The People's Commission Network is a Montreal network monitoring and opposing the "national security agenda". The network is a space for individuals and groups who face oppression in the name of "national security" - such as indigenous people, immigrants, racialized communities, radical groups, social justice organizations, labour unions - and their allies, to form alliances, share information, and coordinate strategies to defend their full rights and dignity.
In March 2006, the People's Commission on Immigration Security Measures - initiated by the Coalition Justice for Adil Charkaoui and Solidarity Across Borders - held three days of hearings in a community centre in Montreal.
Thirty people testified before nine community commissioners linked to communities targetted by national security measures, providing personal experiences as well as analysis and expertise.
The network forged out of this initial project continued informally until the fall of 2008. It was then reinvigorated in the wake of the deportation of Ivan Apaolaza Sancho, a Basque activist who was deported on national security grounds despite the Canadian government's failure to produce any evidence against him.
The increasing intensity of the Conservative government's use of "national security" and "terrorism" to justify surveillance, arbitrary detention, no fly lists, deportations, exile, withholding entry visas, funding cuts, involvement in torture, stifling and criminalizing dissent, and occupation, also reawakened interest in building a network to actively challenge this trend.
Renamed the People's Commission Network, the process brings together various groups affected by the national security agenda and their allies to share experiences and launch joint projects.
The People's Commission Network is planning a two-day gathering, "Resisting the National Security Agenda: Solidarity is our Security" in November 2010.
The gathering will go beyond the civil liberties framework to explicitly challenge the concept of national security and question the political and economic purposes served by the national security agenda. The aim of the gathering is to strengthen solidarity among targetted communities and their allies in Montreal.
A Consulta to form working groups to prepare the forum will take place on Saturday, 27 March 2010.
The People's Commission Network runs a website for Mohammed Mahjoub, a Toronto-based Egyptian refugee who was arrested under a security certificate in June 2000 and has spent many years since in arbitrary, indefinite detention, much of it in solitary confinement, some of it under house arrest. Mr. Mahjoub was on hungerstrike for six months in 2009, protesting detention conditions at Guantanamo North, where he was the sole prisoner.
Project Fly Home helped to coordinate the groundswell of public support that forced the government to repatriate Abousfian Abdelrazik in June 2009 after six years of exile.
Project Fly Home has continued to support Abdelrazik, demanding that Canadian officials responsible for his imprisonment, torture and exile in Sudan be brought to justice, and that his name be removed from the "1267 list", which imposes an asset freeze and travel ban. Project Fly Home is also calling for the abolition of the United Nation's 1267 list.
The People's Commission Network is working on a number of popular education projects to protect communities from harassment by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), and alert people to the dangers of this secretive, abusive and unaccountable government agency.
The People's Commission Network has developed a number of excellent popular education materials about the national security agenda, including:
Popular education materials can be downloaded from this website or ordered by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Overview||The People’s Commission Network is a Montreal network monitoring and opposing the “national security agenda”. The network is a space for individuals and groups who face oppression in the name of “national security” - such as indigenous people, immigrants, racialized communities, radical political organizations, labour unions - and their allies, to form alliances, share information, and coordinate strategies to defend their full rights and dignity.|
|General vision and principles||We strive for a world in which every human being is free to live and flourish in dignity and justice. We resist all, interlocked systems of oppression, rooted in racism, patriarchy, class and ableism.|
|Indigenous people||We affirm our solidarity with indigenous peoples seeking self-determination and sovereignty across Turtle Island. We oppose the racist colonization, violent dispossession and genocide on which Canada – as a nation and political entity - was founded and continues to function.|
|Migration||The right to remain, the right to migrate, and the right to return are all elements of self-determination which we support. We endorse the call for equal status for everyone in Canada. We distinguish the right to migrate - a necessity for millions of poor and racialized migrants – from colonial migrations that destroy existing societies and steal land and resources for the benefit of privileged groups.|
|Inter-connectedness of struggles||We consider struggles for justice by different communities and groups against the various mechanisms of the national security agenda – immigration ‘security’ measures, anti-terror laws, listing, no fly lists, surveillance mechanisms, criminalization, etc. - to be interconnected. Such mechanisms contribute to the economic and political marginalization of targeted communities and individuals, entrench privileges and contribute to an expansion of state control and surveillance. The success of these policies often relies on the very fragmentation and lack of solidarity among and within targeted groups which these policies have helped to create in the first place.|
|Understanding political and economic objectives||We also believe that the national security agenda cannot meaningfully be opposed without grasping its specific social, political and economic objectives. We believe that resistance must go beyond the apolitical framework of human rights abuses, and ask what interests and privileges are served by the abuses. This requires an analysis of state and corporate strategies, and the ways in which the domestic and international faces of these strategies work together.|
|Alliances||In Canada and globally, as a network, we align ourselves with solidarity organizations and movements which share our commitment to the equality and dignity of all humans.|
|Stance towards political parties and nationalisms||As a network, we do not support any political party, nationalist movement, or government. However, we recognize that anti-colonial and other liberatory movements often take nationalist and statist forms. We stand in solidarity with popular movements for self-determination, dignity and justice behind these expressions.|
|Stance towards violence and terrorism||We believe that all social movements have the right to debate tactics. We advocate forms of resistance which maximize respect for life and the rights of the oppressed. We recognize that an ideological insistence on “non-violence” can, in some circumstances, deflect attention away from the overwhelming violence – direct and structural - exercised by states and privileged groups. We also question the use of the word “terrorism”. We believe the label is used to marginalize targeted communities, create fear and silence debate, delegitimize resistance, justify further oppression and legitimize state terrorism, especially in the context of the so-called “war on terror” .|
|Organizational philosophy||The organizational philosophy of the network is based on decentralisation and autonomy.|
Contact the People's Commission Network: QPIRG Concordia - Peoples's Commission Network c/o Concordia University 1455 de Maisonneuve Ouest Montreal, QC, H3G 1M8 email@example.com
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