Calgarians who missed the protests at the Summit of the Americas in April had an opportunity for some unique insights last week.
On June 13, after their annual meeting, the Calgary-based Project Ploughshares hosted a slide show and information session by Alan Keane, co-founder of Co-motion Collective, and a "protestor trainer." According to Keane, Co-motion Collective works with interested parties in teaching non-violent methods of civil disobedience and in the past has worked with striking labour unions, First Nations peoples, and Greenpeace Project.
The slideshow was generally considered a success.
"The best part is the discussion [the slide show] sparked," said Kerry Duncan-McCartney, the program coordinator and founding member of Project Ploughshares. "The crux of the matter is what is just coming out now, how do people who use intellectual protests and physical protest work together without destroying each other?"
Duncan-McCartney added that she believed she could be more effective in a face to face meeting with Members of Parliament,.
"Tonight, I have not seen something I can absorb into my activism," she explained.
Project Ploughshares was founded in Calgary in 1982 and has since expanded to become one of the most active branches in Canada with a diverse membership. Members Bev Delong and Duncan-McCartney explained that Keane's work ties in closely with Project Ploughshares' multiple initiatives in conflict resolution. Project Ploughshares is active in efforts to abolish nuclear arms, the Youth Action for Peace program, anti-bullying drama projects in elementary schools and helped spearhead the anti-landmine movement in Canada.
The evening began as an information session about the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas summit and the protests in Quebec City, which Keane attended in a trainer
capacity for the Council of Canadians, teaching safe protest methods and
informing the members of their legal rights at the summit. As students tend to make up a large percentage of protestors, Keane stressed the importance of practicing safe protesting.
"Students can continue to be involved," said Keane. "They should continue to have their voices heard, go to meetings like the G8 in Ottawa next year, write [newspaper] editors, write their MPs."
Keane also encouraged interested youth to learn more about Co-Motion Collective at their website http://www.co-motion.net.
Those interested in more information on Youth Action for Peace contests, initiatives and activities should visit the website http://www.geocities.com/youth_action_for_peace.