Where are they now? Jaggi Singh and Philippe Duhamel

from le temps qui fuit
Ten years ago, in the lead-up to the protests at the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City, Jaggi Singh and Philippe Duhamel represented polar opposites of the debate over protest tactics. While Duhamel's Operation SalAMI insisted on total non-violent civil disobedience, Jaggi and the CLAC argued for confrontation with the security perimeter using a "diversity of tactics." Some of us tried to have the best of both worlds: I marched with the Groupe opposé au mondialisation des marchés, who wanted to build the kind of broad-based movement against the summit that Duhamel had in mind, but also wanted to confront the fence like the CLAC, albeit it in a slightly less arrest-provoking way.

In a weird coincidence, I interviewed the two of them this week about campaigns they're working on. Kind of makes for an accidental where-are-they-now moment.

Jail time for Jaggi?
Jaggi Singh—consistently voted the city’s loudest activist in the Mirror’s Best of Montreal—may have directed his loudness at too sensitive a target this time. Singh will be in court this week in Toronto, where he’s facing a potential six-month jail sentence for his high profile verbal abuse of the G20 security fence in Toronto last year. “I’m here today to support those who want to take down the fence,” he told the media at the time.
Last April, Singh agreed to plead guilty to charges of counselling people to commit mischief over $5,000 (the fence was apparently worth $5.5-million) in exchange for the Crown dropping three counts of criminal conspiracy.
Singh still stands by what he said: “The fence for me was a potent symbol of how fences and walls are built virtually and literally to separate the dominant class from the rest of us who work to survive. It was a literal representation of the policies of austerity and global apartheid that the G20 is responsible for.”
Anti-G20 organizers are looking for support for Singh and 17 others who are facing conspiracy charges that threaten to literally fence them off with two-year prison sentences.
For information about the case, see: clac-montreal.net/en/jaggi.

No fracking way

An intrepid troupe of anti-shale gas campaigners have spent the last month marching along the shore of the St-Lawrence River from Rimouski to Montreal, covering much of the area proposed for future drilling in what could become Quebec’s contribution to the new generation of lucrative-though-environmentally-destructive solutions to the oil crisis.
The marchers of One Generation Moratorium are calling for a full moratorium on shale gas drilling. Although a partial moratorium is now in place, they see this as a publicity move.
“We don’t expect that the Quebec government will relent because it’s clearly aligned with interests of the shale gas industry,” says coordinator Philippe Duhamel. If the moratorium doesn’t hold, he says their next march might be less passive.
“In 2013 we might do this walk again, but have acts of non-violent civil disobedience all along the way.”
The marchers will meet up with a demo against shale gas on Saturday, June 18 at 2 p.m. at the offices of Hydro Quebec (René-Lévesque and St-Urbain). Enthusiastic anti-frackers can also meet the group at Longueuil metro station at 1 p.m. to join them as they cross the Cartier Bridge with a 100-metre banner signed by supporters they’ve met on the march. Visit rimouskimontreal.net for information or to follow their progress.


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