NOTE: Part I of this series can be found here
If you’ve spent time reading through Idle No More’s website you’ve probably seen Spencer Mann’s name a few times. Mann is Idle No More’s webmaster, and appears to be responsible for the majority of the content posted on the site. Mann is the sole proprietor of Voiceraiser.com, where he provides social media services like building webpages and producing videos- INM is profiled as one of his clients. His website says that he currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia but his LinkedIn says Montreal.
Mann’s biography is pretty much what one would expect of a professional activist, he describes his upbringing saying he was “born and raised in a solar and wind-powered home in the woods of Maine and was nourished on a strong sense of intentional community” (meaning, a commune). As an individual, Mann doesn’t appear to be very interesting- no indication of any ‘smashy smashy’ or other bad deeds in his past.
His network, however, gives us a fascinating glimpse into the global anti-capitalist movement, how it’s networks are reaching into Canada; it’s connections with the violence at the 1999 Seattle WTO, Occupy, the Quebec Student Strikes, and a South American oil dictatorship.
Outside of Idle No More, Spencer Mann has a couple of heavy hitting NGO’s on their client list. The first is the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), a foundation funded NGO that employs professional protester Clayton Thomas-Muller. Readers of this site will already be familiar with Muller for his participation in the Canadian Occupy movement, and the tattoo he shares with the people who hijacked it for the unions & NGO’s (Love Is The Movement).
Clayton Thomas-Muller has recently taken on the job of being INM’s spokesperson, a role previously held by Ryerson University professor Pamela Palmater (who stepped down after some controversy). New information leaked to Your Humble Narrator last night indicates that similar controversy is now following Thomas-Muller, this will be covered in more depth in a future instalment (as will more of Thomas-Muller’s network).
Prior to his current placement, Spencer Mann spent a year seconded at the People’s Movement Assembly (PMA) in Atlanta. The PMA is the American spoke of a larger global anti-capitalist movement called the World Social Forum (WSF), the Canadian spoke is led through an NGO called Alternatives Canada (where Ryerson professor and Occupy sponsor Judy Rebick used to sit on the board).
The WSF could best be explained in a phrase that was waved around a lot during Occupy: “a movement of movements”- a loose affiliation of activists from across the radical left spectrum who unite together in pursuit of a socialist revolution. Outside that, it appears they all share the vision of hating the Israeli state.
The origins of the WSF come out of the 1999 Battle of Seattle; the protests where North America saw it’s first example of large-scale Black Bloc style activist violence. As part of the WSF’s mandate of bringing together diverse groups they’ve adopted a policy that discourages the criticism of fellow allies. An article in the Canadian anarchist website Upping The Anti claims this was the foundation of Diversity Tactics- a radical doctrine that promotes the use of activist violence (like we saw at the Toronto G20 & Vancouver Olympics in 2010).
Canadian activist communities are some of the most hard hit by this new wave of violent protest- peaceful protesters have all too often found themselves being tear gassed or arrested once the masked hoodlums have had their fun. It’s easy to write this off as just some ‘dumb kids having some fun’, but there’s much more to it than that. There are older activists backing and egging them on- to them, the only way to change the world is by violently overthrowing the government (which is more important than the kids whose lives they destroy).
Clayton Thomas-Muller is backed by some pretty heavy hitters in the socialist revolutionary world, and has close ties with many of the people who preach activist violence. He works closely with No One Is Illegal, one of the key players during the violence at the G20 and Olympics. He’s joined in that support by Naomi Klein (a speaker at the WSF), who promoted INM (and Clayton) during her headlining speech at the launch of Canada’s newest militant union. (UNIFOR is a merger of the CAW & CEP unions, the former has a long history appropriating indigenous causes).
In March of 2013, INM Quebec co-founder Widia Larivière joined leaders of the Quebec student strikes from ASSÉ and led an Environmental Crisis Workshop with the Council of Canadians at the WSF’s annual conference in Tunisia. The Council of Canadians are directly responsible for enabling the violence that occurred at the Vancouver Olympics. Their leader Maude Barlow has openly advocated for violent protesters.
Activist superstar Bridgette DePape was one of the first people to write publicly about Idle No More in an article published in Mcleans on Christmas Day 2012. DePape took a very active role in the Occupy movement, travelling across the country using her star status (like Suzuki) to help the union/NGO hijackers gain more control of the movement. DePape has been active with the WSF, and has taken a role helping with INM’s fundraising and promotions (which we’ll discuss more in Part III).
The WSF was founded in 2001 when they held their first conference in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Its membership consists of some hardcore South American revolutionaries. The keynote speech for their 2005 conference was former Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. Venezuela is a major producer of oil, and a competitor that would benefit from stopping Canadian energy production. Many people in Canadian revolutionary circles openly support the Venezuelan government- last year a group of supporters in Toronto used 420 day as a backdrop for filming propaganda for Venezuelan citizens.
Curiously, considering their being strange bedfellows, the WSF has received financial support through major American foundations. Seed funding for the first WSF meetings was provided through the Ford Foundation, additional funding has flowed through the TIDES Foundation- both are heavy investors fighting Canadian energy projects. Clayton Thomas-Muller’s IEN has been funded by both Ford & TIDES.
When Spencer Mann finished his time at the People’s Movement Assembly, the first thing he did was to jump knee deep in the Quebec student strikes. This isn’t a surprise really, he and his colleagues are professional revolutionaries. And, as this series will continue to expose, all of these revolutions are being led/hijacked by the same small group.
Stay Tuned For Part III: Who Are The Professional Campaign Managers Leading The Fundraising?
The next instalment is where things will start to get really interesting- looking into INM’s professional fundraisers and their connections with high profile far-left politicians including David Eby, Olivia Chow & Van Jones. We’ll also explore how all roads lead to Hollyhock, while exposing the money making machine that helps superstar activists like Clayton Thomas-Muller keep their (Aeroplan super-elite) status cards.
After that, in part IV, we’ll discuss where the money goes, and the conflict between Clayton Thomas-Muller and INM founders/members over the lack of transparency in the accounting- just like Occupy (where people with the same tattoo did the same stuff…)