Take down the unjust fences, Break down the apartheid walls: an OPIRG York Statement of Solidarity with Jaggi Singh
On Tuesday, June 21, 2011, exactly one year following the week that brought close to 40,000 people out to the streets of Toronto to fight back against the exploitative policies of the G8/G20 leaders, Montreal-based organizer Jaggi Singh will hear the final verdict on his guilty plea. Jaggi, a member of the Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC) and No One Is Illegal Montreal, was one of several community activists and organizers facing serious charges resulting from the G20. These charges came about in the context of a massive - and now widely condemned - billion dollar police operation that saw more than 1100 people arrested and several more beaten, assaulted and threatened.
Jaggi, initially charged with G20 related "conspiracy" charges - a charge presently faced by 17 other organizers - strategically entered into a plea agreement with the Crown that saw him plead guilty to the charge of "counselling to commit mischief over $5000" for the comments he made during a press conference at the G20 security fence on June 24, 2010 (Link to press conference here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ymRoN54CCc). In exchange the Crown dropped the "conspiracy" charges. Jaggi went to the trail on this new charge on April 28, 2011 where he unapologetically reiterated his comments at the fence stating clearly the reasons why the G20 needed to be confronted and why he supported those who wanted to take down the fence.
The staff and board at the Ontario Public Interest Research Group at York firmly stand behind Jaggi Singh's comments at the G20 fence when he said, "Starting tomorrow and the days that follow, the executive board of world capitalism will meet here in Toronto, behind these fences. They are people responsible for enormous misery and oppression, and they are people who deserve to be confronted." We could not agree more when he continued, "This fence is more than a metaphor...it is a microcosm of what we see all around the world". Most importantly, we are with him when he further added, "I am here to stand with those who question the legitimacy of this fence, and support those who want to take down the fence."
Many of our own members were deeply involved in the organizing efforts that made the convergence of a diverse array of struggles and tactics possible during that week in June last year. As an organization committed to providing students at York the tools for political action, for fighting back, we believe in the amalgamation of theory and practise; we believe in the efficacy and necessity of grassroots mobilizations and we believe in supporting all those who take up that fight for justice.
As we await the decision this Tuesday, we again unequivocally declare our support and solidarity with Jaggi Singh and will continue to mobilize students in resistance against the policies that the G20 leaders embody.
All power to the people.
The Staff and Board of Directors 2011-2012 at the Ontario Public Interest Research Group at York