Do Black votes really matter?

By Ajamu Nangwaya

The voting mobilization campaign is ignoring the lessons of history on the true source of social change. Social movement activism is the difference-maker in forcing the political and economic elite to deal with the needs of the oppressed.

In Ontario, the Yonge Street Uprising forced a social democratic regime to create anti-racist and equity programs. Voting in elections did not contribute to this change in government policies.

The limited concessions by Ontario's political system on the issue of police violence are the result of resistance in the streets and not the outcome of voting.

In the United States, Afrikan-Americans' protest in the streets and the development of militant organizations brought an end to apartheid in the South and political concessions in the North and South.

Whenever social movement activism is at its lowest, the political system tends to retake most of the gains that were won during the peak of mass resistance.

Black votes do not matter. Afrikan-Canadians fighting for social change from below, in principled alliances with other oppressed groups, is what really matters.

The verdict of history is on the side of Emma Goldman.

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Carding and racial profiling: What does it mean to these Toronto men?

CHRIS YOUNG, Special to The Globe and Mail

While the debate around carding was at its peak earlier this summer, photojournalist Chris Young spoke with members of Toronto's black community about the police practice. Opponents of carding say it unfairly targets racial minorities, that it amounts to racial profiling.

"I wanted to hear from the people who were affected by the practice of carding, to open up a narrative without politicking or rhetoric," says Mr. Young. He asked them: Tell us how racial profiling has affected you.

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Carding across Canada: Data show practice of 'street checks' lacks mandated set of procedures

Kristy Hoffman, Patrick White and Danielle Webb,The Globe and Mail

Between 2009 and 2011, Toronto Police entered 1,104,561 names into its carding database, according to the force's own figures, a staggering effort disproportionately targeting minority groups. Toronto Police say they need carding to gather intelligence and prevent crime, but in doing so they resorted to tactics that sullied their public standing.

In recent months, the force's carding efforts have been reined in, thanks largely to intense community pressure. Under a new policy, Toronto officers must inform residents they have the right to walk away from a carding engagement at any time and conclude any such interaction by issuing a receipt.

While the carding controversy is confined to Toronto, documenting interactions with community members, also known as a "street check," is common practice for major police forces across Canada. Rules guiding that process, however, are vague or non-existent in most cases.

A Globe and Mail analysis found the practice lacks a mandated set of procedures after 21 Canadian police forces answered questions about interacting with community members in their respective jurisdictions. Most spoke willingly with The Globe, but some, including Winnipeg and Calgary, refused to respond to questions on the matter.

The practice typically involves an officer stopping a community member, questioning them and entering information into a computer database.

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