By the 350 Canada Team
As of this morning, the “Truckers for Freedom” occupation has entered its third day in Ottawa, choking off access to the downtown core and putting hate symbols on open display. Whether they were watching on the news from the other side of the country or from their front doors in downtown Ottawa, people across the country were disgusted by the stories of harassment, vandalism and hate.
You probably know by now that members of Canada’s far-right movement organized the convoy, and the protest has attracted the sympathy of thousands more who are angry and disaffected by a system they know is rigged.
In fact, the current convoy camped out on Parliament Hill looks remarkably similar to the Yellow Vest convoy that descended on Ottawa three years ago. Claiming to be in opposition to Trudeau’s carbon tax, it similarly became swept up by anti-immigrant and far-right sentiment.
Right wing politicians and their operators have been pouring fuel on working class frustration ever since. Instead of addressing the problems we face, they’ve successfully tapped into working people’s rage in order to further their visions of everything from fossil fuel expansion to privatization to white nationalist ideologies.
The convoy has generated a lot of media coverage and that’s been frustrating to see too, especially when we think about how often Canada’s news outlets ignore and marginalize our own, much bigger movements. These so-called “Truckers for Freedom” are sidelining the majority of transportation workers — particularly immigrant and South Asian truckers — who are currently struggling against poor working conditions and wage theft.
We can’t combat the rise of the far right by ridiculing or ignoring it away. We have to out-organize it. We have to build a movement big enough to stop them — one that holds space for working people’s anger against a broken system, and channels it into a positive vision for the future.
That means organizing our communities around the vision of a bold, inclusive just transition that responds to this moment of crisis in a way that leaves no one behind. You can start by directly supporting the people suffering from the actions of the far-right convoy in Ottawa right now.
Here are some groups and organizations that need your solidarity:
- Shepherds of Good Hope Ottawa. Over the weekend, convoy protestors harassed staff and volunteers and assaulted a service user at a downtown homeless shelter. Donate to them here.
- Ottawa Community Care Fund. This group is raising money to facilitate mutual aid and community care to support marginalized people in Ottawa who are suffering from the effects of the Convoy. Donate here.
- Naujawan Support Network (NSN). Every month employers steal thousands of dollars of their workers’ wages, targeting immigrant and racialized communities in particular. NSN is organizing to put an end to it. Chip in to their legal defence fund.
- Assembly of Seven Generations. This group is an Indigenous youth-led organization that provides cultural support, transportation, meals and emergency support for Indigenous youth in Ottawa. Donate to them here.