I didn’t go to the Montreal Anti Monsanto March Saturday. It’s not because I’m lazy and it’s not because I support Monsanto, far from it. They’re a horrible company and protesting them is necessary.
I didn’t go because the organizers decided to follow the wholly unconstitutional bylaw P6 and provide the SPVM with their route. It’s not as though they didn’t know it was a problem.
For weeks, activists posted on their Facebook event page letting them know why this is wrong. They even started polls and event attendees voted almost unanimously not to provide a route. Instead of taking potential participants’ wishes to heart, organizers deleted the posts and kept with their line.
They cited security concerns. Now while I can understand someone not wanting to bring their kids or themselves into a mini war zone, that wouldn’t have been the case with this march.
The SPVM have made it crystal clear, in action though not in speech, that they’re not shutting down protests like this one, route or no. They didn’t enforce P6 at the anti-Harper rally after activists convinced organizers to not follow P6 and don’t get me started on Habs victory celebrations.
No, the SPVM have made it clear that they’re only kettling, fining, arresting and even injuring protestors at marches they deem undesirable like student protests, the Anti-Police Brutality March and May Day to name a few. And that, in a nutshell, is the problem.
It’s also why all activists, no matter where they are on the political spectrum, need to, at least symbolically, oppose P6. If the SPVM can decide what protests are okay and which ones can’t happen (don’t kid yourself, submitting a route for their approval gives them that power) then we’re all screwed.
Whether you’re fighting for immigration reform, against police brutality, against whatever it is the right wing protests or against Monsanto, it’s your right. If you let the SPVM take that away from some people then they could very easily take it away from you, too.
If you’re against Monsanto then you should be against P6. When enforcing this horrid law, the SPVM are acting like Monsanto.
Monsanto genetically engineers our food supply so we get Franken-foods. P6 gives us Franken-rights.
It’s just a route, a simple request. Well, it’s just corn, GMO corn, a simple alteration.
Monsanto pits neighbour against neighbour. The SPVM pits activist against activist. It’s working on both fronts.
Monsanto forces farmers to buy their terminator seeds by selling them to the farmer’s neighbour and then threatening legal action when the wind blows a few patented seeds from one property to the other. The SPVM sells one group of activists the idea that they’ll be fine if they take one simple step and submit a route and then uses that group’s acquiescence as justification to both physical and legally attack another group who didn’t buy their rights-terminating bylaw.
In both cases a foreign body is introduced into an ecosystem that doesn’t need it or want it. Terminator seeds and P6 are both poison.
If you want to think local, think about not staying silent when the SPVM and P6’s political supporters, our own local Monsanto genetically engineer our rights. Then protesting the conglomerate will make sense.
Photos by Iana Kazakova.