2nd Meeting Announcement – put it into your schedule, NOW please.

We will meet at The Tower from 12 noon – 2 pm on Sunday, February 12th.

This is exciting, we’re starting a movement to save humanity on earth and it’s going to start right here in Hamilton.

If you want to join us, all you need to do is show up!


Our 1st Meeting – One person’s telling

John Wilbur

Tue 31 Jan/17

We had our first Think Tank meeting today, only 4 people could make it but I think they each would agree that it was a great meeting. Me, Ute Schmid Jones, David Bennett,  Dave Urquhart were the brave souls who could make it.

We decided that we would dial the formality back to a discussion rather than a ‘meeting’. We each picked an item from the Meeting Discussion List and talked about it but agreed that we would not try to hold a ‘meeting’ with only 4 people present. So we did not appoint a Timer etc. These are my notes about what I remember from the meeting, I hope others will write their own such notes.

We did come to some understandings that we think should be accepted by the group at our next meeting, such as:

  1. We will discuss and come to consensual agreements on ‘precepts’ that will then simply be accepted by the group and not open to further time or attention. We will need a mechanism to break this rule when necessary to reexamine past precepts, maybe an overwhelming consensus?
  2. The first of these precepts is that we are in a Climate Emergency and need to act urgently. This is accepted and we move forward with this understanding. It now forms a basis for membership. The raising of this topic will be out of order at any of our meetings.
  3. We talked about adopting a “cellular” organizational model because we would have an inherently fast-tracked movement, full of cells that are acting independently while also being highly dependent within the movement. So, for example, our Nonviolence Choir will be booking themselves completely independently of the whole, while also being totally supportive of actions and disruptions of the Movement. Same with our band, orchestra, theatre troupe, our computer hackers etc, etc.
  4. Discussed whether or not we should be a  ‘single issue’ group.I say yes and our issue is saving humanity on the earth by winning a War on Climate Change. What we need to figure out is how we get there. Others felt that we should not portray ourselves as a single issue group. Some felt that perhaps our real target should be our dysfunctional society rather than climate change. Others felt that we don’t have time for that; we need to keep it simple and focus on attainable goals.  It will be hard enough to rally people around saving the earth and if we do actually manage that, we will, on that path, fundamentally change society. I think this should become a precept: Our only focus is to plan and provoke a broadly supported war on climate change and to engage in that war.
  5. We agreed that we would all use the website t0 report on community meetings and that we would each volunteer to go to these meetings to spread the word of our group. We agreed that we would do this, going out and speaking, rather than having a designated person or persons do so for us. This is an attempt to ensure that we have many leaders in place and that no one of us is misleading the others. We want to stay horizontal rather than get hierarchical, this is inherently part of cellular organization. There is my first draft of a generic ‘introduction’ on the site that people can use and comment on to improve.
  6. We will each begin to actively use our social media contacts to look for more members from a broad cross-section of Hamilton, especially those sections we don’t normally  think of in relation to climate change: musicians, writers, computer people, singers, social media activists, theatre people, mask makers, sign makers . . . it can’t get too big. We want everyone who agrees with the need to act.
  7. We agreed that I will make anyone who wants it, a full Editor of the WordPress Site so that they would have high level access to all posts, pages, comments, categories, tags, and links etc. This again is an attempt to have many leaders in place. All you need to do to become a full Editor is ask me.
  8. Finally we agreed that our next meeting will be Sun 12 Feb/17 from 12 noon – 2:00 pm. It should be noted that at our first meeting, of 4, we sat on the couches in the front room. On Sunday from 12 – 5 is  Open House at The Tower. So our next meeting will take place around the big meeting table in the back room, while the Open House is going on in the front room. Hopefully we’ll  get some spill over from the Open House.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten things that others can fill in. The Tower has wifi, a projector and screen that we can use and an extensive library of hundreds of books from which we can borrow. There is a level entrance to the street and a washroom but it is NOT accessible to a person in a wheelchair. If that becomes an issue we’ll need to move. It would be good to know of accessible meeting places downtown in Hamilton. This could, in the end, push us to meet at the Library..

1st Meeting Discusion Points

Everything needs to be discussed and confirmed but in my opinion, rather than a hard agenda we should have a list of discussion points and ideally these points should be timed so that we at least touch on every topic on the list at each meeting.

For this first meeting and until ‘we’ have made collective decisions on operational issues I have composed a proposed Discussion List:

  1. Why we exist?
  2. What is our focus
    1. Are we ‘single issue’
    2. Do we get involved with politics and elections?
  3. How can we grow?
    1. Reaching out to other groups
  4. What power do we possess
    1. Who can we take the ‘fight’ to?
  5. Are we committed to thinking globally while acting locally?
    1. What does that really mean?
  6. Do we accept radical action?
    1. What does that mean in 2017 Canada?
  7. What Structure shall we adopt?
  8. How should we use social media?
    1. Should we set up a Facebook Page?
    2. Twitter? Instagram? others?
  9. How will we communicate?
  10. Where do we meet?
  11. What are the Requirements for membership?
    1. Is a member anyone who shows up for any meeting or is it more formal than that?
    2. How important is attendance at meetings?
    3. Can members drop in and out?
    4. How to people ‘join’?
    5. Do we keep a ‘membership’ list?


Here’s my attempt at this list with discussion times:Untitled 3.png

Embracing Radical Disruptive Action

Many people believe that Gandhi and Martin Luther King were passivists and this is nowhere near the truth, the images have been sanitized. History burnishes all the sharp edges from historical figures. We need to be reminded that in their time and place, Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi were the most militant, radical and disruptive people in the world and much of the world shunned them.

We need to see them in a more proper perspective and this article is an introduction to a more truthful view of Martin Luther King.

What the Santa Clausification of Martin Luther King Jr Leaves Out: https://theintercept.com/2017/01/16/what-the-santa-clausification-of-martin-luther-king-jr-leaves-out/

I think this is helpful to us because once we embrace nonviolent action, we are talking about planning things more radical than Hamilton has ever seen, at least in living memory. In addition to hard work, that’s going to take courage and sacrifice before we get very far down that line.


To underline my point about getting the arts involved with us: As Dr. King was building his movement he understood instinctively that music could play a major role it the fight. He reached out to Robuck Staple, Pops of the Staple Singers.

What he understood in his bones was that the people coming out to hear him would be much more open to his message if he entertained them and raised the emotional level of the crowd before he began to speak. Developing that into a modern tactic, especially in a City as rich as Hamilton will be joyous and THAT IS THE POINT.

Listen to the first few minutes of Mavis Staples talking about how they became the musical voice of the movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKLX_aj6reA&ab_channel=ChrisMorrow

The traditional audience of the Staple Singers also turned away from their radicalism as they took the message of the movement into night clubs and popular recordings. The Civil Rights Movent pulled them out of the Churches and into the streets. These were NOT the Staple Singers as we have come to think of them; these were young radicals embracing the nonviolent movement, growing out ot Southern Blues and singing MLK’s message: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHpoGK1aX5Y&ab_channel=DetroitLives313

Turning The Women’s March Protest into Action

Here’s a direct link to the very powerful and incredibly timely segment from yesterday’s The Current on moving from Protest to Action through strategic nonviolent but militant and disruptive action.


Here FYI are my timeline notes of the first 2/3’s this recording with White and Bond:

  • Note in Opening: Martin Luther King talked about taking over city councils with good people as the first step making change!
  • [01:38] Becky Bond, co-author Rules for Revolutionaries, Bernie Sanders Co-Organizer
  • [01:54] Micah White – author The End of Protest, Occupy Wallstreet Co-Organizer
  • [02:25] Waiting to be asked to do something  big
  • [02:41] Becky Bond – Community Organizing
  • [04:01] We can’t wait, we have to organize ourselves
  • [04:14] We need to form local groups to fight for change
  • [04:42] We need to run regular people for everything being elected
  • [04:56] Will take years of hard work if we get started now
  • [05:19] Micah White
  • [05:27] Women’s March Future
  • [05:59] This isn’t enough
  • [07:02] Every protest tests a theory of social change
  • [07:20] Protests alone doesn’t give the people power
  • [07:37] Two ways to gain power
  • [07:41] Win elections or win wars
  • [07:48] Our only viable option is to win elections THIS must be the final goal
  • [08:34] Millions must get involved ultimately
  • [08:55] Must see that Trump has also inspired people who now fight against us
  • [09:47] Dominant Theory of Why Protests Fail
  • [10:10] World March against the War did not work
  • [10:19] The Reason the anti-war movement failed is because it had no path
  • [10:38] We must have a viable strategy leading to electing the right people
  • [11:12] We need to abandon garbage tactics that take the place of action
  • [11:53] Possible that in one month no-one will remember the Women’s March!
  • [12:17] People  need to be asked for something big to do something big
  • [12:29] People will not give something small to get something small
  • [12:47] Not the time for small ball, time to go big
  • [13:07] When you ask people to do big things they step up in ways you never imagined
  • [13:44] The state of organization on the Left is NOT ENOUGH
  • [14:47] We have enough people ready for change
  • [14:55] We must seize this moment to move forward
  • [15:10] the challenge to engagement of the people is only limited by our imagination
  • [16:10] We need to invite everyone in
  • [16:19] All it needs is a bold idea for people to form around
  • [16:36] We need to demand to be ‘let in’ and to be heading into the streets every week until we get the change we want.

First Meeting Date and Time

We used Doodle polling/scheduling software to set our first meeting. As odd as this might seem, the time we’re all available for our first Meeting at 10 am – 12 noon on Tue 31 Jan. We’re going to meet at The Tower 281 Cannon St. E, Hamilton, ON L8L 2B4. I am hopeful that at this meeting we can all agree on a future date and time before we part.

The Tower is an interesting site, please check it out: http://the-tower.ca/about/

The Tower is run by local anarchists but it is intended to be a meeting resource for local activists who are furthering radical struggle. I think one of the first things we have to do is get comfortable with that ‘radical’ idea because as soon as we begin our discussion we are going to be part of that world.

I know that this time of day is not the most hospitable for others to attend however I want to make it clear that this Think Tank is open to everyone and all are welcome. You can join us by showing up at a meeting or simply by letting us know on this site using the Contact page.

We welcome everyone, member or not to delve into the world of nonviolent action using this site as a springboard. You are welcome to keep up with the developing reading lists and our blog.

First Think Tank meeting: Tue 31 Dec, 10 am – 12 noon at The Tower

The Tower, 281 Cannon St. E. (North side, just West of Victoria)



Action is Bursting Out All Over

The Women’s March on Washington on Saturday has sparked a lot of conversation.

There was an incredibly current version of The Current on CBC this morning wherein they assembled some of the thought leaders on nonviolent action (already on our reading lists) to talk about what’s next. It was hard to believe what I was hearing. It was like they were talking directly to us.

Here is the web source: start listening at minute 46:58 of the full episode recording to catch the beginning of the piece. Later today they may have it broken out on their page as a separate piece.



I was directed to this website this morning by a Canadian Volunteer for the Climate Disobedience Center and the Climate Emergency Coalition. I’m adding it to our Internet Reading Page, I include it here to point its addition out to you. I’ve just started to look at it but it seems is HIGHLY relevant to us and came from a respected source: http://www.theclimatemobilization.org/crisis-reading-groups