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May 24, 2001 Preparing for another peaceful invasion of activists



Activists at a conference

Photo courtesy of the IMCD

by Barbara Black

Naomi Klein, well-known author and a leading spokesperson for the anti-globalization movement, will be a featured speaker at the ninth annual Institute in Management and Community Development (IMCD) summer program, to take place on the Loyola Campus June 11 to 15.

Klein is the author of No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, a highly successful attack on international corporations, including their stranglehold on popular culture and international labour practices.

“We just asked her, and there was an immediate response, probably because she saw the nature of the event and who would be there,” said Lance Evoy, director of the Institute.

Trading strategies with peers

The summer program brings together community activists from all over North America, and even beyond. For many of these people, it is a rare chance to trade insights and strategies with their peers, and to find common ground and inspiration in a vocation that is always, by definition, a challenge.

Evoy said that Klein, who went straight from the protest at the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City in April to the May Day protests in Europe, brings not only her high profile but her international experience to the summer program. So does the other featured speaker, Laure Waridel, an activist and author in the field of fair-trade commerce, who has done research in Mexico, France, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Innovative fundraising

This year, the Institute had a resident resource person, Dave Beckwith, from the Centre for Community Change, in Washington, D.C. Thanks to fundraising efforts by the IMCD, Beckwith and his family travelled across Canada in a van for three months, interviewing about 40 community organizers and their supporters. Evoy says that about 20 of them are coming to the summer program as a result. Beckwith then went to Australia and did the same thing, travelling and interviewing.

Evoy dreams of publishing these vignettes in a book similar to those of the Chicago populist Studs Terkel.

The summer program, as always, will be primarily a meeting place for about 800 activists and community workers who look forward to having their batteries charged.

Evoy says that over the years, he has discovered what works at these gatherings: a rich diversity of approaches, resource people from a wide variety of places, and an emphasis on links, applications and appropriate pedagogy.

“We want to provoke the participants—in a positive way,” he concluded.