Everything on (the) Line

Everything on (the) Line

20 Years of Social Movement Stories from rabble.ca

Edited by Sophia Reuss and Christina Turner


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On a chilly April day in 2001, some 75,000 protesters flooded the streets of Quebec City to denounce corporate globalization and a neoliberal trade deal. From that wellspring of activist anger, energy, and hope came the founding of rabble.ca: an alternative news source and community space that reported on Canadian politics from the ground, catching the attention of journalists and activists across the country.

Since then, Canada has seen the rise of Harper Conservatism and its replacement by a Liberal government; a decline in union power; the stalled beginnings of reconciliation with Indigenous nations; the birth of Black Lives Matter; an invigorated climate justice movement; and more. These stories of activist struggle lie at the heart of Everything on (the) Line, a collection of rabble’s most incisive articles from the past twenty years.

Editors S. Reuss and Christina Turner guide readers deftly through rabble’s deep and storied archives, combining critical analysis with new essays from celebrated activists and writers such as Russell Diabo, Nora Loreto, Phillip Dwight Morgan, and Monia Mazigh. Each vital selection marks a flashpoint in Canadian politics—and an opportunity to reflect on the social movements that have challenged capitalism, racism, settler colonialism, and patriarchy over the past two decades.


When we founded rabble.ca 20 years ago, Canada urgently needed an online centre of gravity for radical news. This urgency feels even greater today. I’m so happy rabble is still going strong.

– Mark Surman, executive director, Mozilla Foundation, and rabble.ca co-founder

This collection is both a history of recent social movements in Canada and the story of how rabble.ca, one of the country’s earliest online media startups, navigated life on the internet through twenty years of tumultuous change. At a time when many cash-strapped newsrooms struggle to cover even basic news, we need more local rabbles to champion other ways of seeing the world, suggest alternatives, and challenge prevailing wisdoms.

– April Lindgren, Professor and Velma Rogers Research Chair, Ryerson School of Journalism

Rabble.ca’s greatest strengths have always been its digital-first birthright and its singular passion for—as mainstream media once trumpeted but no longer triumphs—afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted. The act of affliction often requires diverse voices acting in concert, being amplified by the timely megaphone of a sympathetic medium and by compassionate craftspeople. You’ll find all of that here. Consider this book a thorn in the side of complacency.

– Wayne MacPhail, former director of Southam InfoLab and founder of the rabble.ca podcast network

The book is a remarkably rich collection of some of the best of rabble.ca’s thousands of articles published over its twenty-year history, and contemporary essays on their continued relevance. Covering key topic themes over the years, the combination of analysis with stories based on personal experience illustrates some of the best independent, movement- and justice-oriented journalism that Canada has to offer. A highly readable, engaging and valuable resource for students and teachers of alternative media, journalism, and politics, that will also attract readers interested in Canadian politics and social justice.

– Robert Hackett, Professor Emeritus of communication, Simon Fraser University


Section 1: From Antiglobalization to National Security (2001–2005)
Monia Mazigh and Barâa Arar
2001: Mediating Thobani
Lynn Coady
2002: Faces in the Crowd
Erin George
2003: September 11, 1973
Carlos A. Torres
2004: Appeasement: Selling Out on Missile Defence
Duncan Cameron
2005: One Thousand and One Nights
Maha Zimmo
Section 2: Anti/reconciliation in Canada (2006–2010)
Self-Determination or Re-Colonization? Stephen Harper and the Indian Act
Russell Diabo
2006: Oaxaca: From State of Siege to Police State
Emilie Teresa Smith
2007: After the Pickton Trial, What Lives On?
Amber Dean
2008: From Queen’s Park to Grassy Narrows: Organizing to Win
Carmelle Wolfson
2009: Imagine: Prosperity without Growth
Murray Dobbin
2010: Stop Canada’s Cultural Genocide at Barriere Lake
Corvin Russell
Section 3: Combatting Neoliberalism
There Is an Alternative
Michael Stewart
2011: Canada’s Real Electoral Map: A Surge for the Left
Jesse McLaren
2012: Escalator to the Bottom: Quebec Students Refuse the Ride
Christopher Majka
2013: Idle No More: What Do We Want and Where Are We Headed?
Pamela Palmater
2014: Four Reasons Why Shutting Down TFWP Is No Solution to Migrant Worker Abuse
Syed Hussan
Section 4: No More Normal
Real Change Meets Radical Tactics
Nora Loreto
2015: Prime Minister-Designate Justin Trudeau Has Many Promises to Keep
Karl Nerenberg
2016: Toronto Media Underestimating the Resilience and Strength of Black Lives Matter Leaders
Mark Brown
2017: Tiny Houses, Enormous Statement
Erin Despard
2018: Valve-Turners Challenging Climate Crimes with Nonviolent Direct Action
Brent Patterson
2019: The War on Women Is Still On
Antonia Zerbisias
2020: We Don’t Need the Police. We Need Each Other
Reakash Walters and Rachel Zellars
Section 5: Activism and Indie Media: Pasts and Futures
Snapshots from rabble.ca’s First Twenty Years
Kim Elliott and Matthew Adams
“More Power Than We Were Made to Believe”: A Conversation with Judy Rebick, Leah Gazan, and Eriel Tchekwie Deranger
Phillip Dwight Morgan