first and worst by the ecological and climate crisis.

Indigenous Sovereignty and the G20

“We have no history of colonialism,” Harper stated without irony at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh last year. As far as such so-called leaders are concerned, the contemporary colonial realities of Canada and other G20 states might as well not exist. But the evidence is everywhere – Canada refuses to sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, implements a regime of repression against First Nations struggles for sovereignty and self-determination, and is complicit in extractive industries’ violations of human rights, worldwide. Discover and discuss the role of the G20 in perpetuating global capitalism and colonialism, and learn how you can plug in to the day of action on Indigenous sovereignty, led by the First Nations network Defenders of the Land.

Apartheid and the G20: Palestine Solidarity in Canada

As the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel makes international headway, the Canadian government works scrupulously to undermine anyone who advocates for Palestinian human rights. Harper’s Conservatives cut funding to organizations that criticize Israel, including the Canadian Arab Federation, KAIROS and United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). This new McCarthyism draws effectively from its precedent – people are reluctant to publicly condemn the apartheid regime in Israel, although many people condemn it in private. The G20 takes the international lead in this repression campaign, condoning Israeli war crimes and working to undermine Palestinians who organize for their own rights and liberation. Come learn more about the G20 and Palestine.


On the Ground in June: Know your rights!

Massive demonstrations, black blocs, human chains and nonviolent resistance, police brutality, tear gas, and mass arrests. Sound dramatic? Romantic imagery of protests and demos can obscure the realities of the work that goes into making them happen and the range of skills and knowledge that make them successful. From Seattle WTO to Quebec FTAA; from Pittsburgh G20 to Vancouver anti-Olympics; and finally in Toronto this June, prepare for what’s coming by learning from the past. Join us for an historical workshop on demos, a primer to your legal rights on the street, and an overview of possibilities for participation, presented by the Toronto Community Mobilization Network.

All events are wheelchair accessible.


Sponsored by University of Toronto Students’ Union * Ontario Public Interest Research Group * Toronto Community Mobilization Network * Sierra Youth Coalition * Science for Peace * Canadian Youth Climate Coalition * And others!